Pay Up or Lock Down

your favourite plugin gone pro

Plugin Gone Pro – Pay Up

More and more WordPress developers are switching to “Pro” versions of their plugins. Yes, we get irritated when this happens with an existing plugin, and features previously available are missing from the free option. (And it’s not easy to get clients to go for the pro option for something they’ve used for a long time – It’s hard to get them just to make a donation).

Users of free plugins must realise development takes time, sometimes a LOT of time – As so often happens with WP version updates now, changes in core require extensive reworks of plugin code.

When the essential plugin you use goes pro – you still have some options; You can pay-up or lock down the plugin version and stay with the  last (working) free version.

In Support of Developers Switching To Pro

It’s fully understandable why developers are choosing the pro route for their plugins. Development takes time, sometimes a lot of time. Time in today’s world is money!

The time taken to build a new plugin depends on the complexity, the number of features, the options available. It can take anything from a few hundred hours to tens of thousands of hours to build a plugin, get it working. Those developers who give their plugins away have made a sizeable donation of their time (money).

We charge for our time when we do custom work, support and fix websites… This is how we earn a living. Our rates may be $25/hr, $45.00, $65.oo /hr, maybe even more. If it takes 1000 hours to build a plugin – that’s anything from $25000.00 – a years income for many, a lifetime income in some parts of the world.

1000 hours… That’s 125 days WORK, 6 MONTHS work at 8 hours PRODUCTIVE work a day. Most people with 9 to 5 jobs don’t do 8 hours productive work – take out toilet and coffee breaks, smoke breaks for those who have the habit, chatting with other staff members, lunch breaks – productive working time is a lot less than 8 hours a day (Here in SA  productivity it’s considered about half the paid work hours).

That’s a lot of money (time) to donate, and we can’t even claim a tax deduction!

So fine – we made the initial donation. It doesn’t end there. Most developers of free plugins provide support, free support… And once again, this takes time (money). Support can and often does consume more time than building the plugin initially. – And that’s just helping users to get and keep the plugin working.

Then along comes a major WordPress update. And this happens often, too often if you ask me. Then something no longer works and it’s back to the (plugin) drawing board to recode for WordPress compatibility. Another 1000 hours, 125 days, 6 months donated to keep a free plugin working… Another years income donated to the WordPress community.

So developers switch to Paid-For pro versions – who can blame them! They could of course simply abandon the plugin (as many are doing).

Pay up or Pay Up

Plugin user have a choice when the plugin goes pro. Buy the new plugin or pay a developer to maintain and update the free version. Or they can simply lock down their installation…

I would of course like you to hire a freelance developer to maintain your WordPress stuff – at an hourly rate of course. That’s part of how I make a living 🙂

So, you hire a developer (me for example) to fix things when WordPress updates break the critical FREE plugin you use Hire me when a vulnerability is discovered and a patch is needed. It may take the developer 10, 100, 1000 hours or more to fix it – so you can pay your freelancer from $250, to $65k, or more (just think what it will cost if the fix takes 10000 hours) – or you can buy the pro version for $20, $40, $100 – a fraction of the cost!

But there’s still another option: Lock Down

Lock Down Your WordPress

I mean it – Lock Down WordPress. Stop all updates, core and plugins… Stay with the configuration that WORKS.

I hear the response – security, security, security…. not updating, especially WordPress core opens the installation to exploitation. I hear you…

But there are still ways around it. Not FREE ways, but ways. You can run a good older version of WP with due caution. Secure servers go a long way. Custom patching discovered vulnerabilities does the trick too – and may just be more economical than paying for debugging every couple of months after a core update removes functions or breaks a bunch of stuff.

And a lot less grief as well…