Goodbye P6 and the Future of ProPhoto

[NOTE: This post was originally published on December 16, 2020. Due to a variety of questions and comments made on the post, we have updated the post to try and address this feedback.]

Suffice it to say, we are coming to the end of what will likely be one of the craziest years of our lifetimes. Our hearts go out to all of you that have suffered, both personally and professionally, in 2020.

This year has been a wild ride for us as well, but we are excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us and so we really wanted to share where ProPhoto is headed and how we hope to serve you and your business even better in the years to come.

So Long ProPhoto 6…

ProPhoto 6 was publicly released in May of 2016 and was probably the most challenging update for our company to develop as we moved into creating a fully responsive, fully customizable theme. We know it was a difficult transition for many users, and not favorable to some. However, it really helped pave the way for ProPhoto 7 and what is yet to come.

We released an update for ProPhoto 6 (the week of December 14, 2020) to ensure compatibility with WordPress 5.6. But, effective March 31, 2021, development and customer support will be ending for ProPhoto 6. You are free to continue using ProPhoto 6 after support ends, just be aware that we will no longer be actively updating ProPhoto 6, or answering any technical questions about it.

Does this mean ProPhoto 6 will stop working after support ends?

No, not at all. In fact, ProPhoto 6 may continue to work for a good while after support ends. (For example, there are plenty of users of older ProPhoto versions that have continued to use them for many years beyond the end of support. Which is part of the reason our pricing model is no longer viable 🙂 , more on that below.)

Just be aware that ProPhoto 6 is not compatible with PHP 7.4 or beyond. As such, if your webhost updates your server to PHP 7.4, and provides no option to revert back to an older PHP version, your site will not work. However, if your host offers PHP version 7.3 or older, your ProPhoto 6 site will work just fine. As of the date of this post, most standard webhosts have been and are still offering older versions of PHP.

What if I’m on ProPhoto 5 or older?

You must like to live your life on the edge 😉 If you’re on P5 or older, your version of ProPhoto hasn’t been supported for a good while now. Hey, we get it, not everyone wants to update all the time. You might be playing with fire though and if things stop working, sorry, we can’t help.

What’s next? Hosted ProPhoto!

The reason support is ending for ProPhoto 6 is that we are now focusing all efforts on the future of ProPhoto, hosted ProPhoto sites! After 12+ years of developing and supporting ProPhoto to work on just about every webhost that exists, we decided it was time that our customers deserved better. Are there some good hosts out there? Absolutely. However, the vast majority of our customers continue to suffer from underperforming sites and not getting quality support when they need it most.

So we’ve chosen to take our experience and create a hosted, all-in-one solution that gives customers what they deserve. Super-fast dedicated servers dialed in specifically for WordPress and ProPhoto? Check. The fully-customizable, totally-flexible ProPhoto theme, with free updates for life? Check. Our best-in-class support team here to help you with every aspect of your website? Check!

To say we’re excited about hosted ProPhoto would be a major understatement. We’ve always strived to provide the best product and support that we can to our customers. With hosted ProPhoto, we can serve you and your business even better! No more middle man…ProPhoto is now your entire website 🙂 Get all the details on our hosted ProPhoto sites landing page.

Why is ProPhoto switching to this hosted subscription model now?

The main reason for this change is that our prior pricing model (one-time fee) is just no longer sustainable for our business. For years we have incurred great costs trying to develop and support ProPhoto to work on a countless number of web hosts. Couple this with more and more customers not upgrading their ProPhoto software and choosing to run on old versions and the model just doesn’t work.

What about the pricing? Why it is higher than my current hosting?

We realize that at first glance, the pricing ($39/month full price) may seem high when compared to normal webhosting. However, it’s important to note that this subscription isn’t just hosting, but includes:

  • Optimized, fully dedicated WordPress/ProPhoto hosting for a well-performing site. This isn’t basic Managed WordPress Hosting, but top-end hosting that would generally cost a minimum of $20-$30/month elsewhere.
  • Items like SSL, backup, security, etc. which many other hosts charge extra for.
  • The ProPhoto theme, with continuous updates.
  • Our support to help you with all aspects of your site (hosting, WordPress, ProPhoto, etc.).

For folks that want a great performing site that they don’t have to worry about, we think it provides a lot of value. Cheap hosting generally means underperforming sites, paid add-ons, no theme and “less than adequate” support.

Will my existing design still work on hosted ProPhoto?

Absolutely! All ProPhoto 6 and ProPhoto 7 designs will import over and work just fine on hosted ProPhoto.

What new features will be coming to hosted ProPhoto first?

Site speed and optimization is our first priority for hosted ProPhoto. While WordPress and ProPhoto are already faster out of the box on our hosted platform, our development team is hard at work to make hosted ProPhoto sites even faster. Making sure that your site is well optimized for today’s standards is our top priority. Folks on our hosted platform will be getting these and all future updates as they are released.

What if I don’t want to use your hosted option? Will there be a self-hosted ProPhoto product going forward?

Truthfully, we don’t yet know the answer to that question. We realize there are a number of customers who are still happy with their host and/or don’t want to make a hosting change. As such, we have been discussing and considering the possibility of offering a self-hosted ProPhoto subscription license in the future. If possible, we would like to make this happen.

However, there are some important questions to be answered. The primary one being, what should/would support look like for a self-hosted ProPhoto option look like? We will continue exploring the possibility of a self-hosted option, but for the immediate future, our efforts are focused on our hosted sites solution.

We will likely know whether a self-hosted option will be possible in the first half of 2021.

So what about ProPhoto 7?

ProPhoto 7, our first version to offer the Visual Builder, has been many of our users’ favorite release yet. It is a feature rich, rock solid theme that we are still actively supporting and updating. Just be aware that ProPhoto 7 will not be receiving any new features. Instead, all new features that we are developing will be going to those on our hosted ProPhoto platform.

We are still selling ProPhoto 7 for those that are not yet ready or able to switch to our hosted platform, and we will continue to do so for a while. We do not yet have a date when we will stop offering ProPhoto 7, but it will also likely be sometime in the first half of 2021.

How’s ProPhoto 7 support going to work then?

Don’t worry, if you purchase ProPhoto 7 now, it will still be fully supported by us for one year after the date we stop selling ProPhoto, whenever that is. So for example, if we happen to stop selling ProPhoto 7 on April 1, 2020, you would still get support for ProPhoto 7 until April 1, 2021. Again, we do not yet know what that date will be, but realistically, ProPhoto 7 will still be supported at a minimum for the next 15-18 months.

Will ProPhoto 7 stop working once support ends?

No, ProPhoto 7 will likely continue to work just fine for a good long while after support ends. (Again, we have lots of customers on old ProPhoto versions who are using them many years after support has ended.) When support ends, it only means we will stop actively developing and providing technical support.

Should I buy ProPhoto 7, or switch to hosted ProPhoto instead?

That is totally up to you 🙂 Again, ProPhoto 7 is a great theme that is fully supported. However, it isn’t going to be receiving any new features and we won’t be supporting it forever. If you’d like to make the change in the future, but right now isn’t a good time for you, ProPhoto 7 may be a nice stop gap until you can switch.

Otherwise, hosted ProPhoto is really the best option for most folks. It ensures your site is running smoothly, is always up to date and is fully supported by us. Which ensures a better experience for you and your business!

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