On August 25, 2023, WordPress announced a 100-Year Plan for $38,000.00. Marketed as a way to “Safeguard your online legacy,” the plan includes Century-Long Domain Registration. While it certainly makes a pretty attractive headline, the meat and potatoes of the idea do not make much sense. The value just is not there.
The maximum amount of time someone can register a domain is ten years. After that, the owner must manually renew the registration for 1 to 10 more years. WordPress handles this for their 100-Year Plan users, making it seem like the end-user has been registering their domain for 100 years. Of course, lifetime domain registration is not all the 100-Year Plan offers, but it is what many people currently focus on.
What’s Included in the 100-Year Plan?
What is the total package users get for $38,000? From WordPress’ announcement:
- Century-Long Domain Registration: A domain is your most valuable digital asset. While standard domain registrations last a decade, our 100-Year Plan gives you an opportunity to secure your domain for a full century.
- Even More Peace of Mind: As guardians of your life’s work, we take our duty seriously. At the platform level, we maintain multiple backups of your content across geographically distributed data centers, automatically submit your site to the Internet Archive if it’s public, and will provide an optional locked mode.
- Enhanced Ownership Protocols: Navigate life’s milestones with ease. Whether you’re gifting a site to a newborn or facilitating a smooth transfer of ownership, we’re here to assist every step of the way.
- Top-Tier Managed WordPress Hosting: The very best managed WordPress experience with unmetered bandwidth, best-in-class speed, and unstoppable security bundled in one convenient package.
- Premier Support: The WordPress.com 100-Year Plan includes our highest level of support from WordPress experts that we call Happiness Engineers.
Anyone willing to shell out almost $40k will get a domain name, WordPress.com hosting, backups, support, and ease of transferring the whole account to someone else for 100 years. If you were to break down the cost over 100 years, you are looking at $380 a year or around $32 a month. Of course, people do not have the option to pay yearly or monthly. They have to pay the $38k up front.
The Logistical Challenges of the 100-Year Plan
Here is where things get a bit murky. How can WordPress guarantee they will still be relevant or in business in 100 years? If WordPress goes out of business, subscribers of the 100-Year Plan would be out of luck and out of a good chunk of change. Even the domain name would become useless after its first 10-year registration unless the user manually renewed it themselves, paying the fees to do so on top of the money they originally paid WordPress for upkeep. That is, of course, if they can get the domain transferred to their registrar before WordPress goes under.
WordPress is in the business of getting customers to use their proprietary-hosted version of WordPress and to lock them in for as long as possible. Offering a lifetime domain registration sounds like a great idea on the surface, but the realities of business and technology show it for what it is. Flashy marketing.