In mid-2017, WordPress.com began to offer a Business Plan. Sites on this plan pay an annual fee to unlock various features, specifically the ability to install any theme or plugin from the WordPress.org repository (prior to this, sites could only activate a specific set of plugins). This means that WordPress.com sites could finally run Paid Memberships Pro. Pretty neat. Or not.
While it is possible to activate the Paid Memberships Pro plugin on a Business Plan, we do not recommend running PMPro or any of our Add Ons on a WordPress.com account. The main issue is that even business plans cannot SFTP into their sites or edit the plugin files in any way. This is a problem for 2 reasons.
- PMPro is a complicated plugin with unpredictable dependencies on other plugins and themes. If PMPro is not playing nice with another plugin or theme on your WordPress.com setup, maybe even causing a fatal error that crashes your site, you will not be able to edit your site files to debug the issue.
- We expect most membership sites to require custom code to function properly. While we aim to make our Add Ons as user friendly as possible and improve them all as time goes on, more than most other plugins we encourage our users to hire developers to tweak their membership sites using custom code. This isn’t possible on WordPress.com.
Again, it is possible to activate Paid Memberships Pro, and there are likely many users successfully running it on the WordPress.com Business Plan. I just want to make it clear that until WordPress.com offers SFTP or a viable alternative, I’d rather not have people get setup on PMPro only to run into a need or support issue that would require customization or debugging.
So where should I host?
It’s been a long standing question which hosting companies we recommend for your Membership site. This guide outlines some general hosting requirements you can review to make sure your selected host will work with Paid Memberships Pro.
If your site is currently hosted on WordPress.com and you’d like to move to self-hosted WordPress, check out this guide on the necessary steps for migrating your website. You can perform the migration yourself, work with your new hosting company to complete the move, or even hire a WordPress Happiness Engineer to perform a guided transfer.