WordPress.com has been a great option for anyone wanting to start a WordPress site without much hassle. Even I started blogging on WordPress.com free plan and it was a pretty goood experience for me. Since last year, I am hosting this site on WordPress.com as the pricing was pretty good and they had no stupid limits like bandwidth or visit. But, in the last few days, WordPress.com has jolted all of my beliefs about them with their new plans (or plan, if you are looking at their paid offering).
Earlier, there were 5 plans – Free, Personal, Premium, Business and eCommerce. The free plan was a great one – 3 GB storage, free WordPress.com subdomain and loads of themes. This plan was great for anyone who just wanted to start a small blog. The blogs stayed online for years even if the original blog owner stopped blogging. This was mainly due to 0 subscription cost.
But at some point last week, WordPress.com dropped all of their paid plans and replaced them with a single ‘Pro‘ plan. Significant changes were made. For the first time, a ‘visit limit’ was introduced (which is on the lower side). I have listed down all of the changes in the table below.
Only 2 changes were made in the free plan – introduction of visit limit (10,000 visits/month vs none) and storage (3 GB vs 0.5 GB)
Legacy Business Plan vs New Pro Plan
|Business (Legacy)||Pro (New)|
|Storage||200 GB||50 GB|
Forced Upgradation to the New Plans?
I reached out to WordPress support regarding the new plan and whether it will affect me or not and I was informed that my plan is a legacy one and I can continue to enjoy my current plan for the foreseeable future (of course, I have to renew my plan every year to enjoy the business plan benefits). But, I was also informed that this decision ‘might’ change in the future and I will be given a heads up if the change ever happens. That’s good…right? Nope. I am skeptical about WordPress.com now because without any information or press release, they changed their plans to a single Pro plan. The same thing can be done by them to the legacy plan accounts without prior information. In fact, some users reached out to me saying that they had a legacy plan but now their subscription page is showing that they have been upgraded to the dreaded Pro plan.
The worse part is that there still hasn’t been any concrete announcement about the changes (Not even a blog post or a press release). Other companies give a heads up before changing pricing for their services (for both old and new customers). But, WordPress.com didn’t. To make matters worse, the pricing is based on USD and then it’s converted to the local currency. This means that the pricing is not based on the purchasing power of a country. The pro plan costs around ₹1150/month (if paid yearly). The business plan (with much more features) costed me ₹696/month (if paid yearly). Even the eCommerce plan has much more value compared to the new Pro plan (it used to cost ₹1152/month). Even with 50% discount coupons, the older plans had many more features compared to the new one
The Future of WordPress.com
With the ever increasing inflation, we should’ve seen this coming. After all, WordPress.com is just another for-profit business. They somehow had to cover up their losses (just like Netflix covers their losses in India and some other price conscious countries with the help of increased pricing in the US, UK, Canada etc.). In the case of WordPress, they decided to charge the equivalent of $15 to the local currency of the country.
To make matters worse, they told in the forum that add-on plans are coming to both the plans (which is ironical because they told that they were restructuring to make the plans ‘simpler’. I don’t know how these add-on plans will make it easier).
Also, monthly payment option is not available at the moment and paying ₹13,800 a year is kind of ridiculous considering the features that are provided. I can host my site for a much cheaper price on AWS (even with full VPS backups enabled with 30 day retention period) and before you say, 50% discount codes are not working with the new plan (they work just fine with the old plans). The most frustrating part is that WordPress.com recently reduced the pricing of their old plans for the Indian market. The Business plan used to cost ₹9,600/yr (before reduction) and after reduction, it costed ₹7,400/yr. The new pro plan? ₹13,800/yr. The pricing change might not affect businesses but it will affect small bloggers like us (including me). Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic (parent company of WordPress.com) recently said in an interview – “I’ll tell you a stat most people don’t realize. Half of all users who sign up for WordPress.com every day are there to blog.” Let me tell you one thing Matt, for all these people as well as for me, the new plan is a betrayal of interests.
Why did I select WordPress.com over AWS or some other solution? It’s because I don’t want to dedicate time to update and secure my server. I want to spend my entire blogging time…blogging. I am an engineering student so there is nothing called free time in my life. If I had to include server management too in my blogging time, it would’ve been very difficult. Hence, I selected WordPress.com. It’s sad to see that WordPress.com is shaping up to be like yet another ‘typical managed WordPress hosting provider’ like WPEngine, Kinsta, SiteGround etc. (all of them have those stupid user visit limit and now, WordPress.com has joined them).
I will probably not shift away from WordPress.com (as long I have access to the legacy plans for my site). As soon as they start shifting legacy customers to the new Pro plan. I’m out of here (probably will witch over to AWS). Also, I hope that they revise their plan to offer region-specific pricing and hopefully, they won’t be enforcing the visit limit too strictly. If they can make these few changes (I really hope they do. I love them. Told my friends to consider them over other options), WordPress.com will become the best hosting provider again (at least in India).