KMD Enterprises Scales Massive Networks With Help From WPMU DEV
We’ve found the secret to building a WordPress empire! There’s a *lot* that goes into building successful WordPress products, brands, blogs and agencies, but developing tools for millions of people requires something special.
Are you ready for this?! The big win for us has been listening to our members and developing tools for real-life application. Eons ago, WPMU DEV found its success in simply releasing the products we were using on our own networks, like Edublogs.
This is still our magic. But now, because of our members – forum discussions, comments, surveys, live chats and one-on-one conversations – we’re able to focus on solving real problems and making it easier to manage and grow your WordPress business.
Recently, I had the privilege of hearing how entrepreneur and full-stack cloud developer, Kenn Kitchen, is leveraging WPMU DEV to buildout KMD enterprises and podz.io – a niche enterprise hosting platform focused on Multisite hosting. (A man that deserves a run on sentence introduction.)
So without further ado…
Joshua: Hello Kenn, thanks for joining us. Tell us a little bit about your business.
Kenn: Glad to participate! I’m the founder of KMD Enterprises. We’re based in Chattanooga, TN, aka “Gig City“. We handle every aspect of our clients’ web projects, from concept to deployment to ongoing support. We also recently launched podz.io which provides high-end managed cloud hosting geared specifically to WordPress Multisite websites.
While we’re getting things set up I still maintain a “day job”. I lead a development team for an enterprise of around 2,500 employees.
Joshua: Sounds like you’re a busy guy! So how did you get started using WordPress?
Kenn: Around 2007 I played with it a bit. I wasn’t overly impressed at first, but when I decided to start my first serious blog, the choice of themes drew me in. I’m not sure when I found Multisite, but that really got me in the WordPress court.
There are so many powerful ways to use WP Multisite; we’ve set it up as a corporate intranet (the aforementioned “day job”). We also use it as a central place to house and manage client sites.
Joshua: I love to hear more about the services you are providing.
Kenn: In recent years, as I got more into developing WordPress sites, I decided to do my own hosting. I have a full-stack background so it seemed natural, but also, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on good hosting – or settle for average. I’ve worked with most of the major cloud hosting vendors and with technologies such as Docker, and there came a point when I was spending more time on hosting websites than building them.
I started to put together a team of really sharp, experienced people and we built-out a way to provide highly-available, scalable WordPress hosting that accomplishes a lot of things with automation. What we’ve ended up with is a hosting service that is more cost-effective than similar high-end hosting models.
We wanted a niche market and we’re all experienced with WordPress Multisite. We decided to focus on providing a hosting platform that is geared specifically for WordPress Multisite networks. We can’t say that we’re the only ones doing this, but we feel that our ground-up build out with MariaDB clusters, Docker Swarm, and reverse-proxies, along with things that you expect from a host – load-balancing, five-nines, custom domains, HTTPS always – puts us near the head of the pack in terms of our quality of service. Add in the fact that we’ve built a team that’s done enterprise-level work with WordPress Multisite, and we like to think we’re in a good spot to help strengthen the WP Multisite community.
We’re still in closed beta with the service; our current clients are folks for whom we’ve created websites. We are planning to open it up soon where folks can just sign up via our website, podz.io.
Joshua: It takes a ton of work to support networks that are scaling quickly but it sounds like you guys have built out a really nice setup for easily growing a Multisite network.
So tell me how did you find WPMU DEV and how long have you been a member?
Kenn: Being a Multisite aficionado, WPMU DEV articles have turned up in quite a few of my web searches :). As a bootstrapped startup, money is definitely an object, but I decided to try the WPMU DEV free trial earlier this year. So, I’ve been a member for about six months.
Joshua: That’s excellent. What WPMU DEV features do you find most valuable with your client sites?
Kenn: I have a routine… install, activate, and configure Defender. Install, activate, and configure Hummingbird. Then Smush, Snapshot, and Ultimate Branding. Right off, I’ve got a lot of the major bases covered. It’s a huge time-saver, and it’s a great bonus for clients to start their sites out with premium security and caching.
Depending on the site’s specifics, there may be other needs that we can meet with any number of WPMU DEV’s other plugins: Appointments+, Events+, Google Maps, Hustle… and Google Analytics, always, of course. Knowing what’s available in the WPMU DEV suite gives us go-to plugins that we can just grab and use. It’s a head-start for a lot of projects.
Joshua: Are you using the Hub to help monitor and scale your services?
Kenn: It was an initial concern for me, how we could keep tabs on multiple sites at a glance. There are of course a few services out there, some of which I’ve tried, but when I saw the WPMU DEV Hub I was instantly struck by how well-organized it is and how much information it provides.
I love being about to update plugins and themes from the Hub and seeing the security and performance data… it just saves a ton of time being able to see this kind of information for all our sites in one place. And the UX/UI is great.
Joshua: Has anyone specific WPMU DEV service really impressed you?
Kenn: I’ve had one issue that I needed to report as a support request; it was on a Sunday evening when I reported it. My issue was resolved within a couple of hours; the rep sent me a .zip with a beta code change. It was great service, especially for a weekend… that really stood out.
Joshua: Our support guys are going to eat this up…this kind of feedback is life for them :). How about a product.
Kenn: The gestalt of WPMU DEV. Seriously, you guys have great UX on top of a great line of products. It adds so much convenience to the setup and maintenance of WordPress websites. I really wouldn’t know what to do anymore if I didn’t have that little “WPMU DEV Dashboard” link in my menus.
Joshua: Brilliant. Hearing how our members use our products and services really helps us shape future development. Plus, it is always special to see our hard work on display in the wild. Thank again for your support and feedback!