Will Your In-House CMS “Beauregard” Open to the Public?

Previously, I announced following Slade’s Corner‘s leave from Substack that this site runs on Beauregard, a content management system (and alternative to the Substack platform) that I’ve been building from scratch since the whole, er, situation blew up over there. Since then, I’ve built so many features into the site: native Cloudflare integration, linklog support, autoposting to Mastodon (and derivatives), and even native Cloudinary support for super fast image hosting!

Beauregard is the successor to BeauCMS, which itself was based on WordPress 6.0 and 6.1. It was born out of wanting something less clunky, more fluid. Thus, it’s a more mature content management system, one that is modern, written from the ground-up in native PHP, JavaScript, and HTML, but still fluidly compatible with WordPress’s fancy Gutenberg editor, along with its blocks, plugins, and themes. Beauregard isn’t WordPress. It’s literally brand-new code underneath!

There’s a lot on the roadmap for Beauregard. Paid subscription support (to have the ability migrate my friends still on Substack off at some point), native email support, among other things. But a question I’ve been getting a lot is “Will you be opening this up to the public?” Honestly, thinking long and hard about it, the answer’s no. There are a few reasons:

  • Running something like that for more than a few people I trust is expensive. Server hardware is expensive and while my point of presence being in DC now helps, it’s still costly. Beauregard is lightweight enough that I won’t kill a server or two with it, but it’s still a big piece of software.
  • Beauregard just wouldn’t be cost-effective or make sense for most people. I’m really looking for people who love writing to the same degree that I do–I’m talking essays, articles, that sort of thing–and want to make some money off of it. For some of my friends, the platform makes sense, and that’s why they have access.
  • Setting up Beauregard is a very manual and time-consuming process. I still have to go in and install each new instance fresh manually. It got to the point where I had to write a script to automate most of the setup for testing on my Mac because it was so time-consuming. To go public, I’d have to streamline that process significantly, potentially even figure out how to make that bodged-but-somehow-working script work at-scale, and I just can’t be arsed. (I learned the word “bodge” from Tom Scott. Because of course I did.)
  • Even if I could somehow resolve all those concerns, I’d need to make a lot money off Beauregard, too, when scaling the platform up to potentially hundreds of accounts for any of this to make sense. I’d need to make more than enough to cover development costs, hosting costs, equipment costs, contractual obligations, and more. I couldn’t afford to run at a loss. I’m a self-taught developer who learned through many thousands of hours of Google-fu and StackOverflow. I just don’t think it’d be good if I was the only one building this for so many people.

To be clear, I wish I could make it make sense and build a side business out of it–but I’d be way out of my comfort zone and burning myself out in the process. I just don’t know how to make it work. That said, I plan to onboard friends onto the platform. I can do a few people that I know–that’s manageable. That’s what will happen.

I’m sorry if that’s not the answer some were looking for. I wish I could offer Beauregard to everyone. It’s a huge passion project of mine and it’s absolutely brilliant! I love what I’ve done with it! This post is being composed and displayed to you by it, for God’s sake! But again it’s a niche piece of internet software, and I just don’t see any way I could make it profitable at that scale. I also just don’t want to deal with licensing crap. So we’re just not doing that either.

Thanks for understanding, though. If it changes, I’ll let you know–but I think this is the final decision: Beauregard shall remain a friends-only accessible and usable project from now until the end of time!