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A Big Thank You to our Premium Customers for Powering Wordfence and Helping Secure the Community

This entry was posted in Wordfence, WordPress Security on February 21, 2017 by Mark Maunder   41 Replies

At Wordfence we are intensely customer focused. A few years ago when we made our first non-founder hires, we hired two amazing people: Matt Barry and Tim Cantrell. Matt is a spectacular engineer and immediately took ownership of the Wordfence code base and eventually wrote the core of what is the Wordfence Firewall today. Matt is also amazing to work with – one of the smartest and nicest people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

Tim is a customer service engineer, and since day 1, he has done a spectacular job. He is also just a super nice guy. We have all worked closely together since then, and today we are a team of almost 30 people including a much larger engineering organization and a sizable customer service team. Our core focus still reflects those early hiring decisions: Great engineering and excellent customer service – and Tim and Matt have driven much of that ethos from early on.

In our organization, we behave very much like most commercial software companies. We focus on code quality, stability and innovation. We have a constant feedback loop from our customer service team that feeds your wisdom and insights back into Wordfence. But the one thing that makes us a bit different from many large software organizations is that only 6% of the websites who use our product are paying customers. Or put differently, 94% of our users use the free Wordfence product.

When I published our post last week describing how we turn malware into new detection capability in Wordfence Scan, I included a chart that shows the number of malware signatures we have added over time in the past 5 months:

One thing that struck me when looking at this chart is how clear it is that our Premium Wordfence customers are powering an incredible free product for the community. The chart above really shows just one of the final products of the organization’s work: scan signatures that continuously improve the malware detection capability that Wordfence has.

As you can see in the chart, all malware signatures eventually, after 30 days become available to everyone in the community. That big jump in Premium signatures recently will also be reflected in the free signatures in a couple of weeks, and those signatures are not going away. They are gradually accumulating over time. The same is true for our firewall rules.

As we grow the Wordfence engineering team, customer service team, QA team and other areas, our free customers are all benefiting because most of Wordfence’s features are available to the community completely free. These free features include:

  • The best malware scanner for WordPress in the business – which includes the ability to help clean hacked sites.
  • A powerful web application firewall that blocks a huge number of attack variants.
  • The ability to view your website traffic, web crawlers like Google and attacks on a live dashboard and react to them in real-time.
  • Brute force attack prevention.
  • A rate limiting firewall to help protect your content.
  • A range of other tools like whois lookup, diagnostic tools and much more.

Our Wordfence Premium customers are the ones that are powering all these features and the team behind them. Our Premium customers also power the free support you receive on the WordPress.org support forums from our team.

Our Premium customers have also powered the incredible free WordPress Security Learning Center that we have created with tons of content, including professionally produced videos. It’s all free and exists to help secure the WordPress community.

And finally our Premium customers are the ones who power our ability to produce and publish ground-breaking research here, on this blog. We are also able to help our team attain new security certifications and maintain existing certifications. In addition our team can attend security conferences like RSA and DefCon to share insights with other security professionals.

Our Premium customers also empower us to continue to maintain and build a team of security professionals that are the best in the business when it comes to WordPress security.

So today I would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you from our team and from all our community Wordfence users to our Premium customers for your support. Your decision to upgrade to the Premium version of Wordfence has empowered our team and the Wordfence product, and by extension your decision has helped secure the WordPress community and the 94% of our customers who use the free version.

Thank you!

From Mark Maunder, Wordfence Founder & CEO and the whole Wordfence Team.

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41 Comments on "A Big Thank You to our Premium Customers for Powering Wordfence and Helping Secure the Community"

Rich Cox February 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

Can't thank you guys enough! We use Wordfence on all our sites, it's the first plugin I install. The premium version is well worth the money. Thanks for all your hard work!

opinions February 21, 2017 at 8:40 am

All well and good, but it appears that those of us paying money for Wordfence are doing perhaps more to finance the free side than is truly fair, perhaps the free version could be a bit more limited, you could thus obtain more paying customers, then in turn reduce the price of the premium version? That would be really nice for those of us "mom and pop" operations having more than one website, but not much revenue from our sites. Far be it for me to tell a business how to operate, but I couldn't help but think of the money when being thanked for spending it.

schmithu February 21, 2017 at 9:11 am

I see it like this:
- As a Premium User I am amazed, that so little (6%) can fuel such a big initiative.
- I love great software and happily pay my share.

If you have to power several website, maybe think of a network/multisite installation. That decision saved me a lot of work for maintenance of the several sites I administrate. It reduced the cost at the same time (extensions just need to be purchased once).

Ryan Gudonis February 21, 2017 at 8:42 am

No, Mark.

Thank YOU and the Wordfence team for doing such a spectacular job.

Neale Hayward-Shott February 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

Thanks for doing a fantastic job. I'm sure that you've done your maths but I would imagine that many people would be happy to pay if the price was lower. $100 a year is quite significant to many individuals and small businesses. And of course the free product is so good :-)


David 1961 February 21, 2017 at 11:20 am

@Neale Hayward-Shott There is a way to save money and still contribute to supporting Wordfence. Just buy 3 or more at a time and activate them as you need them. Unless the policy has changed the keys are good for one year after you activate them not from the time you buy them.

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 11:38 am

Just want to confirm that what David says is accurate. You can buy multiple keys and then use them as you need them.

Heike Martin February 21, 2017 at 8:46 am

As a web designer/developer working for a small non-profit Fair Trade organization I want to say thank you to all who are able to afford the Premium version. Working for a small company you wear many hats (from sales to advertising to developing the website and e-marketing) and so I'm grateful that Wordfence takes a big chunk of worry out of my many daily jobs.

Bill Cumming February 21, 2017 at 8:49 am

Thanks for the info, very useful.

All I need now is enough free cash to afford the premium subscription.

Hate running my personal site on a non-exsitent budget. :(

DOAADI February 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

I say this with my tongue pushed into my cheek a little, but I'm not sure I like the idea of paying for that other 94%. That's a huge proportion.

Chris February 21, 2017 at 8:54 am

Does the amount of paying customers assure the viability of the free product long term?

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:01 am

Yes, Wordfence is doing incredibly well. Just over 2 years ago we were a team of 2 people. We are a team of about 30 people now, about half of whom are full-time employees. We are continuing our spectacular growth this year by hiring again in a variety of roles including engineering, customer service and QA. We are also launching several exciting new products this year that have been in development for some time.

The business continues to innovate and grow. Our Premium customers have enabled that innovation.



Daniel February 21, 2017 at 8:55 am

You should probably have mentioned how the free users also benefit Wordfence. The massive amount of extra data they provide to make wordfence better than it would be if it were a premium only service. Not to mention the additional publicity free Wordfence users bring.

Im glad Wordfence is doing so well. I hope it continues to do so. I also hope it sticks with this two tiered system which is proving to work so well!

Thank you Wordfennce Team!

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:01 am

I completely agree Daniel. Our free customer base provides excellent product feedback and helps spread the word.



DOAADI February 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

I don't want to come across as TOO negative, but there are people out there - probably a surprisingly high proportion of that 94%, to be honest - who will NEVER buy when they can have something for free.

Somewhere along the line there has to be a crossover point where amassing data and maintaining commercial viability come into conflict. You guys do a lot of work, and you need paying. New hires come with growth, and they also need paying. That crossover point is hanging around in there somewhere...

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

That's OK. We're not trying to push a huge number of free community users into becoming paid users. People have different priorities. Some folks have a hobby site where they're not storing mission critical customer PII and we can provide them an excellent level of security for free. Others have a small business or a popular blog with, in some cases, large memberships and the WordPress user database stores customer PII. It's critically important that group doesn't get hacked, and for a relatively low price (under $9 per month) we can provide them with the best protection and detection available for WordPress.


Ron Geenen February 21, 2017 at 9:07 am

Dear Mark, Indeed 94% is a high number of users of the free version.
I am one of the 94% who uses your free version of Wordfence. Let me explain. First I am 81 years old and do not represent any business. I just have build a simple website to write articles about my family history. And I am glad that your system also protect people like me and my website.
But I also fully agree that your system should be used by all business people and they should subscribe to your Premium Wordfence Security System. For them to loose business is a lot of money, they cannot afford loosing. And maybe it is also tax deductible!

Vicki Morrison Goble February 21, 2017 at 9:12 am

I have several websites, none of which generate any income, so I am extremely grateful for the free version of Wordfence, an excellent product. I have a project in the works, which is intended to be profitable, and for that one website I do plan to purchase the premium version of Wordfence.

Thank you so much for your product, both the free and premium versions. If I could afford it, I would buy the premium version for all my websites, but I simply don't have the money.

Haroun Kola February 21, 2017 at 9:18 am

Thanks everyone concerned. I love that Wordfence protects my sites.

jim February 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

When someone starts a wordpress website they don't necessary have any cash to pay for all the plugins. Plus there are other competitors out there.

Having a free version is vital to getting people to convert to the wordfence system. More converts free or payed is good for everybody. Once the newbies grow then they can upgrade.

To me that makes perfect sense and thank you wordfence for taking that approach.

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:28 am

You're welcome. As I pointed out in a reply to another commenter, we value our free and Premium members and different people have different priorities.


schmithu February 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

"In our organization, we behave very much like most commercial software companies. We focus on code quality, stability and innovation. We have a constant feedback loop from our customer service team that feeds your wisdom and insights back into Wordfence."

From my experience (as consultant in agile software development and team coach), you overestimate the avarage software company. The emphasis on a great product, good code quality and stability is not as wide spread as you would like. To me the story of wordfence is impressive on many different levels:
- Awesome product
- regular updates
- great newsletter and blog posts - I tend to get bored easily, but your stuff regularly catches my attention. To me you are a rolemodel how transparency can be implented, directly through to the customer if an very effective manner.
- keeping to massively innovate while growing.
- taking social responsibility (for security in web in general)

I could possibly go on ;-)

In short: You're doing an awesome job! I'm very curious how wordfence as a company will develop and how you solve the challenges that might arise by the growth. I would be curious about how the org already developed and what other software development teams/companies can learn from it.


Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

Thank you very much David. I'll give your comment some thought. I've never really shared much about internal aspects of the business, how we've handled growth and so on. It's an interesting story! I'm actually amazed our rapid growth has gone so smoothly and there are a few key reasons why I think it's worked out so well. I've very much enjoyed other company blogs like the folks over at BaseCamp for example, when they publish their various business learnings. So I'll consider publishing a post or two about that.



Toby February 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

This is so true David! I never really thought about those aspects, but I agree with them all. I've always just felt good about Wordfence and you put my feelings into words. Awesome!

rupert hussey February 21, 2017 at 9:34 am

WoW! Truly amazing.

I started with the free version several years ago, but move to the paid after a nasty hack that took me down for over a week. That was over 5 years ago - no issue since.

I am truly impressed with the client-centric nature of what you do here Mark. Don't lose that focus and undoubtedly good things will continue to happen for this company.

Thank you!

Mark Maunder February 21, 2017 at 9:38 am

Thank you Rupert.

Charlie Sattgast February 21, 2017 at 9:59 am

I'd be curious to know how many Wordfence users there are like me. I pay for Wordfence Premium on my e-commerce sites, but use the free version on my non-commercial and non-profit sites. So I fall into both camps.

Thanks Mark and team for such a terrific resource. I'll stay a Premium member because I value your work very much.

Justin February 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

As a volunteer who single handedly runs two web sites for a registered charity (volunteer based) with no budget and no income...
I would like to say thank you to the Premium members and the Wordfence team for making free Wordfence possible.

Daniel February 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

Appreciate your skills to help keep on top of the negative events that we have to deal with in this world we live in. Am researching the plans to find out what would work best for me as I own four domains that I publish content on.

Jacquelyn Lynn February 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

This is an amazingly affordable product, worth so much more than it costs.

Loughlin February 21, 2017 at 10:35 am

...and a big thank you to all the team at WordFence. It's interesting that a lot of comments say "I can't afford the fee", "$99 is a significant spend for a small business", "Maybe if the price was lower more people would buy it" etc. I don't get that attitude. I am not trying to be facetious, really I am not, but what's more expensive - a couple of bucks a year or the headache of cleaning up your hacked site? Also, if you run a business, even a charity or personal website, it's not right to expect people to believe that paying about $8.25 a month to protect your website at the level that WordFence does is outside of your budget. Sacrifice two coffees a month or that sandwich from the deli two blocks up the street once every four weeks and you are now within budget. If 6% of the user base is powering the free version the least - THE LEAST - you can do is say thanks, not ask these guys to lower their price. Or even worse, say it's not feasible for you to pay it.

Michelle February 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

Thanks! I do some non-profit with very few paying :-) so Thanks to those who purchase premium.

Maybe? a free, supported($25), and premium?

Lars-Erik Jonsson February 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

I' m sorry to admit that I belong to the 94% freeriders. I would be happy to contribute to your important work. However, I have just a private website without any commercial interests. Besides I am retired. It might be a good idea to add a pricing plan for non-business people or a donate button. I would be the first one to contribute to Wordfence.

Fred February 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Paid user here: We really appreciate having Wordfence defending us on the front lines! This isn't just a website-by-website security issue, this is a national security issue. I don't let clients go "naked" without Wordfence!

Rob February 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

As a paying customer it also benefits me that there's a lot of websites I might land on that won't be infected with malware because Wordfence has a free version.

Tara February 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm

I totally appreciate having Wordfence protect a site I manage for a friend of mine who has a small business, I make zero money on it.
I've worked with Wordpress for over 10 years and have never seen a plugin work so well to protect a site. I've never been locked out, it works beautifully with the server of the hosting company and after I told them, they were impressed with Wordfence also.
This small site has been hacked twice in 4 years, the first time I used WF, it cleaned up the bad files very easily. Since then I have not had a problem. For my needs I had to block countries therefore I sprung for the Premium Version, so I can sleep at night again. I was up for hours just fixing, replacing files and rebuilt the site before I started with Wordfence.
I can tell you now - for the $8.25/month, I am catching up on my sleep, which is worth far more to me. Thanks Mark and your crew - you've done the world a big service that is very much needed today.

LogicalPremise February 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm

The way I see it, the most damage from malware and other undesirable stuff is 0-day threats and completely new exploits -- I'm paying for having the cutting edge where most of the attacks are going to happen.

That people are getting a benefit from it for free is no different than me serving in the military in my view.

Khoa February 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Thanks very much for all the hard work team!
Our site is non profitable but will talk with our team about your great product and find a way to support your product.

roberta February 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Thankyou for the fantastic free version of Wordfence.

For my part, while premium is beyond my budget at present, I do recommend Wordfence to everyone I know who is building a site on WP, and share your blog posts often.

Lindsay February 21, 2017 at 10:26 pm

As the www has grown everyone is finding their way. The amount of available CMS platforms etc make for a make or break situation, Firstly, Thanks to all those people who contribute to the creation / upkeep of the WordPress CMS.
Then in turn to all of the people around the world who have contributed by means of creating some exceptional Plugins Thank you!
I operate one stretch limousine, a small business and over the past 8 years have not been happy using a WYSIWYG cms from companies like the YPges and others.
When I found WordPress, and realized there is thousands of themes, plugins and all sorts of learning curves, the possibility of creating from scratch was daunting as
I am over 60 and the thought of what I was about to embark upon was enormous, I was also aware that the www was very volatile and seemed to be like the more money you threw at it the more it swallowed, When I started using WP two years ago Plugins that showed in the WP CMS with a lot of people using them got my attention then I found Wordfence. After 2 years and 4 websites later.
So people who are free users also swayed me to use it.

The www is still in the early stages and is basically a young adult that in time will reach maturity, that is my analogy hope you relate to it.
The fact that every part of the www has grown exponentially means that we all are on a major learning curve that will not slow down for a few more years.
What I am trying to convey here is this,
Build and create a great product.
Then by sharing the wealth and the knowledge with all, others will come.
Also the analogy of the Bic lighter comes to mind, sell one to everyone for a dollar,
They sold around the world and still do for more than a dollar these days.

When the websites that I have created grow legs and start to walk and provide me with an income you can be assured I will pay for your premium plugin x 4.

We all need and want you to stay in business for very obvious reasons.

To Mark Maunder,
Thank YOU!

David February 22, 2017 at 2:04 am

Dear Mark,

I personally think you guys do a great job, and my thanks go to the 6% of people who take the Premium option.

However, if I understand it correctly, I think your pricing model does you few favours - paying a lump sum for several keys for several years in order to get a good deal is prohibitive for some of us - clients leave, things change, I don't want to end up with unused keys I've had to pay in advance for.

If your pricing was to shift to a monthly subscription, i would certainly take up some Premium subscriptions, and I assume that if it would work for me, it would work for others. If you were to charge me monthly at say $9/month for 1 key, $8.50/month per key for 2 keys, etc, etc, and allow me to buy more keys, or stop paying for keys as I need, you'd certainly see me among your Premium subscribers. Other companies do this quite happily, if you could too, that would be excellent.

Keep up the good work anyway!

All the best


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