Free Plus Pro = More Focus on Portmaster
We are changing the name of Portmaster Supporter to Portmaster Plus. This comes with many new features and more focus on Portmaster Desktop.
To be very clear: All features in the free version stay the same and nothing previously free is moved behind a paywall. We continue to fight for better and easier privacy for everyone.
The features we added to Portmaster Plus are cool nice to haves such as the Network History. You can read more about that in the Portmaster v1.3 release post.
We believe privacy is super important, therefore all privacy features are included in the free tier.
We start this new plan with the Network History, but more is already on the way! We have been working on a lot of features in the last months. You might have seen that we have been releasing v1.1 and v1.2 in the last couple weeks. The Plus Plan is meant for people who are curious about what is going on on their devices. New features will focus on increasing the information you have about connections to empower you to make better decisions.
Portmaster Pro is basically the same as Portmaster Unlimited, the name is just shorter and we wanted to make it a bit clearer through the names who we consider this plan for. Basically, the idea is that Portmaster Free is for everyone who wants to improve their privacy, Plus is the first step up, and Pro is for everyone who needs extended privacy protection.
I learned over the last years that not understanding what the SPN brings to the table results in a bad user experience, which I don’t wish anyone. But we can’t make it more clearer, that SPN is not a VPN nor is it Tor - I still get emails every week asking me why we are not like a VPN or if we are using TOR and why we charge money for it. It’s super cool to have so many people who understand the value of SPN and help us to develop it further and increase the functionality. In the meantime, I believe having less people mistake it for something it isn’t, is better for the SPN in the long run.
I have to admit we have been a bit optimistic in regards to how many people will just use Portmaster Supporter for the value Portmaster is delivering for free. Unfortunately, we underestimated the required effort to sustain Portmaster Free. While the free users are growing, basically no one signs up for Portmaster Supporter. We love our Portmaster Unlimited/Pro customers and they are the reason we have been able to come this far, and we do understand that not everyone can afford the 9.90€ per month. So, we thought about what can we offer in between - simply reducing the price was not an option due to server costs - and decided to create Portmaster Plus, where we can offer features that are not needed for privacy directly, but improve the experience. Most of them have been requested by a lot of users, and even though I understand that they would have liked them for free, we need to pay the development and maintenance as well, so we opted to create Portmaster Plus and put the features in there.
I believe that this change should have come earlier, and as mentioned above, we were too optimistic, and as a result the team behind Safing shrunk over the last months. At the moment, Safing is back to only 3 very dedicated people. This is okay for the moment, but it isn’t exciting in regards to developing new features and getting onto new platforms - Mac, iOS, and, of course, finishing the Android app. In addition, David - one of our Co-Founders - left Safing this year, which did have an impact on the roadmap as well.
This focus on Portmaster and enabling Portmaster to pay for itself seems so obvious now. It was always awkward to ask people who enjoy Portmaster to use SPN. Because, they might have a VPN and are happy with it. We still see VPNs as a bad option for privacy, but I believe that you have to know what fits your situation best (ie. threat model), and SPN does not fit everyone - we get that.
With Portmaster Plus, you can support the software you love directly and get some great features in return. In the future, I would love to see two development teams, one for Portmaster and one for SPN, both being directly supported by their respective customers!
August 8, 2023 • Written by Raphael