The WordPress Business Model

September 11, 2009

I think I finally understand how hosted WordPress makes money 🙂

I recently set up a web site for my dad’s consulting business, at I used the WordPress hosted service, and a flexible, business-oriented theme called Vigilance.

But I needed to tweak the colors to get a solid background, with white-on-blue text. It was pretty easy (using Firebug) to figure out the CSS changes required, and I could edit these in the WordPress Custom CSS form, and I got the look I wanted – so the hook was set. Now I just need to pay for the $14.97/year “upgrade” to be able to save and use the custom CSS.

Which I gladly did, since it would be way more expensive for me in time and hassle to try to set this up in my own WordPress environment.

Step 2 was connecting his existing domain to the WordPress site. A few clicks on the site, another modest yearly payment of $9.97 (where do they get these amounts?), and we were almost all set. The one minor difficulty was in handling the “www” subdomain. WordPress says that if you want this to work, you need to change the domain name servers to use their name servers. But the current domain needs to use a specific email server (MX record).

So the solution was to create two DNS entries in the current name server config. One was the standard WordPress entry for subdomains, where you create a CNAME record that maps “@” to The second entry mapped “www” as a URL redirect to Once that propagated, everything worked as planned. A few hours of my time, and $24.94/year to WordPress.