An Introduction to WP Ultimo

Hey there! And welcome to WP Ultimo's Help Center.

If you are reading this you've probably seen the announcement WPMUDEV made about setting 90% of their plugins free, including Pro Sites.

We are getting a lot of questions from Pro Sites users and it made us think it is a good idea to have a centralized place (this article) with the answers.

Let’s get started:

First of all, what is WP Ultimo?

WP Ultimo is a WordPress multisite plugin that allows you to create a network of Premium Sites. Its value proposition is the same as Pro Sites: you can create different subscription tiers and have customers pay you a recurring fee to have a site hosted in your Multisite network.

How do WP Ultimo and Pro Sites compare?

There is quite the feature overlap between Pro Sites and WP Ultimo, despite the difference in approach.

The folks at WPMUDEV kept Pro Sites fairly slim, delegating additional features to separate plugins. Although this made sense for them at the time, it increases the overhead immensely since maintaining a lot of tiny plugins can be very, very time-consuming.

We are a small team of four people, so we have opted to reduce overhead as much as possible. As a result, many of the features that needed additional plugins to be installed are available inside WP Ultimo’s core plugin. We delegate to add-ons just the features that only a minor share of our user base will ever need.

Quick Feature comparison (with links for documentation, when available):

  • Blog Templates: Available in WP Ultimo core with a different name, Site Templates – documentation
  • Domain Mapping: Available in WP Ultimo core – documentation
  • Coupons – Available in WP Ultimo core.
  • Setup Fees – Available in WP Ultimo core, you can also set up different setup fees for each plan.
  • Subscription Management – Available in WP Ultimo core – documentation
  • Payment Gateways: WP Ultimo supports PayPal, Stripe and Manual by default, with an add-on to add WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscriptions as a payment method as well (which basically makes all the WooCommerce gateways available for WP Ultimo use). – documentation.
  • Add Ads to free plans: Available on WP Ultimo via a free add-on called WP Ultimo: Ad Injector – documentation.
  • White-labeling Plugins and Themes: Available on WP Ultimo via our premium add-on called WP Ultimo: Plugin and Theme Manager – documentation.

In which aspects do WP Ultimo and Pro Sites differ?

WP Ultimo was born out of a specific set of requirements from a specific project. As a result, some decisions took along the way make WP Ultimo and Pro Sites extremely different in some points and this might be a deal-breaker for you.

Signing up

Pro Sites keeps most of its signing-up /upgrading/paying stuff on the front-end. This was something we wanted to avoid as much as possible since customers would have access to the wp-admin panel and we wanted registration pages to be independent of the theme that was being used on the main site.

As a result, WP Ultimo registration page is located outside the front-end, but not really on the back-end. Our sign-up process is also divided into separate steps. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like, and you can check it live on our demo network.

WP Ultimo using the default Pricing Table layout

Customer Account Management

Our customer account management screens are not located on the front-end, but rather on the back-end. We add a new admin page called Account where the customer can see its Billing History, update credit card info, etc.

Contact Point of a Subscription

Pro Sites attaches the subscription to a site, rather than to the user. This means that each pro site = one subscription, even if they belong to the same user.

WP Ultimo does things differently, attaching the subscription to the user instead.

This means that a user can’t have more than one subscription at the moment (this is something we are planning to add on our 2.X releases). That being said, you can allow multiple sites to be created under a single subscription, varying the number of allowed sites in each plan. Something like the following:

  • Plan A: Free – Allows for 1 site to be created;
  • Plan B: $9,99 – Allows for 3 sites to be created;
  • and so on up to unlimited sites.

Are there things WP Ultimo can do that Pro Sites wasn’t able to do?

In the past two and a half years we added a bunch of cool features to WP Ultimo that makes it really unique. Some of these include:

  • Domain Mapping integration with Managed WordPress hosting providers: WP Ultimo automatically adds mapped domains to the admin panels of WP Engine, Cloudways, cPanel, RunCloud, Closte and more when a new domain is mapped, so you don’t have to do it manually. In some cases, we’ll even trigger SSL certificate fetching for you – documentation.
  • Webhooks: WP Ultimo has a powerful Webhook system that allows you to integrate your network with a number of different services. We even offer direct integration with Zapier, which opens your network to some 1000+ apps and services available in their platform. documentation (webhooks) and documentation (integrating with Zapier).
  • The ability to allow your customers to register custom domains on signup – documentation – Only available via OpenSRS now, but we’ll be adding more resellers in the future.
  • Support for WooCommerce and WooCommerce Subscriptions as payment gateway options – documentation.
  • Create powerful Admin Pages to help your customers using your favorite page builder: WP Ultimo has a handy add-on called Admin Pages Creator, which basically allows you to add fully customized Admin Pages to your customers’ dashboard using Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Brizy templates – documentation.
  • Two different Admin Themes to customize the dashboard experience of your customers: Check Material WP and PRO.

More advanced Stuff:

  • Support to Template Overrides: With WP Ultimo, you can replace the default HTML templates for the signup flow with your own versions without needing to worry about changing core plugin files – documentation.
  • Search and Replace API: You can also annotate site templates with placeholders like {{site_name}} and use the Search and Replace API to auto-populate those placeholders with information provided by your customer right after sign-up, automatically – documentation.

Do you have a Pro Sites → WP Ultimo Migrator?

Yes, we do!

It's already up and running. And you can check how it works reading this tutorial.

Additional Resources

Here are some links that might help you get your head around WP Ultimo and make an informed decision about wether our not WP Ultimo is the right tool for your project.

If you still have questions and want to chat with us directly, use the chat bubble on the bottom-right corner of this page to say hi!

We’re here to help =)

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