nRelate Will Shutdown Its Service December 31st

Qik Shuts Down Featured Image
photo credit: slimmer_jimmercc

The content recommendation service nRelate, announced it will shut down its service December 31st. Launched in 2009, nRelate has provided billions of recommendations to over 100k sites. The service is shifting its assets to support its internal reference-style content properties. If you use nRelate, there is a farewell FAQ available which has instructions on what to do.

YARPP and Jetpack Related Posts as Alternatives

There are three alternatives that come to mind with regards to related posts, YARPP, Related Posts for WordPress, and Jetpack Related Posts. For several years, I used YARPP on WP Tavern to handle related posts and it performed flawlessly. However, at one point, it gave me performance problems because of the resources used on a shared webhosting server. The webhosting provider at the time pointed out that YARPP was taking up too many resources on the server. If you have a limited amount of posts or a beefy server, YARPP is a great alternative because it offers a variety of ways to display related posts.

After encountering performance problems, I decided to go without related posts. Jetpack 2.9 released in early 2014, contained a new module called related posts. Unlike YARPP, all of the processing and server resources were used on Automattic’s servers instead of my own and eliminated my performance issues with related posts. Keep in mind that when you use the Jetpack Related Posts module, the content is mirrored on WordPress.com for indexing and processing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the module will use the featured image attached to a post in the module. If a featured image is not detected, it uses the first image in the post which may or may not be optimal. You might also see a mix of related posts with and without images.

Related Post Without an Image
Related Post Without an Image

I’m of the mindset that if you can offload the processing required to determine post relationships, then do it. We’ve used the Jetpack Related Posts module on the Tavern for some time and haven’t experienced any issues. It’s also pretty good at being somewhat relevant. What do you use to handle related posts?

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22 responses to “nRelate Will Shutdown Its Service December 31st”

  1. Great stuff from you, Jeff. I’ve read your posts before and you’re just too awesome. This post has a great bit of enlightening information.
    Currently i’m using Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) and haven’t experienced any issue. Now I’m thinking to use Jetpack Related Post.

  2. I personally prefer Contextly.com for this purpose, but it is a paid service, unless your traffic is too low (free for up to 10,000 pageviews per month).

  3. Hi Jeff
    Great shame, it’s a bit like losing an old pal.
    I use nRelate on a number of sites and it just works – never had a single problem with it.

    Got to start looking at alternatives.
    C’est la vie

  4. Another thing to keep in mind is that the module will use the featured image attached to a post in the module. If a featured image is not detected, it uses the first image in the post which may or may not be optimal. You might also see a mix of related posts with and without images.

    I just wanted to mention that there is an option to disable thumbnails for Jetpack Related Posts under Settings > Reading > Related Posts. If you uncheck the “Use a large and visually striking layout” option, then no thumbnails will be shown :)

  5. I’d been using nRelate for several years, but I started exploring other options a few months ago in prep for switching the front-end over to HTTPS (since nRelate didn’t offer SSL-hosted resources). I settled on Jetpack — it wasn’t as customizable as other options, but it gave better recommendations than nRelate or YARPP on my sites. Weirdly enough, I had *just* switched over my last blog when the nRelate announcement went out.

    • With your keen ability to see the future, you ought to play the lottery! I’ve been happy with Jetpack Related posts and noticed most of the time, the three posts displayed have a good relationship to the published post.

  6. I had used nRelate for years as it was one of the few that allowed use of the first post image for the thumbnail without forcing me to upload the image to my install (I don’t use a feature image because I host all my images on photobucket) then in the past couple months nRelate stopped showing thumbnails and I was getting the run around on their support site. I threatened to switch a day or two before they announced their shutdown.

    I now use Contextual Related Posts

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/contextual-related-posts/

  7. Hi Jeff,

    I suggest giving Contextly a go (founder here!). We do more than just related (though our related is pretty awesome) — we include trending, evergreen and personalization. We also do lots of behind the scenes A/B testing, can handle video and podcasts, and give folks editorial tools as well — and, of course, do all that on our own servers.

    We’re used by folks like MAKE Magazine, Fusion.net, PBS, KQED, Contently, Cool Tools and PEHub.

    Free up to 10K PVs and free month trial.

    RS

  8. [blockquote]Simply put, nRelate, the entity that provides recommendations to sites across the web, will no longer be a stand-alone business. Instead, our parent company has proactively opted to internalize our assets for competitive advantage, with the belief this strategy ultimately represents a bigger opportunity than our current path – a difficult decision, but one that makes a lot of sense, and one we both agree with.[/blockquote]

    What the what?

  9. nRelate was never a good solution. They tried to make it SEO-friendly, but it just never worked correctly.

    If you’re looking for an alternative, http://relatedpostsforwp.com/ is what I’ve been using and recommending since it was released. There’s both free and paid versions available and it’s a much better option than any of the others I’ve tested.

  10. As a product manager for YARPP, I really appreciate the mention here, Jeff. Just wanted to clarify:

    There are two versions of YARPP. It’s true that YARPP Basic (free) can take up resources on a site owner’s webhosting server due to the way it stores and indexes recommendations. However, YARPP Pro (also free) runs off of our servers, so it does not have the same resource burden for site owners. YARPP Pro is a better for larger sites.

  11. I’m using nrelate most popular, which lists most popular posts. Is that also going away?

  12. Hi Jeff,

    I recently published my related content plugin here https://wordpress.org/plugins/sebar/. It has a lot of cool feature like:

    1. Mobile responsive with support swipe and mouse drag
    2. Browse YouTube videos from plugin dashboard
    3. Integration with Google Feed Finder
    4. Display related contents from internal WP Post based on (individual post/page, tag, category, author and custom query)
    5. Analytics
    6. Custom landing page
    7. Widget
    8. More

    Hopefully it can help someone out there.

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