Setting up a plugin/theme sandbox demo can be really painful, lot of folks try with WP multi-site or struggle setting up demos using in-house bash scripts, resulting in a frustrated experience for both - you and your users. Not to mention, you miss out on important usage insights too.
Well.. InstaWP has solved this problem and we already have some well known plugin authors like extendify.com and newsletterglue.com using this feature.
A template is a snapshot of an active InstaWP website. It is possible to re-use this template and create more identical sites from it. When you mark a template as "Shared" template, then it is possible for you to share it with a link to anyone around the internet, for them to create an copy of your saved site. The link will look something like this:
You can share this link to your potential customers, effectively creating a product sandbox / demo for your plugin , theme or SaaS business.
Now, lets dive deep into the process, step by step:
If you not a registered user, create a quick free account here. After your email is verified, you are now logged into your InstaWP Dashboard, which looks something like this:
Click on “Add New +" to add a new site and provide a site name.
Click on “Access Now” and it should open a new tab in order to automagically take you to the “wp-admin” panel.
At this point, think like a customer. Install and configure the site in such a way that when a customer is presented with the wp-admin panel, it will be to clear on how to use your product.
Some tips authors:
- Install your product (free or pro – depending on whom you are targetting).
- Install a theme which works best with your demo.
- Add some demo content, may be create a sample page.
- Add a message on Dashboard on how to use your demo. (You can use a plugin like this or this OR custom code inside the theme files).
In this example, I am going to configure the demo for a wordpress quiz plugin, this is how it looks after I am done.
At this point, we are happy with the site's functionality and look/feel. Lets move on to the next step.
On the InstaWP Dashboard, click on the Save as Template for your site.
Provide a meaningful template name, description and mark the template as "Shared".
:::tip Instant Template
If you are on a paid plan which supports Instant Template, switch this ON. This will allow users to spinup a new instance within milliseconds as opposed to 4-5 seconds.
You can customize the look and feel of your template landing page. For this, go to the templates screen, and click on Edit button.
Full explaination of options are covered in Template Options doc, however here are few notable ones:
- Site Lifetime - Demo sites will be auto deleted after this.
- Collect Email - Switch this off, if you want people to just try your product without an email address.
- Auto Login - Automatically login to wp-admin panel, instead of showing credentials to users.
Alright! at this point your “Product Demo” is all set and you can pass the template link to your users and post it on your website.
The template landing page should look something like this:
You can download a CSV OR connect to a CRM software using Webhooks. This is available only for paid members.
Advance options allow you to customize the look and feel of the template landing page. This is available in the Professional plan and above.
You may notice that the demo instances are taking 2-4 seconds to create, Instant Template changes that. New instances will be launched, well, instantly!
Is there a limit of how many sites can be created by shared templates? And does this limit eat up my “Active Sites” limit?
We have seperate limit for this, its called “Template Sites”, if you click on the top of your account. You will find a separate line item in the Pricing Plans for this (when you scroll down). So, this doesn’t eat up your “Active Sites” limit.
Yes, you can sync your changes. We have made a simple "sync" icon under each template, you can also choose to auto sync changes based on a schedule (available in paid plans).
Updated about 2 months ago