WordPress.com Plan Pricing Changes – What the Heck?

WordPress.com Plan Pricing Changes – What the Heck?

See the update to this here!

My previous plan is now “legacy”

Not an April Fools joke.

Color me disappointed that just as I was getting really excited and lauding WP.com for things like full site block editing and templates, they go and sneak something as important as a change to their plans and pricing seemingly under the radar.

Yesterday, I was working on one of my free WP.com hosted blogs that is media-heavy. I’ve been keeping a very close eye on how much media I’ve been using as I clean up content there, knowing that free blogs have a max limit of 3 Gigs of storage space.

When I went to check it, I saw this:

I did a double take. 500 MB? Wait a second. I had 3 Gigs yesterday!

When I clicked the Upgrade link, that’s when I found this:

I was aghast. Not only did WP.com severely nerf the free plan in terms of storage and features, but it cut all of its plans and rolled them into one.

Now, for those with a higher-price business tier, this is good news. But for those of use who are on personal plans that are significantly cheaper than $15 a month, that’s a big jump in cost. That’s double what I pay!

Here’s what the plans look like on this blog, which does currently have a plan:

The worst part of this is that there was no warning and is still no public announcement of this change and how it effects current users. While it doesn’t look like there’s any sudden shifts for existing blogs, it’s still very concerning.

I had to take to Support forum threads to find any answers – as did a bunch of other people discovering it for the first time.

Support reps claim that (for now) the storage nerf only effects new free blogs – that seeing the 500 MB limit on existing blogs is a bug that will be fixed.

We recently have updated our plan offerings. At the moment, new free sites have a limit of 500 MB storage, while the Pro plan offers 50 GB. This presently does not affect free sites prior to the new plan updates.

Support Rep

Emphasis above is mine. Every time they answer this, they add the words “presently” or “at the moment” which makes me really antsy for existing free blogs. Right now, you still have 3 Gigs. But when will that no longer exist?

They also tout over and over that:

Please stay tuned! In the near future we plan to make additional updates making our plans even more accessible.

Support Rep

If there are more plans coming, why did they not release all of that information at once? I’m going to really, really hope that this was an oversight and that making plans “more accessible” means they’ll add a lower priced blogger tier.

Because most bloggers I know are not going to pony up $15 a month to run a single hobby blog they make little to no money from. You may as well use that to purchase a full hosting package somewhere else (I pay $11 for mine) where you can self-install multiple WP blogs if you want with NO upload limits but what the hosting package might include.

That’s exactly what I did for my one free WP.com blog. I exported it and am now in the long process of moving over all of the media. That’s going to take a while, but I was in the process of doing that anyhow, so it doesn’t really matter where it’s hosted in the end.

As for this blog, I’m on the fence about what I’ll need to do with it going forward. Will the price point I have be grandfathered in and respected in the future? I have no idea.

I can tell you that should it come to having to pay double what I pay right now, that’s not going to happen. Especially since I’ve seen a real cut in my poorly performing WordAds the last two months. I’ll move a self-hosted solution instead if I have to.

Not all of us who blog are businesses, and this move certainly does not cater to helping the smaller bloggers so far.

Still Thinking about Tumblr

I also find it interesting that this comes on the tail end of the $5 a month subscription that Tumblr is now offering (keep in mind WordPress owns Tumblr). And it’s also interesting, that Tumblr’s new editor yoinked the Gutenberg technology of block editing that WP has been using for quite a while.

Add to that the fact that with Tumblr, there are no foreseeable media limits – holy cow, I’m not sure how that would even go over there. I wonder if WP.com is going to use this to try to nudge off some of the free users to Tumblr as a blogging platform.

There’s no secret that Tumblr costs more to run than it makes and they desperately need it to grow in order to make it more profitable. Most serious bloggers don’t give Tumblr a second glance due to its reputation but… what if it becomes the more appealing free platform on down the line?

I dunno. I’m just tossing theories and thoughts.

WP.com confounded me with this. I just wish someone would post something officially so I know what camp to sit in.

48 responses to “WordPress.com Plan Pricing Changes – What the Heck?”

  1. Yeah, I don’t know what to think. Their new Pro plane seems like a bit of a side-grade compared to my current Premium plan, which costs half the price. I would get more storage space, which I don’t really need, but some sort of limit on monthly page views. Granted, my all time best ever month was 75K page view, but now I wonder what happens should you hit that cap in a month.

    As I said elsewhere, a typical WP.com shambles, pushing something out without thinking it through or providing enough information. They run their shop like complete amateurs, and I say that having worked in software for 30 years and knowing that all software development is pretty much an amateur venture. They stand out as amateurs even among amateurs.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It just blows my mind that a team that’s dedicated to hosting a communication platform can’t… you know… communicate… something as important as a complete rework of their pricing and plans. Most companies tell you ahead of time when something like this is happening – and of course, they just say this only changes thing for NEW blogs. But how long is that going to last?

      Liked by 2 people

      • After some nudging I got them to admit they don’t even know what the new monthly limit even applies to! I noticed that the new monthly limit refers to ‘visits’ but our current stats are divided into ‘views’ or ‘visitors’. I asked them to clarify what the definition of ‘visits’ was and how the limit would be applied and got this response:

        “At the moment I can’t tell you whether that will be based on pageviews or unique visitors – those details are still being worked out, along with the work on the add-ons that will allow you to increase this limit. Once those details are finalised they’ll be indicated either on the Pricing page, or on a dedicated support page.

        I see you have a site that has steady traffic of over 10000 views a month, so I’d expect someone will also be in touch with you directly to discuss your options once we have those in place.

        But I want to make it clear that this is a soft limit, and your site won’t be taken offline or blocked without warning because your views have gone over that limit”

        You couldn’t make this up.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Hang on to it. Support keeps saying that seeing that 500MB on existing blogs is a bug and that you should still have 3 Gigs. For now. Whatever that might mean. I tested it on my free blog and I can still upload despite it saying I have over my limit.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love my little blog, but not $15 a month love. It’s like Ancestry, I got the kit for dna for Christmas. Did the whole thing, got results. Clicked on a few things, wait what? $25 a month for basic? Sure I’d love to see my family history. But it’s getting old with everyone and their 3rd cousin rolling out a subscription service. For only $15 a month.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Same here. I think it’s a massive oversight not to keep in mind the smaller bloggers and cater only to the businesses. Sure, personal plans might be $4 here or there, but that adds up if you end up losing that chunk of users.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I agree. Lately WordAds has been in the dumps in terms of earning. I don’t know if it’s because of the me changing themes or what – but I already saw a big dip in earning even before I changed my layout. It’s almost not worth it for me to keep the plan I have right now.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Yikes. $15 a month would likely be too much of a stretch; I don’t make money off my hobby blog. My current blog plan now has this message, “You’re currently on a legacy plan. If you’d like to learn about your eligibility to switch to a Pro plan please contact support.” So my plan is now “legacy.” I think there should at least be 3 plans: “small, medium, large.” Well, I’ll wait and see how WP shakes out, but this is a chance for me to look at other blog host providers. You mentioned Tumblr, and I don’t know how that’s going, but I also wonder about Automattic’s more recent purchase of Day One, which I also use. I’ve not seen any big changes there so far.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh my, I just took a closer look at the new “free” and “pre” tiers, and wow, I can’t go to the free plan. It’s too much a downgrade. I’d have to pay much more to go pro. And the pro side sounds like $15 is the base cost, then it costs more to add other things after a time limit. Surely there will be a middle tier.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well, they’ve priced me out – that’s for sure. I’m not going from US$48 to AU$240 a year for hosting my small hobby blog. I’m certainly not going to move to another platform owned by the same people that is a money-loser for them. Certainly doesn’t sound like a good long-term solution. They already bumped the WP price from US$33 to US$66 in the last few years before this massive change…

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ouch! That’s rough. Right now, it seems they’re just labeling us as legacy accounts, though not forcing us to upgrade. But again, we have no idea what’s going on because no one has communicated with us yet. : /

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, the issue is that as a paid customer, if the Personal Plan I’m on no longer exists then when it’s renewal time I will only have one of the two new, terrible choices – so it’s (in a sense) worse than if I were on the free plan and grandfathered in on the 3gb.

        Liked by 3 people

        • That’s what I figure, that when my current annual plan is expired, I’ll have only two choices at that point, as of now, neither are good. I’m already exploring other CMS platforms to be aware and plan ahead while waiting to see what other shoe might drop.

          Liked by 3 people

          • What I’m hoping is that we’ll be grandfathered in with the legacy plans and will be able to continue forward with them at renewal as long as we don’t let them lapse. Again, that is my expectation, but nothing has been communicated so we don’t know – and that’s one of the most frustrating parts of this.

            Liked by 2 people

          • As said by staff on the forum, more plan info is pending, if I read correctly. I’d suggest a simple 4 tier setup at price points: free, $5, $10, and $15 monthly. Typically, the tiered setup is to nudge people up to the next tier for “just a few dollars more”

            Liked by 2 people

          • I found an answer to this from the Support forums:

            “At present, we offer both a free and Pro plan. Previous plan offerings are no longer available for new purchases, however if you already have a Personal plan or higher, you can continue to renew it at its usual cost and are not obliged to upgrade to the Pro plan.”

            It doesn’t seem like they’re looking to add more (that could change I guess). But they will allow us to renew what we already have.

            Source: https://wordpress.com/forums/topic/media-library-is-full-2/

            Liked by 4 people

        • Yeah, they responded with us being grandfathered on our existing plans as with the free folks. I don’t trust them at this stage after the way they’ve handled this – and clearly if we don’t renew instantly we’ll drop to one of the other two “options”.
          Mine is up reasonably soon, so I’ll likely resub for a year so I have time to examine my options.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Last year and because of the block editor (i don’t like it) i needed to upgrade my other blog from personal to business, just to use one addon to bring back the classic editor, that’ll cost $320, instead i moved my blog to another host which costs me with the domain about $53 a year, the move was smooth and WordPress can download all the photos from your old one and upload them to the new one.

    Now when people ask me which service to use for a free blog i suggest Blogger for them.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Glad to see other bloggers being made aware of this issue. WP deliberately did this under the radar and that is what really makes me upset. Definitely shown me they can’t be trusted at all. Not sure where I could go though that has the same social notifications like WP…

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, this exactly. The lack of transparency makes me feel like they knew people wouldn’t be happy about this so they just didn’t bother to announce it. That leaves the poor support reps on the forum to do all the dirty work.

      I’m also in the same boat that I love WP Reader and rely on it for interacting with other WP blogs.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I don’t have any sympathy for the reps on the forums anymore. I’ve been on there enough to know they are paid shills who will occasionally help people. Of course, I might be biased since I am banned from the forums 😀

        If I can find some other aggregator/notifier, I’d be gone in a second…

        Liked by 3 people

        • I agree that support seems to be tossing the same canned response to almost everything there. But I also think that’s what they’ve been instructed to do. Leaving issues like this to be handled by a support forum with no sign of an official announcement anywhere is beyond terrible business practice. But you know that already – we’re on the same team here! 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

  8. Are you sure it wasn’t an April Fools? My (totally free) blog was cut down to 500GB yesterday and it’s back to 3MB today. I’d assumed that it was an AF prank.

    I remember once years ago when they had added some phenomenal figure to everybody’s stats on April 1. That was cruel too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is not an April’s Fools as this happened before April 1st (but close enough to make it really bad timing). The support reps say that this only effects new free blogs (for now) and that for a time, there was a bug on existing free blogs that reflected the 500mb limit.

      I see on my free blog they have fixed that bug, but the plans page remains the same and official support reps on the forums are stating this is real.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Sorry and thanks for explaining. I had genuinely thought it was a prank (i came here looking for information), but now I have seen the plans page too.

        It does seem to be reneging on the original democratic values of the platform. I’d never heard of limiting views to 10k before, which means that any new WordPress.com blog will automatically shut down if it gets too popular. There’s a kind of “know your place” vibe to that and it will discriminate against amateur writing, citizen journalism etc

        Liked by 3 people

        • Oh no problem at all! And I agree with your assessment. The things that bother me most about this is that there is no official announcement, nor any information on how this effects people with legacy and existing free accounts. I really don’t like what this means for new and small bloggers.

          Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you so much for blogging about this, your post showed up in my Discover tab on Reader and was literally the first I’d heard of this since WordPress didn’t bother telling anyone… and they still haven’t?! A Support forum thread is less an announcement and more appeasement of the people who just so happened to find out. It’s shocking in its duplicity. I even feel sorry for the Support team who clearly have no idea what is going on with these plans. Total train wreck, top to bottom.

    Liked by 2 people

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