Posts by

Vikas Singhal

Posts by

Vikas Singhal

Case Study

Real World Case Study – Product Sandbox Demos

Setting up your plugin/theme sandbox demo can be really painful, some people try with WP multi-site and some struggle setting up demos using in-house bash scripts and also not to mention, you miss out on important insights into your customers. 

Well.. InstaWP has solved this problem and we already have some well known plugin authors using this feature.

First off, lets learn a little bit about shared templates and various options available associated with it.

What is a Shared Template?

You may have created a template before, if not, you may try out now (go to Sites, choose any site, select “Save as Template” from the drop down).

In the side bar options, select “Enable Sharing” and click save. You will get a sharable link to the template something like this:


You can now “share” the link with your potential customers or your teammates. You have now created a sandboxed product demo for your plugin / theme or service.


Awesome team at Extendify headed by Chris Lubkert has created a beautiful library of Gutenberg patterns. They have used InstaWP’s shared template feature to create a sandbox demo of their “pro” offering.

📈 We provide quick and useful insights into how many demos are created per day to the product author. In this case Extendify’s product is getting atleast 15-30 demos created per day!

Newsletter Glue

Lesley, founder of Newsletter Glue, an excellent Newsletter plugin for WordPress tweeted this after setting up the product demo, in reality though, she was really kind to work with us to set this up on her own with little help from us.

How To Build It For My Product?

Follow the step by step guide on building your plugin / theme sandbox guide.

I am hosting a free webinar on “How to build a sandboxed demo for your plugin, themes or service” this week. Make sure to mark your RSVP to get meeting details, see you soon!



Demo Builder for WordPress Plugin, Themes & Services

We will learn, step by step, how to build a sandbox environment of a WordPress product for your potential customers to try before buying.

Step 1 – Create a new site.

If you a non-registered user, create a quick free account here. After your email is verified, you are now logged into your InstaWP Dashboard, which looks something like this:

Click on “+ New Site” to add a new site and provide a site name.

When you click on “Create Site”, it will take 2-3 seconds to create a new site and you will get credentials for your new site.

Click on “Access Now” and it should open a new tab in order to automagically take you to the “wp-admin” panel.

Step 2 – Configure your site for the demo

At this point, think like your customer. Install and configure the site in such a way that if a customer is presented with the wp-admin panel, it will be to clear on how to use your product.

Some tips for plugin authors (others can follow the same approach):

  1. Install your plugin (free or pro – depending on whom you are targetting).
  2. Install a theme which works best with your theme.
  3. Put some demo content, may be create a sample page.
  4. Put a message on Dashboard on how to use your demo. (You can use a plugin or custom code inside the theme files).

In this example, I am going to configure the site for our own plugin “QSM”, this is how it looks after I am done.

Front Page:

Admin Page:

At this point, I am happy with how my demo looks (from a user’s perspective).

Step 3 – Save as Template

Go back to the InstaWP Dashboard, click on the Save as Template in the sites’s drop down.

You will get a variety of options for Save as Template sidebar, lets focus on the basics.

  1. Name – This name will be displayed on the landing page (more on this in a bit)
  2. Description – Same as above.
  3. Enable Sharing – The template you are about to create can be used in two ways.
    • Personal Use – You can choose NOT to share this template, and simply create sites off of this template for your personal use.
    • Shared Template – If you switch ON the “Enable Sharing” toggle, then your template can be shared with the world, meaning they can create sites based off of your template, without registering with InstaWP.

At this point your “Demo” is all setup and you can copy link and pass it to your users and put it on your front page on your website.

The template landing page looks something like this:

At this point, there are lot of unanswered questions. Let me put a FAQ list.


How can I get the emails of users via the shared template?

You can download a CSV and connect to Mailchimp account. This is available only for paid members.

What are Advance Options in Template creation step?

  1. Site Lifetime : By default every “templated” site has 4 hours of expiry time, you can customize this.
  2. Email Required : By default, users can launch a demo site without specifying an email. This can change it.
  3. Disallow File Modifications: In the demo instances created by your users, we will lock down “Add new plugin”, “Add new theme”, “Theme Editor” and other options which can allow someone to potentially steal your premium content.
  4. Auto Login to WordPress: If you don’t want to ask email address, or you have your own flow, then simply toggle this. We will skip everything and get the user straight to WordPress admin panel.
    • If you switch this ON, then we also provide an option to “redirect” the user to a particular URL inside the wp-admin panel.

Can I change the logo on top of template landing page?

Yes, you can change the logo under “Branding” options. This is available for paid users.

What is an Instant Template?

You may notice that the demo instances are taking 2-4 seconds to create, Instant Template changes that. New instances will be launched, well, instantly!

Is there a limit of how many sites can be created by shared templates? And does this limit eat up my “Active Sites” limit?

We have defined a limit for this, its called “Template Sites”, if you click on the top of your account. You will find a separate line item in the Pricing Plans for this (when you scroll down). So, this doesn’t eat up your “Active Sites” limit.

What if I make changes to the site, can I sync changes to the template?

Yes, you can sync your changes. To do that click on “Save as Template” again, click on “choose” this time and choose the template you created previously. This way, you are going to overwrite the previous template with new site. Note: This is working only in paid plans, but we are working on a fix to make this work for free users too.


How to create a WordPress Sandbox Environment?

Often times you may find yourself wondering how to I create a sandbox WordPress instance to test a plugin/theme or to create a staging environment or providing a sandbox for your paid plugin/theme to your users.

InstaWP is the answer of this question and it can become your go to WP sandbox service. In this article we will cover multiple ways to create a WordPress Sandbox.

Without Registration

Go to app.instawp.com/onboard and click on “Launch Site”

You will get a newly baked WP site within a second! (any sites created without registration will be valid for 8 hours).

With Registration

By creating a free account you will get many benefits, specially increased limit for the sandbox 48 hours!

To register, navigate to app.instawp.com/register


How to create templates and share them?

Creating a template

  1. Create a site and add your changes like plugin, themes or customization.
  2. Click on down arrow and click Save as Template
  3. Provide a name of the template and hit Save.
  4. Go to the templates tab, wait for few seconds (depending on your site size).
  5. Voila, you are done. Now, any time you want to create a site using the template, click on the Actions menu in templates screen and click on Create Site.

Sharing a template

  1. Once the template is in Ready state, click on “Share” icon next to Actions panel.
  2. Provide a user friendly name and copy the URL. Hit Save.
  3. You can now share this URL to anyone.

Note: Sites created using your template URL, will be created under your account.

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