Let me start off by saying three things. First, I am a big fan of the WordPress software. I’ve used it literally since day one and it’s only gotten better with time. I have run major websites and a few small blogs using it. I’ve set it up for others. I’ve got no issues with the WordPress software at all.
Second, I take responsibility for my decisions. In hindsight not all of them were good.
Thirdly, this is MY experience based on MY needs for a website and may not reflect your own. WordPress.com is an excellent hosting service that can serve the needs of millions of people. If you can afford it, ( which is my issue ) I highly recommend it. Full disclosure, I am a WordPress affiliate. I am happy to offer their service to those who need it. Take this as a cautionary tale. Make sure that you anticipate your future needs when selecting a service.
I made a bad decision.
For those who don’t know, WordPress.com is the hosting side of WordPress. ( the software that powers this blog ) You have the software at WordPress.org that you can download and add to your own hosting service, or you can pay WordPress.com to handle all of that for you.
Last year I was using my own web host. When the year ended, they wanted almost $400 for the next year. 60% more then what I had paid the year before. That’s fine, I knew I was on a special deal. I’ve moved websites enough times that it’s not an issue for me. This time though, I wanted to take a chance with hosting with WordPress.com. You see, I wanted to be part of the WordPress.com social infrastructure. WordPress.com keeps a categorized index of all of the public posts from it’s users into the WordPress Reader. It’s a good way to get your stuff read by other bloggers. The problem is that it’s not available to people who use the WordPress software on their own hosting service. You have to be hosted with WordPress.com. So I pulled the trigger and went with them.
There was only one issue. And it’s one I regret making. When I was considering hosting with WordPress.com I looked over their 3 different plans.
- Personal at $48 a year
- Premium at $96 a year
- Business at $300 a year
The difference in the plans for my needs was the installation of plugins. Only the Business tier allowed you to install plugins to further the capabilities of the software. At the time I wasn’t using them enough, I had thought, to justify paying $300 a year. So I went with the Premium tier, and for the first two months I was happy.
Let’s take a look at difference between the Premium and the Business tier for just a moment.
They are mostly identical accept with Business you get unlimited storage space as well as…
- Personalized Help
- SEO Tools
- Install Plugins
- Upload Themes
- Google Analytics Integration
- Remove WordPress.com Branding
I can see why they would charge more for personalized help, helping with Google Analytics Integration and SEO probably takes up a lot of time. The two I DON’T believe belong in this list however are “Install Plugins” and “Upload Themes”. Both are EXTREMELY easy to do and require little to no help. The only reason I can think of as to why they would charge so much for those two features is because they know they are the two features people are going to want to use the most, even if they don’t realize it yet.
Just like me now.
I didn’t realize how much I was going to need plugins. I thought I could do without them, but as my second year is about to begin on Twitch, I’ve realized that I need to do more on my blog to help promote my Twitch stream. For example every Sunday I do a cooking stream. I would LOVE to embed the video into my blog, but I can’t do that unless I have the right plugin. I’d also like to federate my blog. ( more about what that means here. ) but I can’t do that unless I have the right plugin. I’d like to promote my Mastodon feed instead of Twitter but I can’t because, you guessed it, I can’t do it unless I have a the right plugin.
So now, I’m STUCK in Premium. I can’t afford the triple cost upgrade. The most I can do is wait until the end of October and switch to a different host. I’d no longer have access to the WordPress.com community, but honestly, now I don’t even think it’s worth it. At most I get 10 hits from WordPress.com reader on the day I publish. Other then that? Zilch from them. All other hits come from other sources.
For me it comes down to the fact that I didn’t correctly anticipate my future needs and costs. I wont make that mistake next time. And who knows? Maybe by October I WILL be able to afford the business hosting? Gotta keep a positive attitude right?