Custom CSS Grandfathered… or Overlooked?

For years, I’ve used two of the paid upgrades offered at domain mapping and custom CSS. Domain mapping is the reason this is, as well as Custom CSS is the reason you see the date under the post title in small type, rather than large type, and the reason that the category names in the sidebar aren’t separated from each other by lines.

Those two upgrades came up fore renewal a few days ago. I renewed domain mapping, but not custom CSS. The main reason I didn’t renew custom CSS is that it no longer exists. It is part of the custom design upgrade, which also includes custom fonts, and is twice the price that custom CSS used to be.

I regret the passing of custom CSS, but there are a couple of reasons why the regret isn’t strong. One is that I understand that Automattic, the people behind, seem to be moving toward a simpler and more profitable menu of upgrades. The other is that my custom CSS is still in effect as of now. Perhaps it’ll stay in place as long as I don’t try to make further CSS changes. If so, I’m not sure whether that is by accident or design. Either way, I’ll take it for as long as it lasts, but may seek another (clean) theme if it goes away. Custom Design: A Logical Price Rise? has long provided a Custom CSS upgrade. I’ve been using Custom CSS here at ever since the blog has lived at and used the Simpla theme.

Custom CSS is now part of the Custom Design upgrade. Custom Design costs $30 per blog per year, twice what Custom CSS used to cost. So what else does the extra $15 buy? Well, you get more help with CSS from now. Back in the Custom CSS days, you paid to be able to edit CSS, and was explicit that it didn’t provide support to you in getting the CSS right.

But the main difference between Custom Design and Custom CSS is: Custom Fonts. In fact:

  • Custom Design = Custom CSS + Custom Fonts + Support.

Custom Fonts refers to the use of Typekit. CSS and Typekit go logically together, as I noted when I first tried Typekit. That was two years ago, before Typekit became available at It would have made sense to me had Typekit been available as part of Custom CSS. After all, CSS allows you to specify fonts (among many other things), while Typekit lengthens the list of fonts you can use.

Instead, when first made Typekit available, it opened the Typekit door to all users, at no charge, while providing minimal support. I played around with Typekit at this blog, used it elsewhere, and responded to some questions about Typekit in the forums. But currently uses CSS, rather than Typekit, to specify fonts. announced the Custom Design upgrade earlier this year. To recap, this means that for $30 per blog per year, you can get the combination of Custom CSS and Custom Fonts, with support for both. The combination is a logical one and, at less than $1 a week, seems reasonably priced – to, and probably to many of its bloggers.

But, to other bloggers, the bundling of CSS and Fonts into a single $30 package represents an unwelcome change. One blogger recently complained in the forums that he cannot use Typekit for free anymore (but follow the link to the thread for a way in which bloggers already using Typekit can continue to use it at no charge).

To me, Custom Design represents a doubling of the price I pay for using Custom CSS at this blog. I don’t need Typekit, and I don’t need CSS support. The price change is an input into my annual question: should I continue to pay for upgrades, or should I move to another WordPress host?

What are your thoughts on the Custom Design upgrade and its pricing? Upgrades

I have two questions for you. I need to lead up to them…

Shortly after starting this blog at, I chose the Simpla theme, purchased the custom CSS upgrade, and customized the CSS. I also purchased the domain mapping upgrade.

That was almost a year ago. The theme-related posts (to which I linked above) have been steady sources of page views ever since.

My dashboard has started to remind me of the anniversary, and that I need to buy Automattic an anniversary present if want to continue the CSS upgrade for a further year. I’m inclined not to purchase it, since the custom CSS already in place will stay. What you purchase is editable CSS, rather than custom CSS; this was clarified in a support forum topic.

So the first of my questions is: are there any further changes to the CSS for this blog I should make before my upgrade runs out at the end of this month? In other words, CSS geeks, is there anything else I should change?

The second of my two questions is: why isn’t the dashboard reminding me of the fact that my domain mapping upgrade is about to run out? It expires at the same time as my CSS upgrade. It may be something to do with the fact that I buy the mapping, and not the domain itself, from Automattic.