Shield Security Pro – 18 Months Review and Goodbye to One Dollar Plugin

Blog, Shield Pro, Updates

We wanted to take a few minutes to share with you how Shield Security Pro, and by-extension, One Dollar Plugin has gone after 18 months.

We also want to outline what our plans are for the short- to medium- term so you know about important changes that are on the way.

Going Pro Has Taught Us A LOT

Shield Security Pro is our first, stand-alone, premium WordPress plugin.

We’ve been running our WordPress management platform, iControlWP, for several years before this, so it’s not our first rodeo, but it’s certainly quite a bit different.

We’ve learned a few new things going Pro with a plugin. Here are just a few of our takeaways:

  • it really is a lot of work! We underestimated how much work it’d take to develop Pro features on a regular basis, as well as fix bugs and provide customer support.
  • we love it! Being pushed to develop better code, and more reliable systems is hugely rewarding. Businesses are relying on us to get it right, and while we can never promise bug-free code, having professional-level accountability on a distributed plugin is a challenge
  • marketing is hard. Quite honestly, we’re not great marketers and this has hindered us. We never want to appear spammy, and we don’t want to be all up in people’s faces, so finding the balance between developing good software, and telling people about it is still something we’re struggling to get right.
  • our market strategy wasn’t right. This is something we’ll cover later on, but for several important reasons, “$1 plugins” doesn’t work.

Where do we want to take your WordPress security in the next 18 months?

We’ve prided ourselves on a exercising a strong level of independence and free-thinking in our software innovation.

Where some plugins are hawking features that don’t actually provide security, but look good from a marketing angle, we opted to design and create great features, that work.

We get requests for features and changes all the time, but we often have to push back because while we “can” do most of them, they’re either not directly related to security, or we don’t have the resources (yet).

We want to continue building Shield and keep it the most powerful security plugin for your sites. Here are just some of what we want to bring to your WordPress security in the next 12-18 months:

  • distributed network intelligence – if 1 site blocks an IP address, we should share this with the rest of the Shield network so everyone can benefit from it.
  • malware scanning – the ability to detect the presence of malware signatures within your PHP code.
  • more 2-factor authentication options and support for 3rd party services such as Authy
  • file locking and tampering detection – securely locking key files such as the primary .htaccess and wp-config.php files, and dynamically preventing modifications.
  • statistics and reporting – so that you know what’s going on, and also so you can communicate this to your customers.
  • CloudFlare API integration – ability to create convenient firewall rules from within the WP dashboard
  • and so much more…

How are we going to get there?

When we released Shield Pro, we had a Utopian view on how this would pan out.

Even with all our experience garnered with iControlWP, we still managed to convince ourselves that our plan was sound – “if we could just get X,000 customers…” we’d be able to do A, B and C with Shield.

We initially did better in sales than we predicted and this was telling us we’d taken the right approach. All we needed to do was build upon this success.

As we mentioned, marketing isn’t our forté and not having the resources to execute in this area has hampered us over the longer term.

There’s also the Shield UI/UX. While it works well, and we recently did a huge revamp, there are still issues that we also don’t have the resources to resolve.

But bigger than all of these was the $1 pricing model. While “$1 plugin” is catchy, it doesn’t allow much room for growth of the platform.

So how do we go about solving these issues?

There are 2 options:

  1. We work for free.
  2. We charge more for Shield Security Pro licenses.

We believe in Shield Security – we’re all in – and given the feedback of many of our clients, we know you believe in it too.

The only way we can to continue to add the Shield Pro features that everyone wants to see, is to grow the team behind the project. We just can’t get it to where you need it to be, with the resources we currently have.

Since working for free isn’t actually option, we’re going to have to raise prices.

So it’s with a huge dose of disappointment, then, that we’ve decided to sunset the One Dollar Plugin project.

Shield Pro is the only $1 plugin on our portfolio, and while we absolutely love the concept – high quality plugins that are affordable for everyone – it’s not sustainable.

If we’re going to make Shield Security the absolutely best it can be, we must take our armbands off and jump into the deep end.

What does sun-setting One Dollar Plugin actually mean for everyone?

In summary, it means that in a short while, we’ll be closing down One Dollar Plugin and will no longer be distributing Shield Security Pro through it.

Instead, we’ll be moving our distribution to a dedicated website: ShieldSecurity.io. (At the time of writing, this site isn’t live and just redirects back here.)

Over the coming weeks you’ll start to see changes across our various customer facing identities, such as Twitter (which has already been updated), Facebook, etc.

It also means completely new pricing for Shield Pro and a major shift in focus for us.

While One Dollar Plugin is being retired, Shield is getting its own dedicated home and all material and communications will be served from there.

Q: How will the new pricing affect current customers?

In short: it wont affect existing subscriptions.

We’ll always grandfather in your active subscriptions. What you have paid for your existing subscriptions will not change when they come up for renewal.

What this means exactly:

  • Any active subscriptions to Shield Pro will always remain the same as when the subscription started – the cost of your subscriptions wont change.
  • New purchases for all clients will reflect the newer pricing.
  • Cancelled subscriptions will remain cancelled. A new subscription will be needed for further licenses (at the available prices on the day).

Q: How much will new licenses cost?

This is undecided. To get an idea, you can review current market rates for a WP security plugin pro license.

Shield Pro currently offers features not found anywhere else, and there’s more to come. Suffice it to say, we’re practically giving Shield Pro away at current prices and it’s hurting us over the long term.

Q: Can we get bulk pricing/licenses?

When we launched $1 Plugin, we thought there would be no need for bulk-priced licenses since it was already priced so keenly. It turns out we were wrong in this assumption also.

To address this, we’ll also have new bulk pricing tiers along with the new prices so you can save more with more licenses.

Q: When will the new pricing be available?

We’re aiming for the first week of August, 2019, but this isn’t set-in-stone. You’ll begin to see changes slowly make their way across our brand, as we phase-out One Dollar Plugin, and replace it with Shield Security (ShieldSecurity.io). We’ll be making announcements about when the price will change, closer to the actual date, and give you time to upgrade on the existing pricing, if you’d like to.

You may view all this is as a marketing ploy to push more sales, but it honestly isn’t. We’re giving our existing clients notice of a price change so you have time to decide if you want to stick with us or not. We could have made this change silently, overnight, but that’d likely cause resentment, which is good for nobody.

If you want Shield Pro, go for it – it’ll never be priced as keenly as it is right now. If you don’t want to, then we respect that of course, and wish you all the best for whichever choice you make to enhance your site security!

Q: What about Shield Pro purchased through iControlWP?

Shield Pro via iControlWP remains the most cost-effective way of getting Shield Pro licenses. There are no plans to change the pricing for this as it’s managed quite separately to the stand-alone licenses.

Comments, Question, and Suggestions

For some of you, this might come as a surprise, for others, you might be wondering why we didn’t make this change sooner.

These things just take time to work through. We believe in the One Dollar Plugin concept – we really wanted it to work. We wanted to put Shield Security into the hands of everyone who wanted it.

We understand that when we change our pricing, it’ll upset some people and might even alienate a few. But we’d rather make Shield Pro a sustainable enterprise than for it to whither into obscurity because it never got the support it needed.

We hope you’ll stay with us throughout these changes we’re making and you’ll continue to show us your support. Without it, we wouldn’t have gotten this far. And we appreciate you for it.

If you do have any questions or comments on what we’ve discussed here today, please do feel free to leave comments below.

20 thoughts on “Shield Security Pro – 18 Months Review and Goodbye to One Dollar Plugin

  1. Hi, my name is Waleed (Founder of Jodyshop.com).

    Well, I have tried too many popular similar products (no need to mention names here), but I found that this plugin (yours) is really the best of all, the most secure, and the most updated regularly. So, I decided to buy it no question asked.

    I suggest you keep both, pro and free plugins, in the return, you can change the price from $1 to $9.99 or a bit higher price which can help you pay for the developers and other expenses.

    I can pay for up to $29.99 (this is a very low cost for such a great plugin).
    but it worth more than that indeed.

    The plugin helped me a lot to secure my shopping, marketplace, and multivendor website (Jodyshop)! and never faced any hacking issues or misuse of the data, and also it secures my admin panel very well.

    So, increasing the price is okay for me.

    1. Hi Waleed,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Your support and support from many other customers like yourself mean a lot to us here. We appreciate your purchase and that you’d be prepared to pay more.

      Most of all, we’re glad that Shield and our services are helping keep your sites and data safe. If we’re getting that part right, then we’re successful! 🙂

      Thank you again!
      Paul.

  2. Hi Paul,

    I fully understand your point! To be honest, I did not understand how you could deliver a premium product like this for $ 12 a year. Including the excellent and fast support that I have experienced! I will always advise Shield to friends and collegues because it is the best you can get!

    Next to that, if I can help you with translating Shield into Dutch (for free), please let me know!

    Keep on doing the good (excellent) job!

    Fred

    1. Hi Fred,

      Yep, it’s definitely been part of the challenge. We loved the idea of it, but in the end, it just wasn’t sustainable into the longer term to keep delivering that level of service at that price point. We had to give it a go though. If it worked, it’d have been fantastic for both us and customers alike.

      Thanks for the offer of support to translate the plugin – we’re actually in the middle of some translation work so you should hopefully see Dutch translations make their way into the plugin soon. I appreciate the offer! 😀

      Thanks again, Fred!
      Paul.

  3. Hi Paul and team,

    With your great service I didn’t understand how you could sustain this on these low prices.
    Thanks for keeping our current prices the same. And thank you for trying to make a difference. Hope all works out well in order for you to grow and improve sustainably over the coming years.
    Grtz, Lars

    1. Hi Lars,

      It was definitely worth the attempt and perhaps it’s something we can return to in the future. Ya never know…
      Thanks for the support and the words of encouragement!
      Paul.

  4. Hi Paul,

    Well if this keeps you in business supporting your installed base then it’s just fine (and about time you did this) : after using it for a few months I also thought it could be priced a bit higher – the plugin and the support are just awesome.

    Looking at alternatives out there and my limited experience, here are my 5 cents worth :

    – a pro version that is priced based on the type of website to protect (one or more commercial for-profit sites versus a single non commercial not-for-profit site) ?
    – a couple of additional options such as malware scanning for the not-for-profit guys out there (see below)

    I run a single site that is about genealogy and not-for-profit.

    For this, paying over 25-30 dollars a year would make me think more about going for one of the free solutions out there, coupled with a Google 2FA. I also don’t need more 2FA methods nor any malware scanning as my Web Host provides this already, along with SSL, firewall and DDoS service and more, all included in the very competitive hosting price. But I would love to see the statistics & reporting….

    And you could always provide for a functioning “donation” link on top of it too…. 😜

    Best regards,

    Nicolas

    1. Hi Nicolas,

      Thanks for your comments and feedback on this – we always find it valuable and helpful.

      We haven’t yet decided on pricing and while we don’t have plans for specific non-profit pricing support, this is something we can definitely look-at on a case-by-case basis. We’d love to be able support you with some preferred pricing. We’ll have to look at this after the changeover has completed however.

      Thank you as always for your support! 🙂
      Paul.

  5. Paul,

    As others have noted above, I too have wondered how you develop and maintain such a complex and full-featured security plugin for such a low cost. I have also tried other security plugins (which I don’t need to name). None of them felt right. One made a mess of my database. I returned to Shield each time, and it continues to be in the base set of plugins I install first with every new WP setup.

    You may get some flack from a few folks about prices going up. But those of of us who have been using Shield and understand its value appreciate what you’ve given the community, and I suspect will be understanding and supportive of where you go from here.

    This may be a controversial point to consider, but I believe some folks believe (whether consciously or unconsciously) that they get what they pay for. From a marketing standpoint, sometimes a less-expensive option is seen as inferior or weaker or somehow less-capable than a more expensive option. Even though that’s not always true. Raising your price obviously comes with some inherent risk. But it may also elevate your perceived value among new customers who are just discovering or checking out Shield for the first time. I also believe a bulk license or agency pricing model could encourage those of us who develop multiple sites to convert more of them to Shield Pro.

    Stay encouraged. You have a base of supporters who will continue to use and promote Shield because we value what you have created, your transparency through the process, and the helpful support your team has offered. Here’s to hoping you continue to grow, not just in usage numbers, but in revenue and backing for sustainable growth and improvements for years to come.

    Best,
    Doug

    1. Hey Doug,

      Thank you! Your support and your encouragement go a long way. I believe what you say is also true about the brand perception with such a low price point. We believe this has been an important factor as there is, as you say controversally, psychological factors surrounding product pricing.

      The agency/bulk pricing option is a tricky one but I’m hopeful we can find something that works for the majority of clients with larger portfolios.

      As always, I appreciate your feedback and ongoing support for us and helping to spread the word. It’s huge appreciated.
      Cheers,
      Paul.

  6. Hay Paul,
    All I can say is thank you for developing this pulgin. Truly, you have empowered designers/developers to offer good security to our Mom and Pop clients and expedite the setup with the parent site setup. I will still require it in ALL WP installations for the simple fact it’s needed.

    I personally would love to see an unlimited lifetime or limited lifetime bundle. But I get it if you can’t offer such a thing.

    You’re the bomb. I get it and keep your chin up. Those of us that love this product will stay loyal to it.

    1. Heya Karen!

      Thank you so much for your comments. I love how much you love what we do – it’s always massively encouraging to to hear from you! 🙂

      We’ll definitely try to create an agency/bulk license that works well for you. Lifetime licenses would be hard to sustain, but it’s good to know that this is something you’d be interested in so we can look to creating a package that works well.

      Thanks again for everything!
      Paul.

  7. Paul,

    It’s about time you all made this decision and I fully support it.. My welcome email was in May of 2013, and I’ve I know that many of your customers would agree, I’m not going anywhere. Your products are best in class and your customer service should be an example to your competitors. But honestly, I’m looking forward to the upgrades and your focus on “Pro”.
    I would encourage anybody who is thinking about becoming a Pro member, to feel comfortable making the jump. You won’t be disappointed.

    Chris

    1. Hey Chris,

      2013? Has it been that long! Time flies when you’re having so much fun 😀

      Thanks for being with us and sticking by us for so long. Hopefully we can continue giving you the service you’ve enjoyed for much longer into the future. Your continued support is hugely appreciated, Chris!

      Cheers!
      Paul.

  8. I was running the free version on a Woocommerce site and was seriously considering upgrading to Pro, but in the end, I uninstalled it because there were just too many modules and they were affecting the login functionality for customers when switched on. However, that’s not to say I didn’t find some of the features really great, so how about offering a full version or for those who don’t want/need every module, a choice of buying separate modules at a lower price than full version?

    1. Hi Nick,

      I hear you on the trouble you’ve had. You likely wouldn’t have faced the issue because you weren’t on Pro – as we only support WooCommerce with a pro subscription and some of the login functionality just don’t work without an active pro subscription. The nice thing about Shield is that it’s all modular, so you can pick and choose the bits you need whenever you need them.

      We’ve thought about creating “mini” break-off plugins from Shield that encapsulate core functionality, but we just haven’t focused too much on that as we’re flat-out on Shield itself. Maybe it might be worth trying Shield again, and just disabling the modules you don’t want to use?

      Thanks for the feedback on this and good to hear your thoughts on the idea of splitting it up into smaller plugins.
      Cheers!
      Paul.

  9. Hi Paul,

    Shield is a great product I’ve used since it’s inception as Simple Firewall. At its core it is effective which means you will be able to market its value effectively in the coming years.

    The UI has outgrown itself several times and that is where you need to do more work to polish up the final look and feel of the Plugin.

    My take on changing the UI is to have a well selected safe by default install, with more temperamental settings reserved for manual tweaking.

    I’m not a fan of the layout of the settings as is, especially on a wide UHD monitor as the icon menu bar is sat right out on the far right hand side of the screen mouse miles away from the left hand side where it would be with clicking distance. I think moving it to the left and having an obviously sheeted tab effect would be better visually and in terms of ease of use, I’d then cut down on the text link options at the top.

    Pricing wise your product is cheaper than the obvious competition so you have room to grow, but the iControl pricing is out of reach for small two or three people agencies like us.

    I went with MainWP because it offered an up front buy once use forever option for self hosted control panels.

    I’d like to see a similar grandfathered in option for Shield for long term early adopters before you cast off into the higher retail pricing annually.

    We operate around 20 – 30 sites at present and some kind of package for that level would be really helpful. I totally understand that you need to make sufficient margin, we are constantly trying to set appropriate pricing ourselves in our small agency too. What we’ve seen over the last 5 years is a rapid maturing and monetisation of every layer of the WordPress model. Gone are the days of free plugins for every task.

    What that does though is pressurise the pricing of the whole package for clients, meaning we are paying for hosting, transactional emailing, security, caching, CDN, forms, booking engines and a percentage skim by payment gateways. The end result is enormous pressure on the final pricing and margin for a small to medium organisation.

    We all need to be able to earn a living from what we do, so I think everyone understands where you are at and why.

    Would you consider offering a free discussion email subscription for a more open journey towards your final decisions, one where we can all exchange views and share ideas with you as you make the transition? A bit like a beta test group where we can offer feedback and insights for you as you refine and crystallise the final production offering, that way we can help you along the way in exchange for a one off discount on a grandfathered in lifetime offering for example. If I could cap the costs of even half my licence requirements it would make a huge difference for our own viability going forwards.

    Whatever you choose good luck on the journey, and thanks for offering such a reliable product to us for such a long time.

    Regards,

    Chris

  10. Will still support you! For me the support is everything and you guys are always friendly and helpful! This change will only make you stronger 🙂

    All the best!

  11. Hi Paul, I feel for you. Your service is awesome and $12 for such good service isn’t justified. You walk the extra mile to fix the issues and I appreciate that and you deserve a lot more for your work and dedication. I wish you very good luck with your new plans 🙂

    Best Regards,
    Manju

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