In the world of WordPress, you will soon notice patterns emerging. The majority of WordPress users, developers, and sites will begin to conform to certain standards. Within that circle, there are a series of elite plugins that virtually every website—no matter how big or small—introduces into the ecosystem. The Jetpack plugin, from Automattic, is fast becoming one of those plugins.
What makes Jetpack so important? As you were investigating hosting plans, you likely compared “self-hosted” WordPress installation with the hosted WordPress.com system. The latter being a paid hosting service just for WordPress that offers ease-of-use and stability in exchange for less control and reduced flexibility.
JetPack gives you the best of both worlds. You get the control and flexibility of self-hosted and access to the WordPress.com server network and security hardening. The plugin facilitates this connection by linking your self-hosted installation with a free WordPress.com account you can create for yourself.
Like many elite plugins, Jetpack strikes a good balance between free and paid features. The free features offer tantalizing value while the paid version offers higher-level services. We’ll start by looking at the free stuff and then see how the paid plans take your WordPress judo to the next level.
Free JetPack Features
The initial set of tools you get from the free installation of Jetpack improves your site security, speeds up your site, posts to social, and gets important stats about your site and content performance.
Brute Force Protection
It may not seem obvious at first, but every few seconds bots are scanning your site and trying to log in using massive computing resources to break your password.
These attacks can increase the load on your server if not stopped. Worse, if access is gained, bots can post spam on your site or even steal data.
These types of attacks are called “brute force” attacks because the bots are trying to basically break into your website through a back door.
The best way to stop brute force attacks is to “harden” the entryways into your site. The JetPack plugin provides free brute force protection. When unauthorized login attempts are first made, the plugin steps into action and blocks them right away.
Every WordPress site comes with a login page that provides basic text-based password authentication. When you first create your WordPress user account, you provide a username and password. The password is then encrypted and saved in the database. For many websites, extra fortification becomes necessary in order to “harden” this basic password system.
And worse, both the login page and encrypted password are stored in your installation, and you are responsible for keeping them secure.
With JetPack, you can offload the login process and password security to the WordPress.com servers managed by Automattic. This means you can have one master WordPress.com account to rule your other self-hosted WordPress installations.
Increase Page Speed With Image CDN
If your site is slow, you will tend to lose visitors. And you will probably lose standing in search engines. (Google knows how fast or slow your site is.) One of the most likely causes for slow site load speeds is image rendering. It takes time for a server to transmit media, particularly larger images.
JetPack cuts down image load times by using a proprietary content delivery network (CDN). The plugin automatically copies your images to the CDN and loads them remotely. This means your server is only responsible for loading the site content itself, and the images load after.
Lazy loading is also included. This means images that do not appear in the initial payload are deferred.
All of these features would be much more difficult to install manually. JetPack gives you this value for free.
Basic Traffic Stats
When it comes time to measure your site’s success, it can be confusing to find the right metrics and see how you’re doing.
Jetpack gives you stats onboard to make this easier.
You can see how many visits your site is getting and which articles are most popular.
With this information, you can make informed decisions about what kind of content you’re currently producing, what is performing best, and what you can focus on in the future. This kind of data is critical.
Automatic Social Media Posting
Connecting your site to various social media platforms is more difficult than it seems.
First you have to make and authenticate those connections to avoid security risks. Then you have to make sure they’re talking to each other.
JetPack sets up these connections automatically. So all you need to do is log into your social media, approve the connection, and then instantly everything you post will be synced with social media.
The paid tiers for JetPack are ordered in this sequence: Personal, Premium, and Professional.
Backups, Backups, Backups
If you’ve heard it once then you’ve heard it at least twice: the three most important things in business are location, location, and location. When it comes to websites, however, the three most important elements are backups, backups, and backups.
The critical nature of backups (you need them for your site, no argument) and the resources required to maintain archives and automate the server processes makes this a worthy premium feature.
Making the jump from free to paid Jetpack means not only will your backups be automated—set it and forget it—but you also get a 30-day archive of backups.
If you had to set up this kind of backup system manually, you would spend hours of energy and perhaps hundreds of dollars.
Improved SEO With Google Integration
Making the jump from Personal to Professional, you get added SEO tools to monitor your traffic and increase potential revenue.
Google analytics integration gives you more control over your data. You can monitor your content performance, get critical information about your demographics, track goals, and measure conversions. Google Analytics is an essential tool for SEO and JetPack Professional helps you integrate it into your workflow.
Likewise, if your site is gaining in traffic, Ad Network approval at the professional level means you can monetize that traffic. WordPress will select ads appropriate for your site and you can sit back and collect cash.
Also, at the Professional level, you no longer have to rely on free themes that everyone is using. You can give your site an authentic, professional look by using a premium theme.
All premium themes in the WordPress network are included with the JetPack Professional license.
Before making a jump to Premium, it’s best to consider your needs carefully. Take a look at your site today (if you already have one) and see where your future focus lies.
There are always focal points that will jump out at you as you begin to consider how you want your site to grow and which opportunities will be best for you to take.
The InMotion Hosting WordPress packages come with a free JetPack Personal license (starting at the WP-2000S tier). Once your site grows, you can move up to 4000S and get the Professional license (a savings of $299/year) included with the plan.
Growth is not always easy, but with the right help and the right tools, your effort will not be wasted.