WPtouch Pro is a plugin by BraveNewCode, and is the big brother of the free WPtouch plugin.
The whole idea of this plugin is to enable you to easily create a mobile experience for your website’s users.
There are currently two options for mobile themes. The first is to have a responsive theme, which automatically adapts to the screen size it is being viewed upon. While this can be a great option for blogs with a straightforward design, many times it is unpractical for larger sites as it will slow down the sites (need to download all desktop content) and also make it very complex for the designer/developer to change things around depending on the device. There’s also the issue of excessive scrolling/too much content.
With a server side solution like WPtouch Pro you can offer a more streamlined solution that can create a specific mobile experience while maintaining optimal performance on any device.
The average size of a webpage is almost 1.5MB, and this is likely to continue rising every year. Responsive design usually adds a bit more kb in order to load the extra code and media for each device, making it more resource intensive on mobile devices.
In contrast, server-side solutions like WPtouch Pro leverage the benefits of detecting mobile device types like phones and tablets in order to deliver a fast and dependable mobile-optimized web experience.
If you’d like to know why a server side solution can be better than a responsive theme, be sure to click on the banner below:
If you already know that you want a server-side solution and are interested in WPtouch Pro, read on as we examine the features of this plugin.
There are way many features to list here, but let’s take a brief look at how WPtouch Pro works.
First of all, if you are already using WPtouch, you should know that the Pro version, which we are reviewing today, is a completely different beast that gives you the real power to take things further. With the Pro version, you get:
- Full customisation options
- Custom post type support
- iPad support
- Multi-level navigation menus
- Threaded comments, inline replies
- Custom ads
- and more…
All these features are, in my opinion, essential for a proper mobile theme conversion, and I therefore urge you to upgrade to the Pro version. The free version is great to give you a taste of what WPtouch Pro can do, and to get you accustomed to how this plugin works.
WPtouch Pro gives you the ability to generate an iPad and smartphone version of your theme. There is a default theme included, which is the one shown above. However, you can create your own themes or child themes in much the same way as you would create your own theme with WordPress itself. Below I have included some examples of custom teams within WPtouch Pro.
You can do whatever you want when it comes to theming and customisation. This is an important point because many people are fooled into thinking that WPtouch Pro powered websites all look the same on mobile devices. It is probably true that many of those who purchase WPtouch Pro just activate the default theme and leave it at that. It’s a very good theme and works perfectly, so if they don’t have the necessary skills or time to customise further, it at least ensures a mobile-friendly display of their site in just a few minutes of set up time.
So yes, many of the WPtouch Pro powered websites look the same, but only because their owners haven’t created a custom theme yet. This can be compared to saying that all WordPress websites look the same. Yes, many people just use the TwentyTwelve theme that ships with WordPress, but many more come up with a totally custom design that has nothing WordPressy about it.
WPtouch Pro iPad features are another biggie. WPtouch Pro on iPad takes its cues from standard iPad user interfaces— so your visitors will instantly know how to navigate your website. WPtouch Pro uses iPad-native touch and scrolling gestures that are simply incredible to use. Unlike anything else, visitors will be amazed at the application-like experience it delivers. Buttons, controls, and links all respond with zero latency, because WPtouch Pro on iPad detects and takes advantage of touch interaction directly. iPad support is something optional, so you turn it on if you want to, but it’s certainly very useful, especially if your site’s theme is not responsive at all.
Here are some examples of sites that are using WPtouch Pro, as you can notice, you are completely free to customise the mobile templates as you wish, thus creating a custom theme that is especially tailored for each screen size the site is accessed from.
WPtouch Pro comes with comprehensive online documentation which can be accessed on BraveNewCode’s website by logging in. With the developer version of the plugin you also get access to the developer docs and function reference.
They also have a forum where you can receive quick answers to your questions, as well as read through the vast knowledge base that has already been built up. Chances are that someone else has already asked your question and you will find it answered, so you can find what you need very quickly with the WPtouch Pro forum support solution.
After using WPtouch Pro for a while, you will come to the realisation that the guys at BraveNewCode are really passionate about mobile solutions, and they also take an interest in their customers.
This is evident when you see initiatives like WPtouch Pro Tips Central, where WPtouch Pro users can submit their site for review by the WPtouch Pro team. The team will analyse how the site owner is using WPtouch Pro and suggest improvements that can be implemented. Since WPtouch Pro is a very powerful plugin and only your imagination is the limit when it comes to customisation, such reviews help users get the most out of their purchase. It’s a very innovative initiative and I hope many other plugin authors can follow suit on this one.
WPtouch comes in three flavours, excluding the free version, which you can easily download from the WordPress plugin repository.
- Pro Single ($49)
- Pro 5 Pack ($99)
- Pro Developer ($199)
As you’ve probably already deduced, the $49 version is good for one site, while the 5 Pack lets you use the plugin on up to 5 different WordPress installations. The Developer version can be used on as many sites as you want, and is ideal for agencies or web developers who offer mobile conversion as one of their services.
All licenses Include:
- One-time fee, not annual
- 7-day refund guarantee
- Basic product support in our forums
- Free upgrades through all 2.x point releases (2.1, 2.2, 2.3 etc)
- Access to knowledge base & basic docs
- Download anytime, or download previous versions
Unlimited / Developer Licenses Also Include:
- Priority support
- Custom theming support
- Developer documentation
- Function reference
- Design assets and resources
Since BraveNewCode is a Canadian company, the prices are in Canadian dollars, which are pretty much equivalent to US dollars at the moment.
I find the pricing of this plugin to be very affordable. Considering that you are getting a complete mobile experience just by installing and setting up this plugin, $49 is a low price to pay. The benefits for your readers will justify the price.
The developer option is also great if you’re a WordPress developer. You can easily offer static theme to mobile theme conversion services to your clients and have WPtouch pro repay itself many times over.
Building a responsive theme may not always be the best solution for your site, and that’s where WPtouch Pro comes in. Nothing else beats WPtouch pro when it comes to sophistication and the sheer speed at which you can produce a mobile version of your site.
WPtouch is no new kid on the block, having been a constant leader in the mobile plugin market for the last two years since its launch. The free version has been downloaded close to a staggering 4,000,000 times, making it one of the most popular plugins of all time. This gives you an idea of how well regarded WPtouch is within the WordPress community. I highly recommend WPtouch Pro for building mobile websites with WordPress.
Do you use WPtouch Pro already? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience. If you’re thinking about purchasing WPtouch Pro but have some doubts, be sure to let us know and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to subscribe to WP Mayor’s RSS feed.