This is How WPMU DEV Makes Life Easier for WordPress Developers

Let’s face it. WordPress development is not for the faint of heart. Wages aren’t as strong as they are for other types of developers, competition is fierce, and you’re expected to work miracles in minutes — after all, it’s just a simple WordPress website, right?

One way to address this conundrum is to simplify your development process by pre-making routine development decisions.

Here’s what I mean: while every WordPress website you build is unique, they all have certain things in common — core factors, you might say. One way to simplify your life as a WordPress developer is to develop a system that knocks out the core needs of every WordPress website the exact same way, every single time, in one fell swoop.

That way, you can focus on the things that make each site unique rather than spending time redefining the wheel.

And we’ve got exactly what you need at WPMU DEV.

Keep It Simple, Stupid: Simplifying WordPress Development

If you’re going to simplify, you have to target the issues that come up again and again on every single site. We’ve identified five such targets — core factors — that come into play every single time, whether you’re building a site for yourself or for a client.

These five core factors apply to every single site you touch and will play a large part in determining the long-term success of every WordPress-powered project. They include performance, monitoring, security, backups, and SEO.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered each of these core needs in-depth. We’ve shown you:

If all five core factors will need to be addressed every time you build a WordPress website, then it only makes sense to systematize your approach to addressing them. That way, you can set up a solid foundation for every WordPress website on autopilot and then build out the custom aspects of each project.

The Alternative to Simplification

Do you like dealing with different licensing for a half-dozen (or more) premium plugins and services? How about keeping track of the number of sites each different plugin is licensed for and which sites each plugin is activated on?

If you’re breaking out in hives thinking about trying to track all of this confusion, then you’re doing a good job of envisioning the alternative to simplification.

Rather than deal with that stress, make your life easier by implementing a single system that knocks out all five core needs in a way that is:

  • Duplicatable: use the same system on an unlimited number of sites without worrying about licensing.
  • Centralized: forget licensing each plugin for each site. License the entire system at once and call it a day.
  • Affordable: don’t worry about the cost of rolling out the system on one — or a dozen — new site(s).

WPMU DEV vs Jetpack Premium vs iThemes

The good news is that there are a few different premium WordPress companies that offer a lot of the different pieces you need to put this puzzle together.

With this in mind, over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at how WPMU DEV compares to two leading competitors: Jetpack Premium and iThemes.

In this post, I want to take everything we’ve covered over the past few weeks and summarize it by looking at two things:

  1. The cost of using one of these services to power one site, five sites, 10 sites, and 100 sites.
  2. The extra pieces you would need to put together to fully address all five core factors with each of these three options.

To make things easy to compare, I’ve combined all of the data from our previous posts in this series into a single table so you can see how it all works out: us versus the competition.

Comparison chart

So, yeah. If you’re only going to use the bare minimum services required to address the five core factors and you’re only going to manage a single site, then we aren’t your best option.

However, if you do manage multiple websites — either your own or on behalf of your clients — then our pricing is downright the best out there with as few as five active installations.

And that doesn’t take into account all the other goodness you get from WPMU DEV:

Really, if you think about it, each of those extra features is worth the cost of joining WPMU DEV. So you could say that you get the five core factors addressed for free when you sign up for access to our support team, The Academy, Upfront, our plugins and API services, and the WPMU DEV community.

Everything You Need for WordPress and More

Sometimes we have a hard time encapsulating what it is that a WPMU DEV membership entails. Some say we’re a premium plugins company. Others say that we offer a great drag-and-drop theme framework. Still, others join us for access to WordPress education and a vibrant WordPress community.

Yes, we do all of those things — and more!

Our goal is to give you everything you need to build a growing and thriving WordPress empire, whether your empire consists of a single website, a humming multisite network, or a hundred client sites flung out across the web.

We’ve worked hard to provide the best value in the WordPress ecosystem. We believe that we’ve already accomplished that much, and we’re hellbent on making your WPMU DEV membership even more valuable with every new product, service, and update we release.

Jon Penland
If you've thought about joining WPMU DEV and haven't yet, what's holding you back? Let us know in the comments section below!

29 Responses

  • The Exporter

    Haha Jon, just in time, just this morning I was writing in a comment about what you just wrote here. Yes WPMUDEV is expensive at first sight but long term it is simply the best option you will get and it will be the cheapest option you will get! If you use the WPMUDEV support wisely you will have actually an additional virtual time and can make literally 24/7 development all days a week. We do a lot on weekends as all in our family work in tourist industries and have days off during the week. And even then you can get great support by WPMUDEV! – What about the time between Christmas and happy New Year (in western world)? – IN our experience here in Thailand it is one of the most busiest tie for us too. – but not with christmas stuff!

      • The Exporter

        Well for us those are very normal working days here. 24-31 (evening we take off and on 1st we sleep longer as also our customers are sleeping uuffff! But 2nd all starts again as usual. We actual have a clear schedule during that time and agencies need to start booking in advance more or less now to get a slot during that period. Our dev’s like it of course ;-)

        Many European and US Agencies actually close down between Christmas an 6 January so they are quite willing to outsource stuff during that period to keep their timeframes. It is pretty similar with weekends as we work usually during a weekend and our dev’s take day off during the week or when there is no or not so much work for them – quite flexible actually adjusting to the projects/customer needs.

    • Author

      You’re not wrong! :)

      The storage issue is one I thought about quite a bit. I did end up adding a few dollars to the iThemes figures to bump their storage up to match what is included with WPMU DEV (by default they give you 1 GB). But still, iThemes and WPMU DEV aren’t apples-to-apples with Jetpack / Vaultpress when it comes to storage space because Jetpack / Vaultpress prices it so differently. In addition, it all just depends on how media-heavy your site is, how often you back it up, how many backups you keep on hand, etc, etc.

      My goal was to try and be as fair as possible when comparing the three companies — and I think I accomplished that. However, you’re right, users with lots of sites will end having to think about coming up with more space for backups.

  • Flash Drive

    I have been using your services for a number of months now and, being a dirt poor non-profit, I cannot thank you enough for all the help and kindness you have shown toward my project. Your support has not been a pat on the back and we love what you are doing, but your support has helped us down where the rubber meets the road; in helping us to get a website up and running and keeping it running. I cannot thank you enough for your products and your more than reasonable rates.

    All of the people in web enterprises are not in it for the money and we so do appreciate WPMU DEV.
    Lawrence Blair
    Christians in the World
    ChristiansintheWorld.com

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    Hmmm, not entirely accurate. Hummingbird, isn’t exactly a caching plugin so I would still want to use WP-Rocket. Personally, iThemes Security Pro is the current market leader and the rapidly enhancing sync, with stash is awesome. But their themes have fallen behind. Them again themify is, IMHO, better than upfront.

    Then when it comes to adding e-commerce, Woo is way better than market place or exchange…..

    So for me, themify, ithemes plugins, WP-Rocket, Cloudflare (free unless online shop) Woocommerce

    Yet I’m still a member here……

    • Author

      Howdy TrueHammer,

      Glad to have you aboard!

      I have a few explanatory thoughts…mostly for others who read through the comments. (Some folks do that, yes?)

      You’re right. Hummingbird is not a page caching plugin. We talked about that a bit in the post in this series about performance. The cliff notes version is that caching is best handled at the server and not with a WP plugin. So our recommendation is to go with managed WP hosting — virtually all of which build-in caching at the server level and won’t allow the use of third-party caching plugins. If managed WP hosting is a no-can-do recommendation for you, then you’re absolutely right. You’ll probably want to use a page caching plugin.

      iThemes Security Pro is a great product, no doubt! I wouldn’t even disagree with your assessment that it has the edge on Defender in terms of the raw number of features — I even said as much in a previous post. Having said that, we think Defender is pretty great too and we’re rapidly closing the gap. Our development roadmap for Defender is ambitious.

      Yep, WooCommerce is great, and with the way WooCommerce dominates the ecommerce world, we haven’t ignored it. That’s why Upfront Builder is now compatible with WooCommerce.

      Lastly, I must admit. I’ve never used Themify. So no snarky comments from me on that one. ;)

      Thanks for your input and thanks for being a member!

      • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

        Jon, understood, however your cost comparison for iThemes included WP Rocket, so I was merely trying to level the bar…. For Info Themify do have a free “lite” version for you to try.

        As for the e-commerce piece, there are two keys for me:

        1. Stripe
        2. Extensibility (with Stripe Checkout). So for at least 2 years I and many others have been calling for Fundraising to integrate with stripe and the crowdfunding element to all rewards of variable products and stripe future payments (not jusy 7 day pre-auth). Unfortunately nothing has come from WPMUDEV on the subject, despite many reminders – and where the official plugin is too expensive there are many low cost ones that work a treat on various market places

        • The Exporter

          Hi Truehammer

          We can’t compare apples with pears, this is why Upfront as some kind of unique position! You need to have an upfront theme to work with it. All of those commercial Themebuilders are trying to implement the same and try to bind their customers to their themes. This is why Elementor i.e. stands out. It is 100% free – real GNU GPL and it has good support, is wysiwyg, easy to handle and it can be used with any standard WordPress themes.

          This means it is not trying to restrict customers or do some kind of vendor lock in like others – even upfront.

          Talking about woocommerce – yes it is the number 1 solution in wordpress but it is already much to much buggy and unstandardized and makes actually the existing WordPress Programming style chaos bigger then it is already, due to missing conventions.

          WPMUDEV could catch up exactly there with their great MarketPress Plugin. Yes it lacks many things which woocommerce has already, but it is really a out of the box solution and it could be much much more if:

          1. the complete plugin would get standardized with standard folder names, filenames and folder file structure which gets reflected hopefully then also in all other WPMUDEV plugins.
          A clear structure would make it much easier for others to contribute and of course to read the code!
          2. of course they could only contribute if also a developing surrounding would exist. I mentioned it already in another thread that a git account where WPMUDEV users/devs could contribute is simply necessary for modern development. This would bring not only much more discussion about the code, more testing and more ideas to be implemented and discussed with it. It also would speed up implementations – i.e. of stripe and many things you have already in woo commerce.
          3. Biggest Problem I see currently still existing in WPMUDEV is the fact that their plugins and themes are not compatible and working with each other. Even the new campuspress is using DIVI Builder and not Upfront! Woocommerce got integrated first instead of MarketPress – all those are clear signs that the existing WPMUDEV plugins need to get complete reworked and might be even be out of date. Also this problem could very easily be solved with a complete community approach as it has been mentioned many ties already in several threads that WPMUDEV users/devs actually would like to be a much more vital part and contributing part of plugins and themes too, but until now they have to choose a non standard approach in doing that. Writing – waiting (often very long as some write) – commenting – waiting – …. until they leave WPMUDEV for other groups which is sad. Bringing them from a demanding part to an active role would help WPMUDEV and this again would help all others in WPMUDEV too and they would stay!
          Fundraising would be needed in only a very few cases I think as problems / feature requests etc would get addressed and solved already before funds would role in. All this money thinking is actually the biggest blocking factor! GNU GPL and Developing Open Source Software i a FLOSS way is fast, is reliable, is affordable and it is much more stable then any other “money based” approach, as it would be 100% transparent from start for everybody!

          Getting things done – yes – simply keep all discussions about money, earnings, benefits etc out of the way and start doing it! Provide those who want to contribute the necessary tools, dev and testing surroundings which are actually FREE – i.e. Gitlab. and form the WPMUDEV – dev – community. This would help and it would bring even more devs to WPMUDEV as soon as WPMUDEV would take also over the role as the standardization organization of WordPress and ALL (without exception) Modules and Themes would follow that standard and external Themes and Modules would only get accepted if they would be 100% conform to those standards.

          Clear coding structures and standardizations are again a major cost factor for companies who would like to use WordPress as it would save a lot of money for those maintaining them – Time is money – an argument all those companies understand very well!

          If you then would do a cost comparison to all those others you would soon see that the costs of maintaining a WPMUDEV or an Themify or whatever site would make a huge difference too.

  • Flash Drive

    After a couple of years of using a well known theme from ThemForest, I wanted the benefits of a GNU licence and theme framework and as such, signed up to WPMU 12 months ago.
    Since then I have tried several of the themes and plug-ins and can honestly say that the only piece of software I’ve found of any use is the pop-in plug-in.

    The themes are way too clunky, plug-ins buggy, some are not even compatible with in-house WPMU themes and the support is nowhere near as good as claimed.

    I looked elsewhere and now use Genesis by Studiopress as the basis for all themes, Beaver Builder free version and Beaver Builder Ultimate Add-on for added design tools, plus good old fashioned hand coding for anything else (after spending a good few hours on CodeAcademy)

    It’s been a steep learning curve, which is still ongoing, but I am really happy with the results. Beautiful designs that load in a flash, well written-code and none of that Hype or Super Hero Powers that come with WPMU.

    No, this is not a rant, nor is it a plug for another brand. It’s just my opinion and an honest review. I expect and understand there will be others who will stand up for WPMU. That’s fine we all have different needs and opinions and that is what makes the world go round.
    Au revoir and the best to you all.

    • Author

      Howdy Funky,

      Brace yourself.

      Just kidding. Hey, if everyone loved us with undying devotion the rest of the WP ecosystem would go out of business, and we can’t have that! The devs, designers, writers, support engineers, and marketers that work for other WordPress product companies have to make a living!

      Thanks for trying us out and thanks for your input. :)

      • Flash Drive

        A touch arrogant don’t you think Jon?

        If everyone loved WPMU with undying devotion, it would be because you deserved it – and if that was the case and you were able to put others out of business, I’m sure you would absolutely relish it.

        However, as I see it, WPMU is the only company that pushes for customers and you only have to read a few forums to read many stories from disgruntled customers.
        The Genesis Framework on the other hand is accepted as the industry standard, an accolade I’m sure your outfit would love to get their hands on.
        They also don’t offer ridiculous discounts like you guys and since we’re talking facts, I purchased a full year subscription for around £80 last year and I believe even that is over priced.

        So you can babble on with your Hype as much as you like – but do take note that not everyone is buying it..

        It only cost around £80 or so to try you out for a year. If you could offer a refund, I would be very grateful

          • The Exporter

            This article is pretty interesting, thanks for sharing. I would say that most of ThemeForest stuff belongs to the Copy Cat category too. It is the biggest of this species. And for sure most of all custom sites you and we build belong to it too, as it is the idea behind GNU GPL that people are able, entitled and also get motivated to copy and share code – modified, improved, rewritten, newly created etc. whatever it is.

            WordPress has actually a huge problem – a doctor would say WordPress is sick! – yes as many people now think they have to make lots of money out of that GNU GPL stuff by copying stuff, renaming stuff and packing it to new packages but actually not bringing any new benefits for the community. Envato is meanwhile the biggest place where such code gets shared and beside that you find hundreds of legal so called “nulled” sites which provide exactly the same templates without any charge. Sometimes you get them delivered with some unwanted additions – well, but if you are an agency or developer their should actually be absolute no problem to identify those problems and reducing them. In other words You can fight that “money” bacillus easily. iThemes, Themify and how all of them are called are indeed no way better but the difference in all of them is the support.

            All of them actually lie to their customers! In GNU GPL there is no restriction at all on how many sites you are using a theme. The AVADA Theme is one of the species which integrates a “registration” token – really funny – as it would be advised to simply remove it. It does not bring any benefits at all! Also the Envato API key is not at all needed. It is nothing else then a phone home api so Envato, or Avada can check who is using their stuff and that they can target them again and again with new invalid stories about GNU GPL.

            One reason so many people are actually using Studio-press templates is that they all base on a standardized base theme AND that you can get all of them for free like free beer. Beside their themes don’t use the visual composer which is a huge performance killer on most of Envato Themes. For sure also one reason why Avada now comes in its newest version 5 with the Fusion builder – which is actually nothing else then again another copy cat summary – but a very good one.

            I wished WPMUDEV would still work the copy cat way and start standardizing existing plugins ie. woocommerce which is a complete chaos in code, and build their own woomudev stuff on it instead.

            Until now I am happy with WPMUDEV and its support but for their plugins I would have enough other resources. The biggest lack we are actually having as an agency which has developers spread over the whole world is that we all need to collaborate on projects, themes and plugins. All those named incl. Envato as the biggest provider of not on git available GNU GPL code are actually not at all suitable for us. Our customers like to have a look to the templates. When WPMUDEV had still their old templates on many mentioned them but since Upfront no one mentions one of their Themes as they lack on compatibility with their own plugins, the customers like to use. For us this means we constantly have to look for alternatives and of course we share and collaborate via git repositories with all that code! It is by far the best way to have 100% transparency about what the code is doing before we choose and integrate it. Also all Envato GNU GPL code as well of all those others are available and we collect ideas, copy and modify, remix, create new, get inspiration and so much more by reusing what is already available without reinventing the wheels.

            We even encourage our customers to copy and modify stuff if they like after they visited one of our courses. This said means our customers don’t come to us because of a specific plugin, as they know they can have integrated about 95% of all available WordPress plugins in the internet without any plugin costs. We charge only for the time we need to get things done which means for our service. The same WMUDEV is doing. Compared on what I charge this is about 4-5 hours a month we would have a developer of them looking into our sites and helping us to get things done.

            We use the support of WPMUDEV as an additional and very valuable resource. As they have now done the woocommerce integration to Upfront of course we hope that they now also include the full set of woocommerce support like they give it also for their own plugins. You won’t find that anywhere else.

            This said the article you posted is nice but it verifies that WPMUDEV people know what they are doing and they focus on SERVICE and SUPPORT instead of GNU GPL stuff. They know from their own backgrounds that everything is GNU GPL in WordPress. With WPMUDEV’s we are FREE like in Freedom with their Support and enjoy the FREE like with Free Beer it comes with their and all other WordPress Plugins.

            Kind regards and happy copying and sharing

            Andi

        • The Exporter

          Hi Funky

          Why do you invest 80 Pounds and even complain about the price when you can download and share this piece of work also for free with anybody you like as long as you keep the licenses like is! So if you want to try something made for WordPress it is usually not bound to any price. actually be careful if there is a price for that piece. Thanks to GNU GPL v.2 and v.3 licenses. Much more important is actually if there is support and I can’t at all complain about the support given by WPMUDEV. But I agree with you that the WPMUDEV plugins would need a major overhaul to match again the market, but still many of their features are unmatched.

          If now WPMUDEV include full support for i.e. Woo Commerce then it is fine, not sure if this is the case. But still I would say it would be much better to get market press up and running again as a state of the art eCommerce application which will communicate well with all other major WPMUDEV plugins and especially also the Upfront Themes.

          The Genesis Framework was the first Framework but meanwhile better ones came up too and many of them copied and modified and implemented improvements which weren’t implemented until now in Genesis. Times are changing and so did also the way web development takes place changed.

          Have a look to major web-applications like Twitter, Facebook, google plus and co. They are the most used and most visited pages at all and what design do they use? I would say – NO design at all – but they simplified the way how content can be entered from the front-end, how small changes can be made from the front-end – in short – no need anymore to have people accessing the backends with all its boated stuff.

          Upfront is like Elementor going the right way and yes you can use Elementor with you Genesis Theme and you can’t use Upfront with it. But simply try to get the kind of 24/7 support all year long even on weekends and holidays with you Genesis stuff and plugins you have integrated into your sites which do not belong to them. I think then you will realize also the difference between the WPMUDEV support and the one provided by others.

          Thanks for your input as you mentioned some good and valuable points which needs improvement sure!

          Kind regards
          Andi

          What actually do you mean with “ridiculous” discounts?

          • Flash Drive

            Why do you invest 80 Pounds and even complain about the price when you can download and share this piece of work also for free with anybody you like as long as you keep the licenses like is!
            (A) Because I feel my £80 is a total waste and I wouldn’t wish to share or burden anyone with it.

            Much more important is actually if there is support and I can’t at all complain about the support given by WPMUDEV. But I agree with you that the WPMUDEV plugins would need a major overhaul to match again the market, but still many of their features are unmatched.
            (A) I’m not saying it is total garbage, (just mostly) and there may be useful elements to others. The fact that most serious developers wouldn’t touch WPMU and get by easily without it says it all really – no need to discuss opinions on this one

            If now WPMUDEV include full support for i.e. Woo Commerce then it is fine, not sure if this is the case. But still I would say it would be much better to get market press up and running again as a state of the art eCommerce application which will communicate well with all other major WPMUDEV plugins and especially also the Upfront Themes.

            The Genesis Framework was the first Framework but meanwhile better ones came up too and many of them copied and modified and implemented improvements which weren’t implemented until now in Genesis. Times are changing and so did also the way web development takes place changed.

            (A) Maybe so, but I took a good look round and I couldn’t find anything better than Studiopress. Maybe Thrive themes are a good competitor, but I don’t like their pricing model.

            Have a look to major web-applications like Twitter, Facebook, google plus and co. They are the most used and most visited pages at all and what design do they use? I would say – NO design at all – but they simplified the way how content can be entered from the front-end, how small changes can be made from the front-end – in short – no need anymore to have people accessing the backends with all its boated stuff.

            (A) I agree with you and anyone making sites for a living would be better off spending time learning some code (rather than their money) in order to be permanently rid of all of the page builder firms.

            Upfront is like Elementor going the right way and yes you can use Elementor with you Genesis Theme and you can’t use Upfront with it. But simply try to get the kind of 24/7 support all year long even on weekends and holidays with you Genesis stuff and plugins you have integrated into your sites which do not belong to them. I think then you will realize also the difference between the WPMUDEV support and the one provided by others.

            (A) Don’t talk to me about WPMU support. It is way too slow and on a level that isn’t any help at all, even after dozens of to and fro messages. You just have to scour the internet to find many stories of disappointment. On the contrary, I’ve had no problem (so far) using Genesis and can’t really compare the support, since I haven’t used it. The forum is full of helpers though and there is a good section of technical knowledge to search from.
            OH and NO hype anywhere !

            Thanks for your input as you mentioned some good and valuable points which needs improvement sure!

            Kind regards
            Andi

            Thanks for listening Andi and for adding to the conversation :)

            What actually do you mean with “ridiculous” discounts?

          • Flash Drive

            Sorry Andi, I didn’t see this until after I posted

            “What actually do you mean with “ridiculous” discounts?”

            I am referring to the £80 I paid for 12 months subscription, compared to the usual £588 annual price. Do you not agree this is a ridiculous discount to offer?
            It suggests to me that the software isn’t worth £588 and the true value is £80?

            After all, Ferrari wouldn’t sell you a $400k car for $69k now would they? (This year’s losing F1 model might be an exception)

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