TasteWP is a newcomer among online WordPress sandboxing solutions. The site allows users to spin up a new WordPress instance in a matter of seconds. Web-based sandboxes like these have been popular for a long time, since they are convenient to fire up and destroy when performing a quick test on a plugin or theme. It’s easier than maintaining a local development environment, which many casual WordPress users have not taken the time to set up.
TasteWP’s temporary testing sites are hosted for 48 hours for non-logged-in users and 7 days for those who are logged in. The one-click setup gives you a random site URL and login credentials.
The free sites are limited to 220MB per instance. A successful set-up notice is displayed in the dashboard with information on when the site will be automatically deleted. TasteWP limits non-logged-in users to creating 2 sites and the limit is 6 for logged-in users. They can be removed or added within the site manager.
When creating a new site, the Advanced Options allows users to set up multisite, select a PHP version, WordPress version, and choose from a number of advanced configuration options and pre-installed extensions. The PHP version can also be changed later within the site manager.
TasteWP is reminiscent of the now defunct poopy.life service. In addition to the unsavory and unforgettable name, poopy.life was laden with obtrusive upgrade ads that floated across the screen periodically. TasteWP takes a different route for promotion and includes three of its plugins pre-installed on the default testing sites.
TasteWP is run by Inisev, a 15-person company that has been developing WordPress plugins for four years.
“Our key motivator for starting TasteWP was a) scratching our own itch (we needed a platform ourselves to try out new plugin versions on different WP/PHP version combinations) and b) promoting our products,” Inisev co-founder Nicolas Ahmann said.
“Having said that, if there is enough demand (and there seems to be), we’ll also offer very affordable premium plans for non-expiring instances with bumped space soon.”
Ahmann said the team is currently funding their projects from their own pockets as well as a few private investors.
“We had some VCs knock at our door recently, and while we don’t rule out taking them on board at some point in the future, we feel quite comfortable with our current approach where we grow organically (i.e. without too much ad spending),” Ahmann said. “I’m sure, if we had taken on a lot of capital a few years ago, we would have spent a lot of marketing budget on products which weren’t ready at the time. Instead, we were forced to make the products better. Limited budgets sharpen your mind immensely.”
Ahmann said the company has several enhancements planned for TasteWP, but they don’t want to make the product more complicated to use.
“We developed a Linux application which copies exactly the same moves as user would do to create a website, except that we’re omitting the front-end and graphics rendering parts which makes it much easier to process by the computer,” he said. “Also we inject anything that is needed into the database directly. That allows us to create those sites so fast without preparing them before (but still fully customized for each user).”
The company is planning to enable users to call specific URLs, such as https://tastewp.com?themeslug=slug-of-theme, which would spin up an instance with that theme or plugin already installed. This would allow theme and plugin creators to share the link with their potential users/customers so that they can play around themselves.
Localization is also a high priority for future TasteWP enhancements, since the company is based in Europe where many languages are spoken.
“We always felt that it doesn’t get the attention as it needs, considering that approximately 40% of websites are not in English,” Ahmann said. “It’s often just DIY people (not devs) who are trying to create their websites. We always encourage them to learn English (as it’s the world’s language). But imagine you grew up in Turkey, for example. Nobody around you speaks English – the teachers in schools only speak it in a broken way. In those cases it’s key that people can take their first WordPress steps in their language, and what’s easier to do so than spinning up an instance with one click on TasteWP which is in your language? Long story short: we’ll keep translating it into (many) more languages.”