WPMU DEV's Blog - Everything WordPressCommunity - WPMU.org http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog The WPMU DEV WordPress blog provides tutorials, tips, resources and reviews to help out any WP user Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:30:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: A Definitive Guide For 2014 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-org-vs-wordpress-com-a-definitive-guide-for-2014/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-org-vs-wordpress-com-a-definitive-guide-for-2014/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130330 WordPress.org or WordPress.com? If you’re new to WordPress, it’s a common question and often one that needs a little explanation since the two get confused.

In this post we’ll compare the two and look at their pros and cons. We’ll explore:

  • The differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
  • Compare each of their:
    • Costs
    • Freedoms and limitations
    • Maintenance and development
  • How to decide between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

What is WordPress.org?

The WordPress.org website.

WordPress is open source blogging/CMS software that powers 22 per cent of the web, including this one.

The software is a community-driven project and WordPress.org is where you can download the WordPress installation files, and search for and download free themes and plugins.

The site also contains WordPress news, documentation and community support forums. It’s also the place to go if you want to get involved in the WordPress and contribute to the core code, mobile apps, translation and accessibility.

What is WordPress.com?

The WordPress.com website.
The WordPress.com website.

WordPress.com is a commercial website where you can host a free site with some limitations or pay a yearly fee to remove the restrictions.

The site runs on the WordPress software offered at WordPress.org

Matt Mullenweg, who co-created the WordPress software, also founded Automattic, the company that operates WordPress.com.

Since WordPress.com is a hosted service, it means you don’t have to worry about finding a web host or downloading and installing the WordPress software. The service does all that for you.

Comparing WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Now let’s compare three of the most important considerations when deciding between WordPress.org and WordPress.com: cost, freedoms and limitations, and maintenance and development.

Cost Comparison


If you’re new to WordPress, it’s important to note that even though WordPress is free, open source software, hosting your own WordPress is not free.

You will hosting and a domain to run WordPress. Hosting with popular web hosts like Go Daddy and Bluehost is pretty cheap (as outlined in the image below). Domains usually cost around $10+ a year.

Once you’ve got your site set up, then you need to think about themes and plugins. There are many free themes available at WordPress.org, but these usually lack the advanced features and functionality need for, say, an online store or a business/corporate site. There are many premium theme stores around, like Elegant Themes or WooThemes, and the Themeforest marketplace offers more choice than you can poke a stick up.


On the other hand, WordPress.com offers plans and upgrades.

The plans include:

  • Basic – Free – Includes free blog, WordPress.com address, basic customization, no premium themes included, no eCommerce, no video storage, 3 GB of space, may show ads, community support.
  • Premium – $99 – free blog, a custom domain, advanced customization, no premium themes included, no eCommerce, store dozens of videos, 13 GB of space, no ads, direct email support.
  • Business – $299 – free blog, a custom domain, advanced customization, 50+ premium themes included, eCommerce, store unlimited videos, unlimited space, no ads, live chat support.

Here’s a quick visual breakdown comparing costs for WordPress.org and WordPress.com:

WordPress cost comparison

There are some other WordPress.com upgrades, too:

  • Custom design – $30 per blog, per year
  • Guided transfer to a self-hosted WordPress.org site – $129 per blog
  • Premium themes – One-off $20 fee, or $120 per year for unlimited themes
  • Site redirect – $13 per blog, per year
  • VideoPress – $60 per blog, per year

A free Basic WordPress.com plan is the least expensive option, particularly if you don’t want a custom domain name and don’t mind using their free themes with no modifications.

If you want a fully-featured site with your own domain name, unlimited storage for your videos and images, and no advertising, WordPress.com can become quite expensive.

If cost is your most important consideration, then downloading WordPress from WordPress.org will be your most affordable option.

Freedoms and Limitations


Limitations or no limitations?

When you set up a site using WordPress on your own server, you have the freedom to do whatever you want with it.

You can:

  • Use any free or premium plugin
  • Use any free or premium theme
  • Add and edit files via FTP, cPanel or whatever method your web host allows
  • Tweak WordPress files and server settings to improve performance
  • Full control of your content – no ads


In comparison, WordPress.com comes with limitations. The folks at WordPress.com are running a business. They provide the convenience of a WordPress environment all ready for you to use. They maintain the software so that you never have to touch code or worry about security or other such concerns.

In return, you must pay for any upgrades, from simply removing advertising to activating a different theme.

Limitations include:

  • Limited to WordPress.com themes – you can’t upload your own
  • No custom plugins
  • Limited storage space
  • Limited control of your content, i.e. you must pay to remove ads
  • No FTP access to your files

It’s also important to note that with WordPress.com you can’t use third-party advertising solutions, such as Google AdSense. You also can’t track your stats with Google Analytics.

If having freedom and full control over your WordPress site is an important factor for you, consider setting up your own site with software from WordPress.org

Maintenance and Development


Having full control over your site also comes with great responsibility. You will need to be prepared to regularly maintain and update your site. You will also need to make sure your site is secure and less vulnerable to hacking. Spam is also a likely problem you will need to deal with.

On top of that, if you have any problems with your server you will need to sort it our yourself with your web host.

There are managed hosting services such as Pagely and WP Engine that can take care of the maintenance of your site for you.

Maintaining a site can take up a lot of your site unless you want to hire someone else to take care of it for you.

You may want to consider using a managed WordPress hosting solution, such as Pagely or WP Engine. These services look after all the backend maintenance for you, but, of course, it comes with an increased cost.


The folks at WordPress will take care of all maintenance and development for you. You won’t have to worry about plugins breaking after an upgrade or your site suddenly going down because of a problem with your host.

You won’t have to keep up-to-date with WordPress news and upgrade your site each time a major version of the software is released.

The decision on whether or not to maintain and develop your site yourself depends entirely on your skills ability, and also how much time and effort you want to put into looking after your site.

If you would rather not deal with anything technical and don’t have the time to commit to ongoing maintenance and development, then WordPress.com would be the best option for you.

So… WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

Choosing between the two comes down to choosing the best option that will support the type of site you want to create.

If you are a casual blogger, don’t want to worry about maintenance and security, and don’t want or need a custom domain, then WordPress.com is ideal for you.

Howevever, if you want full control over your site, want to upload themes and plugins, or want to create an eCommerce or business site, then you may want to go with WordPress.org

WordPress comparison

If you’re still not sure, check out this handy video we created comparing WordPress.org and WordPress.com

This video offers a quick overview of everything you will want to consider when deciding between the two options:

Our Recommendation: WordPress.org

When it comes down to cost, freedoms and limitations, and maintenance and development considerations, WordPress.org wins hands down.

It may take more time and effort to set up a WordPress site, but you will have full control over the look and feel of your site. You will be able to use custom themes and customize their look, and also upload custom plugins to add more functionality to your site.

If you plan to grow your site and increase traffic, then downloading WordPress from WordPress.org is our recommendation.

What is your experience of using WordPress.org and WordPress.com? Let us know in the comments below.

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Help! How to Get Awesome WordPress Support – Dos and Don’ts http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/get-awesome-wordpress-support/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/get-awesome-wordpress-support/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130489 WordPress is fantastic software, but there are days when you try everything to fix your site and nothing seems to work. Have you ever stared at a header that doesn’t look quite right or code and thought, “WTF is going on?!”

Feeling confused about WordPress is nothing new. We’ve all been there! Luckily, one of the best things about WordPress is there are lots of places to seek out help and even more people willing to help answer your questions.

With the help of Tim Bowers, our Head of Support, I’ve put together this guide to finding great support and getting your questions answered.

In this post we’ll cover:

  • Conflict testing
  • How to ask for support
  • Where to find support

Where do you go for support? Can you recommend a great place we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

How to ask for support
Our Head of Support Tim Bowers is available to answer your questions. Here he is helping our Head of Security.

Troubleshoot Before Asking for Support

Search Google

If you’ve stumbled across a problem, chances are someone else has, too. If you have an error message, copy it into Google search to see if someone else has found a solution to your error.

Searching Google can be a quick and easy way to find a fix for a problem.

Search Forums

Your question may already have been answered, saving you valuable time.

Check out the round-up of support forums below for places to search.

Read the Documentation

All of our plugins come with comprehensive documentation.
All of our plugins come with comprehensive documentation.

If you’re having trouble with a plugin or theme, read the documentation. While you may be one of those people who doesn’t like to read the manual first, reading the documentation can give you a better insight into how your theme or plugins works – and you may even learn a thing or two you didn’t know about your theme or plugin before!

Update Themes and Plugins

Ensure you have the most recent version of WordPress installed, as well as the most recent version of any themes and plugins. Usually after major releases of WordPress there are minor security releases. This also goes for themes and plugins, so having the latest version of a product can quickly eliminate a problem.

Test on a Sandbox

If you’re planning to upgrade yours or a client’s site, do it on a sandbox install first. You may want to set up WordPress on a local machine for testing purposes or use third-party sandboxes such as PayPal’s sandbox.

If you test a new theme or plugin on a live site, you do so at your own risk.

Conflict Testing

Often an issue can be caused by a conflict with another plugin or theme, so testing for conflicts can save a bunch of time. It can also help pinpoint your issue much more quickly.

You can test for conflicts by:

  • Disabling all plugins, except for the one you want to test
  • Reverting to a default WordPress theme

Once you’ve completed these two steps, test again. If the issue has magically disappeared then there is a conflict. Reactivate each of you plugins one at a time and keep testing, when the issue returns you will then know where the conflict exists. See the flowchart below for more details:

Support process.
Support process flow chart.

Tip: Renaming the /plugins folder will do a soft deactivation on all plugins, this removes the code for testing and, providing you don’t open the admin plugin page, they won’t become deactivated in the database. You can then create a new /plugins folder and either move the plugins across one at a time or in batches while continuously testing.

WordPress also has an option to debug and display any errors produced. You can read more on that in Debugging WordPress: How to Use WP_DEDBUG.

How to Ask for Support

Don’t just fire off a support ticket that says, “I have probs with my theme. Plz fix it?”

What does that tell anyone? More often than not, you’re going to annoy support moderators and other users with a vague and useless question like that.

Here are a few tips to help you get your support tickets answered quickly.

Be Specific

Be clear and concise. Include the steps you’ve taken to try and fix the problem your self, the version number of any plugins or themes you’re having issues with, and whether you’re using a single site or Multisite. If you have any errors, include the errors to help the support staff diagnose your problem.

It also helps to detail how to recreate the issue, as well as where and how it happens.

If you’ve discovered any plugin or theme conflicts, mention this, too.

Lastly, don’t lump several unrelated questions into a single ticket. To keep things focused, on-topic, and to avoid confusion, create separate tickets for each issue or question.

Don’t ask a vague question. If you want a quick answer, be as specific as possible about your problem.

Include Screenshots

Take screenshots that clearly show the problem you’re having and upload them if the forum you’re using allows it.

It would be awesome if support staff could read minds, but unfortunately they can’t. Screenshots are the next best thing.

Follow Up Your Question

Be pro-active. Ensure you always follow up your question with any new information so you can help support staff find an answer to your question.

If support staff ask you a question, help them as much as you can by providing the information they ask for. Your involvement in this process is crucial.

Be Polite

Don’t be flippant, rude or abusive. This won’t help anyone and often won’t be tolerated.

If you’re asking questions at WordPress.org you’ve got to remember that support volunteers are helping you for free, out of their own generosity. They don’t owe you anything. There is nothing in it for them except the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with solving a problem and making someone happy.

The same goes for plugin and theme developers who release products for free and give his or her time to support it as well. That’s a lot of hours of work, all for free. The more respectful and thankful that you are, the more inclined they will be to help you out.

Since you are possibly saving money using free themes or plugins, you should treat developers, designers and support folks with respect. Don’t abuse them on forums, pester them by email or give them lip because they haven’t had the time to get that (free) update ready for you when you need it.

Be Patient

If you are posting on a support forum, you may find that it takes time for someone to get back to you. Remember, online forums are global and it may be that the people answering your questions are in another timezone and are asleep. Or they’re just busy people with day jobs.

For example, Takayuki Miyoshi who developed Contact Form 7 has had 21 support requests in the past 24 hours (at the time of writing this). Takayuki answers these promptly and for free. He also happens to run Rock Lobster, a web development agency. If he doesn’t answer a question within 5 minutes, there’s no need to get anxious like this person:

Be patient! The world doesn’t revolve around you so don’t expect your question to be answered at the speed of light.

Also, don’t bump threads. Bumping threads multiple times within a short period of time can delay any response from support staff. WPMU DEV support staff, for example, answer tickets in order of oldest first, so a ticket owner who bumps their questions multiple times is only pushing their original ticket to the bottom of the queue.

Where to Find Support

Finding support for WordPress is easy. There are lots of free sites that offer help, as well as premium options.

If you have a problem with a theme or plugin, it’s best to file a support ticket with the product’s creator. So if you downloaded a free plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository, your best bet is to ask a question in the plugin’s support area. For example, this is the support area for Contact Form 7:

Contact Form 7
The support section for the hugely popular – and free – Contact Form 7 plugin.

Free themes in the repository usually include an FAQ, so don’t forget to read through this, too, before asking any questions.

The same goes for premium plugins and themes. If you have a problem with Gravity Forms, you wouldn’t ask for help in the WordPress.org Support Forums. It just doesn’t make sense to ask volunteers in a free forum to support a premium product. Always use the appropriate channels of support.

Most commercial products like Gravity Forms come with dedicated support, so it’s always best to ask a plugin/theme developer any questions first before seeking help elsewhere.

It’s also worth mentioned that just because you paid for a product, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be nice. Always be nice to support staff! The support crew love helping out members and it can ruin their day when someone is rude or obnoxious. On the other hand, it brightens their day when members are appreciative of their help.

So here are the best places to go for support.



The first place I look for help is Google. You can plug any question into the search bar and you’ll get a useful answer. Almost any problem you have will have already been encountered by someone else.

WordPress.org Support Forums


The support forums are a great place to ask questions, especially for those new to WordPress. There is a large team of volunteers on hand to answer any kind of questions.

Keep in mind that there are many more people asking questions then there are moderators, so don’t expect your question to be answered right away.

WordPress IRC Chat


If you want more of an instant fix you could try out the various IRC chat rooms. To access them you need to download an IRC chat client like mIRC or XChat.

The IRC server is chat.freenode.net and the Channel is #WordPress.

Stack Exchange


The WordPress Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for WordPress developers and administrators. It’s free and registration isn’t required.

Stack Exchange is a great site if you have technical/advanced questions. It’s a great community of developers who can help answer your programming needs.



This list wouldn’t be complete without WPMU DEV.

Our team of 15+ support staff members are based all over the world as part of a distributed team and are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The team answers hundreds of support requests each day. We provide live chat, Q&A and email support.

We’ve even got Second Level Support – a dedicated team of developers we call on to help with more complicated support requests.

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Announcing Our Video Testimonial Winners! http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/announcing-our-video-testimonial-winners/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/announcing-our-video-testimonial-winners/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=130262 After lots of umming and ahhing at WPMU HQ over the awesome video testimonials you guys sent in, we are pleased to announce the winners!

We were originally going to give away a Lifetime Membership, then after your videos started rolling in we revised our prize list and changed it to 1 Lifetime Membership, 3 Yearly memberships and a t-shirt for everyone.

Well, judging your videos was tough! So we revised our prize list one more time: 3 Lifetime Memberships, 5 Yearly Memberships and a t-shirt for everyone!

Thank you
We love our members and want to say “Thank You!”

We received an overwhelming number of videos from members and needed extra time to watch them all. They made us smile and even laugh (check out the video below by Central Internet Agency!).

It was awesome to see how our products and support have helped so many members create their own websites, and even start their own businesses and make a living with WordPress.

Now without further ado, the winners!

Lifetime Membership Winners

It was tough deciding winners for this category, but in the end it came down to who followed the rules (a video of you talking to the camera in 30 seconds or less).

Heather Cate

Jason Verdelli

Jay L.A. Bastien/JAYLA.CO

Yearly Membership Winners

We thought these videos were fantastic and deserved a membership, too.

Michael Kocher

Nicolas Villaume

Central Internet Agency

(Developers, developers, developers!)

Patricia Brun Torre

Wolfy Master Media

Thank You!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who sent in video testimonials. You guys rock!

If you haven’t already received your t-shirt, it’s in the mail.

We’ll be in touch with winners shortly to organize your memberships.

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Meet The WhiP, Our Daily WordPress Email Newsletter http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/meet-the-whip-wordpress-email-newsletter/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/meet-the-whip-wordpress-email-newsletter/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:30:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=129544
The WhiP

If you’re serious about WordPress design and development, you’ve got to keep on top of all the latest news and core developments, while also finding the time to, you know, actually make stuff.

Who’s got the time to scroll through Twitter all day or refresh reddit? We don’t, so we launched The WhiP.

Our new daily email newsletter is packed with WordPress news and gossip, must-reads, tutorials and how-tos, as well as other random awesomeness from across the tech world.

Don’t miss another deadline because you got distracted reading Hacker News and stop drowning in RSS updates. The WhiP covers everything you need to know so you can get on with making WordPress awesome.

Sign up for daily lashings of WordPress goodness. Our email newsletter is delivered weekdays at 8.30am US East Coast time or check out our blog at midday.

For archived for copies of the newsletter, look under “The WhiP” tag.

Subscribe to The WhiP

* indicates required
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Meet the WPMU DEV-elopers http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/meet-the-wpmu-dev-elopers/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/meet-the-wpmu-dev-elopers/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128699 With more than 140 plugins to maintain and other projects in the works, WPMU DEV’s team of developers have their work cut out for them. But who exactly are these developers working behind the scenes? This is the story behind our CTO and talented development team.

A blog post, much like this one, convinced Aaron Edwards to sign up for a WPMU DEV membership – setting him on a path to becoming our company’s Chief Technology Officer.

Back in 2009, Aaron was working a corporate job by day and at night he managed MissionsPlace, a free Multisite network he had created to help missionaries.

He had toyed with the idea of buying a membership so he could use Pro Sites (at the time called Supporter), but it was a post CEO James Farmer wrote about the success of Edublogs that prompted him to part with his cash.

“After joining I quickly became a very active user in the forums helping out other members and sharing the handful of free WPMU plugins I had written for my own use,” Aaron says.

“James noticed and gave me a free membership due to my helpfulness.”

A few months later when James needed another developer, he asked Aaron if he was interested in completing a trial task for the job. Aaron created A/B Theme Testing, which is still available to download today.

He became one of just three developers at WPMU DEV and his first project, funnily enough, was to completely re-write Pro Sites.

Not long after he joined the team, co-founder Andrew Billets left the company, leaving WPMU DEV without a lead developer.

“James needed someone to take on managing all the technical side of things and offered me the CTO job,” Aaron says.

The WPMU DEV Developer Team

Aaron now heads up a distributed team of more than 20 developers and system admins who live everywhere from the United States to Indonesia, Finland and Iran.

Marko Miljus
Developer Marko Miljus with his deputy Hana.

Our developers have diverse working backgrounds and experience.

American Paul Menard, who works on a huge range of plugins including Chat and Snapshot, developed one of the first online ordering systems back before eCommerce was even called eCommerce.

Serbian Marko Miljus was a lead developer and manager at Themes Kingdom before he joined WPMU DEV to work on an academy we’re developing.

Brazilian Fabio Jun Onishi is one of our newest developers, having worked on software for big companies like Ibope and Delphi in Brazil and Alstom in Greece.

“Communication is the main challenge,” Aaron says of working with a distributed team.

“Part of what helped us in the beginning was the nature of our products. Instead of one big team working on the same application, we have 180 smaller projects that have been mostly assigned individually to our developers.

“We automated processes for support, bug reporting/fixing, and feature requests, so the day-to-day communication was minimal for those. We started using Asana to manage and organize tasks so I could have a view of what’s going on in each plugin/theme.

“The challenge then was to manage consistency with things like code quality, and especially usability when you have devs working on their own unique plugins.”

“More recently as we’ve been growing more and building larger/more complex products we’ve had to manage assigning teams to work on these. We’ve tried a lot of experiments and I think we are finally settling down on what works for us only recently.”

Jumping Through Hoops

New developers are really put through the ringer, or as James says, “Hoops a plenty!”

Development jobs at WPMU DEV usually attract around 300 applications, all of whom are expected to apply with an example of a plugin they’ve built.

Aaron and senior developer Vladislav Bailović assess each application and choose about 30-50 to proceed to the next round where all applicants are asked to build the same plugin.

It’s at this point when many people drop off because the task is too hard or they’re just lazy.

Of about 20-25 people who complete the task, up to 12 (depending on how many developer jobs are available) are asked to complete a paid trial that lasts about four to six weeks.

Aaron and Vladislav score applicants out of 10 and those with the highest scores are offered a job.

“Being a distributed company allows us to hire some of the smartest people in the world at competitive prices, instead of competing against other startups or corporations in Silicon Valley for a limited pool of talent,” Aaron said.

“I’m pretty amazed at the skill level of our current developers, though. I try to only hire developers that are smarter than me, so they always stretch me to learn more.”

Working Without Pants?

After commuting 2.5 hours a day for his previous job and only getting two weeks vacation, Aaron’s only commute now is to his home office and he takes holidays whenever he wants.

Last summer he and his family spent six weeks in Maui and he worked on the beach every other day.

He also spent a week in Guatemala last year on a mission.

Aaron Edwards
CTO Aaron with his wife and kids in Guatamala last year.

“While working for Incsub I’ve been all over the world. Spent a month in India one year, and a month in Thailand with the family the next,” Aaron says.

Other developers also enjoy the freedom of working with a distributed team.

Iranian Sam Naijan says it’s a “great joy and comfort” being able to work from home, though he admits it can be hard sometimes keeping a work/life balance.

“Sometimes I work by the woods in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea,” he says.

Fabio used to commute almost 3.5 hours a day, which he says was stressful and a total waste of time. Since joining WPMU DEV three months ago, he now spends that time surfing and cooking healthy food.

Fabio Jun
Developer Fabio enjoys surfing every morning before work.

Vladislav, who has long dreadlocks, says he would be forced to cut his hair if he was to find another job in his native Serbia.

“Serbia is a conservative place, so I’d definitely had to at the very least cut off the dreadlocks, wear big boy pants and shirts with buttons and/or large brand names prints, proper shoes and act as if that’s not only normal to me, but also delightful and possibly even as if there’s some inherent value to it,” Vladislav says.

“One usually copes with senseless chores by arbitrarily proclaiming inherent values.”

Marko, who has an adorable 17-month-old daughter Hana, says the flexibility to spend time with his family has been really important.

Jeffri Hong, a night owl from Indonesia, enjoys working at WPMU DEV because he has the opportunity to be his “ideal self.”

“We are free to express our creativity on many challenging tasks and make it as good as we can, so we can be proud of our work,” he says.

Say Hello to Our Developers

If you see one of our developers at a WordCamp, go up and say hello – chances are you’ll score a free membership.

Last month Aaron and our product manager Ronnie Burt were at WordCamp Austin. The pair delivered a fantastic presentation on WordPress Multisite dos and don’ts.

In January, Aaron and Joshua Dailey from our video team were at WordCamp Phoenix where they gave out more than 50 memberships and met some of our awesome members.

Aaron Edwards
Aaron Edwards at WordCamp Austin this year.

What’s Next?

From purchasing Pro Sites to completely re-writing the plugin himself, Aaron’s story is somewhat of a fairy tale for developers.

He’s learned much from being part of a true startup from close to the beginning and hopes to learn even more as the company continues to grow.

“It’s been cool building super awesome plugins, services, and websites used by tens of thousands of people. I never would have had that opportunity or exposure in my previous job,” he says.

“I’d like to see us continue to put in place good processes and methods so we can continue to grow, yet still maintain the benefits of a close-knit distributed team.

“Most of all I’m just excited to be a part of all the awesome new products we are launching.”

Of course, he’s talking about all the cool things we’ve got lined up for release this year: our exciting, new theme project, an academy where you you can learn all you need to know to become a developer, new plugins and also big updates to some of our popular products, like MarketPress, Membership and – Aaron’s baby – Pro Sites.

We’re releasing a new post each week to give a little insight into WPMU DEV, who we are, what we’re doing and where we’re taking our members.

Did you miss last week’s post? Check out How an English Lit. Grad. Who Didn’t Know PHP from FTP Bootstrapped a Successful WordPress Company.

See you next week for part thee in our WPMU DEV series.

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WordCamp Austin: WordPress Multisite Do’s and Don’ts http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordcamp-austin-wordpress-multisite-dos-and-donts/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordcamp-austin-wordpress-multisite-dos-and-donts/#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 17:44:18 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128564 Our very own Aaron Edwards and Ronnie Burt are excited and honored to be speaking at WordCamp Austin about WordPress Multisite today!

Here are the slides and references to accompany the presentation:

Links and References


Example Open Multisite Networks

Example Closed Multisite Networks

What’s Different About Multisite?

Multisite Resources

Multisite Plugins

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Easter Eggs in WordPress: What’s There to Get Eggs-Cited About? http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/easter-eggs-in-wordpress-whats-there-to-get-eggs-cited-about/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/easter-eggs-in-wordpress-whats-there-to-get-eggs-cited-about/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=128193 What happened to Easter eggs in WordPress? Have they disappeared forever?

Since The Matrix Has You Easter egg surprised (and freaked out…) users in WordPress 2.6, there hasn’t been a single hidden feature in more than four years. That’s 13 versions of WordPress.

Easter eggs are fun to discover and provide a cheeky outlet for developers who have put a lot of time and work into a program and want to leave something of themselves behind. Easter eggs are silly and don’t often make sense, but mostly it’s fun finding one yourself and sharing it before your friends have stumbled across it.

Easter bunnies
Where are the Easter eggs in WordPress?

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the need for a writing style guide for core. In a recent WP Shout post, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg poo-pooed the idea, saying, “WP has always been opinionated software with a lot of personality. Every year or two people try to neuter it, remove a bit of its soul, and sometimes it gets through.”

That said, isn’t it sad that Easter eggs seem to have disappeared from WordPress? Is the WordPress personality Mullenweg jumped in to defend slowly being – as he put it – “neutered?”

Or are Easter eggs annoying and confusing for users who don’t understand what they are? Do Easter eggs just provide more work for developers who feel the need to remove them to prevent users finding them?

Should there be Easter eggs in future versions of WordPress? Have your say in our poll.

The Tradition of Easter Eggs in Software

Easter eggs – named after the Easter tradition of hiding chocolate eggs for children to find – have been part of software for 35 years.

The story goes that in the early days of software development, the identities of programmers were jealously guarded because software studios didn’t want their staff to gain celebrity status and eclipse the brands they had carefully created.

At the time, Warren Robinett, a programmer for Atari, didn’t exactly appreciate the lack of acknowledgement for his work. After failing to get his name into the manual for the Atari 2600 game Adventure, he snuck his name into the game itself.

The Matrix Has You

This Matrix-inspired Easter egg appeared when a user tried to compare two versions of the same revision in the post editor.

While the Easter egg was intended as a light-hearted bit of fun, there were some site admins who weren’t all that amused and sought out ways to remove it.

The Disable The Matrix Has Your plugin soon appeared.

In response to a Trac ticket seeking to remove the hidden feature, Mullenweg commented, “Gotta have a little soul” and “This ticket is a parody of every default argument people make in WordPress development.”

Lead core developer Andrew Nacin dismissed claims the Easter egg was unprofessional and refused to remove it from core, saying many big companies included easter eggs in their software.

If you haven’t seen the Matrix Easter egg, check out Victor Font’s video.

Adding Your Own Easter Eggs to WordPress

The Konami Easter Egg plugin allows you to add an Easter egg to your site and create a custom password to access the secret.

Only people who know the secret code will see your message. By default, the code is the classic Konami cheat code (up up down down left right left right b a enter) but you can change it to anything you like.

You can also customize the css to change the colors on your hidden page.

Easter Eggs for Developers

Some would argue an Easter egg still exists in WordPress, though it’s really more a developer’s shortcut tool.

If you go to http://example.com/wp-admin/options.php?option_group_id=all (replacing “example” with your site), you’ll be taken to a hidden page in your WordPress backend with lots of extra juicy options.

Should we have Easter eggs in WordPress?

Easter eggs aren’t as popular as they once were. Back in 2009 there were four updated plugins that allowed you to add Easter eggs to your site – Customizable Konami Code, WP Cornify, WP-Konami and Konami Easter Egg. Only Konami Easter Egg has been updated in the past two years.

So what do you think? Should we have Easter eggs in WordPress? Tell us below and don’t forget to vote in the poll.

Image credits: James Nash.

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Automattic Acquires Incsub (and WPMU DEV!) http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/automattic-acquires-incsub/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/automattic-acquires-incsub/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:01:14 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=126867 Big news to share with everyone today, Incsub, the parent company of this site, has been acquired by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com!


I know it may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but to us, and as I was saying to Matt the other day during our weekly Turkish bath, it’s really been on the cards since the start – in fact, as we shared a sweaty handshake on the deal, he commented that the news would, in many ways, come across as ‘the sound of inevitability’.

An artists's impression of the event
An artists’s impression of the event

So, why were Automattic interested in us?

Well, besides us being the premier plugin developers on the web, having the largest read blog in the area and coming out with products that in many ways look like the future of WordPress, in fact this is more of an ‘acquihire’ – here’s how the deal breaks down.

WPMU DEV Blog Team To Take Over Haiku Production

Joe, Rae and Chris were of particular interest to the Automatticians, and will, as of today be moved entirely off writing duties here on the WPMU DEV blog, and into the critical operation of producing Haikus for various Automattic related projects.

Commenting on the move, technical expert Chris D Knowles commented:

Haiku nirvana,
Like the perfect tech wedding,
Needs patience and a beard

You can now get all your WP goodness at WP Pravda Tavern, just like God Matt intended originally.

Support Team To Attack WP.org Forums

The full force of the WPMU DEV Support team is to be thrown directly at the WordPress.org forums.


Upon initial posting, every user will be congratulated and thanked for using the forums in under-an-hour response times, unpaid volunteer plugin and theme developers will now be harassed continually through Asana, Helpscout, Email, IM, Phone and in person until they resolve those bloody tickets.

News that WPMU DEV enforcer Timothy Bowers would be prowling the globe, cattle prod in hand, to ensure proper attention to detail and quality, was greeted with mixed emotions by existing forum volunteers.

Automattic Developers To Join WPMU DEV Team – Switch To Premium Plugins

While WordPress.com has been a successful project, clearly it hasn’t quite reached the heights of premium plugin development, and as a result Mullenweg stated that the new company would be pivoting entirely towards the production and support of premium plugins.

“It’s not quite as sexy as being a top 5 website”, Mullenweg didn’t comment, “but I feel like it’s the future, I mean without reliable, safe, always updated and improved premium plugins, how could WordPress succeed beyond being a simple blogging platform for individuals.”

WordPress.com will be quietly phased out over the next decade as the focus shifts to WPMU DEV.

Farmer To Become Audrey CEO

“Look, there’s nobody I’d trust more, or feel I’d work better with, than James – and that’s why I’d like to entrust my baby to him” Matt failed to mention when asked about probably the most exciting news so far to come out of the deal.

“I really feel that so far the company has just been flailing about, engaging in vanity projects, investing on some sort of power trip just to give me a profile” he absolutely didn’t state. “James will be able to come in, give us focus and direct our activity towards a more worthwhile and practical goal, he’s exactly the man we’ve been looking for to help me stop wasting my millions” we completely made out up afterwards.

When asked how long the transition would take, Farmer’s new deputy, Toni Schneider, suggested that it’d probably be complete ‘within the day’, before bashing off a quick email to the company lawyer.

We’ll keep you updated :)

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35+ Resources to Become a Kick Ass WordPress Developer http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/35-resources-for-kick-ass-wordpress-developers/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/35-resources-for-kick-ass-wordpress-developers/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=126338 There is a low barrier to using and working with WordPress. In fact, anyone with knowledge of PHP or with design skills can start using WordPress immediately and see results.

But if you want to really succeed with WordPress, build a strong business and gain respect, you need to be an over-achiever. Why? Because there are plenty of other WordPress developers out there who are also vying for clients and trying to earn a buck.

Luckily, there is a plethora of information available so you can move beyond the basics of tweaking a site so you can start calling yourself a fully-fledged WordPress pro. It also helps to pay attention to what the actual pros – the WordPress core developers and contributors – are doing.

So if you’re ready to kick some serious ass, read on.

WordPress Codex


It goes without saying that every good developer who wants to be great references the Codex. The Codex is, essentially, the WordPress bible.

If you’ve never used the Codex before, even for the basics, like setting up a Multisite installation or for reading up on detailed information on a function, then you’ve probably been living under a rock or in a dark, dank cave, with only a generator to power your MacBook Pro.

Make WordPress Core


Make WordPress is the official blog of the core development team for WordPress.

The site features regular updates on new features for upcoming version of WordPress. If you want to stay on top of what’s happening in WordPress, this is the place to be.

WordPress TV


If you can’t get along to WordCamps, WordPress TV is the next best thing. WordPress TV features recorded videos from WordCamps held around the world.

It’s easy to search through the site for videos on any topic, plus watching someone give a presentation can be a lot more engaging them simply reading a blog post.

WP Beginner


Let’s start easy. If you think you’re too good to read a beginner site, think again. Syed Balkhi’s site is the largest unofficial WordPress resource on the web and is updated daily with new tutorials and how-tos.

While many of the site’s posts may seem too easy, and even trivial for advanced users, there are often interesting tips and tricks that are helpful for any good developer.

Tuts+ WordPress


If WP Beginner is too easy for you, then Tuts+ is the place for you. Since Tom McFarlin recently took over the editing gig at Tuts+, the site has gone full throttle with advanced topics, such as object-oriented programming in WordPress and using WordPress for web application development.

Tom McFarlin


Speaking of Tom McFarlin, his personal blog is a thoughtful and informative extension of his work at Tuts+. The topics he writes about are heavily geared towards programmers, but these are interspersed with posts on discussions such as The Hate and Vitriol of WordPress and Developer Distractions: The Available Tools.

Smashing Magazine


Smashing Magazine is one of the first web development/design blogs I remember reading. The WordPress articles are posted almost monthly, but the site contains a large back catalog of articles by some recognisable WordPress personalities, such as Siobhan McKeown and Tom McFarlin.

The posts are usually in-depth and well-researched.

WP Mayor


WP Mayor regularly publishes how-tos, just like WP Beginner. The posts are usually a mix of beginner and intermediate level stuff, with a few promotions thrown in for good measure.

ManageWP Blog


ManageWP is another regularly updated WordPress blog featuring, tips and tricks, how-tos and reviews.

The site has a lovely mix of intermediate level articles, as well as information on third-party plugins and themes.



Blogger and web developer Paul Underwood maintains a fantastic collection of tutorials, snippets and other resources on his personal site.

His blog is a great place for intermediate and advanced level, including cool topics like Create A Clock In CSS and how to Programmatically Add Menu Item.

Pippins Plugins


If you haven’t heard of Pippins Plugins, you’ve probably just finished a stint serving time in solitary confinement. Pippin Williamson has coded so many plugins, his products alone could fill the WordPress Plugin Repository and Code Canyon. Well, almost.

Pippin’s blog is a great mix of thoughtful reviews, tutorials on advanced topics and how to use features such as the WordPress heartbeat API.

Konstantin Kovshenin


Konstantin Kovshenin is a developer for Automattic and in his spare time he is… a developer for WordPress core. There isn’t much about WordPress this guy doesn’t know.

He regularly updates his blog with posts on advanced topics like Understanding _n_noop() and more reflective stuff relevant to all plugin developers like Lessons Learned from Building and Supporting a (Fairly) Popular WordPress Theme.

Otto on WordPress


Otto’s blog is where I go when I want to feel completely out of my depth. His blog focuses on advanced WordPress topics like Making a custom control for the Theme Customizer and Theme/Plugin Dependencies.

While his blog is updated sporadically, it’s a great place to go if you want to get stuck into the nitty gritty of code. Otto is also a great proponent of internationalization, and some of his posts look at how to make themes and plugins translation ready.

Mark Jaquith


While Mark Jaquith doesn’t post all that much on his blog, his posts are an interesting take on WordPress development from a core developer. Hopefully we’ll see more posts from Mark soon.

Andrew Nacin


Core developer Andrew Nacin rarely posts on his blog, but when he does he’s got a lot to say. Take his latest post for example, The qualities of a great WordPress contributor, which comes in at a lazy 2869 words. It’s a great read if you’re thinking about contributing to WordPress.



Hongkiat’s WordPress category features a regularly updated stream of how-to and list posts covering everything from how to install WordPress locally and 20 WordPress Shortcodes and Plugins You Might Want To Try.

The site is well worth reading for tips and tricks or theme inspiration.



Much like WP Mayor and ManageWP, WPLift offers a varied collection of tutorials, guides and WordPress round-ups.

WPLift posts a great weekly round-up of new, tutorials and resources published on third-party sites.

Matt Report


Matt Medeiros’s site focuses on the business of WordPress, with a mix of interviews, tips and reflections on working in the WordPress ecosystem.

Matt is also well-known for his Matt Report podcast and in-depth interviews with WordPress personalities.

Chris Lema


Chris Lema’s site completely veers away from the development site of WordPress, instead focusing on the entrepreneurial aspects of using the CMS.

WP Kube


WP Kube is in the same vein as WP Lift and WP Mayor with its mix of list posts and how-tos.

This site is more targeted at intermediate level developers who are looking for curated information on plugins and themes.

WP Explorer


WP Explorer is another how-to site, with interesting content on topics such as creating a WordPress theme and customising the admin user interface.

Carrie Dils


Genesis developer Carrie Dils blogs about all things WordPress, such as How to Run a Successful Affiliate Campaign Without Being a Douche to How To: Add a Logo to a Genesis Theme.

Carrie’s blog is a great mix of development and reflective articles with an emphasis on Genesis.



I would be remiss to dismiss this very site, WPMU DEV Blog! We post daily on everything from the best free themes available to reviews on plugins and WordPress services.

On Saturdays and Sundays we publish Weekend WordPress Projects, an ongoing series of quick projects you can complete in under an hour to improve your WordPress site.

WordPress Development Stack Exchange


Stack Overflow is a fantastic question and answer site for programmers who are stuck and need a hand with frustrating code. The site’s dedicated WordPress area, WordPress Development Stack Exchange allows you to search through questions and tags and post your own question for other developers to answer.



Reddit features two dedicated subreddits – WordPress and ProWordPress. The ProWordPress forum is targeted at advanced users and offers a community for developers to exchange ideas. Brad Williams from WebDevStudios creates ProWordPress, which he moderates along with Travis Northcutt and Michael Beckwith.

ProWordPress isn’t a place for beginners, so much as it is a place for developers to ask questions, seek advice and talk code.

Advanced WordPress


With almost 5000 members, the Advanced WordPress group on Facebook is a popular place for WordPress developers to meet, share ideas and knowledge about advanced features and functionality. This is definitely not the place for beginners.

WP Tavern


WordPress Co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s news site is updated daily with articles on new WordPress plugins, themes, services and events.



Vladimir Prevolac launched his WordPress news curation experiment, ManageWP.org last year. The site encourages WordPress users to share articles in return for up votes and community cred.

The site offers an easy way to stay on top of the latest articles published about WordPress.



You’re not a member of the WordPress community if you’re not subscribed to wpMailme. This weekly newsletters it published weekly and includes a curated round-up of WordPress news and articles, themes news and releases, plugin news and tutorials.

Post Status


Post Status is another dedicated WordPress news site. It featured curated links to announcements and articles, and sometimes posts on community topics.



Web host WP Engine launched its news site, Torque, last year at WordCamp San Francisco to much fanfare. The site publishes a mix of articles on WordPress and non-WordPress topics by contributing writers.



Codeacademy offers free coding classes in languages such as PHP and JavaScript. It’s a great site if you’re learning how to code or just need to brush up on your skills.

Tree House


Like Codeacademy, Treehouse offers online classes. The site has been gradually adding to its collection of courses and in January announced a new beginner’s course in the WordPress track. The site has since added six other WordPress courses, including How to Build a WordPress Theme and Local WordPress Development.



Wprecipes features quick code snippets to help developers make the most of WordPress, such as How to change the title attribute of WordPress login logo and Easily delete WordPress post revisions using your functions.php file.



WPSNIPP is another great code snippet site, featuring 622 snippets and counting. The great thing about this site is the accompanying comments where developers often discuss ways to alter a piece of code or add extra functionality.



WP-Snippets offers a collection of more than 200 snippets designed to make WordPress development easier.



CSS-Tricks provides a comprehensive collection of snippets, tips and tricks to help developers tweak WordPress. The site contains a dedicated WordPress category, as well as sections for PHP, Javascript and CSS.

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Shh! Top Secret Feature in WordPress 3.9 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/secret-feature-wordpress-3-9/ http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/secret-feature-wordpress-3-9/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/?p=125197 WordPress 3.9 lead developer Andrew Nacin has hinted there will be a secret feature in the upcoming release.

Now that features-as-plugins are the norm, core features are usually known about weeks before a new release. They are ever picked apart in great detail during public core development meetings.

But this time, Nacin has a surprise up his sleeve. During the latest #wordpress-dev IRC meeting meeting, Nacin casually mentioned there would be a secret feature, but didn’t elaborate further.

Do you know what the secret feature is? Tell us in the comments below.

What is the secret feature planned for WordPress 3.9?

WordPress 3.9 has been scheduled for release during the week of April 14, with the first beta expected on February 26.

While details of this secret feature are scarce, there has been a lot of talk about other improvements planned for this release:

A New Widgets Interface

Widget Customizer
The Widget Customizer plugin allows you to make edits to widgets and preview changes before hitting Save and Publish.

There are two widget-related feature plugins proposed for WP 3.9 – Widget Customizer and Better Widgets.

Designer/developer Shaun Andrews has previously posted about Better Widgets, while Weston Ruter, who is leading work on the Widget Customizer plugin, has put together his own very detailed proposal this week. Ruter’s proposal at Make WordPress Core includes a great video demo of how the plugin works.

The idea behind Widget Customizer is cool. Each widget gets its own panel in the Customizer (Appearance > Customize) settings and you can edit, move and preview what widgets look like before you hit Save and Publish.

Ruter points out that when making changes to a widget, it could be completely broken and everyone visiting your site would see this because there’s no way to preview changes before saving them. The Widget Customizer Plugin offers a solution.

During this week’s development meeting, Nacin asked the Widgets Customizer team to think more on the widgets UI before a decision is made on whether to incorporate the plugin into core.

TinyMCE Improvements

TinyMCE 4 has been earmarked for inclusion in core. The latest version of TinyMCE will provide an improved UI, an inline editing mode and a more stable core structure to the Post Editor.

The changes will also improve editing and positioning images after they have been added to the Post Editor.

A Better Themes Experience, Part Two

WordPress Themes Experience
An even better themes experiences has been proposed for WordPress 3.9.

THX38, a reimagining of the theme installation experience, was incorporated into WP 3.8, offering up a more slick UI for theme installation.

WP 3.9 is expected to take that experience a step further with support for multiple screenshots when previewing themes. It’s not clear yet what other improvements could be included in this upgrade.

Upgrades to How Media Are Handled

In the next version of WordPress, the image editor could be moved into the media manager. Other planned improved include enabling users to drop an image or other media directly onto the post screen without having to click the Add Media button.

Greater Audio/Video Support

Scott Taylor, a musician and software engineer at the New York Times, is leading work on proposed audio/video features in WP 3.9 he has code named “Disco Fries”.

There are a bunch of ideas he was to see realized: new icons, better documentation of the “new” media code introduced in WP 3.5, subtitles for video, the ability to generate metadata for audio/video files on demand, and audio and video playlist shortcodes.

Other Improvements

UX designers Jen Mylo and Mel Choyce will be auditing the admin settings in WP.

Improvements to Multisite are also in the words, though it’s not clear exactly what that will involve.

Javascript and CSS improvements have been proposed, such as breaking wp-admin.css into modules, merging color.css into other CSS files, introducing Grunt tools for patches and inline JavaScript documentation using JSDoc.

Nacin has also started working on a taxonomy roadmap for meta and post relationships, which he expects will evolve over five or more releases of WordPress.

What do you think of the features planned for WordPress 3.9? Do you know what the secret feature is? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credit: Katie Tegtmeyer.

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