You become my new hosting company and that worries me. But more importantly, these 3 selling points "Support for Contact Forms 7", "Instant search out of the box", "Keep using plugins". I now have to vet plugins myself and guess if they are going to break in your system. It also makes me think about what I can or can't do when building themes myself which I usually don't have to do. The part about you injecting code into the site to add your own instant search is also worrying.
My main takeaway would be that your service is appropriate for novice users and maybe I'm not the target audience. But novice users might not know what static websites are or the differences between them and non-static sites and so I would market the service differently. Instead of focusing on technical features I would just sell it as a hosted Wordpress service with extra bells and whistles that make your sites faster than a normal host. The focus being fast, secure, ease of use, low maintenance etc and renegating the technical aspects about it being headless, generating static pages, WP running on a separate domain and so on to just a technical explanation page for users that are interested.
I hope I haven't dissuaded you, Good luck!
Actually yes, we are a new hosting company, but the live site is hosted an a AWS-S3 bucket with a CDN in front of it, so, even if you don't trust us, I could feel quite safe with it.
In my personal experience, I used to have a web agency with dozens of WordPress installation to keep alive, mostly of them where simple “brochure” sites. I used auto-update mechanisms and caching layers provided by the hosting service, but it happened more than once to have security/performance/technical problems and headaches.
Only after I put the static copy of these sites online I started sleeping well at night. There was no way that things could go wrong.
Of course it is easier if you build them with the "static solution" in mind. Anyway you will find a compatibility list of the plugin you are using on the site dashboard once your site is on HardyPress.
I don't bother anymore. I think your biggest competition today isn't self-hosted Wordpress sites, it's Wordpress.com, WP Engine, Pantheon, GoDaddy Managed Wordpress, etc.
I don't want to seem negative, but I'm having a hard time seeing why I would prefer your system to those. From my perspective the static site generation + services adds complexity, it doesn't remove it. And I'd still have to maintain the Wordpress instance since it provides the backend.
If Wordpress is the backend, then a static copy, to me, just seems like one particular implementation of a caching strategy. I would not expect S3 to serve HTML pages any faster than Varnish, for instance.
1) There is no WordPress backend to maintain as it doesn't exists unless you turn it on in a temporary/hidden/virtual environment to make your changes. For the rest of the time it simply doesn't exists. No PHP, no MySql, nothing that can break. You don't even need to keep your installation updated if you don't want to.
2) The pages are not served from an S3 bucket but from a CDN with 20 edge server around the world. The bucket is only a "source of true" where the CDN loads the files when the "cache" is invalidated. This reduce the TTFB (Time to first byte) up to 10x from any location respect a traditional hosting service.
1) you still need to have and maintain secure the WordPress Installation somewhere. With HardyPress WP can be paused and restored when needed with a click.
2) you have to download the static version and upload it somewhere else manually (your client certainly can't do it on their own). HardyPress does it with a click.
3) contact forms and search will stop working. With HardyPress, if you use CF7, everything will work seemlessy.
To solve the problems above HaryPress needs to hosts your WP installation.
How could this be achieve without hosting files and DB?
I found the HardyPress approach a godsend. Finally a really fast hosting without the caching overhead.
And with Wordpress moving to the Gutenberg editor ie. enabling component based design and development this new combo will be a game changer.
For most of us the Wordpress backend is good enough. If the design / dev process and hosting is brought to the latest standards then we will have a modern framework which already runs 30% of websites today.
I'm learning how to then put the static site on a CDN. Are there tools for that, or I would be using just FTP. Thanks.
The only thing I found is you can't have any orphaned pages (like hidden ones) from the homepage. As it scrapes down if there aren't any links to it it won't find it. Small problem, definitely cuts down on the work I need to do for my personal tool site though.
One of my scariest memories of getting hacked (back when I was a total greenhorn and cloud computing was rare) was hosting Wordpress blog on the same server as our main site. It got hacked bad. We had viagra links in all our files and it was a total nightmare to cleanup. Upon research I found out that there is an entire market of people trying to find WP hacks and sell it online. God knows how big it must be now.
Anyway, thankfully now you can just host your WP blog on an EC2/DO instance and eliminate all risks. But always keep your WP database and instance separate is what I learned from that.
Also, you may want to alleviate some people's concerns about using plugins. The first thing that comes to my mind, would all my existing plugins still work. You'd probably have to try it out and do a test.
This sounds like a nice compromise for those that want a GUI to make content changes but also want the security and performance advantages of a static site.
Just posted to PH as well - https://www.producthunt.com/posts/hardypress
We were thinking of postponing the launch on PH when the new version of the site is ready, but that's okay :-)
You don't need to transfer the domain to us (we are not registrar), you just need to set a CNAME when your site on HardyPress is production ready
Moreover the support is just perfect. I needed a Multisite feature and they've added it in no time.
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This is after two first minutes, so I guess there are still things to work on. In any case, for more advanced users your product is a great no-no, since the main advantage of WP is that it's FOSS - who would want to become your hostage? I see a lot of potential for an open source solution, the idea is really good.
Maybe, maybe not anymore. Now the main advantage of WP is that it's ubiquitous/low barrier to entry and has (too) many plugins/themes/etc available.
Incidentally, that's also WP's main disadvantage because those things greatly increase it's attach surface.
Come on, this clearly isn't yet-another-static-site generator for hackers but a commercial product for people who still use Wordpress, but not so foolish/desperate/cheap that they don't realise the security implications.
This product looks like it'll do ops and stuff for you, so there may still be value if it just works.
The market will make sure that those ideas which are valuable solutions to problems people have will survive (if priced correctly). This means that problem solvers are compensated for their work so they can keep iterating. I don't really understand what your objection could be!