Earlier this week, my little corner of the interwebs was shaken up by the announcement, “Hosting company WP Engine acquires StudioPress.”
First, let me say they’re both excellent companies, and I’ve done business with and recommended both for quite a while.
I also totally did not expect such a merger.
What does it mean to you, as a WordPress user? Here’s what I’ve gleaned from all the emails, announcements, and online discussion I’ve seen.
If You Own StudioPress WordPress Themes
No changes for you at all. If you own a license for a single theme, you’ll continue to receive updates and support for that theme. Several of the key technical and support people from StudioPress are moving with the company.
If you purchased the Pro Plus All Theme Package, you’ll continue to have all themes available to you. Based on a conversation with Brian Gardner (founder of StudioPress) himself in a Facebook group, you’ll get new themes going forward, just as you currently do. Nathan Rice developed the Genesis Framework, on which all StudioPress themes run.
Here’s a definite benefit for Genesis Framework/StudioPress themes users, according to Jason Cohen, founder of WP Engine.
Genesis also has an important role to play in supporting the roll-out of Gutenberg, the new content authoring platform that will launch broadly in WordPress version 5.0. There’s been plenty of concern about how Gutenberg will affect existing plugins and themes, so Genesis can serve as an example for how Gutenberg can work brilliantly.
If you’ve been on my mailing list for a while, you received information about Gutenberg back in March. I’m also currently working on a more in-depth article about it. It’s a big change coming to WordPress, and I’m excited to know that StudioPress will have more resources available to incorporate it into their themes.
If You Use StudioPress Sites
I’ve liked StudioPress Sites for managed WordPress hosting ever since they rolled it out. It’s quality hosting with good features, and it’s more accessible for new WordPress users than other managed WordPress hosting I’ve tried.
That said, WPEngine has provided a quality hosting experience for years. In terms of features, they have a few things that StudioPress sites hasn’t offered — most notably, built-in staging. A staging platform is invaluable when you’re first building your site or if you want to make major changes.
I have a client who uses WPEngine, and a major site renovation is a breeze with their staging system.
StudioPress sites and Synthesis hosting stopped accepting new clients as of June 27. In fact, if you go to their landing page, you’ll see a notice about the merger, and a button for picking the right WPEngine hosting plan.
Update: The Starter plan for WP Engine will be $35/month for a single site, but you can add another for an additional $20. Subscribers with Starter, Growth, Professional, or Custom plans will have free use of the Genesis Framework and 35 StudioPress themes.
Here’s what I’ve gotten so far:
Here’s more information on the acquisition of StudioPress by WP Engine.
- Why WPEngine is Acquiring StudioPress
- WP Engine Acquires StudioPress WordPress Solutions Including Genesis Framework
- StudioPress Acquired by WP Engine (by Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and partner in StudioPress. Brian makes the point that Brian Gardner, who created StudioPress, will remain a partner while serving as a member of the StudioPress team over at WP Engine.)
- An Important Announcement About the Future of StudioPress (by Brian Gardner, founder of StudioPress)
If You Use WP Engine
You’ll be able to use any of StudioPress’ Genesis Framework and great themes as a free include in your Starter, Growth, Professional, or Custom hosting package. A definite plus!!
I’m sure, as all these brilliant people begin to work together, there will be positive changes to the WP Engine hosting environment.