Tag: WordPress.com

WordPress.com Business Plan (Business-Class WordPress Hosting + Support from WordPress Experts)

WordPress.com is where you go to use WordPress that is completely hosted for you. You don’t have to worry about anything but building your site. There is a free plan to get started with, and paid plans that offer more features. The Business plan is particularly interesting, and my guess is that most people don’t fully understand everything that it unlocks for you, so let’s dig into that.

You get straight up SFTP access to your site.

Here’s me using Transmit to pop right into one of my sites over SFTP.

What this means is that you can do local WordPress development like you normally would, then use real deployment tools to kick your work out to production (which is your WordPress.com site). That’s what I do with Buddy. (Here a screencast demonstrating the workflow.)

That means real control.

I can upload and use whatever plugins I want. I can upload and use whatever themes I want. The database too — I get literal direct MySQL access.

I can even manage what PHP version the site uses. That’s not something I’d normally even need to do, but that’s just how much access there is.

A big jump in storage.

200 GB. You’ll probably never get anywhere near that limit, unless you are uploading video, and if you are, now you’ve got the space to do it.

Backups you’ll probably actually use.

You don’t have to worry about anything nasty happening on WordPress.com, like your server being hacked and losing all your data or anything. So in that sense, WordPress.com is handling your backups for you. But with the Business plan, you’ll see a backup log right in your dashboard:

That’s a backup of your theme, data, assets… everything. You can download it anytime you like.

The clutch feature? You can restore things to any point in time with the click of a button.

Powered by a global CDN

Not every site on WordPress.com is upgraded to the global CDN. Yours will be if it’s on the Business plan. That means speed, and speed is important for every reason, including SEO. And speaking of SEO tools, those are unlocked for you on the Business plan as well.

Some of the best themes unlock at the Premium/Business plan level.

You can buy them one-off, but you don’t have to if you’re on the Business plan because it opens the door for more playing around. This Aquene theme is pretty stylish with a high-end design:

It’s only $ 300/year.

(Or $ 33/month billed monthly.)

So it’s not ultra-budget hosting, but the price tag is a lot less if you consider all the things we covered here and how much they cost if you were to cobble something together yourself. And we didn’t even talk about support, which is baked right into the plan.

Hosting, backups, monitoring, performance, security, plugins, themes, and support — toss in a free year or domain registration, and that’s a lot of website for $ 300.

They have less expensive plans as well. But the Business plan is the level where serious control, speed, and security kick in.

Coupon code CSSTRICKS gets you 15% off the $ 300/year Business Plan. Valid until the end of February 2021.


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I Just Wanna Make Sure You Understand the WordPress.com Business Plan

WordPress.com is where you go to use WordPress that is completely hosted for you. You don’t have to worry about anything but building your site. There is a free plan to get started with, and paid plans that offer more features. The Business plan is particularly interesting, and my guess is that most people don’t fully understand everything that it unlocks for you, so let’s dig into that.

You get straight up SFTP access to your site.

Here’s me using Transmit to pop right into one of my sites over SFTP.

What this means is that you can do local WordPress development like you normally would, then use real deployment tools to kick your work out to production (which is your WordPress.com site). That’s what I do with Buddy. (Here a screencast demonstrating the workflow.)

That means real control.

I can upload and use whatever plugins I want. I can upload and use whatever themes I want. The database too — I get literal direct MySQL access.

I can even manage what PHP version the site uses. That’s not something I’d normally even need to do, but that’s just how much access there is.

A big jump in storage.

200 GB. You’ll probably never get anywhere near that limit, unless you are uploading video, and if you are, now you’ve got the space to do it.

Backups you’ll probably actually use.

You don’t have to worry about anything nasty happening on WordPress.com, like your server being hacked and losing all your data or anything. So in that sense, WordPress.com is handling your backups for you. But with the Business plan, you’ll see a backup log right in your dashboard:

That’s a backup of your theme, data, assets… everything. You can download it anytime you like.

The clutch feature? You can restore things to any point in time with the click of a button.

Powered by a global CDN

Not every site on WordPress.com is upgraded to the global CDN. Yours will be if it’s on the Business plan. That means speed, and speed is important for every reason, including SEO. And speaking of SEO tools, those are unlocked for you on the Business plan as well.

Some of the best themes unlock at the Premium/Business plan level.

You can buy them one-off, but you don’t have to if you’re on the Business plan because it opens the door for more playing around. This Aquene theme is pretty stylish with a high-end design:

It’s only $ 300/year.

So it’s not ultra-budget hosting, but the price tag is a lot less if you consider all the things we covered here and how much they cost if you were to cobble something together yourself. And we didn’t even talk about support, which is baked right into the plan.

Hosting, backups, monitoring, performance, security, plugins, themes, and support — toss in a free year or domain registration, and that’s a lot of website for $ 300.

They have less expensive plans as well. But the Business plan is the level where serious control, speed, and security kick in.


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WordPress.com Growth Summit

I’m speaking at The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit coming up in August. “Learn how to build and grow your site, from start to scale”, as they say. Lovely, thick, diverse set of speakers. It’s a little bit outside my normal spheres which makes it extra exciting for me. Selena Jackson:

The goal of this event is to inspire, connect you with the tools you need, and help you build your community. Sessions will take place across three tracks: blogging, business, and creative. You can take sessions on any or all tracks

If it interests you, it’s $ 79, and 20% off that with coupon code ChrisCoyier20.

My session?

CSS-Tricks: Putting WordPress to Work

Chris Coyier’s CSS-Tricks is a popular publication geared to web designers and developers. It’s also very much a business powered by WordPress. Chris will take us behind the scenes at CSS-Tricks, sharing all the ways it takes advantage of WordPress features, on both the technical and business sides.

Selena sent me some interesting questions as well:

What has kept you on WordPress for all these years? How has your website been essential to your growth or success?

It’s true that CSS-Tricks has never been anything but a WordPress site. I’ve never switched platforms or majorly re-architected in any way. But it’s not because of laziness or because I just don’t have any exposure to other methods of website building. I feel fortunate in that I’ve had lots of exposure and experience to different ways to build websites, from JAMstack with static site generators with cloud functions, to CMSs of all sorts, to Ruby on Rails sites, to Python-based sites… all kinds of stuff. All of it has a place.

Part of the equation is that I’m a solo developer for the most part on CSS-Tricks. Just me over here. I don’t have the budget for a fancy development team. But I still want to feel powerful and productive. That’s one of the things that WordPress has given to me. I feel like I can build just about anything on WordPress, and do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a mountain of technical debt that I would struggle to maintain.

Even though there is a decent amount of custom stuff going on, it probably looks like more than it is. Most of the work I do is pretty normcore WordPress development. I use popular well-maintained plugins. I use standard filters. I use the templating system as it was designed. I try to do things “The WordPress Way”, and that means year after year it’s very easy for me to maintain the site and build out what I want to build out. I never worry if I’m going against the grain or that I’m doing anything that puts me at any risk of not being able to upgrade things.

What’s one key thing you want our Growth Summit attendees to take away from your keynote talk/session?

I think my main vibe is going to be sharing just how powerful WordPress can be as a platform to run a publishing business on.

In a crowded and noisy web environment, what did you do to help your website stand out? What’s unique about your story or business?

What I hope we stand out for is the content on the site itself. We strive to be consistent, trustworthy, friendly, and helpful. In a world so laden with misinformation, zero-ethics advertising, and UX-hostile interfaces trying to squeeze everything they can from you, a site that’s just trying to help you understand the web and run a normal business out of it I hope feels as good to other people as it does to me.

Has COVID-19 changed how you use your website — or your approach to your online presence?

Not terribly. I’m finding advertisers pulling back a little bit, and keeping a closer eye on their sponsorship investments. And while I don’t love the idea of seeing those dollars go down, I don’t blame them. It’s smart for any business to make sure their money is well-spent.


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Accepting Payments (including Recurring Payments) on WordPress.com

I’m a fan of building websites with the least amount of technical debt and things you have to be responsible for as possible for what you wanna do. Sometimes you take on this debt on purpose because you have to, but when you don’t, please don’t ;).

Let’s say you need to build a site that can take money from customers, but on a recurring basis. WordPress.com can do that now, and it’s a fantastic choice because it’s all of the power and control and none of the debt.

Here’s my thinking…

1) WordPress.com is the fastest way to spin up a WordPress site.

Not only is it fast, but you don’t have to worry about anything. Servers, SSL, security, performance, accessibility… that’s all handled for you and you can focus on what you do best. Even if you’re a seasoned developer, I’m sure you can understand how this is compelling. Automating work is what the best developers do.

2) WordPress.com sites can be eCommerce sites.

Not only sell-a-product style sites, but also recurring payments sites. Meaning you can very easily set up a subscription service, membership site, or site for monthly donations.

The pricing is like this:

WordPress.com Plan Jetpack plan Related Fees
WordPress.com eCommerce  — None
WordPress.com Business Jetpack Professional 2%
WordPress.com Premium Jetpack Premium 4%
WordPress.com Personal Jetpack Personal  8%

So you do the math and figure out the most economical plan for you. That eCommerce plan on WordPress.com is only $ 45/month and means zero additional fees, so I imagine once you’re up and running and making sales, that plan becomes the obvious choice.

Ideas!

  • You build custom weekly meal plans for families and charge monthly for that.
  • You have a membership site for physical training videos where people have to be a member to see the videos.
  • Your site is has a bunch of completely free great content, and you offer a way to give yearly donations to support it.

Why roll your own eCommerce when you don’t have to?

3) It used to be that your WordPress site was a bit limited on WordPress.com, but those days are over.

eCommerce is one aspect of that, but I’m talking full SFTP and database access. You can build custom themes, use your own plugins, just like any other WordPress site. So if you’re thinking that you’re giving up too much control by going with WordPress.com, make sure to re-evaluate that.


So knowing all that, I’d say you really should give WordPress.com a hard look when you’re about to spin up an eCommerce site. I’ve seen far too much over-engineering and mountains of technical debt in my life, I’d rather see people use simpler tools and get started doing their actual business, especially to start.

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SFTP & Database Access on WordPress.com

(This is a sponsored post.)

Wait what?

That’s right, direct access to the files and data storage that power your site on WordPress.com, just like you have if you self-host a WordPress site. You can read their announcement here. Note this is for Business and eCommerce plans only.

All you have to do is flip it on in the settings (Manage > Hosting Configuration) and it’ll give you the SFTP credentials.

SFTP and database access can be configured right in the WordPress Manage settings.

Here’s me using an SFTP client and logging in no problem, and what I have access to:

Notice I can sneak right into super important folders like plugins, themes, and uploads. That’s right:

  • You can upload and use your own themes
  • You can upload and use your own plugins
  • You can mass upload assets if you need to

All that stuff is 🤯mind-blowing to me. It used to be pretty locked in my mind that you use WordPress.com if you want to use WordPress and get all the speed, security, and lack of any worry, but at the cost of some lack of control. Now that all this control is there too, the line gets a lot fuzzier on when to self-host and when not to. You’ll have to make that call for yourself.

And I haven’t even mentioned that there is a button in the settings to pop open phpMyAdmin, giving you direct access to the database as well.

There are some limitations, which I think make a lot of sense.

For example, when I started Email is Good, I chose the TwentySixteen theme because I think it works really nicely for a straightforward blog like this site is. But when I log in via SFTP, I can’t directly edit the theme. Instead, I see a symlink there in the themes folder, which I can’t touch. That symlink is to an official copy of the TwentySixteen theme, which WordPress.com themselves will keep up to date. If I want to customize it, I could upload my own copy of that theme (or any other theme), and then I’m on my own to update it.

If this weren’t enough, there’s one more small but key thing WordPress.com makes easy: switching PHP versions. That’s something that often takes a support request or requires more than a simple shared hosting plan, but it readily accessible in the WordPress.com site settings.

None of this is required, of course. You don’t ever have to fiddle with any of this stuff to run a WordPress.com site. This is for people who need deeper control and like to hack on stuff (like me). There is also no prescribed way to use this. You could just pop in over SFTP to edit a few little things in a template or asset. Or, you could have a full-blown load dev environment for your site and deploy it over SFTP on demand.

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WordPress.com: One CMS, Infinite Possibilities

(This is a sponsored post.)

Have you ever looked at a site and knew exactly what CMS powers it? You might see a distinctive design aesthetic that gives it away. Or maybe it’s something even less obvious and even harder to articulate, but you know it when you see it.

That seems true with just about any platform, especially those that rely on a set of templates. If you were to jump from one site ot another on the same platform, you can see the similarities, sort of like walking down the street of a neighborhood where all the homes are designed by the same architect.

It’s not a bad thing. But like homes, we tend to want websites with personality and that feel unique. That’s one of the things that makes WordPress.com a nice hosted platform option.

Yes, it has core themes, some of which are commonly used. What it also has is hundreds of others, including 110 themes that are free. The designs range from portfolio- and business-themed sites to ones themed around traditional blogs, weddings, travel, music, and food. There’s so many to choose from, and they’re introducing more every year. Take a look through some live sites using WordPress.com. The variety is awesome and showcases the many possibilities of WordPress as a content management system.

We’ve said it before: if you can build a site with WordPress.com, you should build a site on WordPress.com. We’re proud to have WordPress as a sponsor here at CSS-Tricks and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who needs a quick and easy way to spin up a site. Plus, with a free plan tier, it’s even easier to get started.

Start your website

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If you can build a site with WordPress.com, you should build your site on WordPress.com.

That’s what I like to tell people. I’ve seen too many websites die off, often damaging the company along the way because the technical debt of hosting and maintaining the website is too much in the long term. For a few examples, there is the domain name itself to handle and the tricky DNS settings to go along with it. There is choosing and setting up web hosting, which often requires more long-term maintenance than many folks would like. There are SSL certificates that need to be handled and renewed. You’d better make sure security and backups and handled well, lest you risk the entire site.

Lots of stuff to think about!

Building and working on a website is hard enough without all this stress. These things are even hard enough work for seasoned web people, and often just too much entirely for people, projects, and companies that just want a dang website.

You know what? Do it on WordPress.com and worry about nothing. Just build your website and know that a great company has got your back on everything else.

To be clear, I’ve been working on websites for decades. I know a lot about what it takes to run them and what can break them. To anyone that wants to learn those things too, that’s great. I would never try to that away from anybody. And there are plenty of projects out there that need to do things that WordPress.com can’t do. But there are also a lot more projects out there suffering from forgotten web chores and abandoned responsibilities that would be and could be happily chugging along on WordPress.com.

Signing up for a WordPress.com site is not just easy, but even includes a free tier. It’s pretty incredible how quick it is to get a site online. And, if you’re at all familiar with publishing content on WordPress, then you know how simple it is to start cranking out content — and if you’re new to WordPress, well, you’re in for a treat because the editing experience is just plain delightful, especially with the new Gutenberg interface.

So, yes, regardless your skill level, type or business, team, or whatever, WordPress.com is an excellent resource and is the right call. Does it fit all use cases? No, but nothing does. I like the idea of choosing the right tool for the job and WordPress.com can certainly be the right choice for a good number of projects.

Oh and hey, as chance has it, the awesome WordPress Jetpack plugin happens to be having a 20% promotion. That’s pretty awesome. If you’ve been following us for some time, then you know that we love Jetpack and use it right here on CSS-Tricks — from comment moderation to image optimization to social integrations and many things in between. Use coupon code JPSAVE20 at checkout.

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Moving a Self-Hosted WordPress Site to WordPress.com

I have a habit of getting some hosting when I need a new WordPress site. That is, a self-installed, self-hosted WordPress.org site. That’s served me well over the years. I like my control. But along with that control comes a certain level of extra responsibility that sometimes just isn’t worth it.

That’s the case for me now with my little blog Email is Good.

Right from the get-go, I knew I wanted Email is Good to be as absolutely simple as could be. At the moment, I can’t prioritize a fancy custom design or really any specialized functionality at all. All I want is a simple, clean blog in which to publish blog posts. And as powerful and flexible as WordPress is, it’s still extra good at that use case.

Email is Good uses an untouched, stock copy of the TwentySixteen theme.

I’d like to move it over to WordPress.com, so that I don’t have to deal with hosting, upgrades, backups, security… it’ll just host my simple blog and I can unburden myself of that little spoonful of technical debt.

Their docs for this are there, but a little on the light side, so I’ll document my process here.

Set up the WordPress.com side first

There is a nice clean URL for kicking off a new WordPress.com site:

https://wordpress.com/start/

There isn’t really a one-click just suck everything over in one shot system. Instead, you set up the site on WordPress.com, deal with the domain, and import the content. It might feel a little weird, but this first step is just kinda re-setting up the basics:

Deal with the domain

By “domain”, I mean the URL that you may already own. I own “email-is-good.com” which is what I want to continue to use.

During setup you can buy a domain (or get a free one! They’ll give you a wordpress.com or .blog subdomain), but since I’m moving a site here, I’ll select the option that I already own the domain.

My domain name is already registered on GoDaddy.com. I could just leave the domain name there and map the domain over to WordPress.com. I think that’s generally a smart thing to do, but I wanted to try what seems to be the default which is transferring it over to WordPress.com.

Part of the beauty of transferring the domain is there is no settings to screw up, as it will be handled by WordPress.com

I went through a process of basically re-registering the domain with WordPress.com.

In order to actually transfer the domain, I had to go to GoDaddy and “unlock” the domain as well as request a transfer authorization code.

If you’re transferring a domain, it can take a little while.

The note on the page above tells me it might take a full week to complete. It took me one day less. I got the success email on February 18th instead of 19th.

I did have to “flip the switch”, as the email suggests, to use the WordPress nameservers.

But before I did, I made sure the new WordPress.com site had all the old content!

Exporting Content & Media

There is an export tool baked right into WordPress. Find it under Tools.

You’ll get an .xml file as output. Mine was called:

emailisgood.wordpress.2019-02-12.xml

Importing Content & Media

On the WordPress.com side, there is a big Import option right in the sidebar. In those options, there is a WordPress option to choose.

Drag and drop the .xml file there.

Mine was pretty quick, but I imagine it could take a while. You’ll even get an email when it’s done.

All my content and media made the journey just fine!

Clean Up

I had to do a little cleanup here and there to get the site exactly as it was. My site is so basic, it was hardly any work, but it’s worth knowing you might have to mop up a little. For example, the site already had a contact page, so I had to nuke the one that was imported (which was using a contact form plugin I didn’t need any more anyway) and make sure it was all functional.

Another thing that didn’t make the trip to the new site was the widgets. I had a sidebar with some widgets that I had to re-build, but that was no big deal. I literally copy-pasted the content from them from the old site before I flipped the switch.

So now! I’ve ditched a pile of technical debt. No more worrying about my SSL certifiate. No more having to manually follow up with any hosting company about downtime. Performance is largely in the hands of someone else.

I just have a simple site where I can write write write.

Video!

If it’s helpful for you to watch me talk all this out, I’ve put it on YouTube:

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