EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Robert Jacobi from Cloudways


Cloudways has taken an innovative step through a partnership with Patchstack. We talked to Robert Jacobi, their new director for WordPress, on that occasion, but we also talked about some other topics. Enjoy!

Robert, you are the new Director of WordPress at Cloudways. What are the most important goals that you want to achieve and how was your first month in a new company!?

First, thank you Vjekoslav for the opportunity and the time to chat. That’s a fun question to get started with. The first month has really been about getting to know the teams, processes, workflows, etc. All the standard getting up to speed things that have to happen. I’m really blown away by the professionalism and enthusiasm by everyone at Cloudways. And that’s a lot of people.

As for the position, it’s actually a new role that focuses on our most successful business unit. We needed to make sure coordination and direction were aligned within the group to expand our vision of the future of managed WordPress on the cloud.

One of the latest steps of Cloudways is the partnership with PatchStack. With PatchStack, the users are able to protect their websites from plugin vulnerabilities. Is it true that most malware is being injected via different WordPress plugins?

There are two very common vectors of attack for WordPress. WordPress not being up-to-date is the easiest to mitigate but unless you are set up for automatic updates, it’s easy to leave a gaping door open for hackers, luckily this one is easy for most people to have enabled. That leaves WordPress plugins as the most likely vector of attack. Not all plugins are quickly patched or updated.

Tell us more… How this solution works, why it’s important, and what is making this solution so popular among developers!?

In general, we are integrating WordPress sites on a system level to be aware of Patchstack’s vulnerabilities database and at a minimum notifying site owners of newly discovered issues. The popularity, unfortunately, stems from the need to always be vigilant of exploits that hackers may take advantage of to cause some level of harm to a website owner.

Plugins are the main source of security problems? There is no “Theme automatic patches” option!? Please, bring it closer to the ordinary average user.

Sites use one theme but multiple plugins. This is a critical issue. Regarding themes, there is at the moment a concern that automatic theme patches may cause unintended consequences so notification is the safest route. Our goal with Patchstack is always first to do no harm.

Tell us about Cloudways WordPress hosting generally!? There are more than 120k users and 600k of websites hosted!? What would be, in your opinion, the unique values of Cloudways solutions!?

Our unique value proposition is simple. Reduce friction, increase ease of use, for deploying managed WordPress on cloud hosting providers. We aim to offer the best value (cost + user experience + performance) for taking your WordPress site to the cloud. There is no one else in the managed WordPress hosting arena that offers the depth and breadth of solutions Cloudways provides.

You were one of the speakers on this year’s WordCamp Europe. Tell us more about it!? Your biggest impression is…!?

I was thrilled to be accepted as a speaker for WordCamp Europe 2021. In general I like to focus on business cases and thoughts for individuals and agencies to think beyond the technology within WordPress. I call this Invisible CMS, and it is about asking the questions that identify as more than just a WordPress developer – because just about everyone else is today.

The camp experience was fantastic and much improved over the virtual camp in 2020. On the whole, the platform was amazing for speakers and attendees. The biggest takeaway is really how successful it was in communicating great ideas and bringing people together.

Your opinion on remote working, what are good and are there any bad sides of it!?

The flexibility of remote working is unparalleled but it takes discipline and trust. If you have those most issues disappear. The one bad side effect for me personally is that I miss people and the camaraderie that comes from an office environment, usually that’s mitigated by events and I’m very much looking forward to in-person events returning.

In the end, please, send one special positive message to our readers and to all the WordPress fans!?

The best of WordPress is yet to come, keep learning, keep communicating, enjoy the ride, and success will come.

::: Conversation led by Vjekoslav Cerovina, editor of #WPDEVMAG.

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