MODX Cloud Update May 12, 2016—Self-Serve SSL

Self-Serve SSL Installation Now Available

Serving websites via HTTPS is more important today than ever, and we’ve noticed a large uptick in recent months requesting SSL:

  • Greater trustworthiness of the website for visitors, giving visitors greater confidence
  • Google factors HTTPS/SSL into search rank, getting more of the right people to your site
  • SPDY/HTTP2 decreases web page speed load times, keeping visitors more engaged

Previously, the only way customers could add SSL was by submitting a ticket to our customer support system, which required back and forth over hours or days—not always as speedy as people hoped.

Those days are over.

Now, all users on our current plans can request CSRs and install SSL Certificates for free without requiring a support ticket, any time, without delay. 100% self-served.

Installing your SSL certificate is fairly intuitive, but we have written a user guide for those who love step-by-step instructions. Not only can you install a certificate for a website, but you can also move certificates to MODX Cloud from previous hosts, move them between Cloud instances, and install them on multiple Clouds.

If you’re on one of our legacy plans and want to run your site under SSL, we can help you select and move to one of our current plans, so you too can get access to self-serve SSL installs.

Knowledge is Power

We’ve also recently reorganized and expanded the MODX Cloud User Guide (aka Knowledge Base) to help you do more, more easily. Some of the changes include the addition of a new section called Optimizing Performance which contains articles on delivering your website faster to browsers, increasing your page speed score, adding more power to your Cloud instance, and even Private Servers in MODX Cloud.

For those of you launching a new site, we’ve created a MODX Cloud Site Launch Checklist, which includes all the steps to go from development to live site including web rules, domains and more. Whether you’re new to MODX Cloud or you’ve been here a while, it’s nice to have a reference that will make sure you launch without a hitch. It’s also not a bad checklist for launching a site anywhere.

Preparing for the Future

We have a ton of plans for the future and look forward to bringing you more tools and locations in MODX Cloud. Let us know what you’d love to see.

MODX Cloud Update April 8, 2016

We’ve worked diligently to improve the MODX Cloud platform, both behind the scenes and—more importantly—for all of its users.

Image of the MODX Cloud Add-ons Tab which shows the toggles for activating each of the features including SSL, Managed Cloud and etc.

The New Add-ons Tab

The biggest visible change is the new Add-ons tab for each MODX Cloud instance. This gives you access to additional features for each Cloud:

  • Request SSL for increased security and visitor trust, and to boost your SEO,
  • Order our Managed Cloud service, so you never have to worry about monitoring or maintaining your site at all, and
  • Adding server resources (PHP Workers) for higher traffic or more complex sites.

With this change, we’ve also moved enabling custom domains, installing phpMyAdmin and requesting Compass/Sass/Node.js to the Add-ons tab in the Dashboard. Most Add-ons currently submit a ticket for our team to implement, but we’re rolling out automation one-by-one. Look for additional available upgrades in the coming months.

Accessible Manager Preview

The MODX a11y project, likewise overdue an update, now has a preview available in MODX Cloud. Navigating the entire Manager via a keyboard, and being able to use screen readers and other assistive devices with the Manager will open MODX to everyone. You can find a preview in the Public Snapshots tab under the main Snapshots menu item, and it can be injected into existing instances in MODX Cloud.

More for Less with Custom Domains

One of our key goals in MODX Cloud is to streamline what it takes to create, launch and maintain your sites. Now, you can add up to 25 domains to every Cloud instance for one low price: $5/Cloud per month ($10 on Basic plans). Previously the same price would have only given you to 5 URLS, with 25 costing double. If you need even more, open a ticket and we’ll take care of you.

SSL for Everyone

Running a website under SSL is more important than ever for many reasons, including appeasing Google’s search ranking algorithm and serving sites more quickly with lower overhead. As a result, we decided everyone should be able to have a secure site, with no additional costs. SSL is now available at all plan levels, including Basic. Need a certificate installed today? Just open a ticket and we’ll be happy to assist.

We’re close to releasing a more automated way to add SSL to your Clouds. Look for self-serve SSL certificate installation in the near future, and free SSL certificates after Let’s Encrypt comes out of beta.

Other Notable Improvements

In addition to the main items above, we’ve made some other improvements in MODX Cloud:

  • The MODX Cloud user guide and knowledge base now lives in our Zendesk Help Center. You can search our KB articles straight from the Dashboard help widget, and open a ticket if you don’t find the answer you need.
  • Need to grab a file you accidentally deleted a few days ago? Now it’s a whole lot easier: restore a backup into another Cloud instance straight from your main Backups tab in the MODX Cloud Dashboard.
  • Added latest version of MODX Revolution (2.4.4).
  • Updated to latest nginx and PHP.
  • And finally, we were able to make faster nightly backups. Faster is better, right?

We look forward to continue to bring you the tools you need to create, launch and maintain amazing websites easier, faster and with less hassle than ever before.

Better Backups in MODX Cloud

Backups of your websites are critical—you will eventually need them. Even today too many hosts still don’t backup by default, or they only grab the files and leave your database out of the picture. Likewise, many hosts’ backups are difficult or slow to access, requiring help from support.

If something goes wrong, it can be costly and stressful. Or worse…

MODX Cloud launched years ago with automatic, offsite backups stored on redundant disks, on a rolling 7-day basis. You can also create manual backups any time that are only culled when you manually delete them. Anyone with Dashboard access can restore from backups without needing to open a support ticket. It’s the way backups should be.

But we had requests for more control over the schedules so MODX Cloud users can keep within their plan storage limits. Today we’re happy to announce you can adjust the backup retention schedule for each Cloud instance. Set them to as low as a single nightly backup, or increase them to up to 30-days of retention on a rolling basis. We won’t let you disable backups completely. ;)

Adjusting the backup schedule is simple. Click on the name of the Cloud from the Clouds view, click the Backups tab, and move the slider. Saving is automatic and the schedule will be adjusted for the next round of backups later that night.

To learn more in the Backups in MODX Cloud section of the User Guide. We hope you enjoy this requested enhancement in MODX Cloud.

MODX Cloud Update December 23, 2015

We continue making improvements to MODX Cloud to make it a more flexible platform, and to bring things that used to require complex technical chops to everyone.

Most notably, we added support for Node.js in MODX Cloud. This means front-end developers can use it for workflow tools like Bower, Grunt and Gulp, amongst others. If you’d like to try it out, request it for your specific Cloud instance by using the help link in your MODX Cloud Dashboard.

We also want to remind you about the recently added Flex Cloud instances which give you access to the filesystem above webroot. You can use them to install other software like MODX Evolution or another CMS, or even frameworks like Slim, CakePHP and Laravel. Flex Clouds include a highly tuned nginx web server and an empty MySQL database instance. Automatic offsite backups occur every night, and we store them for 7 days on a rolling basis.

A few other noteworthy updates include:

  • Fixed a minor sorting bug to list the accounts you have access to in alphabetical order.
  • MODX Cloud instances can now be upgraded to be fully managed, monitored and maintained for customers on current plans from the Cloud management view. Formal announcement coming soon. ;)
  • Fixed additional UI bugs, adjusted the UI in spots, and updated documentation to improve the overall experience in MODX Cloud.
  • Many, many underlying platform updates to set the foundation for new functionality and products starting in early 2016.

What’s Next

Go check out the MODX Cloud Roadmap, and you tell us what you’d like to see! We look forward to your thoughts.

Your Website Just Got a Promotion

Avoiding a Content Management Disaster

Chances are you’ve been there: you quickly make what should be a simple change to a site but you wind up with a mess. You save over the wrong page on accident, break the formatting of your site, or worse, tweak something that winds up taking your site offline. The vast majority of users work on live sites, and most of the times it just works.

Except when it doesn’t.

At best, it’s frustrating and you have to scramble to fix things. Often it can have real monetary or reputation implications.

Some site owners come up with creative ways to keep work in progress out of the public eye, like duplicating pages to start work on new content. There are Extras that allow you to make drafted changes prior to publishing, and others to roll back to changes when things go wrong. These are fine for individual pages, and we use them ourselves. We even used Complete Snapshots in Cloud (see below), but it was not ideal.

When you’re working on many pages for a campaign, or creating a new section for your site, things can get complex and require careful coordination.

The time tested, recommended practice for managing updates to an important website is to use a Staging site. But let’s be honest: in the real world, it’s hard to do things right, especially when you don’t have a technically savvy dev team and sysadmins backing you up around the clock.

Introducing the Promote Snapshot

The new Promote Snapshot in MODX Cloud allows you to capture the right content, Elements and new system settings, leaving users, and existing system settings alone. This is seriously cool, and lets even completely non-technical teams manage their sites the right way, without having to think about it.

It’s even smart enough to push new settings over, and to leave existing ones alone.

A Real World Example:

The MODX Cloud marketing site constantly changes, especially the User Guide.

While it is a fairly simple website with a small signup application, we make, preview and test changes in a staging environment and then deploy completed and approved changes to the live site. Doing this one page at a time on the live site simply won’t work.

More importantly, we have different settings on the staging and live sites, so we can test without worrying about dirtying up the data in production. These things include:

  • Analytics Account IDs
  • A test Billing System URL
  • A test Checkout URL
  • Test Users
  • Test CDN zones

Before Promote, we had to go through a cumbersome process. Granted, MODX Cloud Snapshots probably cut the migration time in half, but we knew it could be a lot better. Here are the steps we had to go through to move from the staging server to the live site:

  1. Snapshot the Staging site everyone approved using the Complete Snapshot template. This is a safety net to fall back on if needed, and is in fact needed in the last step of this process. It’s also nice to keep for historical archives.
  2. Find the checklist containing all the caveats and gotchas to look out for. Don’t ask how we came up with the list.
  3. Meticulously change the settings in Staging to match the live site by copy/pasting.
  4. Snapshot the Staging site with the updated settings using the Complete Snapshot Template.
  5. Snapshot the Users from the live site using the Users Snapshot template.
  6. Back up the live site using the Cloud Dashboard.
  7. When the backup is complete, inject the Staging site Snapshot from step 4 into the live site. Hope this goes quickly!
  8. Inject the users from the live site take in step 5 into the newly injected live site.
  9. Test the live site.
  10. Inject the Snapshot from step 1 back to Staging site to reset it and its test data.

After doing this for months, on a good day we managed to get this process down to about 15 minutes, depending on how recently we had last done a push from stage > production. It was not uncommon for this to take 30+ minutes. If you had never done this before it was intimidating, but way better than doing it manually from the command line.

Now with the Promote Snapshot

After the Cloud team created the new Promote Snapshot, here are the steps it takes to move our changes to the live site:

  1. Snapshot the Staging site with the Promote Snapshot Template.
  2. Backup the live site (in extremely rare case of an issue—none have happened so far).
  3. Inject the Snapshot from Step 1 into the live site.
  4. There is no step 4 … it’s done!

This process is way faster, taking about 3-4 minutes from start to finish. Since it’s so easy, it makes it so you’re willing to make changes more frequently, and more people can update the site, too, because it’s virtually foolproof.

Using the Promote Snapshot

If you have a website where you should review content or design changes before pushing those updates into production, Promote Snapshots are for you, today. This is especially true when multiple people in an organization have a say in what happens on your website. Standard Promote Snapshots are available to any customer on a current Basic, Pro, Studio or Agency plan.

Customers on legacy plans will need to choose one of the new plans to use Promote Snapshots (there’s also much more coming for the new plans).

If your site has custom data, such as comments or user generated content, the Promote template will copy it all from your staging site and replace it on your production site. This may or may not be the behavior you want, depending on the use case. Customers on Agency or Premium plans can request a custom Promote Snapshot template to fit your site perfectly, as we did for

Set Up Your Own Staging Environment

To get started with your own Staging environment, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Take a Snapshot of your live site using the Complete template.
  2. Create a new Cloud from this Snapshot.
  3. Customize settings and users that should differ between Staging and Production.

Finally, It’s Easy to Stage Your Site Correctly

We hope you’ll find the new Promote Snapshot helps you manage your content in a much more effective manner. Let us know what you think.

MODX Cloud Update November 13, 2015

We recently launched Flex Clouds, which makes MODX Cloud a great place to work on pretty much any site. We've now added to the documentation, starting with how to install MODX Evolution and WordPress.

Flex Clouds are perfect for when you need a place to put a project you’re planning to migrate to Revo, for installing utility apps like Piwik analytics, exploring e-commerce, or for when your client forces you to use a clearly inferior alternative CMS. ;)

Flex Cloud instances give you access to all the Cloud Tools that work for MODX Revolution, including access to the filesystem above webroot for installing frameworks like Slim and Laravel, a highly tuned nginx web server, and an empty database instance. Automatic offsite backups occur every night, and we store them for 7 days on a rolling basis. You can even install MODX Revolution manually in a Flex Cloud, but you will not have access to Snapshots and workflow tools unique to MODX Revolution.

There’s Always More…

Other noteworthy updates include:

  • Sensitive credentials for database and SSH connections are now hidden from plain view. Thanks to JP DeVries for bringing this up—it makes demoing the system and training people much less delicate.
  • Updated to the latest PHP 5.6.15 version.
  • UI updates including a streamlined header and account switcher, and a link to the public roadmap in the Dashboard footer (you should go vote for things there!).
  • Fixed a longstanding bug with the paging of lists for some users.
  • Fixed a bug that resulted in incorrect size recording for Backups and Snapshots. Related, we confirmed the old limit of 4GB for both is long gone.
  • Fixed bug in the implementation of cron task handling that caused them to intermittently fail.

What’s Next

Go check out the MODX Cloud Roadmap, and you tell us what you’d like to see! We look forward to your thoughts.

More Flexibility for your Projects in MODX Cloud

Many customers told us how much they love the speed, stability and performance of MODX Cloud for Revo, but they wanted other PHP apps without workarounds, too. Today, their wait is over.

We’re excited to introduce Flex Clouds—a standalone Cloud type that comes with an empty database, SSH and SFTP, ready for you to install virtually anything that runs on a modern nginx/MySQL/PHP stack. Automatic rolling 7-day offsite backups keep your Flex Cloud projects safe, so you can sleep well at night.

For front-end developers, Flex Clouds support Sass and Compass Watch. For those that live in IDEs and Text Editors, you can use the command line for modern developer tools like Composer, Git, cron, shell scripts, rsync, Nano and Vim (sorry Emacs).

Many customers have been holding on to legacy hosting accounts to run their MODX Evolution and WordPress sites; today we have removed the barrier to moving to MODX Cloud. You can now have all your legacy and current projects in a single place, and update them to MODX Revolution when the time is right.

For customers on the original plans, we will shift your WordPress Clouds to the new Flex Cloud type; you won’t need to do anything. If you need a new WordPress Cloud, use the Flex Cloud type and install the latest version from the web installer or from a CLI tool of your choice. We’ll add instructions for installing WordPress and MODX Evolution, and other apps that you request.

This is just the first of several other expanded capabilities coming to MODX Cloud this year. Keep an eye out for what’s next, and tell us what you’d like to see.

MODX Cloud Update October 20, 2015

MODX Cloud is giving some overdue attention to accountants and bookkeepers. We hope to make our number-crunching friends’ jobs easier with a new billing system and plans that bring detailed consolidated invoices, lower prices, and increased storage. In addition, we’ve re-introduced the Agency plan for customers that need more storage than was previously available as standard.

MODX Cloud introduces new plans

Subscribers on the old billing platform can elect to migrate to the new plans today, but for those already there, your next invoice will be lower with at least double the storage space. It’s our way of saying “thanks”, and giving you more room to work ahead of the coming new features.

In addition to ongoing UX and documentation improvements, other highlights from the last few weeks include:

  • Kept up with the MODX Revolution releases by adding 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 as install targets, allowing site builders to stay at the forefront of MODX development.
  • Updated to PHP 5.6.14 to keep up with the latest bug fixes and security updates, keeping developers more productive and site owners safer.
  • Made updating your payment method simpler by making a link available in the sidebar on all account-related pages, and adding documentation with instructions on how to update your payment method. Users can pay via both Paypal and credit cards on the new billing platform, giving them more flexibility and convenience.
  • General documentation improvements including better organization, creating content for every top-level section, and clarifying the SSL format for user-supplied SSL certificates. Don’t forget you can always test SSL for free on any internal MODX Cloud URL, so you don’t have to worry about overlooking things before launching and installing an SSL cert on a live production site.
  • Added instructions on using Sass and Compass Watch in MODX Cloud. If you ever want to try out Sass, just open a support ticket from the MODX Cloud dashboard and we’ll be happy to hook you you up.
  • Added documentation to access site logs for troubleshooting in MODX Cloud, so developers can be more productive in MODX Cloud.
  • Fixed a longstanding issue with the chroots which prevented Imagemagik from being used for generating thumbnails of CMYK PDF documents. It is now possible but requires custom code since no current Extras including the suggested pThumb and Resizer use Imagemagik for this. As a result, MODX has adopted these two key Extras and will update them to use Imagemagik when available by default.

What’s Next

As mentioned previously, the new billing system allows us offer upgrades for both individual Cloud instances and your plan a whole. In addition, we can use it for one-time billing events, for instance if you wished to hire us to help speed up your site (we’re really good at optimizing MODX ;) ). In addition to users upgrading their storage, the first few instance upgrades include the following:

  • Double the PHP workers for the front-end of sites in MODX Cloud for $10/month/site. This allows your projects to handle more intensive processor loads that otherwise might time out or take too long, resulting in timeout errors.
  • Dedicated PHP worker pools for the MODX Manager allow you get into the Manager back end even if the front end is currently timing out. This allows you to troubleshoot your site without opening a ticket to get your site rebooted, for $10/month/site.
  • SSL Certificates will move to instance upgrades, free for Studio and Agency plans, and only $5/month/site for Professional plans.

Something Even Bigger is On the Horizon

A completely new Snapshot type is coming to allow you to correctly migrate from Staging to Production, more easily and faster than ever before. This is a big deal. It allows normal, non-technical people to do things that previously took sysadmins and custom scripts outside of MODX Cloud—and tedious, time consuming, and delicate multi-step procedures inside of MODX Cloud. We use it internally for MODX Cloud content to cut down our migrations from Stage to Production from roughly half an hour to 5 minutes or less! If you would like a sneak peak and are on a paying plan, let us know by opening a support ticket and we’ll get you in line for early access.

Stay Tuned for More

Keep an eye here over the coming weeks—we can’t wait to share exciting updates to make MODX Cloud better for you and for your customers.

MODX Cloud Update September 21, 2015

The MODX Cloud Public Roadmap now Live

We are constantly working to improve both as an organization and to provide a tool that better fits our customers’ needs. Both building, and building in, MODX Cloud is a blast—and it already incorporates hundreds of users’ ideas.

But before today, getting insight into what’s going on usually meant cornering the team in Skype or Slack. Not anymore!

You can visit the MODX Cloud Roadmap Trello board now, vote on cards and make suggestions. We can’t promise to do everything suggested, and the Roadmap is not an all encompassing list of everything we’re working on, but it hopefully provides a 10,000-foot view of the future and current work.

We hope to see some great ideas come out of this that we haven’t considered. For most cards, click on them to comment, vote and get more details. Here’s how it works and is organized (borrowed from the first card).

Voting for Features

To show your support for an item, vote and comment—you’ll need a Trello account to do so, but they’re free. To suggest something that’s not here, comment on this Features & Suggestions card in this column. We can’t promise we’ll do all suggestions, or even all the things in the Idea column, but we do promise to give them careful consideration.

If we turn a suggestion into a Roadmap item, chances are it will get removed from this column to keep things organized.


  • Suggestion Box: unsorted bucket of ideas and user requests … not all will be done
  • Up next: things we’re going to work on next
  • In progress: things we’re working on right now
  • Shipped: things we have released
  • Shelved: things that can’t be done, with reasons in the Card description (click the card for details)


Label colors should indicate the current status of a card in our roadmap. We haven't decided on them but when we do we'll put them here. Some thoughts.

  • Yellow: Bugs or Known Issues
  • Red: Stalled/On-hold
  • Green: New Account Upgrade or Feature
  • Blue: New Instance Upgrade or Feature

Feedback & Help

If you’re looking for basic information on how MODX Cloud works, we're constantly updating our User Guide.

If you're a MODX Cloud Customer and you need help with something, open a ticket from the Help link located in the Dashboard. We'll get back to you pronto.

But Wait There’s More…

Other noteworthy updates include:

  • Replaced Siphon with Teleport. This provides more functionality for developers using it from the command line, and paves the way for an even more awesome future in the Dashboard.
  • When you install phpMyAdmin, the notification now contains the name of the cloud. Just for Susan. Because, she’s awesome. :)
  • Updated to the latest PHP 5.6.13 version.
  • Ongoing documentation and transactional email updates.
  • Fixed a billing system bug that prevented showing all invoices for high-volume users.
  • Tracked down a sneaky Zendesk Help tab bug, where it would load and immediately disappear. This made it less than convenient inconvenient to open ticket from the Dashboard. If you experience this, force refresh your browser to reload the Javascript that is cached in your browser (or clear its cache).

What’s Next

Go check out the MODX Cloud Roadmap, and you tell us what you’d like to see! We look forward to your thoughts.

I’d like to thank Trello for making such an incredible tool that has helped us streamline MODX Cloud internally, and now externally, too. I can’t recommend their product highly enough. Thank you!

MODX Cloud Update September 10, 2015

MODX Cloud introduces Frankfurt to it's Platforms

Three significant updates hit MODX Cloud over the last few weeks. While we've continued working behind the scenes on the billing platform to support add-ons for plans and Cloud instances later this year, other areas have seen more visible progress.

Update: There is another update that fell close on the heals of this one announcing the MODX Cloud Public Roadmap. You should check it out, too.

Most notably, Frankfurt was the clear winner when we polled customers about where they wanted new MODX Cloud platforms. If you’re a customer that has been with MODX Cloud for a while, contact us to get access the FRA servers—we’d love to help you update your plan, so Sie sprechen Deutsch können. If you’ve signed up more recently, you should see the FRA data center as an option when creating a new Cloud.

In addition, all users can now restore backups to any Cloud instance. This is useful if you need to grab a file from a few days ago that accidentally was deleted, but you’ve made changes to the live site since then you’d rather not lose.

Finally, the Vault space usage report has returned to the Dashboard. You can now see how much space you're using for Snapshots and Backups. It appears at the top of the Vault page. One of the first plan upgrades we’ll offer is extra storage space, so there's no need to worry about exceeding their plan limits.

Other noteworthy updates include:

  • Improved documentation including additional nginx web rules examples to lock down Manager access to specific IP addresses (ex. 5), use free testing certificates to always access the Manager via SSL (ex. 6) and to further optimize performance of your sites (ex. 4).
  • Updates to the latest PHP 5.6.x version, and added MODX Revolution 2.4 as the default version in Cloud alongside its previous latest 2.3.x patch release. Keeping your sites and platform secure and working optimally is a major priority for us in MODX Cloud, and these types of updates always receive the appropriate attention.
  • If you're referring friends and clients to MODX Cloud, we've made improvements to the overall signup and trial process, especially under the hood ahead of some new functionality that will roll out later this year.
  • Under the hood billing system updates, including easier ways for customers to easily switch to newer plans (coming soon).
  • Dashboard improvements to make it faster for users.

What’s Next

When we asked MODX Cloud users where they’d like to see MODX Cloud next, Frankfurt was first in line. Up next is London, which we also look forward to bringing online.

We’re also planning to streamline the plans, with added features and options, as we migrate everyone off the legacy billing platform. We also have a few other tricks up our sleeve we hope you will like.

Stay Tuned for More

Keep an eye here over the coming weeks—we can’t wait to share exciting updates to make MODX Cloud better for you and for your customers.

Need Help?

Get fast answers in the User Guide or for specific questions or issues email