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Sarah Gooding
Strattic, a WordPress hosting company that creates static files managed via a headless install, has acquired WP2Static, an open source plugin for generating a static WordPress site. Leon Stafford, the plugin’s creator, has been working for the company for the past nine months and will continue to maintain WP2Static.
In 2020, Stafford removed WP2Static from WordPress.org after the downsides of hosting in the directory began to outweigh the benefits for his project. He cited WordPress.org’s lack of a straightforward way to alert users to important updates, users abusing the Reviews section to file issues, the inability to disable support, and the cumbersome plugin release process.
WP2Static is a tool aimed more at DIY users who want to manage their own static site generation, but Stafford found that hosting on WordPress.org often brought the plugin to users who didn’t fully understand its function.
“It was almost too easy for people to install WP2Static/Static HTML Output when in the wp.org repository,” he said. “This lead to quite a few people installing it on their live production servers and expecting some magic performance improvement, which is not the way it’s intended to be used.”
Acquiring WP2Static allows Strattic to funnel the less technical crowd to its hosting services, as well as those who prefer a more managed experience. At the moment users get updates from the WP2Static website, or via the Composer package, or GitHub download. Strattic plans to relaunch the plugin on WordPress.org to improve its discovery, installation, and update process.
“While Leon was focusing development primarily for the open source/GitHub users of the plugin, we’d like to get this static site solution helping as many WordPress users as possible and for that, the WordPress repository makes it the easiest experience for them,” Strattic CEO Miriam Schwab said.
Schwab said prior to acquiring WP2Static, it was already generating high quality leads for Strattic, as Stafford had listed the company as an alternative to using the plugin.
“We expect this trend will continue and grow now that WP2Static is part of the Strattic family,” Schwab said. “WP2Static is an excellent option for users who want to test the waters with static WordPress in a low-commitment way, and also for users who are more ‘DIY’ and get excited about building their own infrastructure and architecture for their websites, and maintaining it on an ongoing basis.”
Strattic will be marketing the plugin as a starting point. Users who outgrow WP2Static will be encouraged to look to Strattic for more complex functionality, such as dynamic plugins, forms, search, 301 redirects, SEO plugins, multi-language, and other features not supported by the plugin. Schwab said they do not currently plan to rebrand WP2Static but are considering revising its name to “WP2Static by Strattic.”
Thank you for the write-up, Sarah. It is a pleasure to be mentioned on the hallowed pages of WP Tavern!
In my eleven years of leading the WP2Static Open Source project, there have been many fun and memorable moments. I am proud that I have been able to help tens of thousands of users to protect and improve the performance of their websites. It was also my privilege to meet and present to thousands of you at WordPress events all over the world.
I am now lucky to have joined the team at Strattic, who have the same mission. They are taking the WP2Static project under their wing and ensuring it remains a great Open Source option for WordPress users.
I will follow the comments here, so, I would be happy to answer any questions that any of you might have about WP2Static or Strattic.
Congratulations to Leon and Strattic.
For well over a decade, WP2Static has been the leading plugin for converting WordPress sites into secure and ridiculously fast static sites.
I have known Leon for ten years. He was always a man on a mission, evangelizing the benefits of static sites in so many countries and generously giving his time to help others take advantage of this better way to publish.
I then worked alongside Leon when our nomadic paths crossed a few years back. We shared a townhouse in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. What an awesome and hilarious summer that was. I can confirm that, as a coder, the man is a monster.
You’re too kind, mate!
Thanks for the flattering words and of course, for hosting me (and my kids, on one occasion!) in Chiang Mai. You taught me much about the WordPress community and were always encouraging the project and me!
Hopefully, this will be the year that we get to catch up again, somewhere in the world 😀
“He cited WordPress.org’s lack of a straightforward way to alert users to important updates, users abusing the Reviews section to file issues, the inability to disable support, and the cumbersome plugin release process.”
Echoing my sentiments exactly.
I use Git(hub) for all my premium plugins, so having to switch back to SVN, just to publish a release on WP.org is just lame.
I’ve built in my own notification system, to make sure users read an important news bulletin before updating, or to check their settings after e.g. a database upgrade has run. Compare that to platforms like Magento 2, and they have ready made APIs to take care of stuff like this, so you can focus on your plugin’s features.
Users abusing the reviews section to file issues is terrible, too. I’m always of the opinion that “It doesn’t work” is no reason to write a 1 star review. Instead, that’s a subject for a support ticket, but try explaining that to someone that is not a techy. IMO, the WP.org moderators should do a little more to prevent this, maybe a little notice above the review submission form.
Now, on topic, I’ve used WP2Static in the past and thought it was a really cool way to speed up (and secure) WordPress. Once my requirements for my site became of a more dynamic nature (e-commerce) I had to drop it from my configuration. However, congrats with the acquisition, Leon!
I’m wondering, was it something you’d always hoped for/worked towards?
Thanks for sharing, Daan. It helps to be reminded I wasn’t the only one feeling that way about those things!
And, always love to hear about real world users, so glad that WP2Static served a purpose for you for a while!
I hadn’t really been aiming to be acquired (every so often, I’d dabble in trying to be more commercially appealing, but kept falling back to my Open Source ideals). Close friends often wanted me to take more advantage of potential revenue streams, especially when I was broke and living out of a backpack at times!
At the time of joining Strattic and eventual acquisition, I was still largely aiming at the GitHub users of the plugin and building in more developer-friendly extensibility options, like full WP-CLI support and ability for developers to create their own deployment or crawling addons. The past few years so a huge focus on code quality, along with the big rewrite from what is now maintained as “Static HTML Output” to current WP2Static. These things combined, really helped bring in great FOSS contributions from people like Viktor Szepe, John Shaffer, Matt Vanderpol, Maciek Palmowski and many more (I have some great looking PRs waiting for me to review now, even!).
Being wary of survivor bias, I’d hope this is a nice tale of following a passion and focusing on quality, which led to a great outcome in the end (or rather, a new beginning!).
I hope your plugins are doing well and please feel free to reach out to me or Strattic for any static site stuff in future. We’ve got some great eCommerce options for static sites now, like Snipcart (also super nice people!).
“He cited WordPress.org’s lack of a straightforward way to alert users to important updates, users abusing the Reviews section to file issues, the inability to disable support, and the cumbersome plugin release process.”
This nailed it! I’ve repaired some plugins over the years, and worked with plugin owners to push those fixes… but have not contributed them back to the plugin repository because maintaining them is a pain and a half.
I hope that there’s a roadmap to continue improving the developer experience. More and more devs are joining WordPress from learning to code in bootcamps that teach Github. And if I, with 10+ years of WordPress, find it super challenging… I can’t imagine what these new developers are feeling when it comes to contributing.
Thanks for sharing, Rocky!
I’m a big fan of OpenBSD and they use something else again for version control (Anonymous CVS). If I one day submit a patch for that, I’ll be fine to learn the ins and outs of AnonCVS and I think for the developer audience there, it’s not an issue.
I agree with the challenge for anyone to be motivated enough to learn SVN just so they can contribute to WordPress. Whilst there are workarounds one can use in order to commit/push/tag in git and let it take care of it for you in SVN, they’re just that, unofficial workarounds.
WordPress isn’t my community/open source project and I don’t contribute to core or answer support questions, so I can’t complain too much – but still glad you’ve given support to my grumbles 😀
Great to hear that the plugin will be still open for us DIY users.
There are many great use cases for WP2Static. One example is if you want to archive a WordPress site easily (e.g https://denarium.com/ 🙂
I wish all the best for you, Leon.
Thanks, Viljami~!
Glad to see it’s helped for archiving the Denarium site 🙂
Best wishes for you in that part of the world!
WP.org is not the easiest place to run a plugin, especially if your resources are limited and your project has a large – and largely low-tech-aware audience – the review system suchs, the forum is a shambles and the plugin review / security team and rather rude and prickly when you challenge them!
On the plus side, you can use some of the excellent features of GitHub actions – notable the 10Up deploy to wordpress.org script – to mitigate some of the pain and 90’s feeling of deploying code via SVN!
https://github.com/10up/action-wordpress-plugin-deploy
Thanks for empathising and for sharing that handy 10up project!
I had been using a script to semi-automate some of that for me while still on wp.org, but would have been handier to use such a GH Action!
Big thanks, for your making the UA supprt banner plugin at https://github.com/qstudio/wordpress-plugin-stand-with-ukraine!
Leon – that 10UP action is a life saver, I don’t even need to touch SVN, once the initial plugin is approved 🙂
As for the UA plugin, it’s pretty barebones right now.. but it’s a start – what it really needs is a designers touch to make it look and work nicely – so if anyone out there has a few hours to offer to help improve the design or to add an additional template, that would be most welcome.
Please leave a comment here or inside the issue tracker on the GH repo.
Also – sorry for trying to lead the discussion away from the topic – congrats on the acquisition – this is a great tool, as are the many other neatly packaged offerings on your site!
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