Stratus5, a company that specializes in cloud container management and business service automation, launched Dollie today. Dollie is a cloud-based eCommerce solution for WordPress developers looking to provide white-label hosting services to their customers. The platform allows developers and agencies to sell custom, pre-configured WordPress solutions to their clients.
Dollie is built on top of the Stratus5 Cloudware system. It includes tools like Blueprints, which allows developers to save and clone custom WordPress configurations. These configurations are saved to the cloud. Developers can then launch new instances and monetize them at the click of a button.
It also has management tools such as billing automation, customer resource management, analytics, backups, permissions, and more. The platform serves sites via isolated Docker containers. It runs on a modern stack that includes NGINX, PHP 7.3, Redis, and PerconaDB.
“In the simplest terms, we let developers launch their own cloud hosting service similar to Wix or Squarespace but using WordPress,” said Trent Lapinski, VP of Dollie and Stratus5 Cloudware.
Developers can try Dollie for free and only start paying once they are ready to accept customers. Pricing begins at $100 per month for the first 10 customers.
Customer billing can be done via Dollie’s payment gateway or the developer’s gateway of choice. The system is backed by the WooCommerce plugin, so any payment gateway that supports WooCommerce Subscriptions is available. There are no limits on the business model that developers employ. They can set up custom pricing.
Take a quick tour of how Dollie works:
Filling a Missing Gap in the Market
“We built Dollie because there’s a competitive gap in the market between the hosting companies and the developers who actually build websites, themes, and plugins,” Trent Lapinski. “I’ve seen agencies and many of my developer friends constantly stuck in the rat race of trying to find that next customer, get that next download, and struggle to build sustainable businesses. This is the struggle I faced with CyberChimps selling one-off WordPress products. Meanwhile, the hosting companies have turned into multi-million and even billion-dollar corporations on the backs of these same developers.”
Lapinski feels like Dollie will level the playing field for developers. He wishes these tools had existed when he bootstrapped his WordPress startup. The goal is to allow developers to compete on their own terms.
“By empowering developers to build sustainable products and services and generate reoccurring-subscription revenue, much like the hosting companies have accomplished, we can grow WordPress by helping developers and agencies grow their businesses,” he said. “The key is helping them acquire subscription customers so they can forecast, budget, and bootstrap their businesses in a way I never could when I ran my own theme shop.”
The platform is built on top of WordPress and WooCommerce. The custom-built technology on top of this allows developers to set up white-label cloud services with minimal up-front knowledge. The biggest requirement is that developers need to be comfortable with WordPress and WooCommerce.
“Bringing these enterprise-level tools to WordPress developers and giving them the freedom to choose their own business models has simply never been done before,” said Lapinski. “Dollie automates many of the processes developers have had to work around for decades, and makes saving, cloning, deploying, and monetizing WordPress products and services as easy as a few clicks.”
Dollie takes no part in what developers or agencies charge their clients outside of providing the tools. That relationship exists directly between the developer and the client. Dollie gets paid when developers convert subscribing customers to cover the cloud hosting costs.
They also allow larger agencies to select third-party cloud providers. They can then license and partner with Dollie to manage their cloud infrastructure. The goal is to allow developers to scale as large as needed and customize to suit their needs.
“We are optimistic these tools and the freedom we are enabling for our partners will be the point of difference in how developers view their own value in what they can deliver to their clients and customers,” said Lapinski.