Quickly Migrate Content From One WordPress Site to Another With WPSiteSync

There are a number of plugins available that allow you to migrate WordPress sites but many of them require access to the database. A new plugin called WPSiteSync by ServerPress, LLC, enables you to quickly migrate content from one WordPress site to another without touching the database.

WPSiteSync is freely available from the WordPress plugin directory. To use it, both the source and target sites need to have it installed and activated. Even though the admin notice informs users to configure the plugin’s settings, you only need to do so on the source site.

WPSiteSyncSettings
WPSiteSync Settings Page

To test WPSiteSync, I created two local WordPress sites using DesktopServer. When you save a post for the first time as a draft, a new metabox appears with options to push or pull content to or from the target site.

WpSiteSyncMetabox
WPSiteSync Metabox

The free version of WPSiteSync only allows you to push content to a site. If you want to pull content from a site, you’ll need to purchase the Pull extension. Once a post is saved as a draft, you can push it to the target site with the click of a button.

The post title, category, tags, featured image, format, and media are transferred to the target site. One of the most convenient aspects of WPSiteSync is that it uploads the transferred media to the target site and changes the URL. This eliminates image hotlinking and having to use database queries to manually change the URL.

Diversifying ServerPress

SeverPress was founded in 2011 as a sole proprietorship and reformed as ServerPress in 2013. WPSiteSync marks the first time the company has expanded its product offering in the WordPress ecosystem. Marc Benzakein, Operations Manager at ServerPress, explains why they’ve chosen to branch out from DesktopServer, “Our focus has always been to create tools for designers and developers to make their workflow more efficient,” Benzakein said.

“We’ve spent a lot of time supporting and involving ourselves in the WordPress Community. And while we do have our eye on a future where our offerings are not exclusively WordPress, it will always be the community for which we will develop first.”

Determining the Price and Commercial Extensions Slated for 2017

Although the core of WPSiteSync is free, there is a commercial membership option available for $99 per year. This price is available for a limited time and is a large discount from the regular price of $249 per year. I asked Benzakein how ServerPress reached this price point, “Our price point philosophy is fairly simple,” Benzakein told the Tavern.

“Since we all come from Development backgrounds, we look at how much time we’ll free up in a year vs. how much money we’ll spend. If the amount of money you’d make in those hours freed up is more than the amount of money the product or service cost you, then everyone wins.

“And for us, the only way to build long-term relationships with our customers is if everyone wins. When we looked at Sync, the question simply was, ‘If the average developer charges $75.00 an hour, will it increase their efficiency by two hours within that year?’ We feel it will do far more than that and from what we’ve heard from our customers, it’s already gone a long way toward that end.”

There are a handful of commercial extensions available to enhance the plugin. Other than what’s already in the pipeline, Benzakein gives a glimpse into what users can expect in 2017.

“2017 will likely see a focus on eCommerce extensions and everything that works within,” he said. “Before then, we’ll be offering form-builder and theme builder extensions. Of course, we are a company that listens closely to what the Community at large wants, so if we get a common request for something we hadn’t thought of, we’re not above making a slight change in course.”

A Few Caveats

I tested WPSiteSync by syncing a number of posts between local sites and didn’t encounter any issues. However, before installing and activating it on your site, keep in mind the following.

Support for the free version is only provided on Fridays from 10am-12PM Pacific standard time. A cursory glance at the support forum shows the ServerPress team responding to a number of threads.

You can only migrate one post at a time so if you need to migrate an entire site, consider looking at alternatives. Benzakein says the team is working on a bulk migrator extension and that it may be the next one released.

WPSiteSync Feels Magical

One of the quotes on the WPSiteSync website says, “One button does it all. It’s like Magic!” This quote is not far from the truth. After configuring the source site, pressing a button and having content synced to another site in record time feels magical.

I encourage you to give WPSiteSync a try and let us know what you think about it in the comments. To learn more about what it does and the features that are available, check out the WPSiteSync website.

50 Comments


  1. Wait, first you say:

    Support for the free version is only provided on Fridays from 10am-12PM Pacific standard time. A cursory glance at the support forum shows the ServerPress team responding to a number of threads.

    You can only migrate one post at a time so if you need to migrate an entire site, consider looking at alternatives. Benzakein says the team is working on a bulk migrator extension and that it may be the next one released.

    And then you say:

    WPSiteSync Feels Magical

    Those two things are opposites in my mind. Support for a few hours one day a week, and migrating one post at a time is most definitely NOT MAGICAL, imo. That’s more like 1978-style of magic. Maybe I’m misunderstanding *everything* but that sounds like just about the least magical thing – ever.

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    1. The way it works is what I describe as magical. The support has nothing to do with how it works.

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    2. Just to be clear on the Support, we offer support on the WordPress forums on Fridays. It’s not that we do not offer support the rest of the days, but running support for a free product with something that has ticket tracking outside of our control (WordPress forums) makes it difficult. Normal ServerPress/WPSiteSync support is offered as always through our own internal system which is trackable; of course priority being given to members.

      With that said, the advantage of the WordPress forums is that it’s always possible that the Community might chime in with a solution.

      And lastly, those hours are our guaranteed hours that we check the forums. Truth be told, we check more often in between as you might notice. We just wanted to inform people of when they can count on us being there to answer questions.

      I hope that clarifies things a bit. You’re always welcome to email us should you have a question about it!

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    3. Support as a paid customer is lacking as well. I submitted a ticket on the official site with no reply. Thankfully I have a Desktop Server license, submitted a ticket there and got a reply.

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      1. Hi Corey! I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble getting a ticket answered. Premium members have access to our Support Team Monday through Friday PST. In order to ensure prompt service to our Premium Users, we can only guarantee Forum replies on Fridays 10am to 12noon PST. If we can answer questions sooner, we definitely try. Just like DesktopServer, we pride ourselves in Customer Service. So if you don’t hear back from us, there’s always a good reason…such as “technical difficulties”. I know. Ironic right? However, we often don’t know there’s an issue with our ticketing system until a Customer tells us. So, we’d love it if you will let us know next time that your previously submitted ticket wasn’t answered. We will be sure to diagnose and fix any issues on our end ASAP. We thank you for your feedback.

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      2. Similar issue here.

        Submitted two tickets for different issues via both the WPSiteSync contact form, and via the ServerPress contact form, and yet to receive a response.

        We are a paid subscriber, mentioned in both support requests.

        Fortunately have managed to solve one issue ourselves. Still awaiting a response regarding the other.

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      3. Hi Shaun! Would you please send an eMail directly to support[at]serverpress[dot]com?
        and post it here that you did so we can follow up via eMail with you? We thought we fixed this issue. However, based on what you are saying we may still be missing inquiries. We’d appreciate your assistance in this so we can make sure all of our Members are cared for! and I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

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    4. I was feeling less than “magical” when I read that as well. :)

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      1. 10 magical hours….I dare you to watch it all without going batshit crazy. WTF? Some people have wayyyyyy too much time on their hands. :)

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  2. I like the concept and ease of use of this plugin but the price seems high at $249. per year. Even though there is a discount available at $99 what is the renewal price? A package with less options and full support would be better.

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    1. Hi Justin,

      Thanks. The $249 price was based upon a savings of what it would be if we were to a la carte all of the plugins separately. In short, it’s pretty significant.

      Having said that, we’re always anxious to hear what types of packages would be more useful to our customers. Our thought process going in was that we didn’t want to offer too many options and muddle the issue. It’s not to say that we might not offer other “simpler” packages in the future, but as we are treading on new territory/new market, we can only make educated speculations.

      The renewal price for the Early Adopter Package, however, will always be $99.00. It’s our way of thanking the people who had faith in us early on, prior to populating our marketplace with all the extensions we have slated.

      It’s always been an operating philosophy of ours to reward our loyal customers and show them our appreciation. That won’t ever change. :-)

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      1. Marc,

        I think $99 to join and renew is very fair with all extensions now and in the future. How long will the Early Adopter VIP price be in effect? You should offer the $99 price to all DesktopServer premium users. That would probably increase sales of both products.

        I am using Beaver Builder for the majority of my sites so when will the extension be available? Can I use it now without the BB ext?

        I love DesktopServer premium so that alone assures me this is a smoking product.

        Thanks

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      2. Justin,

        The early adopter price is going to stay in effect for a little bit, but no absolute date. We wanted to get a few more extensions out before we took it away. It’ll definitely work out to be a screamin’ deal for those who took advantage of it (I’m saying this strictly as if I were a client-services developer, not a rep of the company – although I can see how it would come across as such). Once again, the idea is that it’s our way of saying “thanks” to the people who put their faith in us.

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  3. I tried the free product and it worked well as long as I synced between dev sites (using Desktop Server). However, when I tried to sync between a live and a dev site, it did not work.

    They do mention that in their documentation …”Why Can’t I Push to my Local Development Environment?

    The main reason for this is DNS. The Domain Name System is used to associate a public domain name like “mysite.com” with the IP address of your hosting service. You probably do not have a domain name set up with DNS for your local development environment. Even if you did, many ISP block requests from “outside the network” to servers within the network for security reasons. That is what hosting companies are for. To do this, you would have to set up a DNS entry, allow routing from outside the ISP network to your development site, setup firewall and routing rules and then harden your development environment to protect it against malicious attacks and hackers.

    Since most users are not going to go to these lengths, we have created the WPSiteSync Pull add-on that allows Pulling Content from your Target site to your local environment, rather than Pushing Content from your Staging or Live server to your local environment.”

    Then I purchased the $99 early adopter bundle and got the ‘Pulling’ feature that I didn’t have with the free feature.

    But I still couldn’t get the plugin to accept the password when I wanted to sync from a live to a dev site. I contacted them via their support tab, but have not been contacted by them after about 24 hours. Maybe I need to contact them on the ServerPress help?? Not sure.

    I think this is a great product and I hope my issue will be resolved soon. The price and time saved is ‘magical’.

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    1. Lynn,

      That is strange, but I do not see a ticket created by you. Please try the ServerPress contact (there is an option in the dropdown to contact us about WpSiteSync). In the meantime, I’m going to check into why we did not get a ticket from you.

      Sorry for the problem. We’ll get it worked out.

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      1. Thanks, Marc. I will go to ServerPress and try it there. Appreciate your response.

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  4. I just tested it, syncing 2 localhost websites, and within 10 minutes I have some issues and suggestions:

    1. If I have an image in the content to push, it’s unable to push the content – I get an error message instead “Unable to determine post content.” Removing the image from the post/page, solves the problem.

    2. Everytime I update a post, (push a post multiple times), a new copy of the featured image is pushed too. So if I push a post 5 times, on the target site, I will get 5 copies of the same image, with the same filename. And the number of images on the server gets multiplied of course, as WP makes additional image sizes for each image.

    In my opinion, until the 2 issues get fixed, and until I can push things in batch, and more importantly they add full Woocommerce support, this plugin has very little value if any at all (at least for me).

    For the time being, manually loading images to the target site, and then copy/paste the html source (Text) from one site to the other is the way to go.

    For my purposes, I don’t see much value for the free plugin, never mind the cost of $99/year or even worse, the $249/year when the early adopter period ends.

    That said, it’s a good idea, and I hope they are successful, but for the time being, it’s just badly executed, a lot of work needs to be done for me to start using it. I will definitely be monitoring their progress, as I would love to buy the premium version, provided it works as it should and has full Woocommerce support.

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    1. Nick,

      Would love to work with you on this and see what you’re seeing. Unless we can recreate the issue, as you know, it’s difficult to fix.

      Shoot us an email and we’ll try to get together, if you have time.

      Thanks,

      -marc

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  5. Marc, I will create a silent video and post it here, within the hour, as the video will take time to be rendered and uploaded to youtube.

    Thank you.

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      1. Here is the video: https://youtu.be/HEGWvsX7Urs

        The source site uses a theme made by me, it’s clean coded that passes the theme check, minus the theme shortcodes, and the use of TGM plugin installer.

        The target site uses Twenty Twelve.

        Both sites are running the latest versions of WP, and everything else works for both sites.

        These are the plugins:
        Advanced Database Cleaner
        Advanced Image Styles
        Cssor
        Easy Featured Images
        Fluid Video Embeds
        Image Widget
        Max Mega Menu
        mb.YTPlayer background video
        Microthemer (premium)
        Plugin Toggle
        Post Slider WD
        RRF Scroll To Top
        Shortcode Tester
        Shortcoder
        SiteOrigin Widgets by CodeLights
        Sticky Menu (or Anything!) on Scroll
        Temporary Login Without Password
        UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore (premium)
        User Role Editor
        User Switching
        User Switching in Admin Bar
        WooCommerce
        WP Canvas – Shortcodes
        WP Show Posts
        WPSiteSync for Content (of course!!!).

        The server is USBWebserver 8.6 (latest version), I don;t think this will matter in this case.

        Tomorrow I will try again on 2 freshly installed sites, with no plugins but WPSiteSync and Twenty Twelve, and report back here one way or another…

        I hope I can be valuable in testing this plugin for you…

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      2. Thanks, Nick.

        Family duty calls, but I’m going to forward all of this on to Dave (the genius behind the plugin) to have a gander. Appreciate the follow-up.

        -marc

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  6. As far as i know this plugin can’t handle saved options in (encrypted) serialized data. All urls stored in such options still require manual sql adjustments or are lost. The Duplicator plugin can handle these as well as the sql replace script from interconnect. The latter only for serialized data. The interconnect script can also not handle encrypted serialized data. This plugin is nice for the simple data post / page structure but not for such encrypted serialized data. Because of data loss in some languages when sql tables are not set to UTF8 collation, themes started using 64bit encode / decode functions to not loose any settings. Urls stored in those encrypted serialized data records are not converted by the plugin and completely missed and still require either re-adding or manual adjustments. Correct me if i am wrong and if this feature has been added recently. When i tested this it did not work.

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    1. Hi Neo. As you mention, the plugin’s goal is to synchronize the Content, along with the accompanying post meta, taxonomy and image information. It’s not designed to handle encrypted serialized data since most Post/Page Content does not (usually) contain this. But Content written in other languages can. What was the CHARSET= encoding on the tables for the site(s) you tried WPSiteSync on? If the CHARSETs are different on the Source and Target this may explain the issue.

      If possible, we’d like to work with you on replicating the issues you’ve described so that we can fix this for you and others that would be experiencing this. If you would contact us via our support request form at https://serverpress.com/contact/ and give us some more information, we’d be happy to address this.

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      1. Hi Dave,

        To replicate such problem see the link i added. It is most common in scandinavian countries to have different collation because of the special characters in their language. We solved our issues by the solution given in that article and added the encode / decode method to options within the theme settings and page / post options the theme adds.

        The article on your plugin by Jeff is not fully correct as the migrate fails on these kind of data. Although he starts with the statement that content can be migrated without touching the database. This only applies to plain none serialized data.

        But if you really want to migrate a complete website without touching a database there is only one solution that works and that is the duplicator plugin. But that plugin also fails on some servers because of memory issues, security settings etc. In such case migrating content could be a very good solution and redo your settings for all the encrypted serialized stuff. But then again i can accomplish this already for all content with the default xml export import ability of wordpress itself (including all options, menu’s etc.). The only advantage i see is that i can do a single page or post sync which no other plugin can do.

        But then again Jeffs article is implying that it can migrate a complete website without touching the database. And that is incorrect. That was my point i was trying to make.

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  7. What a fantastic news! I tried the plug-in yesterday, and it works very well. It doesn’t seem to work when you are in dev mode, but that is okay. It can still save you a lot of time!! I wish this plug-in had been published sooner. I would have save me a lot of time doing copy and paste…

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    1. Hi Niels! Thanks for the feedback. Not having to “copy and paste” small content changes is Exactly what this tool was designed for. This should work in dev mode. There may be a conflict with a theme or plugin. We’d love to work with you on this if you are open to it.

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  8. I’m a big fan of ServerPress in particular the ability to create a local install of a live site.

    “WPSiteSync marks the first time the company has expanded its product offering in the WordPress ecosystem.”

    I produce content on my local installs (pages and posts) and then transfer it to the live sites, so this could be a real time saver.

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    1. Thank you so much for your support, Keith! We’d love to get your ongoing feedback as we add features to WPSiteSync.

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  9. Does this work over http, xml-rpc, or some other way? How does it compare to RAMP by Crowd Favorite?

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    1. It works over http/ https and does not use XML-RPC. WPSiteSync is designed to Sync isolated content data when you do not wish to perform a full site migration. Premium version allows Bidirectional content Sync. This saves a lot of time and energy downloading and reuploading the entire database. For example, if you add a new paragraph or image to an existing blog post on the staging/ local environment, instead of having to copy and paste that content to the live site, you can press the “Push” button and it will automatically update this piece of content to your live site.

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  10. How well would it work for a site that has more than 10 years and 8,000 posts worth of content? Is there a point where a website size would become too unwieldy for such a migration program?

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    1. WPSiteSync was designed to migrate isolated content rather than the entire database. If you are looking to move a huge amount of content, there are great full website migration tools out there to do that. However, if you are looking to only sync one or a few blog posts at at time, WPSiteSync is perfect for that task. In that case, more than 8,000 blog posts is not a performance issue.

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  11. I’m excited to try WPSiteSync! Can it be used to sync more than just posts? For example, if I’m developing local and making changes to functions, styles, templates, etc., I assume those can be sync’d as well? Widgets (or are those stored in the db)? Plugins? Media?

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    1. Hi Jodi! It is in our roadmap to sync themes, widgets, media gallery, etc. Because not all themes and plugins in the Marketplace are coded alike, a lot of testing is still needed before these features can be released. We are counting on the Community to provide us with ongoing feedback. If you are interested in participating, please sign up to be updated on our Home Page at wpsitesync.com

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  12. This is nice but I wish the team would prioritize delivering on its core product first. It is running on an ancient version of PHP and has been for years now. Kind of an elephant in the room if you rely on a code base that is long outdated (xampp lite)…

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    1. Hi Peter! We truly thank you for your patience (and all of our Supporters out there). Our tech team is slaving away on DesktopServer. No joke! They are literally on a lockdown coding 7 days a week. With many active DS Users, we MUST make sure the “new engine” plays well with All the integration points and is backward compatible with the 20+ plugins accompanying the Core tool. WPSiteSync was a surprise tool brought into our Company by Dave Jesch, ready to go. Being able to sync content has been a consistent request over the past few years so we decided to release it sooner than later! Why wait when you can have it now right? =) Again, we thank you for your patience. As the Product Manager, I can assure you we have restructured our process to speed up production even more. Nothing is distracting our Dev Team. You will be very happy with the new DS update!

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      1. Awesome response, I’m glad to hear the engine underneath is being worked on. I really look forward to being able to use PHP7 on my locally hosted sites.

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  13. Yeah IMO not worth it for the price, $249 per year, even discounted at $99 is still expensive.

    “Early adopter” should be like $49 to get people to join who are okay dealing with initial bugs and lack of features… Not going to pay $99 a year for something that is new and will probably have growing pains.

    Like the idea, but not the pricing structure

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    1. I guess that means you’re not a customer?

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    2. We definitely appreciate your honest feedback! Our products may not be right for everyone but we sincerely respect all opinions. It will only help us provide better support to Web Professionals. Being a complicated endeavor to begin with, WPSiteSync for Content took quite a bit of initial investment. It’s our way of giving back to the Community. Now, please allow me to explain our pricing decisions for the Premium bundle. If we had our wish, we would have a gazillion dollars at our disposal so we can offer free products to everyone! But the reality is that in order for us to continue our efforts full time in developing more features, we count on the Community for support. There are many deciding factors, but the biggest difference between $49 vs $99 is development speed. We’ve seen too many plugins become abandoned due to lack of funding. If we only charge $49/ yr, we will not be able to get the new features to market quickly. Support will be lacking as well. After in depth analysis, we’ve decided that it’s important we get new features into the hands of Developers out there. I sincerely hope you come back and visit with us. We’d love to share our ongoing Progression with you.

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      1. If we only charge $49/ yr, we will not be able to get the new features to market quickly. Support will be lacking as well.

        Lol…. Of course you say such to rectify that price. Support question are 90% the same as most customers just drop the question without reading the forum or documentation.

        There could be a very extensive documentation covering these (FAQ). Just point them to these.

        I think a price of $49 could draw more customers. More sales at $49 could mean more money in the box then sales at $99. Since there are no or less fixed costs the net profit could grow bigger then when a price of $99 is used. Either way this would cover development and adding of new features. Your argument is in my opinion a bogus one. Its a decision you made of what you believe is a good price which of course is your good right.

        Ever heared of break even point (BEP)? Given the fact that it is a software product that point is easily reached as the production costs are low.

        If the price would be $49 i would certainly advice my customers this. At $99 i have to think about it and most likely wont. It depends on how many posts a year they would like to sync.

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      2. Hi Neo,

        A lot of our decision that goes into our pricing structure (and I can assure you that we, as a team, likely put more thought and analysis into it than you have. At least I would hope that’s the case!), and it’s always a matter of “value” to our customer which we base on the amount of time the customer will save in a given year.

        With the exception of Jenn, our team all came from development backgrounds, and based upon that, we all saw how it could save us hours per year.

        Our goal here is not to get market share like, say, a Walmart, but to provide services to our customers that can use them. I understand where you’re coming from, and as such, we may not be for you. You may not reach a break even (or, more importantly, a profit) point by purchasing a Membership on an annual basis. We do understand that.

        But realize that as this is our business, we labored over the price point and strategy, trying to cover every angle to be certain that everyone involved in the transaction feels that they got what they needed to be happy. Our customers invest in us in order to save themselves time, and we price things so we can stay in business and sustain our families. Our philosophy is that it always has to be a win-win, because that’s how you gain loyal customers and that’s how customers gain loyal service companies.

        Having said that we do appreciate your thoughts on this because staying in touch with our Community is always at the forefront of our operations.

        Thanks!

        -marc

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      3. Hi Neo! You are absolutely correct. EVERY company should evaluate their BEP, including Independent Web Professionals, IMO. Only the business owner can determine what the BEP is for their operation and what tools to purchase in order to meet their goals.

        We are GPL compliant. Therefore our business model goes beyond selling Products. ServerPress is Support driven. This includes Product Updates, New Features, Troubleshooting and many other perks we provide our Members. Let’s also remember quite a bit of our earnings goes back to sponsoring WordCamps internationally. We couldn’t stay a pillar for the WordPress Community if we are fiscally irresponsible.

        Again, I personally thank you for your feedback. I love that you bring up a great point in regards to BEP. I think many will benefit from that comment. We will always put our Customers first in our decision making process. I firmly believe one of the best things a Company can do for their Customers is ensuring stability so services (Professional, Community and otherwise) can be provided ongoing! We trust that each Customer will determine for themselves whether a tool is valuable in their Workflow.

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