The WordPress Jetpack plugin is a premium add-on for WordPress that extends the functionality of the popular blogging platform.
The question is, is this plugin worth the money, even with all its extra features?
The good news is, WordPress offers a free version as well as a premium version of Jetpack. We will go over what the difference is, so you can make an informed decision.
What is the WordPress Jetpack Plugin?
WordPress, as you probably already know, is the most popular content management system (CMS) and blogging platform in use on the Internet today.
WordPress comes in two forms:
WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service that does not require any installation of CMS software or a paid web hosting account at a web hosting company such as GoDaddy or Dreamhost.
A basic WordPress.com account is available free. The benefits are that you can blog without worrying about hosting or maintaining any software. However, you cannot customize the WordPress.com platform, add new plugins, or put any paid advertising on your website.
WordPress.com has a premium business account option that costs money but offers more options, including the ability to add your own plugins.
WordPress.org is not a site where you host your blog. It is where you can download the WordPress software (for free) to install on your own web host. Then, you can choose which plugins, such as Jetpack, would be appropriate for your particular WordPress installation.
WordPress Jetpack Features
In assessing whether the WordPress Jetpack is worth spending money on, it is important to review the plugin and its features. As you will see below, some of the more advanced features of WP Jetpack are only available for certain levels of paid subscriptions.
Most of the extras offered by Jetpack can be delivered by other WordPress plugins (often by different companies). Some of these other free or premium plugins may do the job just as well - if not better than - Jetpack.
1. Free WordPress Themes
One of the basic “sales points” of the Jetpack plugin by WordPress is that you can get more than 100 WordPress themes for your website.
A “theme” is basically an overlay for your content. It is like an item of clothing or outfit that you can put on, take off, and replace with another theme to change the look and feel of a website. Themes may include certain colors, decorative images, and fonts used for headers and blog text. Depending on the theme, your main menu may be at the top of the blog (centered, left justified, or right aligned), or perhaps the menu is over at the right or even the bottom of the page.
WordPress comes with basic free themes that you can use right out of the box. Your WordPress website must always have a theme active, because it is the theme that determines how the content is presented. Without a theme, your website won’t run because nothing can be displayed.
Here’s the thing: Without WordPress Jetpack, you already have access to thousands of free WordPress themes.
These are available from within the WordPress backend and can be downloaded and tried at any time. The main problem with these themes is that there are almost too many to choose from. Some are better than others, so, you have to wade through a lot of crap sometimes to get to the good stuff.
2. Performance Improvement
Performance improvement is all about making your website load faster and more efficiently. If your website loads in a reasonable time frame, and you aren’t having any major server hiccups, then that is the basic level of website performance you need.
If you have a small website with little to no traffic, you should not need to worry about performance beyond that baseline. Most shared hosting environments should be sufficient for your needs, and you should not have to worry about performance beyond that.
Larger websites that get a lot of traffic really do need to concern themselves with performance, because the more people are hitting your site simultaneously, the more stress that will get put on your server and database.
Therefore, performance enhancements, which are not necessary for smaller blogs, are absolutely essential. However, at that level, you hopefully have a talented web developer or system administrator (or trusted web host) handling performance issues, which may need technical adjustments beyond just what any WordPress plugin can do. This can include adding additional servers or in the least having the database server be separate from the server that delivers the web pages.
Therefore, whether the Jetpack performance options are right for your business is something that should be assessed by a competent technical professional.
3. Security and Spam Prevention
Security and spam prevention is very important in WordPress.
Because it is such a popular CMS program, WordPress is the constant target of hackers and spammers. If you do not monitor your WordPress website on a regular basis, and keep your plugins updated, then your chances of being hacked are very high.
However, the most popular plugin for security is not Jetpack but WordFence, by a different company (and there is a free option).
4. Social Media Integration
Some levels of Jetpack enable you to automatically share your blog posts on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Scheduling is also included in some plans.
5. Google Analytics Integration
Google Analytics is an important tool for tracking where your traffic comes from and how long people stay at your website. With Jetpack, you can easily use Google Analytics to get up to date information on what is going on with your website traffic.
Other plugins will do this as well, of course, or you can even manually enter in some Google Analytics code.
6. Daily Backups
WordPress should be backed up regularly, especially with the security risks associated with the software. Jetpack offers the ability to do daily backups and maintain site archives, starting with the personal subscription level service.
There are also many free backup plugins available for WordPress that might work just as well.
7. Payment Options
Higher levels of service offer PayPal and advertising integration. However, for serious e-commerce, most WordPress sites tend to use a special plugin for that, such as Woo Commerce.
What Does WordPress Jetpack Cost?
The Jetpack plugin by WordPress has a variety of subscription levels, including a free option, so you do not have to jump in and pay a lot just to use basic features. Additionally, some web hosting providers bundle in some premium Jetpack options with their WordPress hosting plans.
The prices quoted here as current as of this writing but may be different by the time you read this.
1. Free Subscription
The free subscription to Jetpack includes 100+ free WordPress themes, performance enhancements, statistics, and some security scanning. You even get free email support.
2. Personal Subscription
This level costs $3.50 per month or $39 each year. It includes everything the free service provides, but adds automatic daily backups and spam filtering, as well as priority support.
3. Premium Subscription
A Premium Jetpack subscription costs $9 per month or $99 per year. The features included with the Premium option include more than 100 free WordPress themes, performance improvement (including unlimited image and video CDN, and lazy loading images), and daily automated backups with a 30-day archive.
Security features include protection from brute force attacks by hackers, monitoring of downtime, automated filtering of spam, regular scans for malware, and security fixes.
This level of subscription also includes a variety of marketing tools including page statistics, social media scheduled posts, SEO support, and integration with Google Analytics. Revenue generation includes ad network approval and the ability to accept PayPal payments.
You also get support from WordPress, including email help, priority support, and concierge setup service.
4. Professional Subscription
This level of service has everything that the premium subscription offers, and adds 100 more WordPress themes, real-time automated backups, unlimited archives, premium theme support, and Elasticsearch-powered site-wide search.
5. Bundled Package
Some hosting companies offer the WordPress Jetpack plugin for free along with their WordPress hosting package. The Jetpack website has a list of recommended web hosts, some of which, like Pressable, include a Jetpack subscription (at different levels) with your web hosting.
Should You Pay for WordPress Jetpack?
Is a paid WordPress Jetpack subscription really worth it? We would say this depends on what you are looking for in terms of functionality.
If all you want are free WordPress themes, you can get that without Jetpack or just use the free version to get over 100 themes. If you are looking for better performance, Jetpack free will also provide some boost. Other plugins can also be used for security (WordFence), backups, or e-commerce.
However, Jetpack provides an all-in-one solution with additional support that may be valuable to some businesses.