Pro’s & Con’s of Using The Jetpack Plugin for WordPress

I’ve already written a dozen posts about Jetpack.

So i do like this plugin and give credit to the people behind it who continue to make it better.

It’s been developed by the company behind WordPress, Automattic and its free.

Well, there’s no such thing as free is there?

There’s been plenty of constructive debate about Jetpack mainly involving WordPress Developers & Consultants which also include lengthy answers from the founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg.

Lets take a look at whats been discussed that may effect your decision to either install or not install Jetpack.

Individual Modules

Jetpack contains a modules folder which includes several of the individual plugins within Jetpack.

You can actually install these Jetpack modules as individual plugins and activate them for use.

Until recently, they where being updated on an individual basis.

That’s not the case anymore.

Jetpack by WordPress.comMost of the modules (like Stats) that were once available in a standalone format are no longer being updated separately. New modules (like Jetpack Comments and Carousel) are only available in Jetpack.

Connecting to WordPress.com

There’s no way to use Jetpack without connecting to a WordPress.com account.

What does this mean?

It means that Automattic (WordPress) control your use of the plugin.

They also have the right to offer commercial services which they already advertise when you use Jetpack subscriptions.

There’s been many discussions about Jetpack, in particular, on connecting to WordPress.com which you may be interested in reading before you decide to use Jetpack.

Jetpack could get some major feel good points by letting me use it without a .com connection for all the things that don’t need a .com connection.

Subscriptions

No one knows WordPress better than Automattic which is why thier subscription module is so good.

Well, its great as far as formatting your posts into a nice email newsletter.

Another benefit to your subscribers is the fact they can change delivery frequency from daily to weekly or vise versa.

This service is fairly new meaning there’s not much flexibility and little control at the moment.

You can’t:

  • Import or Export Subscribers

Question about Jetpack SubscribersThere’s no option to download the subscriber/follower list of emails? If the admin can’t add, delete, etc., then the list really isn’t his, right?

 

Answer to Jetpack Subscribers QuestionCorrect. What you see on the follower list is what you get. There is no admin UI nor any ability to import or export this list. Source: Read more about this discussion here.

 

I doubt Automattic will ever allow the import of subscribers to this service unless it becomes a paid service like Aweber or MailChimp.

They should, at some stage, allow the export of email subscribers who have signed up at your website.

Shortlinks

I have to warn you, be careful using link shortening services for tracking.

The reason for this is that the service controls your links because its not hosted on a server you have access to or control over.

Always use your own program hosted on a server you control for this purpose otherwise you can pay dearly.

I noticed using the Sharing service (Sharedaddy) as  a standalone plugin, that it doesn’t shorten links when not connected to a WordPress.con account which you can read more about in the next section of this post.

Sharing

Sharedaddy which is included within Jetpack is a great social plugin.

Be aware that it shortens your links using the script hosted on WordPress.coms servers.

Basically, you have passed control of your social sharing links to WordPress.

Unless you use Sharedaddy as a stand alone plugin which means your sharing links won’t be automatically shortened.

Here’s an example:

Example of Jetpack Sharing Shortlink Title Cutoff

This can result in your post titles being cut off meaning you’ll need to add them again as well as add a link using your own shortening solution.

All this makes sharing less attractive and more time consuming unless you use Jetpack connected to WordPress.com

Comments

When you install Jetpack and activate comments, you might find you’re custom setup for comments doesn’t work anymore as Jetpack takes over and displays the comments form.

You can deactivate Jetpack comments but its another problem that could be solved by offering all the individual features of Jetpack as individual plugins.

The comments module has also added social login buttons which is a great idea.

When you comment on a blog using this module, you’re website url generally links back to the WordPress.com account you need to connect to Jetpack rather than your self hosted domain.

Solutions

What i’ve done is use 3 individual plugins from within Jetpack.

This way i don’t need to connect to the WordPress.com servers for several of the reasons mentioned already.

The only problem is, they’ll need to be updated manually and aren’t supported by Automattic anymore which could be a problem down the track if the coding of the individual plugins changes.

The result of this may mean the modules no longer work on an individual basis.

Conclusion

It seems Jetpack will be included within new installations of WordPress offered by many of  the big web hosting providers who also offer one click installation.

The WordPress dashboard on self hosted installations seems to be main focus for Automattic in respect of offering commercial services through their Jetpack plugin.

I don’t think anyone really begrudges Automattic using Jetpack for commercial purposes however they should continue to support the great plugins which are now included within Jetpack, as stand alone plugins.

Thanks to Matt Mullenweg and everyone else for spending so much time and effort on commenting & replying to comments on this subject on several of the blogs about WordPress. Its all good folks!

How About You

What are your likes and dislikes about where Jetpack is headed and the current situation?

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m equally a fan of Jetpack. While I don’t necessarily like that it requires an account on wordpress.com, it does provide a lot of value. It helps preserve server resources as well, since I don’t have to run all of the functions on my site — such as subscriptions.

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