The next version of the ‘WP Cloud Server’ plugin is now available for download or automatic update from the WordPress repository. New releases are both nerve racking in case something goes wrong and exciting, because we love improving the plugin and making users lives better!
Version 2.1.1 is another big release. We have spent a lot of time working with new users to understand their specific needs and to address any weaknesses that existed in the plugin.
Like all releases there have been a lot of small bugs fixed that help to improve the overall experience. But lets have a look at the more significant updates.
Module Overview Section
The Module Overview section of the control panel provides a view of the Modules installed and their status, whether they are activated or not and if there is a healthy API connection.
We realised from user feedback that users who disabled the ‘DigitalOcean’ Module in favour of just viewing and managing ‘ServerPilot’ websites were experiencing strange error messages related to the ‘DigitalOcean’ Module being disconnected. These issues should be a thing of the past! Please let us know though if you are still experiencing any issues?
Selling Hosting Plans with Easy Digital Downloads
This release of the plugin has seen a lot of work on the integration with the ‘Easy Digital Download’ plugin. The last couple of releases of the plugin saw us concentrating more on the actual functionality behind creating and managing servers, as well as creating the new control panel experience.
As a result we were guilty of not being as thorough with the integration with EDD. We hadn’t properly covered all of the different use cases where different users would have differing configurations for account creation, VAT, etc.
Well. I’m very pleased to say that we have reworked and thoroughly tested selling server or website hosting using EDD. We worked closely with a major client and they went above and beyond what they needed to do to help us test everything in the real world! Although they did get some new features added that were specific to their needs!
First, we tidied up the checkout to remove some spurious fields. Now you only get fields or drop-down lists displayed when needed, such as giving the customer a choice of server location.
As we said above the plugin now handles usernames and passwords better. We identified a number of bugs that meant it was possible that the process would fail due to a spurious missing password – all fixed!
Behind the scenes we have improved how servers or websites are created during a sale. One improvement which I will explain in more detail below is automatic hostname creation. If you allocate a server a sub-domain such as hostname1.example.com, then the plugin will automatically increment the number so each hostname is unique e.g hostname2.
This feature is probably my favourite! Startup scripts or cloud-init scripts allow you to customise a server on first boot. It is a great way to install software or to change configuration settings!
A new section has been added to the ‘General Settings’ section. This allows you to add any number of startup scripts. You can enter a label used to reference each script and then paste in the script contents. Once saved you can go back and edit each script.
These scripts can then be selected when provisioning a new server. They are available for manually created servers, but also inside server templates!
This is a very powerful feature which works with add-on Modules as well, such as Vultr, Linode, and AWS Lightsail.
Server Hosting Section
The Server Template section of the control panel has been renamed ‘Server Hosting’. This name change was made because the section has grown to include hostname settings, short code configuration, and template settings!
As I mentioned above we have added the ability to customise hostnames and auto-increment a suffix with each server creation. The hostname settings page allows you to save and edit multiple different configurations that can be selected in templates, etc.
We have always had a shortcode that allows you to provide a client page with details of a clients servers. The problem was it was very limited so wasn’t highly pushed as a feature!
In this release it has been completely rewritten with it’s own configuration page in the ‘Server Hosting’ section. Here you can select what data is displayed to the client.
This is the first of many shortcodes so sign-up to our newsletter for more information on updates and releases.
As a result of the changes covered above you won’t be surprised to hear that the Server Templates have been updated to allow hostnames and startup scripts to be selected.
These are becoming a very powerful feature and will continue to grow in future releases of the plugin.
This is another major improvement which we are very happy with and will grow to include new features over time. This displays server details alongside client details and allows server management such as deleting a server if a client cancels a subscription.
That concludes the main updates for this release. We hope you enjoy this update. As always it is possible that when it is used in the ‘real’ world some issues may arise. If so please feed any issues back to us and we will look at getting a maintenance release out if required.