WordPress Robbery?

Be Careful About Upgrading Your WordPress.com Plan!

My biggest tech mistake this year so far is not, surprisingly enough, signing up for the next-to-useless Dragify/Ahead Hosting lifetime hosting deal. I could always claim that I was misled by the false advertising and there was no way I could have predicted just how terrible and unfit for purpose the service was. It wasn’t my fault.

No, the mistake I’m most annoyed about is upgrading the plan for my Story Teller WordPress.com site from free to Personal which costs €4 per month, without first finding out what I would be getting for my money. My Story Teller website had been growing both in terms of content and number of visits over the years and I thought it was time that it got its own domain that looked more professional than storytellerwebsite.wordpress.com. After all, €4 per month did not sound too prohibitive and so I took the plunge and paid the annual fee and hey, presto! Almost instantly, my website had a new URL: storytellermc.com.

Restricted

I was delighted but then my delight very quickly turned to disappointment. If all I wanted was for the website to have a custom domain, the delight would have lasted a lot longer but I soon realised that there were many things that I could not do, despite having upgraded. These included two vital things:

  • installing plug-ins and themes
  • backing up the site or generating a file to export the content

What this meant was that I was limited to the very few themes available and the small number of plug-ins, which restricted my freedom to develop the website. More importantly, it meant that it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to move my site to a third-party hosting company. It also begged the question: do I even own the domain storytellermc.com? Would I be able to transfer it to another registrar, or at least point it to another hosting company? I fear that the answer is negative.

What this comes down to is that I paid €48 for the privilege of using the domain storytellermc.com for 12 months, when I could have registered this domain for around €10 for two years. Upgrading to the Personal Plan does not give me any other benefits.

Hostaged

There is a way for me to do everything that I want to do (install plug-ins and themes, back-up, etc.) but it would verge on breaking the bank. I would have to upgrade to the most expensive plan, the Business Plan, which demands a monthly subscription of €25.

I feel as though that WordPress.com is now holding my Story Teller website hostage. It was definitely a big mistake upgrading. Instead, I should have registered the domain and moved the site (manually if I had to) with Namecheap. It would have worked out cheaper and I would have been the owner of the domain. When my Personal Plan with WordPress.com expires next year, I’ll probably re-create the website with another host and assign a different domain to it. Happily, I won’t have to pay any more for the hosting because of my “unlimited” hosting with Namecheap. It’s also fortunate that I have a few other Story Teller domains that I can use.

Oh well. Lesson learned.

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