Upcoming apps and add-ons

As we know, soon (“soon” being an abstract term) we will be blessed with new versions of website building apps (RW Elements and StacksPro) and—undoubtedly—we’ll be flooded with new add-ons complementing those apps soon after.

I have been encouraged by one of the major add-on developers to put this question on the forum:

What's your preferred way of paying for add-ons?

  1. One-time payment for unlimited websites;
  2. One-time payment for 1-website-license (with discount for additional licenses);
  3. Time-based subscription;
  4. Some other form of payment.

Of course, all of these alternatives imply inclusion of developer’s support.

These alternatives are only reflecting our views as customers. Developers are, of course, free to draw their own conclusions and make their own pricing decisions.

BTW, personally, I am always preferring one-off perpetual license.

Yes, me too. I always prefer a one-off perpetual license. All other options seem like various ways to rip off people.


One-off payment. Enough with the f**king subscriptions, already!


One-off perpetual license.
With at least a two plus year upgrade cycle and solid discount for future upgrades.

I have no issues with some products pay-per-domain pricing.

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One-off payment also for me.

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I am not sure that we will be flooded. There are already almost 650 stacks available. All of those will continue to work in Stacks Pro. The flow of new stacks may increase a little but not all that much compared to a few years ago. Over time, I hope that we do get a influx of new developers to help make even more awesome stuff.

It should be obvious what every response to this question will be… One time payment for unlimited websites.

Now let me jump into the lion’s den. I am always open for a nice lively chat… I plan flying off the cuff a little here. I will throw ideas out there, and it will be interesting to see your feedback. I currently have no plans on changing my pricing models anytime soon.

Please keep an open mind. Consider the situation from both your point of view and the developer’s. We have a good ecosystem here and there needs to be balance.

I do not think that all stacks can fall under a single type of payment scheme. With that said, I feel most stacks should be paid for once with additional costs for major updates.

However, there are 2 types of users… people that make money from building websites and those that do not.

Is it fair for the stack developer to be paid the same by both users?

I infamously released Total CMS as a pay-per-domain product. I still support that decision 100%. If I did not go with this pricing model, I do not think that Total CMS would be alive today (maybe Weaver’s Space wouldn’t be either). I feel for the type of product that Total CMS is, it’s a good pricing model. Now you may know that I am working on the first paid upgrade to Total CMS. I still have not ironed out all the upgrade paths yet. However, the existing version has lasted for 9 years and has received 186 free updates.

Foundation 6 was released almost 5 years ago. In that time, it has received 121 free updates. The product has become multiple times more powerful than when it was first released. If you analyze each update on its own, it would have been hard to justify any sort of upgrade fee. What would have been fair in this situation? I personally like the model that you get free updates for a defined time period. This model is suitable for big products with a proven track record of regular updates and fixes.

I would only use a subscription model for a product if it involved ongoing costs for me. For example, if I had to pay for infrastructure in order for that product to be functional. It is not good business to charge one time for a product when it would cost me money on a monthly basis. I cannot see anyone disagreeing with that sentiment.

I look forward to a friendly discussion. 🙂


Typically it’s got to be 1 and 2, some things should be licensed by domain. Some things should be a 1 time purchase. Some larger things like a CMS should totally be licensed by domain.


Sure. I never wanted to press any developer to change their pricing system. The only purpose of this discussion is to let you guys know our preferences. And, hopefully, get developers’ views, as is the case with your comment.

I do not disagree with your argument.

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Let me add one more thing… Look at other ecosystems that are large and have a ton of 3rd party developers. Most software charges a subscription per website. I am not defending that model. I feel that is very pro-developer. In many aspects our ecosystem is the opposite. As I said before, there needs to be balance.

This is a very valid point and one that is especially important to me, as I am an amateur who mainly develops and maintains only one Family Portal for my extended family. I spend countless hours every month and I do not get paid one cent for my work. If you could come up with some subsystem for pricing your products for customers like myself, that would be a huge advantage!

The flip side argument is that hobbies can be expensive! My hobby is woodworking… I do not make money from it. I buy nice tools because they are better than cheap ones. I find using better quality tools more enjoyable. The price of the tool does not change just because I make no money with it.

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Yes, but nobody says that you have to follow the same pricing system as Home Depot does. You might get more business if you’d had special pricing for hobbyists. Again, I am not trying to persuade you. This is just an option to consider.

Dan G. here

I’ll join @joeworkman in the lion’s den.

Obviously the majority of votes will go to one-off purchase for a perpetual license from the consumer side. It’s just that pricing model doesn’t work that well for devs anymore. It did a long time ago, but times change.

I personally think the issue is with the word subscription. Everybody hates that word, nobody wants one. But I also think there is a right way to do a subscription and a wrong way, at least in terms of software/app purchases.

For example, Adobe’s “subscription” sucks. When it expires, you can’t use their apps. Your forced to renew. This is the wrong way imo.

On the other hand, look at other software/apps’ subscription model. CleanShot X, CodeKit 3, RapidWeaver Classic just to name a few. You are “subscribing” to a set period of app updates (usually 12 months but depends on the developer). After the subscription expires, the app doesn’t break down. You can continue to use it until you feel like renewing (usually when a new update is released). This is the right way imo.

Case in point, I have CleanShot X (excellent app btw). Currently the subscription is expired, but it still works with no limitations. When the devs release their next update, then I will very likely renew my subscription for another term. Mainly because I like supporting devs, but also because I like new features.

I think the above model works well. Just my 2 cents anyway.


I try my best to always look at problems from both sides when I can. We are just having an open conversation about this. I am not taking any sides but trying to keep an open mind.

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I strongly prefer the one-time license model; however, I acknowledge the validity of alternative payment structures and willingly engage with them when they suit my needs. Examples include per-domain charges for services like TCMS and SiteLock, as well as annual subscriptions for updates and support, such as with MachForm. It’s worth noting Adrian’s exceptional offer for additional domains, which stands out to me.

Although I generally avoid subscription models, I am open to them when they offer substantial value. For instance, I see the worth in subscribing to services like Adobe stock photos, Photoshop, Spotify, and Radarscope. This approach underscores my recognition of the developers’ need for compensation for substantial enhancements to their offerings. It is my belief that supporting developers in this way encourages ongoing innovation, benefiting both the creators and users like myself.

Can’t put it any better than that. And I still agree with Joe’s pov.

Changing the wording from “subscription” to “maintenance fee” doesn’t cut it. Shakespeare did write: “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”,but there’s also truth in the words of judge Judy Sheindlin: “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”! It all depends om the terms of the deal.

Like most things, the answer is “it depends”. Some add-ons are absolutely worth a single-domain use. If it is worth it and it allows it to continue getting developed (which allows it to continue being worth it), then I’m happy to pay it. I’ve also bought a zillion stacks out of curiosity that I wouldn’t have if they weren’t a one-time cost.

The ‘pay once, perpetual use’ model has drawbacks too. Sometimes stacks just disappear and become unsupported (or ‘lifetime bundles’ that change their terms or create different categoires you dont get access to).
I’d sure love to have used RapidCart Pro on a few sites in recent years. If they had a per-domain price, maybe it’d still be available/supported.

I think it’s also worth pointing out that, from a practical perspective (for most users), no one in the RW community currently offers an all-in-one solution and many add-ons are dependent on one another. RW needs Stacks and vice versa. Frameworks/addons need Stacks and vice versa. So, the thought of recurring payments of some form (call it a subscription or not) to ensure proper support and development is fine on it’s own but it has to be multiplied for each piece of the equation for the consumer.

The ‘per domain’ pricing might be the answer for single site hobbyists like fapkogi, though I imagine that comes with it’s own administrative headaches.

Anyway, a constant balancing act as Joe says…

This is what I wish I had said before…
All software must provide more value in future when updated & far too many version updates/upgrades are not doing this. Please note, this more of an issue outside the Stacks software world.

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Yea I’d go for option one. No subscriptions. Sub-scribe… scribe is a writer, a subscriber then has to read what you wrote, nobody reads code, & computers are broke. ;)

But for things like SiteLok and Total CMS or something, probably should pay for each domain. Shouldn’t be a problem if you decide to CHANGE your domain like I did last year if you think of a more clever name for it. But yea should be honest and pay up.

If Foundation 6 has updates… I say they ought to be free, product should work 100% out of the box, if it needs updates it’s not the customers fault (not to say it’s really the developers fault either - but just how life works, things break) .

But obviously Foundation 7 wouldn’t be free. Major updates (I’d call them expansions) shouldn’t be free.

It’s always up to the developer if they want to add in new stuff to their already paid for products. I suggest not doing that, then one wouldn’t need to even consider “subscriptions”.

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Well, as much as I hate remaking my site whenever something newer comes out, it is always well worth my while, because new versions usually are better than older ones. But I am also looking for a single payment stuff before I ever even consider buying into a subscription.