WordPress Plan Shenanigans (and a bit about me)

Wordpress logo surrounded by rainbow cloud

Yesterday, I came across a few posts by my blogging friends about changes that WordPress is making in the plans it offers. I thought I’d do some investigating to help give people some ideas on how to deal with this change. I’m getting the details on the plan options from WP’s Pricing page and WordPress.com Plans Support page.

Since I originally posted this, the WordPress.com blog has done a post introducing the WordPressPro Plan. They say: “While we’re making a few changes to the Free plan, rest assured that if you’re already signed up, nothing will change for you. Ditto, if you’re on one of our legacy plans, nothing will change unless you want it to.” They are committing to:

  • “Additional storage will be available for purchase at a very reasonable price, very soon.
  • As-you-need them add-ons for both plans, to give you a la carte upgrades. Coming soon.”

There’s also a Pricing Feedback forum discussion. In it, a WP staff member writes, “These new plans only apply to new sites created after March 31, 2022. If you have a legacy plan, you are welcome to stay on it. If you have a free site created before this pricing update, you can choose to stay on that legacy free site or you can choose to switch to the new Pro Plan.” The staff member also writes, “We realize a jump between free and $15/month is stark. We’re working on getting some more flexible à la carte options available on both plans and will share more details as we have them.”

What the WordPress.com plan options are

The old plan system involves these tiers:

  • Free
  • Personal
  • Premium
  • Business
  • E-commerce

The new plan system involves only two tiers:

  • Free
  • Pro

I can only see the Canadian dollar cost of the pro plan, which is $20, the equivalent of $16 US. Here’s an overview of the differences:

Free PlanPro Plan
yoursite.wordpress.com domain nameCustom domain name
no plugins or SEO toolsaccess to plugins and SEO tools
0.5 GB storage space (now 1 GB as of April 5)50 GB storage space
limit 10K visits per monthlimit 100K visits per month
can’t remove adscan monetize with ads
can’t collect paymentscan collect payments, use Woocommerce

So, there are a few things to digest here.

The 10K limit per month is visits, not views, so keep that in mind if you’re looking at your stats to see if that will be an issue for you.

I know some people have the personal plan because they don’t want ads displayed on their site, but perhaps something to think about is the fact that a large proportion of your readers are likely reading within the WP Reader and therefore not seeing any ads anyway.

The storage space is lower than on the old free plan, but I honestly do think it’s workable for a lot of people with some strategy and effort, as we’ll look at in the section below. Who knows how long the grandfathering will last, but if you start working now on managing your media files, I would imagine there will be at least enough time to wrangle your media storage down.

Legacy plans

There’s a whole lot of lack of clarity around legacy plans (i.e. the old plans that people are already on). I couldn’t find anywhere that says how long people will be able to renew them, but I think probably the safest bet is to treat it as a bit of breathing room to allow you to decide what to do.

For people like me who are currently on the Business plan, the Pro plan would actually be a substantial drop in cost.

Managing media storage

There’s more on the topic of media storage in this MH@H post (and WordPress has a support page about storage space here), but I’ll quickly go over it here. If you use Canva to create images, it tends to try to default to saving images in png format, but use jpg instead, as jpg files take up much less space than png files.

There are two way of talking about image sizes; one is dimensions (often expressed in pixels, but you could also be expressed in units like inches), and the other is storage space (expressed in KB or MB). An image with smaller dimensions will take up less storage space. Using inches for easy numbers, if you resize a 6″ x 4″ (24 cubic inches) image to a 3″ x 2″ (6 cubic inches) image, you’re reducing your dimensions by half but reducing the area to 1/4 of the original, which saves you a lot of storage space.

Free image sites give you options as to what size of image to download. On Pixabay, for example, when you click the download button, it will show you the different dimension options and the corresponding file size. It defaults to the third-largest size, but picking the smallest image instead can save you a lot of storage space.

How to resize image to decrease storage space

Changing the file size of an image can’t be done within a blog post; that only changes the size of what’s displayed on the post, not how much media storage the image is taking up. You can only do this within the wp-admin “Classic View.” You can find this by going to My Sites > Media, and then in the top right corner of the screen, click “Screen Options,” and then choose to switch to “Classic View.”

  • Find and open whatever image you want to resize
  • Click the button directly below the image that says “Edit Image”
  • In the box that says “Scale Image”; you can enter the width you want, and it will auto-generate the height to keep the same width:height ratio
  • Click the button that says “Scale”
  • On the right hand side, click the “Update” button. You’ll now see the updated dimensions and file size.

Photos that I take on my iPhone are 4032×3024 pixels and between 3-4 MB. If I scale them to 800 pixels wide, the image file size drops to less than 100 KB.

Insert via URL

Or better yet, insert your image using the URL rather than downloading it. If you want to use a Pixabay image, you can’t use the URL of the Pixabay page that shows you all the details about the image. Instead, you need to use the image URL, which will end in .jpg. For Windows users, you can grab this by right-clicking on the image. On my MacBook, I can get this by control-command-clicking on the image, and then selecting “copy image address.”

Flickr

Another option is using Flickr embed blocks, which is essentially the same deal as inserting using the URL, but instead or creating an image block, you just paste in the Flickr URL, and the block editor will automatically create a Flickr block. Note that not all Flickr images are freely useable, so you have to actually look at how the photo is licensed. The screenshot below shows what the licensing detail looks like, and if you click “Some rights reserved”, it will give you an explanation of what the symbols mean.

The image below is from Flickr. Just a heads up, within the block editor, the image will look blurry and distorted, but it shows up fine in the actual post.

Tanner & the Guinea Pigs
Doug Zwick, Flickr

Alternatives to WordPress.com

Self-hosted

I’ve written before about WordPress.com and WordPress.org being different things. There are two things you need to have a blog: the nuts and bolts that make it work and the server that gives it a home. WordPress.org provides the nuts and bolts. WordPress.com combines the nuts and bolts and the home for your blog to live. It’s WordPress.com that offers the free, pro, and legacy plans.

However, you can continue to use the same nuts and bolts but find a different home for your blog by going “self-hosted.” There are lots of companies with a variety of different plans that could give your blog a home that offers you the WordPress.org nuts and bolts. Google “WordPress hosts” and you’ll get lots of options. Caz of Invisibly Me and Ami of Undercover Superhero have written about their experiences with self-hosting.

Here are a few options:

Some terms to know

“Shared hosting” means your blog shares server space with other websites. This is cheaper than “dedicated hosting”, which gives you a server all to yourself.

“Managed hosting” means that the host takes care of upgrades, backups, and other behind the scenes stuff. WordPress.com plans provide managed hosting. If you don’t want to be arsed with figuring out how to do that stuff for yourself, you’ll want to find a managed hosting plan.

“Migration” is the process of your new host moving your blog from WordPress.com’s servers to their own.

If you Google “free WordPress hosting”, you’ll find articles people have written reviewing various free self-hosted options, but I’m going to hazard a guess that those are going to suck ass, and the WordPress.com free plan or Blogger would be better choices.

Blogger

If you want to ditch WordPress entirely, Blogger is an option. People will still be able to follow your blog in the WordPress Reader; they just need to type the URL into the search bar, and then click directly beneath the search bar where it says follow [URL], as in the screenshot below.

Wordpress search bar with follow URL button below it

An update on me

Moving away from blogging now, I’m back to sleeping on a normal schedule and no longer trying to play catch-up. It’s been an ongoing issue for quite a while that I can’t juggle things in my head, so I need an organization system to do the heavy lifting. Yesterday I managed to set up a system for myself so it no longer feels like I have to hold things in my head.

While I was in hospital, I came up with a lot of writing ideas, although I wasn’t on the ball enough to do much writing. Today I plan to transfer those brief notes from my hospital journal to my laptop, and then I’ll put the hospital journal away as sort of a symbolic letting go.

I think I’m going to write to the hospital’s communications department about the mouse infestation, as I think that the fact that’s allowed to continue unchecked is a reflection of stigma. Tomorrow, I’ll post a draft of that email to get your feedback. I’m not sure when I’ll send it, though, because high dudgeon (I love that term) isn’t necessarily good for me.

I think the two nights in a row of no sleep that I had last week knocked me temporarily into a mixed episode, with a combination of depressive and hypomanic symptoms. Insomnia is a long-standing feature of my depression when I’m un-/under-medicated, and irritability flares up every so often with the depression, but the wackadoodlicious disinhibition and such seem very suggestive of a hypomanic element. That’s gone away now, but I’m curious if it’s just a one-off deal or if it marks the beginning of a shift from a unipolar to more of a bipolar presentation. Only time will tell.

Thanks again to everyone for being so supportive – it’s meant so much to me.

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49 thoughts on “WordPress Plan Shenanigans (and a bit about me)”

  1. You can read Blogger blogs in the WordPress reader, but there’s often a delay in their appearance (my experience is they don’t seem to become visible until a WordPress blog has posted after them for some reason, if that’s not weird coincidence) and occasionally don’t seem to turn up at all.

    1. I can’t find the support page where I originally read it, but the WP Reader only fetches non-WP RSS feeds at certain times of day (it didn’t say which times). My friend Liz uses Blogger, and I pretty much always see her posts in the Reader before I get notified via email of them.

  2. Hi, Ashley!
    Thanks for doing this and putting the info out here for us on wp and the future of its plans. I am on the premium plan now. I will probably pay for pro once I my plan runs out. I never knew how to resize an image on my Iphone to make it under 100 KB, so thanks for telling me that. I will do that in future. Xx

  3. Avoid Flickr at all costs! They only allow 1000 photos. It used to be unlimited until they changed it, so I was forced to leave that platform. Even worse, I had to pay for one month just to access my stored photos so I could remove them.

    These days, it seems like everything is “pay to play.” Nothing is truly ever free.

  4. I admire your candidness regarding your symptoms and symptoms history.

    What you (we) deal with is complex, and far from cut and dry.

    Some people make partial recoveries, which I believe more in, than anything else.

    But, I don’t believe in full recoveries, unless there is a full remission of symptoms, for an extended amount of time.

    What I’m more apt to be party to is managing symptoms with a partial remission of them (if you’re lucky that way).

    I personally don’t even have a partial remission of symptoms, but things are managed.

    It takes a concerted effort to do as any of the things one can do for their health’s sake.

    Be well, my friend.

          1. It would and quite honestly, I was quasi-alone until I met my wife. It was difficult. There were many illness related issues that came up for me. Now, the difference is, I have someone to bounce ideas off of. And, I don’t think I could have kept a successful blog under my old-self. It just wouldn’t have been helpful to me (or anyone). At least, not AS helpful.

  5. This is super helpful Ashley. I have a little tidying up to do to reduce the memory I have used. In 4 years of blogging, I am nowhere near the 3gb limit, but to learn that we will only have 0.5 means I do need to do some pruning.

    I am trying to think of the change as an opportunity to tidy up by blog. It is a beast now, so hard to find anything. I think I need to use this as a turning point – I need to be more organized from now on.

  6. so glad you’re catching up on your sleep and that things seem to be settling a bit for you. It’s amazing what lack of proper sleep will do to a person. I’m so glad the piggies have you back to feed them lots of veggies..xx

  7. Hi Ashley, many thanks for this info, I have had a blog on wordpress.com for just over 2 years, I have no present plans for being able to make any money out of it. But I love the fact that I own my own page on the world wide web. I have signed up to a 12 month personal plan at £3 a month paid upfront in January, plus paying for my web site name for a furhter 12 months until 2023. I still want a page I own so will look at buying the pro plan whcih at present rates woudl be £15 a month for me upfront. A good friend of mine has a wordpress.org blogg and is also a web designer so I know he will be able to present other optiosn to me.

    The thing that will keep me wanting to be connected to wordpress is the community of bloggers and readers but I would be interested to see if the new plans unfortuntly decrease the amount of bloggers on the wordpress site. I think they are over pricing themeselves out of the market of having individuals with paid for wordpress accounts at £15 a month paid upfront for 12 months is a big investmeent not evgeryone will want or be able to commit to. I really want a blog that is part of a community where it can grow amongst like minded people and thats what I feel I have had so far with wordpress.com for a resonable price of £3 a month or £36 upfront a year plus webs hosting.

    £180 a year for a blog plus potentially website hosting fee each year is a lot of money to have your own site. I used to be on myspace a few decades ago where people shared and discovered music and also promoted different causes and charities. It was then bought out and destroyed by a media barren Rupert Murdoch. I do like the idea presently of having my space on the internet which is like a library of thoughts views and times in my life that could be kept here when I am gone so that friends and family could look at what I used to do and say as a memorial blog. I dont see that happening now through wordpress though.

    Again thank you for all this info and food for thought
    Huw

  8. Thanks for the summation. I have the personal, so I’ll probably switch to Pro.
    It’s interesting/frustrating that our presentation changes. The way I get depressed now is markedly different from the depressive episodes in my twenties. I think it probably is best to wait to send any communication and all the love for high dudgeon, which impair my communication at times as well. It rarely works well when I go off hot. But, glad you’re home and feeling better.

  9. Thank you for the 411! Now I have 14 tabs open to read. I agree with Huw Edwards above. It is about the community. I could self host but I would be on an island talking to myself. (what else is new) But $200(plus) is some heavy iron to be dropping.

    Thank you for being you. <3
    High dudgeon you say, Eh?

    1. Yeah, $200+ is a lot, and I feel llke they’re actually going to lose some currently paying customers as a result.

      You rock 💖

      What I find really interesting about dudgeon is that it only ever seems to be high, and never low or even just neutral.

  10. An excellent post Ashley.

    Like you l am on the Business Plan with the guy blog and currently a Premium Plan with the business blog. I will be upgrading the premium to pro and downgrading the business to pro also. I had a lengthy conversation with the engineers a couple of days ago and l too couldn’t glean how long the old systems would be staying in but sensed that somewhere in the future they would be phased out reading between the lines.

    I am not sure but l sensed that my question concerning it was either successfuly evaded ot the engineer wasn’t 100% sure of the answer and successfully skirted around it anyway.

    Pro is a saving both ways and both blogs for me and offers me the pathway forwards especially for the business blog.

    Since my massive shake up last year with the personal blog l have discovered all sorts of hacks for uploading photographs in really small sizes now that still makes me chuckle as to how big they were before. But also, l no longer keep any content from before 2021 and so this means my media storage unit is always smaller

    1. I haven’t spoken to any of the happiness engineers yet, but as far as I can ascertain, the only difference between the Business and Pro plans is that Pro only has 50GB of storage compared to the Business plan’s 200GB, but that wouldn’t be an issue for me at all, as I’m also very careful about managing my file sizes.

      1. Well l have 200GB and l don’t need that at all. Even with all the images l have today and upload monthly l am still only using 7GB, the pro for this blog would be ideal and l wouldn’t come close to the 50Gb it has and even the pro for the business would still be more than ample also.

        Also the other difference is it is a cheaper option.

        I do think BP, EC, Premium are going to go for sure. It’s a canny move by WP, l am no longer sure if they think these moves through though.

        Perhaps they simply think they are the better platform and that they may lose people but they will return. It reminds me a bit of Blizzard and World of warcraft, they took a gamble a few years back and lost a lot of players and subscriptions and it hurt them so much so that they never recovered properly.

        They were set to have 18 million players about ten years ago, made a serious error that cost them 11 million players over three years and although they have maybe 9-10 million players now, they will never get back what they lost because people lost trust in their brand and ability to deliver.

        1. It’s an interesting move on their part. I wonder if they figured that there was a substantial chunk of people paying for Premium who wanted more but weren’t willing to pay for the Business plan, and that’s who they’re trying to cater to.

          Have you switched over to Pro yet?

          1. I can understand WP’s strategy of catering to those who might want more but not want a higher plan, and they did say they were responding to customer requests – but where that sticks in my throat is that if you and l were newbs to WP, we are only offered two options for plans.

            £0/$0 or £15/$20

            But then my mind works on nefariousness because the new pathway looks pretty slim compared to today’s options. It does appear as if they are trying not to appeal to the non-profit and socially prompt responsive blogs. Does this mean they no longer want those signing up, or if they do, they want hobby blogs to start paying a considerable difference for the privilege, or do they expect to splash non managed advertising all over those blogs?

            I read an article last year sometime about how system providers like WordPress had a responsibility to clean up their data waste. I wonder if somewhere this is connected. Because it will restrict or cease a lot of movement from bloggers. Some will switch to other management systems, but many might simply stop altogether.

            I think there needs to be a new middle option.

            1. A post from a couple of days ago on the WordPress.com News blog mentioned that they’re planning on introducing a la carte options that people can get. Depending on how they set that up and the pricing, that may actually be a more flexible option than introducing a low-end plan.

            2. Well perhaps that is the answer and them realising they have another Gutenberg potential debacle on their hands. As long as they don’t outprice the a la carte options to the normal average blogger that could be fine, but if they do …

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