WP Ultimo 2.0: We’re almost there!

Hey there!

As most of you know, we’ve been working on a completely new, built-from-scratch version of WP Ultimo: our version 2.0.

The development of this version hasn’t been the smoothest, to be honest. We’ve learned a lot from the feedback provided by our incredible community on Facebook, and aimed to solve most of the long-standing issues present on the current version of our plugin.

This post has two main goals: tell you all where we are along the launch timeline, and provide an overview of the features we’re packing inside the new version.

I’m super excited and this post is going to be huge (and I mean, huuuuge), so let’s dive right in!

First of all: we’re close

Most of the features you’ll read about before are being actively tested by a select group of customers on a private Alpha Testers group. As soon as we get them to a shippable state (where most of the features are working as intended), we’ll move the new version into public beta, available to every license holder.

The beta will be announced on our Facebook Group, so if you are not a member yet, be sure to join us there!

What’s inside?

Signup Flexibility (or even better, signups)

Our customers are marketers by nature. A huge part of building a successful Website as a Service platform is marketing it effectively.

WP Ultimo, in its current iteration, can be extremely difficult to customize signup-wise. The existing ways of customizing the signup flow require at least some coding experience, and even with that, all signup flows end up looking more or less the same, following the same semi-rigid structure.

Some amazing and very clever solutions came up to fill the gap (Step Builder from WaaSHero being one of them), but making aesthetic changes to the signup process was still really hard to achieve. Adding existing solutions to track conversion rates and such was also a complicated task.

Addressing this issue is a complicated thing to do, but I think we managed to do a good job.

On 2.0, we’re moving the signup flow back into the front-end, and we’re adding a very powerful native signup form builder.

The options are pretty much limitless:

You can choose between one-step or multi-step signup forms.

You can also create as many signup forms as you want. That will allow you to A/B test form size, create separate forms for specific campaigns, etc.

You can also add meta fields to the signup, allowing your customers to pick things like colors, logos, and other parameters that can be later used to customize their sites during the original signup.

Single-payment products and no limits in terms of recurring periods!

Another limitation our current version has is the lack of flexibility when creating new plans. You could only add monthly, quarterly, and yearly pricing options. That limitation is now gone.

You can let your imagination run free with the kinds of recurring agreements you can create.

Do you want a plan that renews every 2 days? We got you covered. Do you want to charge every 6 months? Sure! What about every 3 weeks! You bet =)

Add-on products and sales, order bumps, and more!

Different product types!

A very common use case for WP Ultimo is selling additional services to customers. Up until this point, another billing solution was necessary to handle those. No more.

In the new version, you can create two new types of products: (1) Packages, (2), and Services!

Packages are products that unlock access to certain plugins, themes, or greater post type/user limits within your network. Services, on the other hand, are meant to be used to unlock access to any additional work you might offer to your customers, such as SEO consulting, content creation, etc.

Your customer can purchase these packages and services either during the signup flow or inside the Store WP Ultimo adds to their dashboard.

Domain Mapping, perfected

Your customers are no longer limited to having only a single mapped domain. They can add as many as they like and select which one should be used as the primary.

Domains are also automatically walked through a series of checks to make sure they are correctly setup before being set as active. This ensures that your customers’ site won’t go down due to misconfigured DNS settings.

Integrating with our supported hosting providers also got much easier. WP Ultimo detects which hosting provider you are using and guides you through the steps necessary to activate the domain mapping integration.

It couldn’t be easier.

Tax support built-in

European and Australian-based businesses have been asking for a long time for tax support to handle VAT and GST and comply with local regulations. We’re glad to announce that taxes are now natively supported in WP Ultimo, with EU-VAT extended support (VAT validation and more) available in an add-on.

Everything is a widget, a shortcode and a block

Creating a Shortcode for an admin element is one click away

On 2.0, most of the UI elements added to your customers’ dashboard can be also added to the front-end. That can be done in multiple ways, including shotcodes, Elementor and Beaver Builder widgets, and Gutenberg (Block Editor) blocks.

An add-on adds this functionality and allows you to completely block the access to the back-end, forcing customers to manage their account using your custom-build admin panel on the front-end.

Built with scalability in mind

In the past few years, we had the pleasure of working with large corporations building various SaaS solutions using WP Ultimo as a foundation.

We learned a lot from those experiences, and were able to pin-point some of the bottlenecks of the current system.

WP Ultimo adds support to Action Scheduler to handle heavy tasks outside the main threads (the same system used by the likes of WooCommerce). We also moved most of WP Ultimo’s data to custom tables, giving us greater control over the schema and more avenues for optimization in the future.

Power tools for growing businesses

Our hope is to provide you with the tools you need to build a successful business. We want you to grow, and as you grow, you’ll need special tools.

Support Agents

One limitation of WordPress multisite is how powerful super-admins are. Giving super-admin access to a support agent you hired basically means giving access to everything on your network. That’s not desirable at all and can have catastrophic consequences.

One of the tools WP Ultimo adds is a new kind of WordPress network admin user: Support Agent. You can create as many support agents as you wish and have complete control over the permissions they have over your network, customers, and more.

Find everything, navigate everywhere

Anything is always a search bar away

As your network grows, the number of sites, customers, and memberships start to grow as well. It might become hard to find things in a quick manner while during management work.

That’s why WP Ultimo adds two very interesting features: the Jumper, and the Toolbox.

The Jumper is a spotlight-like (for folks using MacOS) search bar that gives you direct access to everything on your network. Just type what you want and press enter to go.

The Toolbox is a floating bar added to every sub-site of your network to give you a shortcut to the management screens related to the site you are currently viewing as a super admin or support agent.

Keep track of everything that happens

Knowing when things change can be very important as your network scales. This is one of the reasons why WP Ultimo logs changes made to products, memberships, sites, and more, keeping the timestamp and authors of such events.

Guiding you every step of the way

Multisite is scary, and WP Ultimo used to be as well. That’s something we’re trying to actively fix with this new version.

As a result, everything that could be transformed into a step-by-step setup inside the plugin was converted. Initially setting up WP Ultimo, or configuring Stripe and PayPal, can now be done in this fashion.

Support is a single click away

Direct access to our support team is also baked-in your dashboard on version 2.0. Once you have your license activated, you’ll be able to send us a message right there.

Generating access credentials for our support team is also a click away at any moment.

This is our new setup screen

Prettier than ever

Not really much to say here, but I think you’ll agree that this is one of the prettiest plugins you’ve ever installed!

Built to be extended

We learned a lot in the past three years developing WP Ultimo. Our interactions with customers provided a lot of clarity on what this product has to become to fulfill its vision. We took that knowledge to make sure we built 2.0 as a solid base for the next 3 years, at least.

This means that even though some commonly requested features might not be present at day-one, the inner-workings of WP Ultimo were developed in a way that adding them in the future won’t be a hassle.

A good example of this approach is multi-currency support: under-the-hood, everything was built to support multi-currencies already. This won’t be present at lunch with 2.0, but it’s planned and the foundational work to make it available is baked in already.

Compatibility, Feature-parity with 1.X, and more

When I say that we built this version from scratch, I really mean it. No code from 1.X was used as a starting point and the only elements we added back are there for backwards compatibility only.

We are trying our best to not break anything in terms of first and third-party add-ons with 2.0. The code is annotated with deprecated notices to make developers aware of functions and APIs that will no longer be available in future releases.

The version will also ship with a Migrator that will take your data from a format meant to be used with 1.X version and translate it into something 2.0 can deal with natively. Our goal is to have this process be as seamlessly as possible, with no down-time for you or your customers.

In terms of feature-parity, there are a couple of features that are present on 1.X that will no longer be available on 2.0. A complete list will be released when we have a final build ready to be launched, but some examples include:

  1. Domain registration at sign-up (to be re-added in the future)

We are trying our best to have the WooCommerce Integration at day one, but that might not happen.

Changes for current license holders

That’s a click-bait title, really. Nothing changes.

If you have a valid license the same terms still apply. You won’t have to pay anything extra to have access to the new version and the new features if they are available for your current license tier.

Do keep in mind that some of the features listed will be released as add-ons, so you might or might not gain access to them based on your license tier. Pro and Lifetime license holders will have access to all features, including those to be released as add-ons.

The new version does use a different activation process though, which means that some of you (those who purchased their license before December 15, 2018) will need to convert your license from an old format to a new one, issued by Freemius.

No need to worry about this yet, though. We’ll write a follow-up covering the steps to convert your license when we get closer to the public beta.

Pricing changes

We’re still not sure if license prices will change. We do have very concrete plans to let go of the Lifetime pricing option though.

We’re not a 100% clear on a timeline for this change yet, but it is unlikely that we’ll have a Lifetime option from 2021 forward.

Feel free to leave comments and questions below
Have a great week ahead

Cheers,
Arindo Duque.

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42 thoughts on “WP Ultimo 2.0: We’re almost there!”

  1. This is legendary!!!!

    Thank you for all you do for entrepreneurs like me.

    I believe this new version is going to be a game changer for building WaaS.

    Thank you Arindo!

  2. Amazing write up.
    How DB bloating is handled in 2.0 is one thing i wish to ask. When we create a customer, DB gets created and size becomes enormous. is there really something we can do to keep it lean ?

    1. In the new version, sites only get created when the payment is received or the super admin manually approves it. We’re also looking into adding clean up scripts to remove expired sites after an X amount of days defined by the super admin. 99% of the bloat is generated by sites getting created with the user regardless of payment/account status and the new approach addresses that.

    1. Nothing changes for current license holders, as explained in the last paragraphs of the post. DIVI was always supported, but in terms of the custom elements, it might take a while to add those for DIVI. It will depend on the number of requests for that feature.

    1. That’s the goal. Are you making heavy use of Webhooks? Would love to hear more about your use case and make sure we can test against it to prevent failures.

      1. Currently I’m using webhooks to extend WP Ultimo. I’ve written a custom WordPress plugin that adds a missing feature and fixes a bug in the “allowed plugins” functionality of the Plans sections. I’m in the process of writing another extension to WP Ultimo right now.

  3. Keep up the great work Arindo and team!
    How about one long standing request which is to work well with LearnDash. I would love to have them sign up with Ultimo and allow me to give them access to a not “open” LearnDash, depending on the plan. I have several courses and each one is a different plan. But the only good way now is to provide a dashboard link to the “open” course which requires no registration. I would like it to be a LearnDash “free” course which requires registration. By the way, zapier is close, but too simple now. Are there only a few who sell Ultimo/Learndash, or are there others who need this too? Thanks a million Arindo!

    1. Hey David. Sounds like an interesting use case. Would you be willing to schedule a quick chat so I can understand it better? Will have a REST API at day one, but probably not a Zapier wrapper around it at lunch. It will be one of the top priorities once we get this beast out, though.

  4. An important feature for me is API. Automations. Do we have access to do actions via API or Zapier? Add a subscription, map a domain to a subsite, etc? Are there endpoints planned for these?

    1. Almost all data-types have their REST API endpoints already in place! A Zapier wrapper will take a bit longer, but it will be one of the top priorities after the launch.

  5. Hope it wil integrate wel with the Divi builder and also would-be nice to spin up a ready made user dashboard on the frond end

    1. Yes, although, to be honest, it is proving to be harder to implement than anticipated (mostly because we rely on the gateways supporting it in the first place). We’ll keep pushing through!

  6. Arindo looks great.
    Please ensure that we can use the woocommerce integration from day one. In my country and in many countries, payment methods such as stripe are not used.

  7. Love this! 2.0 has been great on one client build (with their permission understanding they’re a guinea pig, haha!). I can’t wait to move my other WaaS platforms to 2.0. 🙂

  8. Awesome! Can’t wait! Wondering how the Admin frontend UI works because it says on the writeup “ most of the UI elements added to your customers’ dashboard can be also added to the front-end and allows you to completely block the access to the back-end, forcing customers to manage their account using your custom-build admin panel on the front-end.” – Does this also apply to all other plugins’ backend elements/settings? Or just for Ultimo?

    1. Just WP Ultimo elements (which we control). We can look into supporting other specific plugins as well, but as most plugins are not thought out to support such use cases, implementing this feature might be too hard/impossible in some cases.

  9. Hello Arindo,

    Will the Woocommerce Subscriptions plugin for automatic recurrent payments be still needed?
    The current version works fine with Oxygen Builder…there will be support in version 2.0 for Oxygen?

    Thanks for the news!

    1. If you are using WooCommerce to process payments, the only way to have automatic recurring payments is to use WooSubs. WP Ultimo tries to be as page builder agnostic as possible, so yes, Oxygen will still work just fine.

  10. Hello,

    You write great things. Congratulations.

    I would like to ask if there will be this better collaboration with WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscription.
    I want to sell WP Ultimo packages entirely with WooCommerce Subscription.

    The reason for this is that Hungarian payment gateways, billing systems, and tax authority connections for WooCommerce Subscription are already ready and working well.

    These should be developed separately for WP Ultimo.

    So it would be great if the WP Ultimo packages were bundled with a WooCommerce product that could be added to the cart and then the buyer could go through the entire purchase process, get an upsell, be able to provide their billing information, name, billing address, company name, tax number, etc., before the customer pays with a WooCommerce payment gateway, and after full subscription is handled by WooCommerce Subscription.

    And at the end of the subscription, WP Ultimo would not delete the product.

    Thank you Arindo!

    1. Yep, we do have plans to improve the WooCommerce integration to allow customers to make better use of the WooCommerce eco-system. We realize we made some mistakes in the way we decided to implement the current integration, but I think we learned from those mistakes =)

  11. Hello, and really BRAVO Arindo and your team too, I was just waiting for this in France to finally launch our project. I have a question how will be managed the system of choice of models of customer sites, extensions … Also concerning the current white label management with the administration themes will it be kept with v2.0?
    Last point concerning licenses from 2021 on the lifetime plan (the one I bought in the early days at the very beginning ;-)) the future extensions will modify the lifetime licenses or they will add paid add-ons on lifetime license pocessors like me?

    1. Add-ons, old and new are always available for Lifetime and PRO license holders =) There will be some exceptions to this rule, but only for add-ons that are wrappers for additional services.

  12. Great to hear Arindo. I am waiting to experience the 2.0. Also expecting a simple signup process to make purchase easy as possible. Lots of non techy business owners escapes if they see a large signup steps. I hope 2.0 have the simple one. Later subscriber can add additional information. I am happy that you already included addon packages along with signup process. It will be better if we have a partial payment during signup. So customer can pay remaining amount once the customization is done by the agency.

  13. Thanks Arindo 🙂
    I hope bloating is addressed.
    I’d want subsites db cleaner
    I also want more control on customising pricing pages etc 🙂

  14. Can’t wait for version 2 (finally)! Looking real solid so far.

    Will users be able to pay and choose their plans upfront during the initial registration? That was a big head scratcher for version 1. We need to be able to close the customer in one transaction, not hope that they come back and sign in to choose their plan and pay.

    1. Not sure if I completely understand your comment, Ramon. Customers were always able to choose the plan. If you referring to being able to ask for payment before the account/site gets created, yes, that’s available in the new version.

  15. Amazing news! But I wanna know something.

    Here in Brazil We use Woocommerce a lot and together with them payment systems that require name, full address, email, zip code, country, phone, some ID, and unfortunately I heard that in the current version (1.x) there is no such possibility.

    In the next one, will you see any improvement in this regard? Allow the customer to place all the purchase data that Woocommerce requires plus some that Brazil requires (such as ID and CPF, which is added via another plugin).

    Thank you very much and I’m looking forward to the launch of the new version, I am very likely to purchase.

    1. Hey, Carlos! How are you doing?
      The new version allows super admins to add arbitrary fields to the signup flow. If you match the name to the names WooCommerce is expecting, it should work with the Extra Fields for WooCommerce, in Brazil. We do have a lot of customers in Brazil, so I’ll make a note to add a tutorial on how to get that to work once the new version is released. Feel free to ask about it if you don’t see it on the knowledge base a couple of weeks after the plugin is out!
      Thanks!

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