We’re re-branding our WordPress Simple Firewall plugin – it’s called ‘Shield‘.
You may have been wondering why on earth there’s no Premium version for our Simple Security Firewall plugin.
We honestly didn’t want to go down that route and we held off as long as we could.
But we must do so in order to maintain ongoing plugin development and handle the ever-growing customer support. It’s a case of going Pro, or going home.
Free WordPress plugins are great – it’s what makes WordPress tick, after all. But when you reach a large enough scale, and your plugin is under constant development, you come to a fork in the road. Our 2 options going forward are as follows:
- We continue the plugin as a completely free solution. This will lead to degradation of quality, reliability and support. Or,
- Introduce a paid tier, where professionals and businesses are encouraged to support the development of the product. This will help improve our service based on 3 key founding principles – high quality, solid reliability, and awesome support.
Long-standing supporters of our products know that this is what we try to deliver. We’ve worked hard to get where we are today, and we don’t want to lose this.
Shield Pro – What’s the difference?
Shield Free will continue to provide seriously high-grade protection for your WordPress sites.
It does this with some critical security features, ranging from:
- A rock-solid Firewall that stands between the internet and your sites
- Super Admin
- Brute Force Login Protection
- Multi-Factor User Authentication
- User Sessions
- Comment SPAM filtering
- Core File Scanning
- Plugin Vulnerability scanning
- Automatic Updates management
- Comprehensive Audit Trail
- and numerous Lockdown settings (e.g. disabling XMLRPC).
…and it provides all this for free. These will, of course, continue to be free.
Some of these features demand further development. But, we cannot allocate the resources to them that we’d like at the moment.
Wait a minute! Shield Pro v Shield Free – wont we just cripple the free version?
Absolutely never. Read that again: Absolutely never.
We will make every effort to include as many features in the free version as is available in the Pro. But, as we outline later on some features we want to bring into Pro can’t be made available e.g. use of commercially available security vulnerability databases.
How will Shield Pro differentiate over time?
So if Shield Pro will start off as being no different, why on earth should you bother with it?
We have huge plans for Shield. But we can’t do this without support from our business and professional clients.
Here are just some of the developments we’re considering:
- We want to incorporate a commercial database for plugin and theme vulnerabilities. “Commercial” = we will purchase a regularly maintained database for our Professional subscribers – we can’t currently do that.
- We want to build out User Session management from its basic foundation to be far more comprehensive and robust.
- The Audit Trail is quite basic… it does what it’s meant to do, but it needs a lot of work and refinement.
- Security Policies – apply the same security polices across all your sites
But bigger than all of these, we intend to integrate it into iControlWP itself.
iControlWP + Shield → Scalable WordPress Security
Why does integration into iControlWP matter?
There is no professional platform in the world that operates their security on an independent-nodes model. Professional security is always founded on security policies, and deployed across the network from a central hub.
Take a moment to consider your current model of WordPress security management. You are the central hub and you try your best to set-up all your WordPress sites according to your security policies. You then have to visit each individual site to monitor and review activity, audit trail etc.
WordPress has traditionally been managed on a per-site, independent node, ad-hoc basis. But many businesses are realising the advantages of centralized, secure control of their websites. Unfortunately, WordPress Security has yet to from the improvements that this approach offers.
We plan to change all that.
Shield Pro – What do I get?
We are moving to Shield Pro services progressively. Initially there will be no separate, professional version of the plugin.
Our first step is Premium plugin support. We’ll continue to monitor the WordPress.org support forums, but requests that come from our paying clients take priority.
Here is a summary of what you need to know:
- Support for the plugin will be prioritized, and significantly limited to our Pro clients.
- Support for non-Pro clients will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but will not be officially provided.
- Non-Pro clients will always have full access to all features in the free version, available from WordPress.org. And unlike other security plugins, we will never cripple the free plugin – we will make any features freely available where we can.
You can continue to use the plugin exactly as you use it today. But, if you support us and go Pro, you’ll be officially supported by us in return.
By supporting us you directly contribute to your own site security. It helps drive development forward and promote improvements in the security plugin.
Furthermore, you will always have access to any premium features as and when they develop. You’ll see more centralized options within iControlWP such as scans, reports, and even network intelligence.
How do I go Pro?
We are offering Shield Pro primarily through iControlWP subscriptions. What does this mean exactly?
This simply means that all websites connected to the iControlWP control panel will have Shield Pro. All clients of iControlWP will benefit with support coverage for the Shield plugin.
What if you don’t want to use iControlWP? Contact us and share your case with us. We will consider other options for clients with operations at significant scale.
When is Pro available?
We plan to officially go Pro from the 1st March 2016. If you have questions, suggestions or feedback, please do let us know in the comments section below.
We’re happy to take on whatever feedback you have and we do listen!
Thank you for all your support both until now, and ongoing – we wouldn’t be who we are today without you.