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:
- We work for free.
- 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.)
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 soon(!), 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.
It has been very useful.
After deciding to get the Pro version I’m very happy and feel my site is in safe hands. Paul generously spent his time personally answering my questions on a Zoom call and has gone out of his way to provide a beta version of his plugin to address my needs.