I’m pleased to announce the unveiling of my latest startup from my advisory portfolio – brand new WordPress Hosting Platform WPEngine!
I’ve been involved with the WordPress community for several years (all the way back to B2 in fact, which was the precursor project that WordPress was forked from). However as interest in WordPress has steadily grown into the mainstream, one of the pain points I’ve seen people experience time-and-time again is hosting.
WordPress.com is great, but once you want to run a custom theme, plugins or embeds from sites that Automattic don’t have a BD relationship with, you’ve kinda reached a glass ceiling with the service. Self-install solves those problems but how many bloggers are really in a position to be installing, maintaining and updating a WordPress install on a hosting account? From my own anecdotal evidence most just don’t have the technical interest and/or time and I’ve spent many hours helping friends install, update and migrate WP blogs over the years.
Reports that WordPress is insecure almost always arise from people not keeping their WordPress self-install instances patched and up-to-date.
When I sat down and talked to the WPEngine founders about how they intended to solve this problem I was very excited. I love working with companies who are addressing real-life problems I can directly relate with. I’ve been working with WPEngine since SxSW to help them build the platform and bring it to market.
WPEngine is serving platform, not a hosting account
We’ve taken all the greatness of WordPress self-install and bundled it together into a blog serving platform that is designed solely just to serve WordPress.
You come to us and either create a new blog or migrate your existing WordPress blog over using some one-click export tools we’ve built.
From there we look after the installation, management, security, upgrades, backup and day-to-day running of WordPress. Everything looks and works the same as far as what the blogger uses – the same old familiar admin tools. But behind the scenes we make sure the WPEngine WordPress Platform is kept up to date and optimized for performance.
Behind the scenes everything is kept in compatible formats to WordPress self-install so you could migrate out and walk away if you ever wanted to. No lock in here.
The service is ideal for pro-bloggers, fledgling blog/news sites (like TechCrunch, Mashable, etc) and small-to-medium businesses that use WordPress as a CMS for their sites. Many doctors surgeries, law offices and other businesses use WordPress to power their site and WPEngine is ideal for those who don’t have any in-house technical capabilities to keep their sites running in optimally and securely.
We’ve been successfully hosting in stealth-beta some pretty high profile blogs – including Balsamiq’s Blog, OtherInBox (their entire site) and Jason Cohen’s highly trafficked A Smar Bear blog (who is also a co-founder).
Tonight we’re announcing we will be opening our platform via invite. You can follow coverage on Read/WriteWeb, Mashable and others.
If you would like an invite, just visit this sign-up form to request one. We’ll be getting back to people in the next day or so.
As mentioned, WPEngine is the latest company I’ve added to my portfolio. They are actually my pick of SxSW 2010 as I now make a habit of meeting as many Texas based startups as possible each year I visit Austin, with the view to working with one as an advisor when I return to SF. Last year’s startup was NutShell Mail, which of course just had a successful exit to Constant Contact.
I intend to write more about my growing portfolio as I am enjoying that this is now taking up a more significant proportion of my time these days. Watch this space!