Create and Sell Your Own Site Templates For Free With WPMU DEV Hosting

Create and Sell Your Own Site Templates For Free With WPMU DEV Hosting

Hosting resellers rejoice! You can now create, package, and sell multiple custom site templates – at no extra cost to you.

We’ve been in the biz of cloning WordPress sites and speeding up your site development workflow for well over a year now.

Members also love our expertly-made, default WPMU DEV site templates, which dropped at the same time as cloning.

But in the words of Fleetwood Mac, it’s time to “go your own wayyyyy.”

Because with the help of a sneaky backups hack, our hosting now allows you to create and package your own custom site templates for reselling to your clients.

eCommerce… personal training… marketing agency… flower boutique… whatever you can think of! You can now create custom templates for all of them – any market, any niche.

Best part is, you can create up to 25 custom templates completely free.

Keep reading to learn how to implement this new game-changer and how it fits perfectly into your reseller hosting wheel house.

Skip ahead:

How our custom templates work

It starts with a great source site you wish to turn into a template.

One you’ve worked hard on (but not too hard, thanks to time-saving features like plugin configs ;)) and is ideally sellable as a turn-key solution.

Remember that “sneaky backups hack” I mentioned in the intro? Here’s what I was talking about:

Each custom template you create is actually a full backup of the site you choose to copy, stored on our AWS servers.

When you send a request to create a new template, we create a backup of that site, zip it, and upload it to AWS.

That template/backup is fetched and restored at your chosen new site URL.

And voila!

This template is now ready to be used and accessed in “My Templates” area of The Hub (more on that below).

Creating templates this way gives you two major benefits:

  1. It does not affect your hosting storage at all. 
  2. You can create up to 25 custom templates completely free, no extra cost to you (we’ll also be upping this number in future if the demand is there).

Also, since your template is a full backup of an existing site, it comes readily included with EVERYTHING.

Plugins, themes, users, license keys, settings, site data – it’s all fully-preserved for you.

Finally, it goes without saying, you can ONLY create templates of WPMU DEV hosted sites.

…Now that you know a little more about custom templates and how they work, let’s see them in action.

Creating your first custom template

Did I mention you’ll need to be a WPMU DEV member and have hosted sites with us to use this feature?

The easiest way for non-members to follow along is to take either our Freelancer or Agency plans (they both give you free hosted sites you can use) for a free trial spin.

Navigate to your WPMU DEV hosted sites in The Hub (our built-in site management tool) and find the Site Templates tab.

a screen showing the site templates tab
Find the Site Templates to create your first template.

From this tab you can edit the details of your existing templates and create new templates.

Select Create Template to get started.

A screen showing how you can get started creating templates

A pop-up will appear asking you to select the site you’d like to make your template, and to give your template a name and description.

A screen showing how you name and describe your new template
Give your template a name and description. Get the people excited!

Once done, hit Create Template and your new template will be ready in a few minutes, it’s that easy!

A screen showing a new site template loading up
Sit back, relax, and wait a couple mins for this puppy to load.

When it’s finished loading you’ll be notified via The Hub, and you’ll also receive an email letting you know the new template has been created (see below).

A screen showing the template confirmation email
Your brand-spanking new site template is ready!

Another thing to note is that you’re free to create multiple templates from a single site. So if you think you’re onto a winner, use it as your template base as much as you wish (up to our 25 limit of course).

You can also create templates straight from your source site

It’s as simple as selecting the site you wish to turn into a template, and clicking the vertical ellipsis icon to the right of it.

a screen showing how you can directly select a site to turn into a template
Select the site you wish to create a template from.

Select create template to get the ball rolling.

A screen showing where the create template option is
Hit create template and get this ball rolling!

Then rinse and repeat the above!


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Two ways to access your new site templates

Once you’ve successfully created a new site template, here’s how you or your clients can access them.

1.During the site creation or cloning process

Your template (and others you create in future) can now be selected from the Create New or Clone options when adding a new site to The Hub.

Hit the “+” icon in The Hub to add a new site and get started.

A screen showing how you add a new site to The Hub
Click the “+” button to add a new site to The Hub.

For this walkthrough we’ll select Create New (the steps for cloning are exactly the same, only instead of creating a site, you’re cloning one).

A screen showing the options to either create or clone a new site
Create or clone a new site to see your templates in action.

Click Create site and a pop-up will appear with the option to create a brand new site or create from template.

Select create from template and you’ll see any templates you’ve created are now visible.

A screen showing how you can select to create a site based on one of your custom-made templates
The template we made earlier, all ready for selection!

You can also select WPMU DEV Templates to see the range of default site templates made by our expert team. Find out more about those in our website cloning article.

Our default templates are also a great example of what’s now possible. Minus a few features we’re still working on bringing you.

But the idea is still the same, multiple site templates for multiple niches and use-cases, for your clients to choose from.

And that’s pretty much it…

Hit Use template and you’ll be taken through the standard process of setting up a new WPMU DEV Hosted website – creating a temporary URL, choosing from 10 worldwide server locations, and waiting a few minutes while your site loads.

2. Directly from the “Site Templates” tab in The Hub

As we touched on above, you can also access and manage your custom templates right from the Site Templates overview tab in The Hub.

a screen showing the site templates tab
Select Site Templates to access and manage all your custom templates.

From here you can edit your existing templates, and also easily create new ones as outlined in the steps above.

a screen showing where you can edit and manage your custom site templates
Edit and create new templates.

When you hit the vertical ellipsis icon next to any template, you’ll see you have the option to edit its name and description, or delete it.

a screen showing how you can edit the details of your new template
Change the details, or delete your new template.

Some PSA’s about custom templates…

  • Preview thumbnail coming soon – Because of their backup nature, your templates do not currently come with a “preview option” like you’ll see with our default WPMU DEV templates. But don’t worry, we’re working on a solution that allows you to upload multiple thumbnails to show off your templates to clients.
  • Delete at your own risk – if you’re thinking about deleting a custom template, please think carefully! Since custom templates are technically backups, once you delete one, there’s no getting it back.
  • No editing or updating – you cannot edit or update any aspect of templates once they’re created. If you do need to edit or update your template, simply create a new one from your updated source site and delete the outdated template.

Check out our site template docs for more info and helpful FAQs.

A recap of our reseller hosting capabilities:

  • It’s been possible to resell WPMU DEV Hosting for a while now and a lot of our members have been perfectly happily doing it manually.
  • We also recently made some behind the scenes to our hosting to ensure it’s 99.9% white labeled from top to bottom.
  • Using The Hub Client, you can setup your own complete client portal, where they can manage sites, access hosting tools, and more.
  • Finally, with our built-in client billing system you can streamline your client invoicing, create subscription plans, manage clients, and more. It comes included with The Hub and The Hub Client.

And now with custom templates, we’re one step closer to a fully-automated hosting reseller system.

Still to come:

Domains – Offer your clients the opportunity to search for and purchase a domain, which will be automatically mapped to their new hosting and templates set up… yep, be your own GoDaddy!

Check out our product roadmap to keep up with what’s in store for The Hub, The Hub Client, and the rest of our WP plugins.

Get started with templates and reseller hosting for free

Existing members… what are you waiting for?? Jump into your Hub and try turning one of your hosted sites into a resellable site template.

Not a member? Check out our hosting plans and pricing here.

Want to try our hosting for free? The best way to do so is to take either our Freelancer or Agency plans for a free trial. Both allow you to host 1-3 sites with us every year, for free.

What new possibilities do these new custom templates open up for your reseller hosting business? What else are you looking for from us? Let us know below.

Rick Crawshaw

Rick Crawshaw Rick Crawshaw is the head of content at WPMU DEV. Before joining the company and learning the ins and outs of WordPress web development, he worked as a freelance copywriter and marketer. You might also recognize his punny style from our weekly WordPress newsletter The WhiP. Connect with Rick on Twitter and LinkedIn.