Sarah Gooding announced a new “Starter” plan today for customers that bridges the pricing gap between the free plan and its $15/month Pro plan. The Starter plan is $5/month and includes a custom domain name, along with 6GB storage, and the ability to use payment collection blocks (Donations Form, Premium Content, and Payment Button).
When rolled out major, unannounced pricing changes on April 1, slashing free storage limits, users took to the forums to express their profound disappointment in the controversial update and the company’s lack of communication around it. After receving overwhelmingly negative feedback, increased traffic and storage limits on the free plan before officially announcing it.
Seven weeks after began testing the waters with pricing changes, the company has responded to feedback about the wide gap between the free and Pro plans. Many customers were diappointed to learn that they would have to pay $15/month to have access to custom domain names, even though they do not need the commercial themes and plugins included in the Pro plan. Some users expressed that they felt “trapped in the net” with the pricing updates and planned to shift their sites to new platforms.
The new Starter plan solves some of these customer issues but it is still partially subsidized by advertising. Customers on this plan and the free plan will have ads displayed on their sites. This is different than the legacy Personal plan, which was $4/month for no ads, a custom domain, and the ability to collect payments. The fact that the new Starter plan costs more but doesn’t remove ads is a point of contention customers mentioned in the comments on the announcement. It does, however, include Google Analytics integration, which was previously limited to customers on the legacy Premium plan and higher.
“The Starter plan is not meant to be a replacement for the old legacy Personal plan,” CEO Dave Martin told the Tavern. “Our goal with every additional pricing iteration that we launch will be to learn something new. The Pro plan and the Starter plan are two of many future iterations that we plan to experiment with.”
Martin also reiterated that customers on the legacy Free, Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans are able to continue on them.
“[If] you are happy with your current plan, we have no plans to force you to change,” Martin said. “You can stay on your current plan.
“Finding the right balance between the value that we deliver to our customers and the price that we charge in exchange for that value is something that generally has to be iterated towards. We plan to do just that.”
Moving forward, Martin said is aiming to do a better job at communicating important updates to customers.
“I made a mistake with how we communicated the pricing changes with WordPress Pro,” Martin said. “We listened to feedback from our customers, I took responsibility for it, and then we worked to correct that with this next phase of our pricing change. We’re constantly working to be better at communicating updates.”
It’s interesting to see how is evolving its pricing in response the market and WordPress’ changing capabilities. Whereas the legacy plans leaned heavily on selling access to commercial themes, full-site editing has changed the game, giving users more customization power than before.
The company is still planning to introduce a range of add-ons for the Starter plan to give customers more flexibility. It’s possible there will be add-ons for removing ads and adding more storage, but the company still hasn’t announced what they will offer.
Great news for me! I just realized that some of my wishes on the forum already fulfilled with this plan: (1) there is a plan between Free & Pro plan (2) I think the price on Pro plan already discounted for my regional. Thank you Matt, Dave, anyone at Automattic!
“The fact that the new Starter plan costs more but doesn’t remove ads is a point of contention customers mentioned”
I’d say: if you want web hosting, then buy web hosting. If you want a “service” in which someone else controls all – all – the parameters, then be prepared for the consequences.
To be fair, I expect that this distinction probably isn’t well known, and vendors of managed services, like, especially at the cheaper end, don’t naturally tend to fall over themselves to explain such things.
“then be prepared for the consequences.” I can relate, I have some webs on web hostings. It’s cheaper for sure, but it is easier to reach the resource limit. I didn’t find that problem on If I want to achieve the same quality as, I will want to upgrade the web hosting plan I use.
“[If] you are happy with your current plan, we have no plans to force you to change,” Martin said. “You can stay on your current plan.
I am on Business plan. We’ll see how this quote ages with time.
Such regular random changes frighten me. The only reason I am sticking with Business is their 200GB storage.
Hi Sarah!
Thanks for post this new announcement!
The fact is this seems to be good somehow but I’m wondering why there are not allowing users to add themes and plugins.
As customer, I have noticed that some businesses who are thinking in a modern way have started implementing and offering free plans with amazing features. Even the features are not all but for a new beginners who can’t afford the paid version, it sounds like a blessing.
In 2022, if your business is not offering free plans, the results might surprise in the long term and your products or services might know huge cancels of use.
Thus, I recommend that WordPress. Com and other CMS platforms to adopt the free plans for ever which will definitely build great loyalty and trust rates between you and customers.
Best regards!
Premium themes and plugins are available in the Pro plan. And yes, they do offer a Free plan – it’s just not shown in the pricing matrix on the pricing page.
” And yes, they do offer a Free plan – it’s just not shown in the pricing matrix on the pricing page.”
I had use CTRL+F on the pricing page to find the free option. It should really be in the pricing matrix instead of being a borderline dark pattern.
They should have done this years ago and for starter plan, they should let us upload plugins and themes but not the $15 and $25 plan because those price are too expensive and stupid!
Finally, btw we want no ads…
What’s going on with WordPress? These plans are so uninspired ( to be kind). What should I do with unlimited plugins and 100 free themes or whatever? Change them every day? Who would pay to have ads on their website? So, I’m making you money, and I pay you some more money, all that just because you’re giving me a free domain name that’s 3-4 dollars?
As long as they do not change the free version for the worse, It’s ok. I would say I’m even in support of more payment options. Just no forcing.
It’s an absolute con. You’re basically paying £60 a year for a domain name. If you want a premium theme, custom CSS and no ads, you’ll be paying £132 a year. I’m so disappointed.
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