📆 This is the May 2023 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”
Hey, WordPress fans, we are back with the latest roundup of WordPress news and events from the past month.
In the biggest bit of news, WooCommerce officially launched its own managed WooCommerce hosting service, named Woo Express. Shop owners can now spin up a store right from the WooCommerce website (powered by WordPress.com infrastructure).
Beyond that, iThemes, a pillar of the WordPress space, will be rebranding and ditching the iThemes name. WordPress.com (and Jetpack) also had to stop its Twitter auto-posting service because of Twitter’s API changes.
Let’s get all of the WordPress news from the past month:
May 2023 WordPress News with CodeinWP
WooCommerce launches its own Woo Express hosting service
In the biggest news this month, WooCommerce has officially launched its own managed hosting product named Woo Express.
WooCommerce had already soft-launched this service in March, but in April they fully opened it to the public.
While Automattic has already kind of offered a managed WooCommerce hosting experience via the WordPress.com eCommerce plan, this is a much more focused offering that’s bound to cause some tremors in the WordPress hosting space.
Woo Express still does use Automattic’s WordPress.com infrastructure. However, store owners can sign up directly via the WooCommerce website rather than needing to use WordPress.com.
In addition to the hosting itself (and live chat support), Woo Express also bundles in free access to a number of different extensions, including the following:
- Product Add-Ons
- Product Bundles
- WooCommerce Gift Cards
- Product Recommendations
- A bunch of shipping extensions including UPS, USPS, FedEx, and more
- …see the full list here (there are two plans and the extensions vary between them)
With the WordPress.com-powered infrastructure, stores also benefit from SFTP access, SSH access, direct database access, a native GitHub integration, and WP-CLI.
If you’re interested in playing around with Woo Express, the service offers a 14-day free trial to let you test everything at no risk to your wallet. It works similarly to Shopify in that you’re able to build your store without paying but you need to upgrade to a paid plan to make it public.
The free trial also has some other limitations, such as not letting you install custom plugins beyond the plugins that come bundled with Woo Express. You can install custom plugins on the paid plans, though. This limitation only applies to the free trial.
After the free trial, there are two pricing plans:
- Essential – $40 per month billed monthly or $25 per month billed annually.
- Performance – $70 per month billed monthly or $45 per month billed annually.
If you’re interested, you can go to the Woo Express landing page to start. However, the page is a bit basic in terms of details. To see all of the nitty-gritty stuff, you’ll want to read this documentation page.
And if you want to learn more about the background of this service and where it might go in the future, you can read this WP Tavern article, which includes a number of quotes from WooCommerce employees. Or, you can check out this ‘Do the Woo’ podcast episode with Beau Lebens from WooCommerce.
iThemes launches a big rebrand to SolidWP
For as long as I’ve been working with WordPress, iThemes has always been one of the most well-known and recognizable WordPress brands.
But soon, iThemes will no longer exist…
Don’t worry – all of iThemes’ products and people will still be there. They’ll just no longer be known as “iThemes.”
Instead, iThemes will soon rebrand to SolidWP.
From a logical perspective, I think that the rebrand makes a lot of sense. IThemes hasn’t been known for “themes” for a long time now.
In fact, I’ve been working directly with WordPress for 7+ years now and I can’t ever remember seeing a theme from iThemes. Instead, iThemes is known for its plugins such as BackupBuddy, iThemes Sync, and iThemes Security.
In addition to changing the main brand name, iThemes will also rebrand all of its products to use the “Solid” moniker:
- iThemes Security will become Solid Security.
- iThemes Sync will become Solid Central.
- BackupBuddy will become Solid Backups. This one actually could’ve stayed BackupBuddy because there was no “iThemes” in the name, but I guess the iThemes team wants to make it consistent with their other products.
- iThemes Training will become Solid Academy.
Obviously, because of the size and history of iThemes, this is going to be a rather large project. While rebranding the products can be done immediately, it might take the iThemes team a little longer to update all of the blog posts, documentation articles, webinars, eBooks, course content, and so on.
As part of the rebranding, iThemes might also change some of its offerings and focuses. Matt Cromwell said that they don’t plan to change prices at this time, but it could still be on the table.
Here’s a quote from the SolidWP website about what to expect:
“Over the next few months you’ll be seeing updates to core products that will directly benefit you as we rebrand to SolidWP. Expect more features, improved functionality, and even better documentation.”
If you want to learn more and see some additional quotes from Matt, you can read this article on WP Tavern.
The SolidWP website is also live. However, right now it just shares information about the rebrand – it’s not replacing the original iThemes website quite yet.
You may also be interested in:
- Who Uses WordPress? How About These 100+ Famous Brands
- WordCamp US 2022, WooCommerce 6.9, New Google Updates 🗞️ October 2022 WordPress News w/ CodeinWP
- Jadro Joins the CodeinWP Family!
That sums up our May 2023 WordPress news roundup. Anything we missed?
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Layout and presentation by Karol K.