Two weeks ago I purchased a code for InstaWP. I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, but it is a deal on Appsumo and they have a good refund period, so I gave it a try.
Other than account info, there are basically 5 screens. On the sites page you can see a list of your sites, can log into them, research them, and save them as a template.
There are also a few additional options that you can access using the three dot menu.
You can save an existing site as a template. In this screenshot, I have a starter site saved as a template. You can edit it, enable Git deployment, create a site from the template, or delete the template.
One of the options when you create or edit a template is that you can set it as private or shared. When you share a template then you get a link you can share. This link enables someone to create a temporary site based on your template. There are some theme and plugin developers using this feature to create test sites for users.
Here you can create some default configurations with the WordPress version as well as the PHP version and PHP settings.
When you are setting the WordPress options there are places where you can specify themes and plugins from the directory and these will be added to the site when it is created.
You can add Git repositories for deployment options. I haven’t tried this feature.
There are currently two integrations. There is a Chrome extension which allows you to create a test site when you are on a theme or plugin page in the WordPress directory. The Slack integration sends a notice to Slack when a new site is created. Otherwise you can get an email.
To get started, I created a new site, deleted out the cruft that comes with core, installed All in One WP Migration, and uploaded my starter site. I then deleted All in One WP Migration and saved my starter site as a template. Now, when I want to test a plugin or theme I go to the templates menu on InstaWP and click the plus sign icon for my starter site. I’m given the option to give it a name. I just timed it and it took 15 seconds to have a site up. When I’m done, I can click the trash icon for the site and in a few seconds it is deleted.
By default the sites are kept for 7 days, but you can reserve them if you need to keep them longer. I don’t think the intention is that you use InstaWP for regular hosting. The disk space is limited. You get up to 15 sites and 5GB of space. I would use up a lot of the disk space if I, for instance, cloned WebTNG to one of my InstaWP slots.
My use cases may not be typical. I may use a site for a week when making a video or for an hour or two when testing a plugin or theme. I have been creating sites on localhost for this and right now I have more than 50 sites, some of which haven’t been used in a year. There are some sites, however, that I access frequently, such as my Kadence testing site. I’ll probably keep these on localhost.
Last week I was in the middle of working on a video when I came across a bug. Previously, if working on localhost, I’d have to migrate the site from local to a testing site online and setup security and maintenance mode plugins. With InstaWP I simply created a user account for the developer on the site.
I’ve found that support is pretty responsive. The documentation library is growing quickly.
InstaWP is on AppSumo now. It is an annual deal, but renews at the deal price. I purchased for $34 and it is now $49. I think they are raising the price after a group of codes has been sold. If you already have a solution for easy testing or temporary sites for development then you probably don’t need this, but I’m really liking it. The deal includes:
- 15 Active sites
- 15 Reserved sites (no expiry)
- 5 GB Disk space
- FTP access
- 5 Templates
- 15 Sandbox sites
- Advanced configurations
- Map custom domain
When you are logged in there is a button on the page header that shows your plan usage.
InstaWP recently received funding from Automattic, so I don’t imagine that the service will close any time soon.