We launched the Shield Security plugin over 5 years ago.
One of our guiding principles was that we would deliver a solid, stable and reliable Security plugin for everyone.
And by everyone, we meant that we’d keep all security-related features free, whenever we went down the Pro route.
And until now, we’ve done this wherever possible. The exception being the vulnerability scanner which uses a premium subscription so we need to charge for it.
But our position on this has evolved, and we’ll explain why.
What We Hoped Shield Pro Would Be
When we released Shield Pro in November 2017, we priced it at rock-bottom – $1/month per site.
The reason for this was the goal for mass-adoption. $1/month is affordable for everyone. Absolutely no-one could say we priced it too high. And so far no-one has asked for a discount… yet.
We sent out a survey beforehand to our members and asked – if we offered a Pro version, would you likely upgrade?
– Approximately 50% of respondents said yes to this.
Great, we thought, we have a market to support us in taking Shield to the “next level”.
And so Shield Pro was born.
What Shield Pro Has Now Become
As is our style, we’ve now surveyed all our Shield Pro customers.
Of those that have responded, 10% stated that their #1 motivation to “Go Pro” was to support future development.
7.7% – that’s less than 1 in 13 people were driven primarily to support the continued development of Shield.
This is a clear message.
It tells us that supporting future development doesn’t primarily interest our userbase, even if they think it does. Our current customers are far more interested in the added features that come with it.
Sounds obvious perhaps, but in this game, assumptions will kill your business. So we make sure we understand our customers, by asking their opinions directly.
How Shield Pro Gets New Features
There’s only 1 way Shield/Pro gets new features – hours and hours of development.
Then there’s the added costs to document new features, write articles about it, support it, and produce helpful videos etc.
This costs money and it’s not cheap.
But our clients have told us, in no uncertain terms:
Our primary motivation to support Shield is for the new features, not an overriding drive to support continued development.
And that’s okay.
We had hoped for greater support of Shield Pro by the current userbase, and it hasn’t happened.
And that’s okay, too. 🙂
We just needed to know where we all stand.
What This Means For Shield vs Shield Pro Going Forward
The clear conclusion from this, is that for Shield Pro to have a future, it must be clearly set-apart from Shield (free). There must be a compelling reason for customers to support the project, or they simply wont.
You have spoken – “Supporting future and continued development” in general terms isn’t a compelling enough reason to go Pro.
Going forward we need to be pragmatic if we’re going to keep our overarching goal alive.
To achieve this, we have decided to drop our commitment to “all security features are free”.
Existing Free Features Will Always Be Free
We received a review on WordPress.org by a user that thought we’d removed an previously existing free feature. Turns out it was just a malicious review, but it concerned us that this was perhaps the perception.
Thankfully it’s the only mention of this perception anywhere that we can find.
So let us state for the record: any pre-existing features of Shield Security before the Pro version was released will always remain free.
That is to say, if you’re sticking with the free version, you’ll never lose any existing features.
Future Features Will Be Assessed On A Per-Feature Basis
If we feel a feature deserves to be released for free, we’ll do so wherever possible.
We may release new features to Pro, and then later make it available in the free version. This will be assessed on an ongoing basis.
We’ll assess each feature on their own merit.
If you want to ensure you, or your client sites, have access to all security features, then you can upgrade to Pro at any time.
If you have a large number of websites, please contact us and we can arrange an easier payment schedule than yearly subscriptions.
Questions and Comments
We have no doubt this might upset some of you. We get that. We don’t like to make this sort of decision and we don’t take it lightly.
Our future, and the future of Shield Security is the basis of this decision.
Thank you, as always, for your support.