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Instant ProcessWire dev hosting (lightning.pw)


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UPDATE: 14.09.2014 We've launched lightning.pw!
Create a new ProcessWire site in under 30 seconds with lightning.pw . Our new service will help developers to work together on a new site, enable new ProcessWire users to explore the CMS and you can now easily test a feature or module. Our goal was to replace the long localhost setups so that you can instantly start developing. 


Current launch features:

  • Create new ProcessWire sites
  • Choose between ProcessWire 2.4 and 2.5 or the latest dev version
  • Choose a profile on installation
  • We setup a custom subdomain and will provide you a FTP login for file access
  • ProcessWire works as expected. Every feature (except PHP sendmail) works. Install modules, write templates and create new sites as you wish
  • Dashboard to manage multiple sites
  • Upgrade (or downgrade) ProcessWire with a single click
  • Free Hosting for module developers.

Planned features:

  • Save and use your own installation profiles
  • Custom subdomain names
  • github/bitbucket integration
  • Create snapshots of your site
  • Free integration of minimize.pw for image compression


lightning.pw is free to use. You can buy credits to expand a site after the free usage timeframe of seven days.  Credits start at 3€ per month but get cheaper the more you buy. If you develop a customer site for an average of 6 months, you would pay 15€ for the whole development setup. If you think the price is high, please notice that we don't want to oversell our servers and that we want to build further features. 

If you have developed a free module for ProcessWire, you can contact us to get free hosting for your showcase or development site.

Bonus: You can use the coupon code PROCESSWIRE to get a free month. Just enter the code under the Payment section on the dasboard.


The first intention for this project was our own need for a simple development solution. lightning.pw is build with Ruby on Rails and uses a custom written ProcessWire installer. We worked hard to maximize security and stability of the service. We create a backup of every site every 12h and can scale within minutes if server load increases. 

You can ask questions here on the forum or follow us on Twitter for updates (and maybe coupon codes ;) )  

Try lightning.pw and tell us what you think. We appreciate every form of feedback! 

 --- original post ---
I will keep this short. We worked on a new project for the last couple of days. Instant ProcessWire hosting for development, testing and as a showcase for ProcessWire. The idea was on our mind for over a year, rested when the community won the bitnami contest but was finally started when we needed a better tool for our internal development.
Excuse my bad mix of Englisch and German and watch the short video that explains and shows the basics:

The features include
  • Installation of any ProcessWire version in under 60 seconds
  • Complete setup of a profile for ProcessWire, you can select the profile
  • FTP access to the /site/ directory
  • Login to ProcessWire with your lightning.pw account
  • Own and custom subdomains
  • Complete ProcessWire where everything works as expected
  • Secured and fast server, restricted access and daily backups.

Every site is free for seven days and will be deleted afterwards, except if you choose to extend the site with credits you bought. Module developers can host a showcase/demo for free.
Our plan is to get the best experience for PW developers and small teams. Maybe it will help ProcessWire grow or maybe it will just stay a tool we use for our own sites. We have a github/bitbucket integration, custom profiles and an export workflow on our roadmap. 
We would be glad to hear your opinions and your feedback on this idea and the current execution. What feature would really make this attractive for you?

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This is possible, of course. It's a "normal" ProcessWire after installation where you can access the /site/ folder. So you can create a new demo user, modify the config.php and then you have a showcase.

It's also easier for developers to test a module against multiple versions of ProcessWire because you can change the version as you wish with a single click. So trying out my module in the latest dev? No problem. 

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Yes, that what I mean when I said "custom profiles".  Create a site, export the profile and then say lightning.pw "use this as a profile". But this will be a feature in the near future, not at launch.

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Thank you all. If you have something else on your "wishlist" for development let us know.

We spent the last week working on a super boring SAP shop for a university project so progress slowed down a little bit. However, I've made a new  video to show the latest features we've been working on.

Beside the new "Create site" page and the workflow for new users, we build backend features like the version change and a backup system. The service always has the latest ProcessWire files from github and it's possible to schedule sites for deletion now. Some bugs are still open and the Help page was just started.

Our plan is to launch the service to the public in the next week. 

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That's right. We're still in closed development. Apache just searches for the first active virtual host which is the PMA at the moment and redirects to it. PMA will be used if you ever need direct access to the database.

I hope we can launch this weekend .. only one part of the backup script is not ready for prime time. This part is critical, because we don't want to lose your data. Otherwise we're testing the system and are fixing bugs. 

You can follow us on twitter for more information: https://twitter.com/lightningpw

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Update time! We've launched lightning.pw over the weekend.

I've added more information on the first post. Try it for yourself now and use the coupon code PROCESSWIRE for a free credit. Any feedback is welcome.

Please note, that we would still call this a beta version. We are note sure how many ProcessWire sites we can fit on a server so we might have to finetune some settings for better performance later. Also there are still some little optical improvements on our todo list. 

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Philipp, this is a great tool! I tried it, testing Blog version 2. Worked like a charm. I now understand why you call it lightning...the installation was fast and the servers were fast! Made it a breeze testing the different Blog version 2 styles. I missed the ability to be able to set Admin theme reno as the theme to use since that has to be done via the user screen which I found was not enabled. I was able to get around this though using /site/config/ with the new ability to set a default admin theme via config.php. With Blog, I would also have loved to be able to upload a user photo for the author widget but of course this too can be done via API. I will be applying for a module developer's hosting to demo Blog, thanks! :-)

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Thanks for the feedback. I would also thank Ryan for putting us on the processwire.com/demo page.

Let me explain the behavior of the default lightning_admin user: This user is created during setup with a super long and random password. We use it for the global login. If you login with your email, ProcessWire finds no matching user. Then our LightningHelper module tries those login data with our lightning.pw service. If there is a user/pw match, then we login the lightning_admin user. To prevent users from locking themselves out, we disabled the "edit user" page for the lightning admin as well as direct login with that user (for security).

If you need to access the user settings, just create a new user with the superuser role and login. Then you can use everything as expected. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Another month went over and I want to give you a quick update on the lightning.pw project. Thanks so far to all of our users.

Bad things first: Yes, we face challenges with our FTP service. The daemon is quite fragile and the only helpful solution is to restart FTP every 60 minutes on the server. We're looking into this issue and are trying other programs at the moment. If you have a problem, just drop an email or tweet us on twitter. 

After over a month we now have 80 users and 136 sites running. Five of those sites are hosted for free as a demo. The Default profile was used the most, followed close by the blank one. Since we started the service, Ryan has pushed 61 versions of ProcessWire (including updates, dev,stables) to the github repo. With lightning.pw it is easy to always have the latest beta ready and running ;)

We were kind of busy with our other student jobs and with the development of some modules you might have heard of.... Anyways, a Dropbox-Sync is on it's way and we will also integrate the snapshot/recover function with the next update. The user defined profiles still have a high priority. We made updates behind the scenes to improve stability and to fix minor issues. 

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