WP Stagecoach is a tool that’s been in development, alpha, and beta testing for around two years. It’s a host agnostic tool that allows website owners to create staging sites and merge changes back to the live site.
Morgan Kay announced the official launch of the paid WP Stagecoach product today. The tool is $12 per month or $99 per year and offers staging for up to 50 websites. Apparently they had about 1,200 beta testers before launch.
From a business perspective, I think this may be quite successful but it will also become less and less useful and more hosts offer tools built in to their services. I remember Chris Lema once telling me that people often, “build a feature, not a product.” I think WP Stagecoach falls very much into feature territory and may have a hard time finding the right audience to scale with.
If I were someone willing to pay that kind of money ($12 per month) for a single tool, I’d probably just pay $15-$25 per month for a host that has that feature.
One use case I see though is self-managed hosting environments. Someone could have a cheap Digital Ocean instance with WP Stagecoach, wp-cli, and a few other tools added on and end up with a pretty decent toolset that could be compelling.
It could also be a good tool to have in your arsenal when using a host that doesn’t have staging sites built in, or if you have a change-happy client with pre-existing hosting and has a tendency to wear their pink sombrero for live edits.
But overall, I’d be nervous about spending so much time developing a tool like this when more hosts are offering the feature in house and the potential audience of buyers is likely shrinking versus growing.
For those of you that will inevitably be curious about how exactly WP Stagecoach works, the FAQ is relatively comprehensive. It does look impressive but it’s odd it’s hosted only; not being able to exactly replicate the live site environment makes the whole thing a bit of a non-starter to me.