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WordPress: Hidden Costs

We know what you're thinking: but WordPress is 'free'! However as the saying goes, there's no such as a free [website platform].

WordPress is what you call the industry standard — everyone uses it! So naturally, we get this question a lot: why this newfangled platform 'Storipress' over the so-called 'industry standard'?

If you're looking for a platform that can do everything and don't mind implementing everything yourself to make it work for your publishing needs, then WordPress might be suitable for you.

But if performance, security, cost and a good user experience are important to you, keep reading. If you're tired of navigating through menus and exploring complex options that you will never use... well... so were we. To surmise, WordPress is a popular tool used by heaps of people to achieve everything under the sun; but if you're serious about publishing and you care about the experience you and your team have every day at work, you can probably do a lot better.

The money question

Of course, price isn't the only one should consider when choosing their content management platform, but at the end of the day, pricing is an incredibly important aspect to keep in mind, especially for small publishers and bloggers who can't afford custom WordPress deployments. Additionally, at first glance, Storipress' hosting may appear be a little steep compared to the bargain bin hosting options currently available.

And that's why in this post, we'll take a closer look at just how quickly 'free' WordPress can become 'wow i'm leaking money' WordPress in terms of both tangible costs like:

  1. Hosting
  2. Plugins
  3. Themes

And more intangible costs like:

  1. Security
  2. Platform and plugin updates
  3. Performance

Whilst you read this article, keep in mind that WordPress comes in two flavors: hosted, and self-hosted. Throughout this post, we'll focus on comparing the hosted version to Storipress, as Storipress is also a hosted product.

We also won't touch on discussing the costs of ecommerce sites — if you're looking for e-commerce functionality, Storipress probably isn't the platform for you.





Best-in-class (seriously, its fast)



Global CDN

$0 + unlimited

Image Optimisation

$0 + unlimited

Jetpack (security + performance)


SEO (Yoast)


Forms (WPForms, Gravity Forms)

$0 (Mailchimp integrati...)

Advanced Custom Fields



$0 (Google Analytics in...)



Website Builder (Elementor, Elegant)


Theme/ template

$0 (100+ templates)


$352 – $4610/Y

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As the founder of Storipress, I highly encourage you to at least scan this entire post to understand where I'm getting these numbers. In saying, even in leaving the intangibles out of the picture, here's the total cost of ownership for one year on Storipress and WordPress

Storipress = $168 USD annually

WordPress (hosting + CDN + ACF + visual builder) = $352 USD-4,170 USD annually

The most comparable platform to Storipress is actually something called WordPress Newspack — a plugin developed by WordPress to change WordPress to do the same thing as Storipress (we think Storipress does it better though). NewsPack costs a stomach churning $6,000/Y on their lowest tier. And that's not including the same plugins you'll still have to pay for, detailed above.

So, about plugins...

The fact is, when you're hosting with WordPress and Storipress, you're not just paying for hosting.

You're also paying for the design, workflow, and SEO tools each offers. And the content management systems that are packaged with them.

And unless you're paying for a premium visual design plugin, or know how to code, WordPress doesn't compare in terms of publisher suitability (some features like collaborative editing are even impossible to implement in WordPress). Ditto for the design tools, which are mostly built for e-commerce websites.

Finally, you must consider some of the more intangible, logistical issues each plugin will add to your publication.

  1. Potential conflicts between plugins
  2. New security vulnerabilities
  3. Reduced load times and overall performance

And each of these issues can only be fixed by the plugin developer. And if you're relying on free plugins, that update dude date is probably... well... never.

The intangibles

Perhaps famous in WordPress are the issues across three areas which I talk to below — the intangibles. However, their effects on your publication are anything but intangible when you take into account serious, real issues like brand reputation, slow loading times, and suboptimal user experience to those building and maintaining your publication.

These areas are:

  1. Security
  2. Platform and plugin updates
  3. Performance

Security costs of Wordpress

Ah, security — perhaps the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to WordPress. Normally, this is most likely due to poor installation, maintenance, and updating practices, because with WordPress, all that work's on you.

Whilst outdated installations are becoming less of an issue for WordPress sites, according website security company Sucuri, WordPress sites still account for the vast majority of 'remediation' requests they receive, with a whopping 83% of all requests.

There exist very tangible costs to getting hacked: time (and hence wages) and brand reputation are both huge costs that are impossible to quantify, but I myself have seen some sites that get hacked ... which I never visit again. Simply put, one 'little' hack can mean readers lost for life.

That's why Storipress manages all updates for you and constantly looks out for site vulnerabilities across our platform, and act to manage the situation fast.

Platform, theme, and plugin updates costs

As a former user of WordPress, I myself know that platform and plugin updates rank high amongst WordPress' biggest headaches. Every time I logged into WordPress, I knew I had something to update every single time I logged into the dashboard, be it the core WordPress install or one to a dozen different plugins — oh yeah, and themes!

This inevitably distracted me from the task I’d actually planned to tackle before logging in, be it drafting a new article, or making design updates.

And then, of course, there’s the hassle of backing up your whole site before updating — a process WordPress left in the user’s hands for years before the latest incarnation of Jetpack.

On top of that, you’d often discover in the process that some key plugin of yours had gone zombie (that is, wasn’t being maintained anymore), leaving you with the always-enjoyable task of having to find a (hopefully free!) replacement.

Great memories here.

And don’t even get me started on child themes.

The cost of (poor) WordPress performance

Google suggested searches for term: 'WordPress'

Yep, that's a real screenshot of search suggestions on Google.

In 2009, Google conducted a great experiment where they observed how likely a user was to leave a page, or 'bounce', if the site was slow. What they found was that 53% of mobile users don't read articles that take more than 3 seconds to load. What's more concerning, is the average WordPress publication takes a full 14 seconds to load.

This doesn’t just damage people’s experience on your site. Google today includes page speed as a ranking factor in their algorithm, so if your site's slow, you're not only providing a bad experience for those who do find you — you’re lessening the chance they’ll find you in the first place.

To be fair, a lot of the performance issues that can plague a WordPress site come down to “user error,” and can thus impact any site, regardless of platform: use of uncompressed images, poorly written plugins, lack of caching, etc. But unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t do a ton to help end users — or the developers and designers who serve them — know about and address these issues.

In fact, one of the things I found during my days of using WordPress was that the plethora of themes and plugins out there really encourages a kind of conspicuous software consumption: You’re constantly on the lookout for the theme that’ll finally be perfect for you. The plugin that’ll solve X new challenge that just cropped up.

Yep, so WordPress actually stacks up to be pretty expensive

Hence, as we've shown: WordPress may start off as free, but the cost increases dramatically from there. And if you factor in intangible costs like security, maintenance, and performance, it becomes obvious that WordPress is not only pricey, but also incredibly complciated.

Storipress also starts at free. And Storipress builds in a host of features you can only get via plugins, if you’re building with WordPress, from the publication management tools and code-free visual design tools to the equally visual CMS, all the way to hosting that’ll make you forget terms like PHP, cPanel, and FTP for good.


So to cut to the chase, Storipress is better for publishing and blogging. WordPress is better for building a dynamic, complex e-commerce solution.

Pick Storipress if...

WordPress might be better for you if...

You’re now armed with knowledge! Hopefully this guide was useful to give you a general overview of WordPress compared to Storipress.

We can help you migrate to Storipress from WordPress, for free! Save time and let the Storipress team do all the work on your behalf; no coding, no configuration, no worries. This migration is included with any Paid Storipress Plan.

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