Introducing the New GridPane Core Plan (it’s FREE!)

9 min read

Remember how we said we might do another LTD in the future?

Well, it has arrived.

And it is for… everyone.

The new GridPane Core plan is a completely reimagined look at what was previously the Free Forever plan. It’s back, it’s packed with more features, it has higher site limits.

And it’s free, for everyone, forever.

You get an LTD and you get an LTD and you get an LTD.

Before we talk about that I wanna wind the clock back and get a little nostalgic.

That was a message that I sent to Jeff back in June of 2018.

At times I said the punchline of that message even better: I want GridPane to become a hand grenade to the heart of the status quo in this entire $150B industry.

And the conclusion of that message to Jeff is also crucial: “nuke the entire bottom of the market and expose it for the dogshit it is.”

For years before I started GridPane I saw this massive problem that existed throughout all of hosting, but it was even more obvious within the managed WordPress segment: most people hosted with incredibly crappy providers that promised the world and delivered, well, dogshit.

“Unlimited” this and “world’s fastest” that and “expert 24/7 support!” It’s all hype. It’s all bullshit.

In my opinion, the only people who are really telling the truth in this game are people at the really high end, like Pagely and WordPress VIP. And they’re simply not the right fit for the massive armies of people trapped at the bottom end of the market.

Fixing the Problem

We believe that we’ve figured out a way to solve for people who simply can’t afford to pay even a dollar more than the absolute minimum cost possible, and it’s this free GridPane Core plan.

The simplest explanation of this plan is that it’s a stripped-down set of our core tools – with most of our advanced features disabled – which doesn’t include any support from our team.

Now just because you can’t engage with us for support that doesn’t mean that you’re entirely on your own. Your options to get help are actually very extensive. The simplest two pathways are: RTFM or engage with other members of the community.

Whereas Panel users and above have access to the entire community forum – where Jeff and the engineering team regularly engage in more complex tickets – Core users can invest their time and attention, instead of their dollars, and enroll in an educational journey towards building true mastery (or at least functional competency) of this extensive toolset.

In the four years since we’ve launched, if we’ve gotten negative feedback (excluding feedback from the rent-free headspace of our haters) it’s almost always been about one of two things:

  1. Price – it’s too expensive to people who are just getting started, for people with only a couple of sites, and for people in developing economies.
  2. Complexity – it’s too hard, I don’t have any system admin experience, I don’t know anything about servers.

Well that first complaint is clearly taken care of – Core is completely free, you just have to pay for the cost of your infrastructure at Vultr or DigitalOcean. I recommend the various HF/similar offerings which are priced at multiples of $6. Vultr HF is currently the best performance you can buy, in terms of pound for pound comparison based on clock speed and pure benchmarks.

For the second point, complexity: it’s high time that people learned that this is just not nearly as hard as they think it is. We regularly get people who say “What I don’t know anything about servers?!?!”

And my answer is always the same: “Then please, whatever you do, don’t touch them.”

The process of getting started, spinning up a new server, and deploying your first site, takes less than 15 minutes. And we have step by step instructions for the literal handful of actions that you have to take in order to pull all this magic off.

We’ve built this thing to infinite flexibility and boundless control.

But just because you CAN adjust all of the dials and knobs inside of a Developer account… that doesn’t mean you HAVE to touch any of those things in Core (and we’ve actually eliminated a whole bunch of the dials and controls, expressly for the purposes of narrowing your options).

After you get your first site rolling you may decide that you want to break out of your comfort zone even further. And for those intrepid explorers we have good news: there’s over 1000 pages of documentation that describe almost any possible use case which you could build a hosting solution for.

And there are literally thousands of members of this community who have already found their various paths to the destinations that made the most sense for them.

GridPane currently powers over 100,000 production-ready WordPress websites, with customers in over 100 different countries.

Whatever you’re looking to build on WordPress, someone has already built it on GridPane.

Someone else is further down the rabbit hole, and they’re getting millions of page views per day, on codebase exactly like yours.

And still, someone else is running a seven-figure version business, entirely on the back of WordPress and GridPane.

When we launched we made something of a mistake: we said that we were a “hosting control panel for Serious WordPress Professionals.” Over the years we’ve definitely helped a lot of people who perfectly fit that description. But, for better or for worse, we’ve also helped a ton of people who merely aspired to be “serious” and “professional.”

(In retrospect, the only way we could have made it harder on ourselves was to go with something like “a hosting control panel for the sexiest WordPress wizards alive…”)

So we’ve spent the last several years learning how to support EVERY use case and every individual, across the entire spectrum of experience. We’ve simplified onboarding. We’ve created reams of documentation, we’ve created walkthroughs, and done countless demos.

The only thing we haven’t done, before now, is simply open the game up to the whole world.

People are learning more and more every single day that the value proposition for most of what constitutes “managed WordPress” just doesn’t add up for a lot of developers and agencies.

I believe that GridPane has been a big part of that paradigm shift and we want to accelerate the evolution of this space.

Regardless of your budget or your experience, there’s a GridPane plan that fits what comes next for your WordPress business.

Getting Started

Get started with Core and I can assure you: within days you’ll be knocking out blazing fast sites and spinning up new servers with an ease that you couldn’t have imagined possible.

After you get a handful of clients, bump up to Panel for one-on-one support, deeper community connections, and a ton of additional security and performance capabilities.

Once you get really serious and you really wanna stretch your wings, pop up to Developer and interface directly with our senior engineers.

Wanna skip directly to the front of the line and deploy a completely white labeled hosting experience for your clients? Book a call with us to discuss an Agency plan.

Nope. GridPane Core is a real thing. We specifically chose April 1st for two reasons: it’s the two year anniversary of a Lifetime Deal that we ran back in 2020. And while we do take things like security, performance, and reliability very seriously… we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

When we first launched GridPane we had a Free Forever plan, which proved unsustainable because of the support burden created by the segment of users. We’ve ultimately figured out how to solve for that: the only support available for Core users is from the community. There’s hundreds of pages of documentation, covering every imaginable use case. The GridPane platform now powers more than 100K websites. It’s incredibly robust, secure, and highly performant.

Our ideal clients are larger agencies who are spending many hundreds or thousands of dollars per month on their hosting needs. But everyone has to start somewhere. The people signing up for GridPane Core today are the future of the WordPress ecosystem. We don’t want price to be the barrier that stops ambitious WordPress developers from learning about the insanely cool set of tools that we’ve built here at GridPane.

It’s fairly straightforward: we make a little bit of money when you choose to sign up to certain infrastructure providers that we have integrated into the platform. And we’ve eliminated all of the costs associated with supporting these free accounts. Our support team is still standing by 24/7 in the (unlikely) event of any issues with the application or our stack. Core users are encouraged to enroll in the various educational pathways that we’ve built across our documentation and our knowledgebase.

GridPane Core is a restricted set of tools, without support, and with a limit of 25 sites. If you don’t need any of our more advanced features (like remote backups, staging functionality, cloning tools, advanced security and performance settings etc) then Core may be sufficient for you. Almost all paid users are currently using one or more features which are not available in Core.

One of the most common things that we hear new users of GridPane say is “What if I don’t know anything about servers?” And our answer is always the same: You don’t need to know anything about servers or systems administration. A little bit of knowledge definitely doesn’t hurt, but everything you need to know is all laid out within the onboarding videos and your various welcome/getting started emails. If you can just follow along our initial instructions will have you rolling within as little as 15 minutes. And if you get stuck for any reason, you can likely get unstuck just by running through our Top Ten list.

People who are completely new to self-managed WordPress can get started in minutes using Core connected to an inexpensive server from Vultr or DigitalOcean.

5 Comments

  1. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great offer and I thank you, but why are you locking people with only those two providers? Either way, you don’t provide support. Why not let anyone use your service (as you say to “support EVERY use case and every individual” and if this individual loves your service he can choose to upgrade.

    • Hey Arthur, there are a few reasons for this. The first is that while we don’t charge on our end, we’re still able to make a little money that makes the plan feasible by having relationships with these two providers (more to come in the future). It’s a virtuous circle – the plan is free for everyone, we still make a little money that, as users add up, will make the plan sustainable and allow us to improve upon it, and the IaaS providers gain new customers. Everybody wins.

      The second is that there would no doubt be many new users who would try and attach the very cheapest infrastructure available and then encounter all kinds of problems from them not provisioning correctly (or failing entirely), to non-standard configuration issues that interfere with our systems, to terrible uptime, CPU steal, and more – we’ve seen it all already. They could also potentially blame our platform for such issues and damage our reputation. Vultr High Frequency and DigitalOcean’s Premium AMD droplets essentially guarantee not only a good experience, but excellent performance as well.

      Hope this helps!

      • Then PLEASE, PLEASE state this limitation to those 2 providers clearly somewhere. I just spent more than an hour trying to figure out why I can only select those two and the only hint was this blog post with this one sentence: “Core is completely free, you just have to pay for the cost of your infrastructure at Vultr or DigitalOcean” and that is not clearly stating that limit.
        Even your pricing comparison page mentions nothing about this limitation.

        Again, please note, I am not complaining about the limitation but about the missing transparency.

        • Hi Ovidiu, sorry to hear about the hassle. The detailed plan comparison does clearly state this, but if you viewed the page on mobile that table doesn’t show. We’ll take a second look at the pricing table.

          • Ah, I see, you hid that very well. I wish I had found that earlier 🙂 all the info I was missing is all there just like you said.

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