Rob Cairns sits down with Vikas Singhal founder of Insta Wp.
- What Is Insta Wp.
- How does Insta Wp work?
- How Instal WP can make website development easier.
- The features of Insta Wp,
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here.
I’m here with Vikas Singhal of Insta Wp.
How are you today?
Hey Robert, I’m good.
How are you?
Doing well good to have you on the podcast we just for back story Li you and I actually met at the Atarim Web Agency summit last month and it’s one of the great ways to meet people is to chat in the networking lounges or summits, right?
Yep, Yep it was.
Kind of means unpredictable also, right?
You don’t you.
You don’t know whom you are going to meet and then you meet some somebody great and then this stuff like this podcast happened.
Yeah it is great and I really appreciate that.
And all the discussion and even the pre show discussion we had today.
So I I always.
Like to talk to people in the WordPress space and say what’s your WordPress origin story?
How did you get into WordPress?
Yeah, it’s an interesting story also, for me at least, it started means I always had passion about programming and building stuff from.
I think at the age of 14, but Fast forward all the way to let’s say, 6767 years ago I started creating a website.
For my brother, so he owns a physical brick and mortar shop and he wanted to go online as everybody else.
And then I started searching for.
Vision everybody thought this is this guy is the engineer in the in the family, so he he must be knowing stuff.
So I was used to that I was building apps on on the side using just plain raw PHP and maybe some framework here in there.
Then I discovered Prestashop for for my brother.
Right and I built a site for him and it was good since it.
Was in PHP.
It’s an open source software as well.
Uh, and I hosted it somewhere and then mess around with it and then eventually added some code as a plugin or pressure and that was kind of an a-ha moment for me.
Means you can add stuff to this kind of software and make it more extensible.
Why not means it’s it’s go time.
So I built around 20 extend.
Sense and it started earning some money on the side and I always dreamt of building some product and making money off of it.
Not just because of the money per say, but it’s like it’s it’s a metric of success in some way for a lot of people, and that that makes you.
Somewhat happier right?
In terms of getting a milestone.
Where, but anyway, so Fast forward.
Then I started realizing that Prestashop has a smaller community.
Not a lot of people use it.
Maybe in Europe there is a big community, but not around the world.
And then obviously one seems to another.
How can you Miss WordPress?
I feel that I am late to the WordPress bandwagon.
I started WordPress around four years ago when I was discovering various schemes and my first step into WordPress world was to acquire a plugin.
Believe it or not, and before that I was doing pressure shock obviously, but I was also flipping sides for fun and profit and I was buying and selling websites out of flippa, so that’s that’s a story for another day.
But then I I saw this codecanyon and this is a great marketplace.
Right, and I saw a plug in for security.
I come from a security background, I think that may be interesting to you.
I was a pentester at some point and then I bought the plug in by.
I reached out to the owner that this is security plugin for WordPress.
It was hide my hide my WP by the way the original one and I acquired it from him and then started working on it.
So that’s that’s my origin story, but maybe a little bit long.
So sorry about that.
No, that’s OK.
I always enjoy hearing about why people got into the community.
Before we get to your product, since you mentioned security, a lot of people.
I don’t know the kind of components, say WordPress is inherently not secure and my argument would be it’s a trust factor.
There’s vulnerabilities in every piece of software out there.
I mean if you’re a Windows user, the biggest operating system in the world for business Microsoft patches.
Patches every patch Tuesday, right?
I think it’s more a trust factor.
Do you trust the plugin developer?
Do you trust WordPress to patch their security vulnerabilities?
Do you have any thought about that coming from a security background?
It’s I think there are multiple opinions on that.
My opinions is that WordPress by itself is not insecure, right?
Since the nature of WordPress is it’s open source, you host it yourself, right?
It’s not a SAS platform, it’s it’s infinitely scale.
It’s infinitely flexible on its own.
Uh, by that you can install anything on that or write any PHP code means which platform gives you that right?
It’s it’s so much flexible, but with flexibility comes the risk of security because it’s hosted on on hosting provider but.
You are kind of managing on your own.
We can talk about that also, but nowadays hosting providers are so secure that.
Means unless it do, unless you upload some kind of as you said, untrusted plugin or a theme and that is not maintained very well.
The plugin developers are lazy in security.
Eventually it will lead to some kind of security vulnerability, right?
And I think.
If you if you if you think about SAS kind of platforms where you don’t need to worry about the servers, you just need to use the application.
Use for example wordpress.com, right? It can be a prime example of that, so you don’t need to worry about it, but that that gives that takes away some of the flexibility.
And again, I since I come from a security world, I know that it’s not that though every company is safe.
So when you said that any software or any piece of software
Has a potential vulnerability built in.
By by the by the virtue of its software, right, and so you can’t claim a big claim that we are secure through and through.
And I think means largest company in the world have been hacked before, so it’s it’s as I said, it’s all about trust.
It’s all about what kind of mechanisms.
Are you putting in to make your site secure, and what kind of people are you hiring to build your site?
So I think that also adds to the equation at the end of the day.
I think the whole ecosystem is moving toward.
It’s a secure future with managed service providers from hosting perspective from Trusted Plug in developers to having security products on top of it.
I think All in all I see it’s it’s going in the right direction.
No, I do.
I do too, so let’s get on to what I really wanted to have you talk about today and that’s your project instead W.
And I I.
I really think this product is.
Personally, to spin up a website real quickly for testing.
So how did you come to developing this product?
Uhm, that’s also an interesting story.
Since we are working in WordPress so my parent company which I own is express stack, we do a bunch of plugins and themes.
So I told you about Jamie WP. After that acquired, I acquired around 10 themes and plugins over the last 3-4 years.
And then I was lucky enough, or kind of in a position to leave my full time job last year.
So doing all that gives me a better perspective of what WordPress is now.
I know what people use WordPress for and what kind of problems are there in terms of day-to-day.
Now in our team.
We had an issue where we wanted a quick WordPress site.
And then somebody will spin up on its local UM or use C panel to do like some kind of clumsy job of getting a site ready or hosting some kind of control panel on our own to get a testing site for various purposes, right for?
Testing for developing for showing it to the client and whatnot so.
It was, it was kind of a hassle for me or the whole team and I discussed with some folks and everybody told that this is this is not a great idea.
This is just an idea of because the idea started as a disposable WordPress platform somewhere where you can create a WordPress site within.
Seconds and then dispose of.
Yeah, so I believe it or not, I started this project around four years ago and that the project was named as C Ms Launcher.
It was not the same project I just combined together a bunch of C panel reseller accounts and created in UI for that and it was very very.
Uh, not not.
So what instead of rupees today, right?
But the idea was there in my mind for for really long time means just a click.
Get a side work on it why?
Why do we have to worry about it?
Why should all the Wix, Squarespace, Shopify folks have all the fun right?
Why can’t we have the fun so?
So that’s that’s how the idea started.
No, it’s a great idea.
What’s the biggest use case for your product?
I think you know having played with it, having used it a little bit in testing.
I think I see two big use cases for a developer, one is.
Do you want to test out a new plugin?
A new WordPress version?
Uh, WordPress beta?
Uh release candidate?
And that’s a really easy way to do it without having to spin up a site under C panel.
And the other is somewhere to put a test site to show a client what.
What things do you see your product?
I think it started with even less of a use case when I started it.
It’s just a temporary site launcher, so it can be for testing as you said for beta releases for testing a plugin, but then the community.
Or the users are now taking it towards like a more.
Of any WS for WordPress means I was just thinking of this.
What is anonymous or what is synonymous to instead of DP is when you say like Uber for something or Airbnb for something.
I think this is a WS for WordPress wherein you can do a lot of things when you have an infrastructure ready for WordPress for example.
You can build a side and then deliver it to the client, all on Insta WP, right?
Big excuse me so because we have we have that site creation facility already inbuilt and then we now integrate with migrate guru that that plugin right we we give you an instant one click push to any hosting provider of your choice.
So I see lot of our being paid users and free users.
Are now moving towards that and then using this as a blind build platform rather than just a test platform.
So that’s a big use case which is.
Yeah I could.
I could see using it as a as a builder platform and I actually have a a couple of projects coming up that I.
I think that’s the route I’m gonna go just to make my life personally a little easier, so I think that’s the whole key with these tools is how is it developer?
Do you make your life easier at at the end?
Of the day, right?
And and then you save time, you save your precious time even though you are saving 30 minutes.
Of your time, a day that adds up a lot, and then, especially when you’re working with a team and instead of loopy, you can invite your team members, have them work on the same side and which is I think, not really possible anybody anywhere else.
And then saving a site as a template for a starting point.
I think tools like that.
Gives like some kind of freedom and means when I tell this to people on my demo calls they say oh God means you have.
That means I was searching for that forever, right?
So so things like that is actually helping the builders.
The second use case, which is now our secondary use case.
The primary use.
Is the agencies and the Freelancers and the second use case?
Is the developers because now we have things like Git integration.
With GitHub or any other Git platform, so you if you had a plugin developer or a theme developer, you can connect your repos and then do one click testing or you don’t even need to click right as soon as you raise a PR a pull request on GitHub, you immediately get a new WordPress instance with your new coded.
Plugin so you don’t need to actually upload your plugin somewhere to test it.
It is already there for you to test it.
Yeah, and that makes it easy, and that’s a time saver.
The integration so.
I think for a developer that’s really a great use case and and a time saver, and I mean time is money, so I think that’s really important.
In terms of the plans that you offer on your product, let’s kind of break it down.
What do you offer in the free plan and then what’s the cost of your premium plans and what’s included or added at that point?
Right, so in the free plan.
Actually we have a plan before the free, which is an anonymous plan wherein you don’t need to create an account, so you get 3 active sites which you can work on.
So we have like a slash on board interface where you can just choose your WordPress version and then launch.
No need for any e-mail ID, but that is just three active sites.
And every active site, can I?
I think, stay live for 8 hours only.
But when you do sign up and then get a free account, you can create up to five sites and every site can live up to 48 hours, right?
The expiry time extends up to 40, so that is 2 days that that gives you enough space and time to basically test anything.
If you’re testing a plugin or.
Or not, so that gives you enough time. And then we give you 500 MB of storage on the free account. And even if a site expires after 48 hours.
Right, we do allow you to restore it for three times in the free account, so it’s it’s a lot of time.
You can still do a lot of stuff.
Good and when you go to the paid accounts, what’s your?
Pricing on the paid account and what’s the difference in features?
Right so so paid account starts from $9 a month for personal account goes up to 29 and then.
29 and the differentiating factor between these is number of sites you can create. So for example, in the time dollar account you can.
I think if I remember correctly 10 sites and in the $59 the agency plan, which is our top seller is.
You can create up to 50 sites at a one time, right and then you also get more disk space.
In 2.5 GB all the way to 25 GB in agency. And then you also get a facility to reserve a site which is not there on the free plan at all.
So if you are working on a client site and then you think it is going to take more than what is the default expiry time because expiry time also increases with every plan.
In the agency plan, we every site expires after 15 days, so that is plenty of time.
But even then, if you think that no, no, I want to be sure that this site shouldn’t expire and then you click on reserve and then it never expires, becomes like a hosting at that.
Uh, but but so you get those reserved sites in agency plan.
I think you can reserve up to 10 sites at a time and then work on it at the same time, no problem.
How’s the product been accepted in the community?
Do you have a lot of free slash page users?
At this point.
So yeah, so I I think we started around eight months ago and right now we have around 1500 free users on our platform.
Uh, every day, around 500 to 600 sites are created on.
We do have paid.
We do have paid members and we have crossed 1000 MRR I think last month and we we are mostly focusing on the the usability of the product at this point and then optimizing for Mirli fan.
But that’s that.
Those are the numbers.
And when you talk about community right, a lot of people are means amazed by the product.
So we recently.
Actually you mentioned Courtney in our pre call.
So she is now using instead of loopy for learn platform.
The Learn WordPress platform to offer education kind of assistance to the participants, their students and they are creating account free account on instead of loopy and then playing around with WordPress and so.
Just imagine right means the 1st 30 minutes of your call with somebody that go there.
Do that, install SSL, do whatever right is gone.
You just say that.
Go to install WP, launch WordPress.
So that that is the power of instead of loopy.
And I mean I’m not bragging myself.
I’m saying that this is something I didn’t even imagine myself when I started this project that it can have such a large impact.
What is the number one requested feature that you hear from your community of people wanting added to the product?
The the so one thing is requested all the time is one click post to hosting providers. So right now we have an integration but that is a bit of work so you need to input your FTP address and whatnot. We are working with hosting companies like GoDaddy and WP engine as we speak.
To to integrate a one click push so you just integrate your like kind of GoDaddy API key or whatever. And then you have like push, push, push and then you you build a site, you push it. You build a site, you push it. You don’t need to worry about any.
Connection as such.
Yeah I I can see that being a time saver because I hate to tell you people are getting lazier by the day and if they can find a tool to do it for them, they probably.
Will so I, I think that’s a biggie. Is A is A1 push, especially if you’re a developer and you’re building a client site. ’cause then you can.
Push all the plugins, push all the themes, push all the custom code and you’re done.
I think that’s a that’s a big deal.
Uhm, where would you like to see the product go in the next?
Well like if you if you were to road map out where you want it.
Uh, as I said, I want it to be become like an AWS for WordPress right? And that what this? What does that mean actually? Is have all the tools necessary for WordPress in one place? We don’t want to be hosting providers at any time, but we want to give you.
All the necessary tools so that you come to Insta and then you can build it.
Develop it, test it.
You do whatever you want, right, and then you push it any anywhere of your choice.
Sample if you are a gravity form, customer or any other plugins, which is like a pro plugin, you can connect your license account within Star right?
So I’m batch stack or anything, which as you said you can just connect to it and then when you are creating a new side you can just import that pro plugin right without.
Any messing up with like getting a zip file, activating the license and whatnot right so that kind of ease of usability is what I’m targeting.
So to summarize my thoughts, I think we want to be at the center.
Of hosting providers plugin and theme developers and the builders right then we want to be in the center of that so that we can combine all of these together in a way that it becomes much, much easier of what it is today to connect between all these three.
And when you create a WordPress site.
Right, you have all these three components together.
Like we discussed, it’s a self hosted software.
You host it on a hosting provider.
You buy licenses from various people.
You it’s not like.
Uh, means WordPress has some kind of marketplace where you can buy things from a single place.
It’s so flexible, right?
The flexibility is some kind of bane or boon at the same time for WordPress, but if we combine all of these together in like an inside store, if you will, people can buy licenses from inside instead of loopy.
And have like a unified experience all over right?
They don’t need to go anywhere else.
And then the builders can build their own stuff and then build and can offer the templates to everybody else like.
Like AP built website. So let’s say you are an expert in building gym kind of websites or or a doctor related website or any consultant or anything like that like a lawyer website.
You can create your content.
You can put some pro plugins you can.
You can put your themes which is a favorite team put together.
A bundle of content and functionality.
And then offer this as a product I service as a builder what what Gumroad does?
Right if you.
If you think about what Gumroad does for creators, we can do it for WordPress builders.
As well, excuse me.
That is really interesting because I use gumroad and I know what it does for creators so doing that for a WordPress developer designer I think is a big deal in this space and something that really hasn’t been done well before actually.
Yep Yep Yep.
So I think that’s.
I really appreciate you talking about your product.
I I would give.
I would encourage people to go give it a a crack.
I really like it so I think it’s it’s worth doing.
Set yourself up a free account.
If somebody wants to try the product to get a hold of you, how’s the best way?
I’m always there on the chat personally on https://instawp.com/ or otherwise you can just tweet at me at @VikasProgrammer on Twitter, so I’m always.
Have an amazing day and thanks for sharing your story about Insta WP.
Thanks, Robert, for having me.
It’s it was such it’s such a lovely to speak with you.