The Manage WP Interview: Vladimir Prelovac

You’ve probably been hiding under a rock somewhere if you haven’t heard about Manage WP. It’s a service set up by Vladimir Prelovac which you can use to manage your WordPress websites. If you’re like me you’ve got loads of WordPress websites that you’ve got to look after. Sometimes they’re scattered around different servers belonging to different clients, and it’s hard to both keep track of and manage them. Manage WP makes it easy – a really useful service that saves you time (and time is money!) But Vladimir can tell you much better me so here’s what he’s got to say about Manage WP.

Tell our readers what Manage WP is in less than 50 words.

ManageWP is a powerful all-in-one management dashboard for multiple WordPress sites. It gives users ultimate control over their websites from one location, with one-click updates, scheduled backups, user management features, site cloning capabilities, and many other spectacular features.

Manage all your sites

What problems does Manage WP solve for WordPress users?

ManageWP was designed to solve an array of problems that all WordPress users face when dealing with multiple WordPress websites. The most significant problem that WordPress users have — and this, admittedly, exists with all content management platforms — is that they need to login to each and every one of their WordPress sites to perform menial day-to-day tasks: updating plugins and themes, running manual backups, checking user-generated content, keeping an eye on traffic, ensuring that everything is running smoothly, and, our favorite, updating their WordPress sites to the latest and greatest versions.

Ideally, is this what those users want to be spending hours on a daily basis doing? No way! It’s not fun, it’s not efficient, and it’s a task that prevents users from focusing on what’s really important: their customers and their readers.

We had these problems, and we wanted an all-inclusive solution. So, when we couldn’t find one, we decided to take action. We created a single, unified dashboard where all of the WordPress action takes place. This allows WordPress users to save tremendous amounts of time and money. And current customers love it.

One of our most popular features is our one-click login, thus giving our users unparalleled access to all of their WordPress websites with ease. Another popular feature is our automated backup solution — it allows our users to schedule daily, weekly or monthly backups to one of five possible locations (their server, Amazon S3, Dropbox, external FTP, email). And for WordPress developers and web hosts, our clone tool has proven to be essential — it makes creating fully-featured WordPress sites from existing WordPress sites or templates a breeze. And it just keeps going from there.

We designed ManageWP to solve real problems, and that’s what we are doing, and that’s what we will continue to keep doing far into the future.

How did you come up with the idea?

The initial concept for ManageWP came to me when a friend of mine noticed that he had trouble managing a couple of websites; I was managing around 30 at that time. I eventually realized that the world’s biggest Internet publishing platform needed a quality solution for managing multiple WordPress installations, far beyond what WordPress Multisite offered. After that, it was just a matter of getting to work and creating it, which was no easy task.

How long have you spent on development? Have you come up against any major problems?

It’s been around 18 months since we began, and we have a dedicated team of about 10 people. Even with that, there were many challenges along the way. For example, we had to come up with a secure protocol to handle all communication between the blogs and WordPress, as we did not want to rely on the built-in XML-RPC. It would potentially publish user credentials without encryption, which is not good at all. So we came up with an OpenSSL encrypted communication solution (because we here at ManageWP take security very seriously). Our next significant challenge was in making all our features work across thousands of different WordPress setups, on top of thousands of different server configurations and hosting environments.

We knew it was going to be a significant amount of work, and with the time and money invested, it’s been no cakewalk. But we are so proud with how far we have come.

Automate your backups

Your website says that more than 80,000 websites are being managed by ManageWP – how are you coping with that huge volume of sites?

We are thrilled to help manage so many websites (the actual number is over 100,000, counting our Enterprise users). We are having a genuine impact on the WordPress community, and that makes us even more happy to be a part of this thriving and passionate community.

As for dealing with the huge volume, since we had our beta available since day one, we have had an impressive amount of time to polish ManageWP and test it on various configurations. Because of that, the volume of support is manageable by our team. And we have put great effort into writing efficient and adaptable code. Either way, we fully believe we will be able to handle any service load that our customers demand in the future.

You’ve been in a free beta period for some time now – have you learned anything that has surprised you or made any major changes as a result of user input?

Absolutely! Our initial idea was to create a premium product with a pricing model very similar to VaultPress, which charges $15/month per website for backup features alone. We ran a pricing survey and discovered that a lot of our users found even $1/month per website too expensive, so we ended up finding ways to reduce the cost of our infrastructure. This considerably reduced our initial prices and allowed us to create different tiers. Now our prices start as low as $0.10/month per website, with up to $4/month per website for our Business package. It includes many features that users would have to pay for with a number of alternative and un-unified services — like automated backups, SEO statistics, keyword rank checking, and up-time monitoring, just to name a few.

The second thing I learned is that, as the founder of ManageWP, I need to start listening to user feedback as soon as possible. There is a wealth of very smart ideas that will help improve products, and interacting with users as much as possible helps to ensure that our customers know that we are listening.

What have you got planned for the next year?

Next year will be very special for ManageWP! We will continue integrating with popular cloud-based services to take ManageWP to the next level in WordPress management. We have the ultimate vision of making ManageWP the first dashboard any user with a number of WordPress sites will want to see when they wake up.

Furthermore, we will be working closely with other influential companies in WordPress community to bring their products and services closer to our user base. This will ensure that the tools and services that WordPress users value the most will also be available within ManageWP. Ultimately, it will add tremendous value to every WordPress user and every WordPress company that wants to provide the ultimate value to customers who manage any number of WordPress sites.

But for those who want a little taste of what we have in development… we are working on enhanced security tools, internationalization, and improved automation of various WordPress management tasks. All of these, and more, will continue to make ManageWP an exciting and essential tool for those who want to save time and money with their WordPress management.

Finally, if any of our fellow WordPress users want or need a service that can completely revolutionize their multisite WordPress management, we invite them to check us out and let us know how we can help!

Want to learn more? Check out this video:

ManageWP Tour from ManageWP on Vimeo.