Why We Nixed the Self-Hosting of Walkthroughs

A question we’ve started to get quite a bit is some variation of “Why can’t I host the Walkthroughs myself?” Usually the underlying assumption by the person asking the question is that by self-hosting they will save money and the implication is that SIDEKICK is just being greedy and selfish. The answer couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here’s one of those questions and the reply I recently sent to a (hopefully) future customer. What are your thoughts?

I’m still confused about composer when ur comes to hosting the walkthroughs. I pay a lot for my dedicated servers. They have the juice to handle these walkthroughs. My current understanding is that part of the cost is sidekick hosts and serves up Walkthroughs that is create, is this accurate? – Matt

Hi Matt,

Actual hosting costs of the Walkthroughs are not a big part of your fees. We calculate our pricing first based on value to our customers then our costs and we are continually reinvesting your subscription fees into the platform.

We’ve had quite a number of internal discussions about this and here are a few of the reasons Walkthroughs need to be hosted by SIDEKICK:

It keeps our plugin very light.

If you had to download all of our pre-built Walkthroughs plus your custom Walkthroughs onto every install of WordPress you created, it would be cumbersome.

Not everyone has expensive dedicated servers and those that do, need them for other things

Most people host their sites on shared hosting. Those that don’t, usually have good reason for spending the money on dedicated boxes and don’t need us gumming up the works.

Quick and ongoing maintenance, bug fixes and improvements.

We are constantly improving on our platform behind the scenes. The fact that we host everything means we can quickly and without the need for you to update your Walkthroughs every time we do, push patches and changes. If you self-hosted your WT’s, every time we pushed a platform update that updated the player or Composer, you would have to regenerate your WT database.

It’s cheaper and easier for everybody.

Allowing you to self-host would mean building and maintaining a universal API end-point, ensuring wide-compatibility (think of the headache MS has with Windows working everywhere vs. Apple who controls the Hardware and the software) and supporting any issues that came up related to your hosting environment.

Security, Data and Quality.

It’s important to us that the quality of our product stays as high as possible. By controlling the Walkthroughs we ensure that they are secure and don’t perform anything malicious. We also get to collect very useful data on what’s in our library and the most important piece is that we retain the right to review every Walkthrough being shared on our platform and help developers by suggesting improvements.

There are a few more but these are the top 5.



Until next time.