Jetpack Search, a plugin that enhances WordPress’ search capabilities, has added a free tier and a three-month free trial to what was previously only available as a paid upgrade. The plugin uses WordPress.com’s infrastructure to provide instant, more relevant search results without reloading the page, with real-time indexing, integration with WooCommerce, spelling correction, and more.
Jetpack Search was launched as a standalone plugin earlier this year but the user base hasn’t grown beyond a couple hundred active installs. The new free tier and free trials enable prospective customers to try out the functionality on their sites before committing to a new annual subscription.
Free users are limited to 5k records (all posts, pages, and other types of content the site indexes) and 500 requests (every time a visitor searches for something on the site) per month. Sites that go over the limits will not be cut off for the first three months.
At 10K records, pricing starts at $8.25/month, billed annually, and includes 10k requests, priority support, and unbranded search. When purchasing, Jetpack estimates the size of the site, but users who are not sure how many records they have can sign onto the free tier to find out.
The previous pricing for Jetpack Search started at $2.50 per month (billed annually) for up to 100 records. The plugin’s support docs explain why Jetpack implemented this major pricing change:
- Many folks were only looking for Search and did not want to also be paying for features they didn’t need.
- Allowing an unlimited number of records felt unfair because it was preventing us from offering lower prices or making improvements. Our operating costs for a site with one million posts are much higher than for a site with one thousand posts, but both sites were paying the same amount. We also wanted to offer users a free option so that they can experience how great Jetpack Search is before making a commitment to buy.
Jetpack assured existing search customers that the new pricing will not yet affect them until their plan renews and Automattic will contact them by email before the pricing changes.
Jetpack Search is built on top of Elasticsearch, and currently uses version 7.16, which is Elastic’s proprietary offering after the company abandoned its open source licensing. As a consequence, Amazon forked Elasticsearch and Kibana at version 7.10 to create the OpenSearch project.
“We built our own solution on top of it. We use Elasticsearch to build Jetpack Search, but we also use a lot of our other systems, especially Jetpack Stats, to provide great search relevancy that you can’t get by just deploying Elasticsearch,” Jetpack Marketing Lead Rob Pugh said.
“We are running both OpenSearch and Elasticsearch for different services but Jetpack Search is on ES. We’ll continue to consider both in the future.”