This morning, Cory, Dustin, and I met to discuss the BackupBuddy launch. We found that there is a great need for people to be able to easily and quickly identify potential server problems. The result of our conversation is ServerBuddy.
While ServerBuddy isn’t ready yet — it’s still just a concept we’re going to start working on in the next day or two — I would like to start getting people excited about it.
So, what is ServerBuddy? I like lists, so here’s one with the highlights:
- A free plugin to be offered by PluginBuddy.
- Identifies issues with the version or features of specific software on the server. Initially, we’re going to focus on PHP, but additional software checks will be added as we identify the need to diagnose such issues.
- For each check, a green, yellow, or red icon will be shown indicating whether there is no issue, a possible issue, or a major issue.
- For all reported issues, provide details about why there is a problem.
- For all reported issues, suggest ways of fixing the problem.
- Provide an option to send a generated report via email. This report will include information about WordPress, the server environment, the server software, and a full phpinfo dump. While not very useful for a standard end user, this information would allow a developer to quickly see potential issues without requiring access to the site or server.
A key use for us is that we can recommend people load ServerBuddy first to see if BackupBuddy will work properly on their system. As we release more products, their specific needs can be added to the checks. This means that we can have a solid pre-sale way of determining whether there will be major issues with a hosting setup.
Additionally, this will be a great support tool as we can have customers use the report generator to send very detailed information about their setup directly to us. This will save a lot of frustration on both ends of the support cycle and reduce the amount of time taken to diagnose issues.
As noted in the list above, this will be a free plugin. We believe that this tool will be of great value not just to us but to other developers as well. While it will be incredibly useful at initial release, like BackupBuddy, it will continue to get better over time.
Are you a developer and have run into problems with server configurations? What kinds of problems would you like to see diagnosed?