Opinion: The WP Hosting Landscape Is A Little Incestuous

Once in a while I decide that it’s ok to release one of our ‘out of left field’ opinions out into the public arena for consumption and potential ridicule.

Before you proceed I should warn you that these comments and observations have nothing to do with running WPCD or creating fast and awesome WP sites.

It’s a complete random train of thought.

Train-of-thought summary: You can’t really avoid giving the big hosting boys your money unless you try really Really REALLY hard.

Ok, so where is this coming from and what does it mean?

Please, bear with me a little here and try to follow my random thought pattern…

Lets start with Automattic themselves – they run a hosting service at wordpress.com as well as wp.cloud which is the infrastructure provider behind a lot of wordpress.com services. None other than Newfold Digital (formerly EIG) who already control more than 50 hosting brands, are investors in Automattic.

Most of those 50+ brands offer a terrible service and many many reputable WP agencies avoid them like the plague.

Why does this matter?

Well, Automattic has turned around and invested in other hosting companies – most recently Gridpane (disclosure: one of our competitors). But also WPEngine and Strattic.

They also own the Pressable brand.

Pressable, Strattic and Gridpane are great brands and great operations.

But working with them now puts anyone trying to avoid benefiting Newfold Digital in an awkward situation.

Think about it this way – when you give your money to wordpress.com, wp.cloud or WPEngine or Strattic or Gridpane, you indirectly end up benefiting Newfold Digital with its well-known portfolio of bad customer service and poor performance brands (which negatively impacts the reputation of WordPress – the thing we all depend on every day for our livelihood).

How does it benefit them?

Because you increase the value of their investment in Automattic. The more revenue any of the Automattic investments get or the more revenue that Automattic themselves get, the more money Newfold Digital is likely to end up with when they finally exit their investment.


If you really really don’t want to benefit any of the big boys and any of the terrible smaller folks, you’re going to have to try really really hard to avoid all those companies – no matter how great they are.

That’s what I mean by incestuous.

And don’t forget that WPEngine owns Flywheel. So if you give either of them your money, it will also end up benefiting Automattic which in turn will benefit Newfold.

Ugg. Ugg. Ugg.

I wonder who’s invested in Kinsta…

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