WordPress.com Ends Recent Pricing Experiment, Reverts to Previous Model

WordPress.com has ended the pricing experiment it began at the beginning of April. The company announced today that it is rolling back its pricing structure to the previous model, which offered five plans, including the free tier.

WordPress.com’s updated pricing table – July 21, 2022

A few months ago, WordPress.com pared back its pricing table from five to just two plans (Free and a $15/month Pro plan) as a major unannounced change, slashing free storage limits and imposing a traffic ceiling. After nearly two months of overwhelmingly negative feedback, the company added a new $5/month Starter plan to bridge the gap between Free and Pro, but even this entry level plan didn’t remove ads.

The changes were not clicking with users and many of them announced plans to move away from WordPress.com to new platforms. The company claims it was responding to feedback in reverting to the previous pricing model, but after 15 weeks of running the experiment, they likely had enough data to force the decision.

“As we began to roll out our new pricing plans a couple of months back, we took note of the feedback you shared,” Automattic VP of Content Michael Pick said in the new pricing announcement. “What we heard is that some of you missed the more granular flexibility of our previous plans. Additionally, the features you needed and pricing of the new plans didn’t always align for you.”

WordPress.com also emailed its customs about the availability of add-ons for à la carte upgrades for features like access to premium themes, removal of ads, and custom CSS. Notably missing was an add-on for storage upgrades, which multiple customers expressed in the comments that they are eager to have.

Customers reacted positively to announcement of the pricing reverting back and several thanked the company for taking their feedback seriously. WordPress.com confirmed that customers who switched to the previous Starter and Pro plans will be able to remain on those plans indefinitely with auto-renew if they choose.

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11 responses to “WordPress.com Ends Recent Pricing Experiment, Reverts to Previous Model”

  1. It seems incorrect to describe this as an “experiment,” since it was not framed that way when the changes were made. Based on the statements Automattic made at the time, it seems that it was intended to be a permanent change for all new users and that it was rolled back due to negative feedback, but not because there was a pre-existing plan to “experiment” with new pricing temporarily.

    • It is my understanding that they are frequently testing pricing tweaks, but yes in this scenario customers expressed that they did not appreciate the stealth changes to pricing with no communication (which seems like experimentation to me). They were testing the waters before officially rolling it out, ostensibly to iron out any issues before putting out an announcement a week later on April 6.

    • Life is one big experiment. Nothing is set in stone. An experiment by definition is making a change and observing the results.

      Also I think she is being a bit cheeky here by retroactivley deeming their screw up as an experiment.

  2. IDK how much market research they did before the new plans, whether they could have avoided this confusion, but it is good that they listened to feedback at this point.

  3. I believe this will be a happy news for a lot of WordPress.com customers.

    Anyway, I was wondered if I still can stay at Pro plan since I already upgraded my plan from Premium to Pro plan on April and a lot of tasks will have to be done if I have to come back to previous plan (and I can’t afford the legacy Business plan), such as change permalink back from post-name to previous default format.

  4. Regardless of what WordPress charges now or then, I always found it a lot more flexible and administrator friendly if I hosted the site on my own server.

  5. Pricing is hard. There need to be a lot of experiments to get it right. I just hope they do the A/B testing for a small group of users before launching for all. It was like a sudden change instead of an experiment.

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