WordPress has finally released a product that straddles the middle ground between WordPress.com’s services and the heavyweight functionality provided by the high-end and expensive VIP services.
According to Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, the new Enterprise edition takes the best of both worlds and gives users access to the 70+ vetted plugins including integrations with products from Flipboard, Chartbeat and Facebook.
The release of Enterprise coincides with increasing market demands for a product that fell between self-hosted WordPress accounts and WordPress.com, the free hosted option that gave users access to an easy blogging tool, but severely limited in terms of the plugins, or designs that users were allowed use.
Over the years Automattic added upgrade after upgrade that extended the functionality that it offered to users, enabling them to upload videos, change the look of their sites within certain limits, and even remove advertisements.
Despite this, it still wasn’t catering for high-end users that had large quantities of content that needed to go online. Their answer to this was WordPress VIP, which suited these kinds of users but with a starting price of US$ 3,750 a month for up to five sites without the set-up fees.
While this was useful for large content providers, it left a considerable gap in the market coverage that Automatic was providing. On one hand it was providing the free hosted option for blogging, on the other the heavy-weight VIP with full functionality, with a price that put it out of range of many users.
The answer is WordPress.com Enterprise, which comes in at US$ 500 per site per month for users that need a managed WordPress host, but not the full weight of VIP. Features include:
- Mobile & Social Integration: Sites created with Enterprise are all mobile and tablet ready and can connect to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn through the Publicize feature.
- Scale: It can scale to hundreds of millions of page views per day.
- Support: WordPress support throughout the entire build process.
- Advertising: Companies can run and manage advertising campaign.
- Audience Engagement: Offers audience insights like how the site was found and where the audience is from.
According to the WordPress website, the new version enables the rapid creation of websites, but comes with a whole bunch of customization for the creation of Enterprise sites. It also comes with customized design possibilities, a reliable host and security that Automatic describes as “bulletproof”, as well as the 70 plug-ins, with no developers needed. It also says that there are no contractual obligations needed and users can cancel, or opt out any time.
While that all seems impressive, it is still a tad expensive especially with competition in the managed hosting space as tough as it is at the moment.
Current competitors include established vendors liken Rackspace, and the MediaTemple, but over the past two year a number of WordPress-specific hosts have also entered the market. An interesting release, but a very tough market.