License Management Update: Limit Updates to Specific Version

Kernl WordPress license management now allows you to limit updates up to a specific version.

How it Works

Assuming that you already use Kernl’s license management, go to the License Management area of Kernl. Once there add or edit a license.

Now you can fill in the “Max Update Version” field. This field can simply be described as “the version of your product which requires a customer to buy a new license”. For example:

  • Customer A bought a license with “Max Update Version” set to 2.0.0. The product was at version 1.7.0 at the time of purchase. Over the next few months you release 1.8.0, 1.9.0, 1.9.1, 2.0.0, 2.0.1. Customer A only receives product update versions 1.8.0, 1.9.0, and 1.9.1.

Why should I use this?

Drive. More. Sales. This new feature allows you to be extremely granular about what updates a specific customer receives. We also made updates to plugin_update_check.php and theme_update_check.php that allow you to customize the invalid/expired license message. We strongly believe that this combination of better license expiration messages and limiting through specific update version can be instrumental in helping you drive more sales.

Introducing the Kernl Referral Program

For most of Kernl’s life our best channel for adding new customers has been word-of-mouth referrals and now you can be rewarded for referring new customers!

How It Works

When you go to your Kernl profile you’ll see a new section called “Referrals”.

It briefly explains how the Kernl referral program works, gives you your referral link, tells you how many referrals you’ve made, and how many free months you’ve earned.

Rewards

The rewards for the Kernl referral program are as follows:

  • For the referrer: Every 3 customers you refer to Kernl earn you one free month. No restrictions on plan or usage. There is a max of 24 referrals. If you somehow manage to bump in to this restriction, shoot us an email and we’ll work with you. 🙂
  • For the new customer: By using your referral code they earn 3 free months of Kernl (instead of the usual 30 day free trial).

That’s it! Kernl’s referral program is intentionally simple. Thanks to everyone who spreads the word about Kernl. The more customers we have the better we become.

What’s New With Kernl – May 2018

Welcome to May! Lets go ahead and dive right in.

  • Data Export – You can now export (most) of your Kernl data. To export your data, log in to Kernl, go to your profile, and scroll down to the “Export My Data” button.
  • Node.js Upgraded – Kernl has been updated to use the latest LTS version of Node.js. We are now on 8.11.1.
  • Kernl Analytics Hardware Upgraded – Kernl analytics sees a lot of traffic on a daily basis. As that number continued to grow we were seeing some resource contention issues during peak periods. We were able to mitigate all resource issues by upgrading our hardware from a single vCPU setup to a three vCPU setup.
  • https://kernl.us/wordpress-installation-statistics – Check out our new public WordPress installation statistics page! Most of this information is readily available on WordPress.org, but Kernl’s data is interesting because it only includes data points from websites that purchase plugins or themes. The data is also available via our API for public consumption.

Thats it for this month! I hope everyone in the northern hemisphere is enjoying the start of summer.

Introducing the Kernl WordPress Statistics Page

On an average day Kernl handles around 2 million requests from 135,000 unique domains. Our analytics offering lets you use this data to make better product development decisions, but there is also a more holistic view of the Kernl and WordPress ecosystem to be had. I’d like to introduce to you the Kernl WordPress Statistics page!

What is it?

The statistics page gives you a high level overview of Kernl ecosystem. This is a subset of the overall WordPress ecosystem with the important distinction that every domain represented has paid for a plugin or theme. It includes information around WordPress versions, PHP versions, and the language that the site is in.

Kernl WordPress Statistic Image

 

API

There are a lot of neat visualizations that you could make with this data over time, so the API is exposed and can be used by anyone. Check out the Kernl API documentation to get started. No authentication required.

Awesome! Where do I go to see this in action?

Check out https://kernl.us/wordpress-installation-statistics , or go to the Kernl homepage and scroll all the way to the bottom.

What’s New With Kernl – April 2018

Welcome to April! It was fairly light month for Kernl feature-wise as we’ve been spending more of our efforts on marketing and advertising. We did manage to get a few things done, so lets get in to it!

Features & Bug Fixes

Plugin Update Icons – You can now set the icon that shows up in the WordPress update dashboard! No more gray power outlet icon! To set it, go to your plugin -> edit -> meta and then upload an image.

Multi-Subscription Bug – It was possible (although hard) to get your account into a state where you had multiple Kernl subscriptions assigned to it. This has been resolved. If you notice this happening to you on your invoice, please reach out to jack@kernl.us.

Upgrade to Node.js 8.10.0 – Kernl is now run on the latest LTS version of Node.js. Performance and security updates were part of the upgrade.

Envato License Check Bug – There were certain situations where the Envato license check functionality wasn’t working. This has been resolved.

Blog Post – A new blog post about how I develop features for Kernl.us

Kernl Now Supports Update Icons

Have you ever wished that Kernl supported plugin update icons? Well, your wish is our command!

Before

As you can see, before this change the icon displayed on the WordPress update dashboard for Kernl-based plugins was the default “power cord” image.

Kernl Plugin Update Icon - Before

After

Now you can upload your own icon to Kernl and have it displayed in the update dashboard.

Kernl Plugin Update Icon - After

Getting Started

Using the new plugin update icon feature is easy.

  1. Add the latest version of the plugin_update_check.php file to your plugin.
  2. Upload an icon (64×64) to Kernl in the plugin meta tab.

How to upload new plugin icon

That’s it! Deploy your update so that all of your customers get the new plugin_update_check file and Kernl will start serving your update icon when you release your next update.

If you have any questions or need help getting set up, shoot and email to jack@kernl.us

What’s New With Kernl – March 2018

Welcome to March everyone! Lots of great stuff happened with Kernl this month, so lets get into it.

Features

  • New Marketing Site – The new marketing website for Kernl launched! For most of Kernl’s life the marketing page has been a single landing page optimized for only plugin and theme updates. Since inception Kernl has grown to include a lot more than just updates and the new marketing site reflects that.
  • PHP Version and Install Language Analytics – Kernl Analytics can now track what PHP version your customers have installed as well as the written language of the site. Knowing this information can help you make smart data-driven decisions about internationalization and which programming language features you can target.
  • Plugin & Theme Dashboard Views – Previously when you went to the “versions” page in Kernl you were greeted with just a list of versions for the plugin/theme. Now you can easily see downloads stats, licenses, versions, and Git deployments in one easy screen.
  • Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates – Kernl switched over to using Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

Bugs Fixes & Other

  • The /latest-version endpoint now includes the version id.
  • Build emails were not displaying the correct repository. This has been resolved.
  • Digital Ocean has been doing scheduled hard reboots of servers to handle Meltdown/Spectre issues. We’ve had to carefully manage this process but it looks like we made it through mostly unscathed.
  • There is now a simple proof-of-concept realtime channel on the marketing home page that updates the download count. Eventually we hope to use realtime with feature flags and any other number of things.

What’s New With Kernl – February 2018

This was a HUGE month for Kernl! We finally launched our initial analytics offering, fixed some bugs, and added some smaller customer request features. Let’s dive in!

Features

  • Analytics – Kernl now provides analytics for your plugins and themes! The first iteration of this feature allows you to see what domains your product is installed on, what product versions are installed, and what WordPress versions your product is running on. This can be very helpful for troubleshooting and justifying using newer WordPress features. You can check it out by going to the plugin/theme list page and then clicking the black “analytics” button.
  • Ephemeral Download Links – You can now create download links that expire after a period of time. This is useful if you don’t want your download link being shared. You can create these new short-lived links by going to version list of your plugin/theme and clicking “Download Link”. There is also an API available for programatic use.

Small Changes & Bug Fixes

  • More monitoring has been added to Kernl’s infrastructure using Digital Ocean’s monitoring offering.
  • Our Nginx load balancers / reverse proxy servers have been upgraded to have 1GB of RAM. Previously they both had 512MB.
  • When a new customer signs up for Kernl they are now automatically signed in.
  • Verified that Kernl works on WP Engine.
  • Added better error handling if your new version upload to Kernl fails. Prior to this it was possible for a new version to be created but not have a file attached to it.

Introducing Kernl Analytics

Have you ever wanted to know what version of WordPress your customer is running? Or perhaps what version of your plugin or theme? Maybe you have a plugin or theme that’s installed on hundreds or thousands of sites and you want to know which ones?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Kernl Analytics is just what you’re looking for!

analytics product versions

Kernl Analytics gives you insights into how your customers are using your plugin or theme. If you’re an agency, Kernl analytics gives you quick insights into the websites that you manage. Using our domains feature you can see what domains your plugin or theme is installed on, as well as what WordPress version is installed. Looking for PHP version or what language the site is displayed in? That’s coming soon!

Kernl Analytics Domains

To enable Kernl analytics, go to the plugin or theme list in Kernl and click the black “Analytics” button. Because of the nature of gathering and storing this information at scale, Kernl Analytics is an add-on to your current Kernl subscription that costs $10 / month. The Kernl Analytics subscription also comes with a free 30 day trial so that you can try it. The Kernl Analytics subscription covers all of your plugins and themes regardless of how many you have or how many sites they’re installed on.

We’re super excited about providing WordPress plugin and theme analytics for you and hope you are too!

What’s New With Kernl – January 2018

Welcome to 2018! 2017 was a great year for Kernl and we’re excited to start 2018 out with some new features that you’ll find useful.

Coming Soon – Kernl Analytics!

An often requested feature for Kernl is some basic analytics around who’s using your product, what WordPress version they’re using, and the domains where it’s installed. It’s not quite ready yet, but we’ve already got some interesting data from January 2, 2018 to share while we finish up. When completed, you’ll have access to this data and more for all of your plugins and themes.

  • Requests processed – 1.58 million
  • Unique domains – 120,000
  • Top 5 WordPress versions:
    • 4.9.1 – 55,367
    • 4.8.4 – 27,151
    • 4.7.8 – 14,523
    • 4.6.9 – 4,748
    • 4.5.12 – 3,207

But enough with the analytics! Let’s talk about what’s new RIGHT NOW for Kernl.

Features & Bug Fixes

  • PDF Invoices – Have you ever wanted to download a copy of your Kernl invoice? You’re now able to do this for all of your recent invoices.
  • Feature Flag bug fixes – It somehow slipped past us that our feature flag API endpoints weren’t respecting account limits (max number of products or flags for your plan). This is fixed now and some useful warning dialogs were put in place for when you hit your max.
  • Blog – Last month we finally got a blog in place. This month we added Google Analytics to it, worked on SEO, picked a better theme, and wrote a few blog posts.
  • Expired Session Redirect Loop – There was a bug in the frontend Angular application that allowed a infinite redirect loop to happen. This has been resolved.
  • General Work on Kernl Analytics

That’s it for this month! Enjoy the new year!