PHP 7.4 Just Came Out, and So Did Our PHP Version Switcher

PHP is still one of the most popular languages used to build the web. The newest version, PHP 7.4, was released today — and Business and eCommerce plan customers can opt to start using it immediately.

WordPress.com sites run PHP 7.3 by default — it’s still our recommended version, since it’s been stress-tested across all of WordPress.com — but if you have a site on the Business or eCommerce plan and want to be on the leading technological edge, you can opt to switch to version 7.4 immediately.

Head to My Site > Manage > Hosting Configuration to find the new PHP Version Switcher:

Choose which version of PHP you want your site to run on, click the “Update PHP version” button, and voilà.

(Note: All sites with eCommerce plans can make the switch right now. Sites on the Business plan need to have either an active plugin or a custom theme to use the PHP Version Switcher.)

PHP’s evolved with each version 7 release, and PHP 7.4 promises to have the strongest performance yet. It will eventually power all WordPress.com sites, but Business and eCommerce customers can take advantage of the update today!

A New Way to Earn Money on WordPress.com

It’s hard to be creative when you’re worried about money. Running ads on your site helps, but for many creators, ad revenue isn’t enough. Top publishers and creators sustain their businesses by building reliable income streams through ongoing contributions.

Our new Recurring Payments feature for WordPress.com and Jetpack-powered sites lets you do just that: it’s a monetization tool for content creators who want to collect repeat contributions from their supporters, and it’s available with any paid plan on WordPress.com.

Let your followers support you with periodic, scheduled payments. Charge for your weekly newsletter, accept monthly donations, sell yearly access to exclusive content — and do it all with an automated payment system.

With recurring payments, you can:

  • Accept ongoing payments from visitors directly on your site.
  • Bill supporters automatically, on a set schedule. Subscribers can cancel anytime from their WordPress.com account.
  • Offer ongoing subscriptions, site memberships, monthly donations, and more, growing your fan base with exclusive content.
  • Integrate your site with Stripe to process payments and collect funds.

Enable Recurring Payments in three steps

Start accepting ongoing payments in just five minutes, without any technical background. 

1. Connect (or create) a Stripe account

WordPress.com partners with Stripe, one of the internet’s biggest payment processors, to make sure transactions are fast and secure. You’ll need a Stripe account to use Recurring Payments. 

Head to your Earn page and click Connect Stripe to Get Started — we’ll walk you through the setup and help you create a Stripe account if you don’t have one.

2. Put a Recurring Payments button on your site

Recurring Payments takes advantage of the powerful block editor. To start collecting revenue, open a post or page, click the (+) to add a new block, and insert a Recurring Payments button.

3. Customize the details of the recurring payment

You can create as many payment plans for your site as you’d like—different currencies, amounts, payment frequencies, and names, so you can offer different tiers or subscriptions.

You can also choose one of your previously created plans when you insert a new button.

Bravo!

You just set up Recurring Payments for your site. Now your fans can support you, just like they do on Longreads.com and around the web.

For more detailed setup instructions, visit the Recurring Payments support page.

So many options to grow your supporter base

With Recurring Payments, you can turn your content into revenue, accept donations, or fund your next big idea. 

  • Sell access to members-only newsletters.
  • Collect club membership dues automatically.
  • Let fans fund your next art project.

Some people even collect rent with recurring payments!

It’s easier than ever for your visitors to support your site

Recurring Payments make it easy to purchase a subscription or become a supporter on any WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected site — your subscribers will be able to use the same payment information and manage all their subscriptions in one place. To do that, they’ll just need a WordPress.com account.

During the checkout process, they will enter their email address. If they already have a WordPress.com account linked to that address, we will associate the purchase with that account. If they don’t, we’ll create an account for them. When they complete the purchase, they’ll receive an email with more info and login instructions for their new account.

The transaction is between you and your subscriber. WordPress.com only facilitates the processing and management of the subscription. We don’t save your subscribers’ credit card information, either — it’s stored by Stripe, the payment processor, so that the charge can renew automatically. Your subscribers can manage, edit, or cancel their recurring payments on their own, without your intervention, by visiting Me > Manage Purchases > Other sites.

A competitive fee structure helps you share your work far and wide

Recurring Payments is available on all paid plans, for both WordPress.com and Jetpack-connected sites. You pay a percentage of the revenue your site generates through Recurring Payments, which varies depending on your plan. As you collect more subscribers, you might consider switching to a different plan in order to retain more revenue.

WordPress.com Plan Jetpack plan Related Fees
WordPress.com eCommerce  — None
WordPress.com Business Jetpack Professional 2%
WordPress.com Premium Jetpack Premium 4%
WordPress.com Personal Jetpack Personal  8%

In addition to the fees you pay us, Stripe collects 2.9% + $0.30 for each payment made to your Stripe account.

Make the most of our collection of monetizing tools

Recurring payments is the latest addition to the monetizing tools available on WordPress.com. Here are the other tools you can find by visiting WordPress.com/earn.

  • Use Simple Payments to take one-time payments, or to sell digital or physical products with minimal configuration.
  • Add WordAds to run advertisements on your site, and earn revenue from your traffic.
  • Move to WooCommerce when you’re ready to create a full shopping experience for visitors — it’s the most customizable online-store platform on the web, with thousands of extensions.

Ready to add Recurring Payments? Head to your site’s Earn section right now.

Now Available in the Mobile Apps: Revision History

The ability to load a previous version of a page or post is invaluable when you need to make a quick correction or compare your current revision to earlier ones. What about viewing your content’s revision history on the go? This can be a real life-saver, as we’re not always at our desktops. Well, we’re thrilled to announce that you can now review your content’s history and load revisions for both pages and posts directly from the WordPress mobile apps.

View History

The revision history of every page or post you’ve worked on is available right from the editor. Just tap My SitesSite Pages or Blog Posts → any page or post → three-dots button → History.

View History

The history list shows you the time each revision was created (organized by date), the author of the revision, as well as the number of additions and deletions for each revision. To view the content of each revision, tap it on the list.

Load Revision

If you’d like to continue working on an earlier version of your page or post, tap the Load button while viewing the content of a revision. You can view the content in either HTML or a visual format — just tap the three-dot menu and select HTML preview or Visual preview, respectively.

Load Revision

Send Feedback

The WordPress mobile apps are free and available for both Android and iOS devices. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our support team directly from the app — tap MeHelp & SupportContact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved.

Announcing Free .blog Subdomains

Over the last thirteen years or so, the number of sites on WordPress.com has grown — a lot. Every one of those sites gets a unique wordpress.com address. And since there are millions of sites created each year, it means the address you’d like isn’t always available.

Today, a whole new range of possibility opens up: free .blog subdomains.

What’s a subdomain?

Glad you asked! This site’s address is blog.wordpress.com. Here, wordpress.com is the domain and blog is the subdomain.

Say your name is Molly and you’re starting a food blog. The domain mollysfoodblog.wordpress.com — that is, the subdomain “mollysfoodblog” on wordpress.com — is already taken by someone. Or you’re starting a website to offer tech advice; but there’s already a site using techadvice.wordpress.com, drat!

Now you have more options: you can choose to use a free subdomain with a .blog address, like mollys.food.blog or advice.tech.blog. There’s a list of popular .blog domains we’ve reserved just for this:

  • art.blog
  • business.blog
  • car.blog
  • code.blog
  • data.blog
  • design.blog
  • family.blog
  • fashion.blog
  • finance.blog
  • fitness.blog
  • food.blog
  • game.blog
  • health.blog
  • home.blog
  • law.blog
  • movie.blog
  • music.blog
  • news.blog
  • photo.blog
  • poetry.blog
  • politics.blog
  • school.blog
  • science.blog
  • sport.blog
  • tech.blog
  • travel.blog
  • video.blog
  • water.blog

These .blog subdomains work just like the regular wordpress.com subdomains — they don’t expire, they’re free to use for the lifetime of your site, and you can always replace them with a custom domain at any time.

How do I get one?

First, create your new site. In the first step of signup, we’ll ask you about your goal for your site — select only the “Share ideas, experiences, updates, reviews, stories, videos, or photos” option. In our experience, the people who select this option generally find that a .blog subdomain fits their site well. Fill out the other fields as well, and click Continue

Now, in the next step when searching for a site address, you’ll see a free option at the top of the list. We’ll suggest a .blog subdomain related to the terms you entered in the first step. For example, if you searched for “Tech Advice,” we might suggest advice.tech.blog as an address for your site.

Click Select next to the address you choose, and you’re all set,

Your new website and its perfect address are only a few clicks away. If you start a new site with a .blog subdomain, let us know in the comments! We’d love see what you create.

Setting Up Your Site on a Mobile Device Just Got a Lot Easier

Starting a new website is always exciting: you’ve chosen a topic, found the right name, and started building it on WordPress.com.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What’s next?” Well, when you create a site on the WordPress for Android or WordPress for iOS mobile apps, the answer just became a lot easier with the introduction of Quick Start, a new tool that guides you through the setup process.

How Quick Start works

After you create a new site on your WordPress app, you’ll see a prompt asking if you want some assistance setting it up. Tap Yes! and you’ll find Quick Start: a short list of to-do items that will set you on the path to success.

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With Quick Start, you’ll be able to…

  • View your site from within the apps.
  • Select a new theme.
  • Customize your site.
  • Create a new blog post.
  • Set up your sharing preferences.
  • Follow new sites in the WordPress.com Reader.

These are all tasks that will help you start on the right foot. Exploring these options won’t take very long, but once you’ve gone through the list you’ll have a website ready to welcome its first visitors — and all the pieces in place for future growth and success.

Available now

Quick Start is part of the WordPress for Android app (version 10.8 or higher) and WordPress for iOS (version 11.1). If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, or Android device and have been thinking of launching a new site, this is the time to take the plunge!

Introducing Activity

Knowing what’s going on behind the scenes of your site is key to engagement and security.  Who published a post? What comments need to be approved? When was a plugin activated or deactivated? What images were added to a specific page?

Now, there’s a new tab in WordPress.com where you can see all your site’s activity outlined in an organized, readable way: It’s called Activity, because monitoring your site should be as simple as possible.

Activity shows you a chronological list of all the changes and updates to your site. It’s useful for site owners who want to keep an eye on the big picture of their site, as well as for admins on larger sites with multiple contributors.

Activity shows you things like:

  • Published or updated posts and pages.
  • Comment submission and management activity.
  • Settings and options modifications.
  • Login attempts by registered site users.
  • Plugin installations, updates, and removals.
  • Theme switches, installations, updates, and deletions.
  • See the complete list of activities for WordPress.com and Jetpack sites.

Head to Activity right now, and you’ll be able to see your site’s 20 most recent changes and updates. On WordPress.com or Jetpack sites with a paid plan you’ll see events from the last 30 days, and if you have the Business or Professional plan respectively, you’ll see events from the last year.

All sites with a paid plan have the added ability to filter activities by type and time range so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for.

To keep things scannable, sequential events of the same type are grouped in a single item — expand it to see details for all of the collected actions.

Activity is also a great place for Jetpack subscribers to investigate site downtime or bugginess. See what changes happened around the time of the issue, and use the details to focus your troubleshooting and get back up and running, fast.

You can also view your list of activities on the WordPress mobile apps.

Stay up to date on the latest theme and plugin updates

For sites with plugins and uploaded themes, keeping them up to date and knowing what was updated when are key to security and stability. Activity not only shows you all the details in one place, but lets Jetpack and WordPress.com Business plan subscribers update themes and plugins directly from the Activity tab.

We’re constantly striving to be better

Give Activity a try on your sites and let us know if you have any feedback — we’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below or open an issue in our GitHub repository.

New in the WordPress.com Business Plan: Jetpack Search

The WordPress.com Business plan combines fully managed hosting with the freedom to grow and scale your site without limits. Today we’re adding Jetpack Search to WordPress.com Business so you can enjoy powerful and fast on-site search functionality as part of your plan.

 

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Once you activate Jetpack Search, you’ll be using the same search engine powering some of the largest sites on the web. Jetpack Search provides a more engaging experience for your visitors: it relies on modern search algorithms that take phrase matches and the recency of your content into consideration, which in turn produces better search results.

In addition to more relevant matches, you can also configure the Jetpack Search sidebar widget to let your visitors sort their results or filter them by tags, categories, dates, and post types.

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Whether you run a news site or sell products on your online store, a more engaging search experience will help readers and customers dig deeper into the content on your site and keep them there for longer visits.

As recently as three years ago, our enhanced search functionality was a $6,000-a-year add-on to our enterprise plan; we’ve since been able to scale the service and can now offer it as part of a Business plan that costs a fraction of the original price. Moreover, most search solutions come with limits on the total number of indexed posts or the number of monthly queries. Just like the rest of your WordPress.com Business site, unlimited is the name of the game. We want your business to be successful, so we don’t place arbitrary limits on the amount of content or number of searches that your visitors can run.

You can join the thousands of websites already using Jetpack Search by upgrading your site to WordPress.com Business today.

How to Enable Jetpack Search

  1. If you don’t already have it, go to the Plans page and add WordPress.com Business to your site.
  2. Go to My Sites → Settings → traffic to enable Jetpack Search on your site.
  3. If you want to enable sidebar filtering, customize your site and add the Search (Powered by Jetpack) widget. Configuration of filters is simple and can be done with a few clicks.

Read more about this new feature on the Jetpack Search support page.

Introducing the Simple Payment Widget

Since the introduction of the Simple Payment Button, we’ve been looking for more ways to streamline payments on WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites. Today, we’re introducing a new variant of the Simple Payment Button, available to WordPress.com Premium and Business plan subscribers and to Jetpack sites on Premium and Professional plans.

Take payments anywhere on your site with the Simple Payment Widget

Use the Simple Payment Widget to add a quick payment option to the sidebar or footer of your WordPress.com or Jetpack site. (If you have Jetpack site, make sure its running version 6.3.3 or higher.) Then add the widget to your site via the Customizer, by going to Personalize → Customize → Widgets.

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Using the Customizer

You’ll be able to select an existing Simple Payment Button or create a new one to add to your sidebar, header, or footer.

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Simple Payment Widget on a Site’s Footer

The widget also gives you the ability to manage all of your products or services from the Customizer — set pricing, add images, and write product description right in the widget settings:

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Edit a Product on the Customizer

Once you’ve create multiple payment buttons, you can choose between them any time you add the Simple Payment Widget. And any button you create or edit via the Customizer is instantly available to use on the rest of your site, on any post or page.

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Add a product created on the Customizer to any page or post.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and make the most of it. Let us know what you think in the comments! And if you run into any issues setting up your new widget, take a look at the support documentation or reach out to support.

Introducing: A Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library

As many site creators know, it’s daunting to find images to represent the message you’re trying to put out into the world — especially if you don’t have the equipment or time to make your own.

At WordPress.com, we’re constantly striving to make it as easy as possible to create beautiful websites that represent who you are and what you stand for. We’re excited to announce that we’ve been working hard with Pexels and other diversity-focused image-library partners so that everyone with a WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected site can realize their vision with the right stock photos.

To use these images, just head to your Media Library and select Free Photo Library before searching for any image you need. You can also do this from the Add Media option within a post or page:

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Free images representing a wide range of experiences

In January 2018, we collaborated with Pexels to integrate their free stock-image library into WordPress.com. Since then, every user has had access to thousands of free, high-quality images at their fingertips! Knowing how diverse our community is, however, we didn’t stop there.

Stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, and often excluded photos of people of color, people with disabilities, or non-binary individuals. Pexels is working to change that, and since partnering with them we’ve helped incorporate diversity-focused libraries to their collection. Ultimately, we believe it’s on us to help find a solution to this problem, and avoid generic stock images that often perpetuate stereotypes.

Our first partner in this effort was the Women of Color in Tech Stock Photos library (WoCinTech for short). We were thrilled to work with them, as they were an earlier driver for these efforts. Christina Morillo, one of the project’s co-founders, had this awesome message to share:

We started this collection to address the lack of visible representation of women of color engaging in technical tasks in stock images. Our mission was always twofold: Disrupt stock images and further representation of women/non-binary people in technology by making the photos accessible to all creators. We are thrilled to partner with Pexels and WordPress.com to further this mission and help creators like you represent who and what you stand for.

Since adding their brilliant photos to Pexels, we’ve seen their stats soar with more than 70,000 downloads and 28 million image views:

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These statistics show how great the need and desire are for truly representative images online. What started out as a passion project of the WoCinTech group has now reached more than 70,000 people in the span of a month. Since we introduced the free stock image library, WordPress.com users have already downloaded more than 1 million photos.

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Going forward, we’re thrilled to work with Pexels to bring other diverse image-library partners on board, and to expand the selection of images you can access.

We need your help

We’re continuing to add more image libraries! This is where we could use your help:

  • Suggest in the comments below image libraries that we should reach out to that will help expand our offerings.
  • If you’re a photoblogger, upload your images to Pexels and immediately have them available for other WordPress users to find.
  • Become a part of future diversity-focused photo challenges on Pexels like this recent one from Pride Month.
  • If you’re a blogger or site owner, make an effort to use more diverse images when sharing content on your site.
  • If your company provides images for customers to use, we recommend integrating with Pexels to give your customers access to a library dedicated to diversity in images.
  • If you run an image library offering diverse images, comment below and we’ll get in touch with you!

Happy WordPress-ing! 🙂

Photos by Christina Morillo of WOCinTech from Pexels

Bookmark Posts with Save For Later

Maybe you’re reading a blog post while sipping your morning tea when you suddenly realize it’s getting late, or you’re browsing on the bus — but you just got to your stop.

The WordPress.com Reader is a great tool for catching up with your favorite blogs or exploring interesting new reads. And now, you can save those posts and resume reading at your leisure with Save For Later.

How does it work?

First, make sure you have the newest version of the  WordPress app on your phone or tablet — version 10.2. Open the app, and head into the Reader.

Saving content for later

Whenever you find a post you’d like to save for later, tap the bookmark icon (Bookmark outlined). The icon will change from an outline to a solid color (Bookmark solid background) so you know the post has been saved.

Repeat the process as many times as you like! You can save posts from your list of Followed Sites, Discover, Search, or My Likes — anywhere in the Reader.

Reading your saved content

When you’re ready to read, open the app again, go back to the Reader, and select Saved Posts. Everything you saved will be waiting for you there, even if your device is offline.

Once you’ve read a post, you can remove it by tapping the bookmark icon again.

A few other notes

In this initial release, images aren’t guaranteed to be available offline. More importantly, Saved Posts is currently a device-specific feature — saved posts aren’t synced between devices or the web, so they’re only available on the device where you saved them. Logging out or uninstalling the app will delete them.

Give feedback and get involved

The WordPress mobile apps are free and available on both Android and iOS.

If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our in-app support team by tapping Me → Help & Support → Contact Us.

If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved.

Happy reading, now or later!

 

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