On This Page:
- Matters Escalate for CBD Merchants
- Does This Affect All WordPress Websites?
- Avoid WordPress Shutting Down Your CBD Store
- What Is A Self-Hosted WordPress Installation?
- A Potential Cause of The CBD Exodus
- How to Move My CBD Website to A Self-Hosted Server?
- Moving Forward With A CBD Merchant Account
As CBD merchant’s have experienced in the past, closure of their merchant accounts are not uncommon. Because of the complications with Federal laws, many banks will not touch CBD accounts with a 10 foot pole. This forced merchants to use generic payment processing solutions like Stripe, Square, PayPal and Shopify Payments or to seek offshore and less-than-legitimate solutions.
Of these available options, all of them eventually terminate their merchant accounts for entrepreneurial CBD merchants, leaving them high and dry. Some businesses were crippled to the point of closing up shop while some just lost all of the money in their accounts.
Needless to say, it is not advised to use generic, “one-click-approval” payment processing platforms. Nor is utilizing a shady offshore account. Thanks to new solutions in the industry, there are now legitimate CBD merchant accounts from US banks available.
Matters Escalate for CBD Merchants
In many ways, the struggle for many CBD merchant’s has been eased for payment processing because of the availability of stable solutions. However, WordPress has just raised the stakes. Such as the case with Shopify not too long ago, sellers of CBD products are at risk of losing their accounts. WordPress’ actions do vary from the Shopify incident in several ways.
Both Shopify and WordPress are very popular CMS platforms (Content Management System), especially in the booming CBD eCommerce space. Leap Payments estimates roughly 72% of their, nearly 3000, CBD merchants have chosen to build their websites on either WordPress or Shopify. With such a wide spread use of these website platforms, you can imagine the real world impacts it has on CBD businesses.
When Shopify was closing accounts on CBD merchants, they were not necessarily attempting to shut down the website itself. The angle that Shopify was going after CBD sellers for was the credit card processing portion. Many merchants received notices of closure of their merchant accounts because they were using Shopify Payments. Shopify was not attempting to kick CBD merchant off their website platform completely.
Rather, they were cracking down on their policy against CBD credit card processing. Oddly enough, Shopify, as a content management platform, has absolutely no quarrels with CBD merchants or their products.
Unlike Shopify, this new WordPress development has escalated to a new level. Instead of just closing CBD merchants’ credit card processing accounts, WordPress is telling merchants that their websites will be completely taken offline.
If you are flagged by WordPress.com for CBD products, they will send you a warning email before closing your account. The email from WordPress is not berating but it was, most certainly, final in it’s tone. The excerpt is as follows:
Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, the production and sale of hemp remains highly regulated. At this time, we do not permit sale of CBD oil […] As such, your site will be permanently suspended if CBD substances continue to be made available for direct purchase through your site. If you’d like to proceed with this type of store, you might consider a self-hosted WordPress installation.
That is to say; you cannot operate an ecommerce CBD shop on WordPress.com under any circumstance.
Does This Affect All WordPress Websites?
As of now, this is only an issue for users with CBD websites on the WordPress.com hosting. If your CBD shop uses the open-source, WordPress.org, you are not at risk of closure. Leap Payments is dedicated to keeping an eye on this situation as the CBD industry grows and certain platforms take their stance on how they view it.
Although, it should be noted that using a generic credit card processing solution (not specifically for CBD merchants) like Stripe, PayPal or Square still puts you at risk of losing your payment processing account at any time. It is always best to utilize a CBD merchant account from a reputable payment processor.
Avoid WordPress Shutting Down Your Website
If you are like one of the thousands of merchants currently in this situation, don’t panic. All is not lost. Because WordPress is not on a vendetta against the CBD industry as a whole, there is a way to save your website and all the hard work you put into it.
The solutions, as outlined in their email, involves moving your current, WordPress.com website to a self-hosted WordPress installation. There is a pretty substantial difference between the two, and it can actually give us some fairly good hints as to why this has all unfolded.
You May Also Like: High Risk Merchant Account: The Ultimate Guide For An Approval
What Is A Self-Hosted WordPress Installation?
Not all WordPress websites are the same. WordPress.com is a fully integrated hosting service. This means that besides just providing you with a WordPress content management platform, they also host the site on one of their servers. Think of it as a closed loop system. It’s quick and easy, but can also be very limiting. On the other hand, a self-hosted WordPress installation is installed and hosted on a server not owned by WordPress.com.
The term “self-hosted” might be a little misleading, but rest assured, you do not have to set up and run your own server out of your basement! You can use nearly any hosting provider (GoDaddy, Bluehost, WPEngine, HostGator, etc.) to run your website on.
Using a dedicated, self-hosted server has a lot of other benefits. Website load speeds will often be faster when you’re not on a shared hosting server that has potentially 100’s of other websites all sharing computing power and bandwidth. You will have a much bigger pool of addons and plugins to use. You can also have multiple websites on the same server.
A Potential Cause of The CBD Exodus
It appears that all of this has come about because of the payment processing options on WordPress.com. Unlike a self-hosted WordPress installation, there are only two choices for accepting credit card payments on your website. These processors are not in support of CBD and will shut down merchant accounts without hesitation. The next logical conclusion would be that since these payment providers are baked directly into WordPress.com, they are putting pressure on WordPress to run off the CBD merchants on their servers.
This is just speculation. I do not work for WordPress nor have I spoken to any of their representatives to confirm this claim. In the end, the cause it not important, the result of CBD merchants losing their websites is.
Okay, but how do you actually save your website and CBD business? Don’t worry, we have you covered.
How to Move My WordPress Site to A Self-Hosted Server?
Step 1: Finding a WordPress Hosting Provider
First, you will need to find a new hosting provider to install a self-hosted, WordPress.org installation on. WordPress.com is your current host, but when you move over to self-hosted you’ll need to purchase a hosting server with a different provider.
Hosting providers include; SiteGrounds, InMotion, GoDaddy & WPEngine, etc. These are just examples so feel free to look around to find something that fits your needs best. *Note: Certain hosting providers will not support CBD website sales on their server in any capacity. Always check with your hosting provider before beginning your website projects. BlueHost & HostGator have explicitly informed customers that they do not support CBD merchants*
Step 2.a: Install WordPress.org For Your CBD Website
Now that you have chosen a new provider, it’s time to install WordPress.org on it. Your host provider may have a simple, one-click installer for WordPress already built into your server options.
Step 2.b: Manual WordPress Installation Process
If this option is not available for you, you can download and install it directly by visiting WordPress.org. For manual installation instructions, see the next step.
You will only need to follow these steps if your hosting provider does not include a simple one-click installer built-in.
- Download the WordPress package from WordPress.org.
- Unzip the WordPress package that you just downloaded.
- Create a WordPress database on your hosting server.
- Create a MySQL user and give it all privileges modifying the MySQL.
- Upload all of the WordPress files to your hosting server’s root directory or a subdirector.
- Access the URL that you uploaded the WordPress files to. This will run the WordPress installation script. (https://example.com/)
That’s it, you should now have a nice, clean copy of WordPress on your host server.
We Also Offer High Risk Merchant Accounts
Merchant services for businesses deemed “too risky” to offer services to. We approve industries that get declined and closed by other providers. With over 15 partnering banks, we have made it our goal to become experts in your industry and find suitable and sustainable sources for your business to process. To learn more about our high risk credit card processing, review our in-depth page here: high risk merchant account, or give us a call at (800) 993-6300.
Step 3: Pick A New Theme or Download Your Current One
With WordPress properly up and running, you can now move onto your theme. Themes and widgets will not transfer over from your current website, so you will need to set up a new one.
- If you want to find a new theme for your website, you can look on WordPress.org’s own theme directory or ThemeForest.net.
- If you like the theme you have now, it could be available to use on this new site as well. First, find the theme you are currently using by visiting your current website and clicking the Get Theme link. Now that you’re on your theme’s page, select the overview tab and select the download button.
- Lastely, you need to setup any widgets that you may need. To learn more about widgets, visit WordPress.org.
Step 4: Moving Your CBD Products and Content To The New Site
Now that your new site is set up with it’s theme, it’s time for the big move. It sounds difficult, but WordPress has made it incredibly easy to do.
- From your WordPress.com back-end, go to My Site then Settings.
- Under Site Tools, select Export.
- This will download an XML file with all of your websites awesome content.
- Next, go into the back-end of you self-hosted WordPress website.
- Navigate to Tools, then Import, then WordPress (it will install the plugin if it is not already installed).
- We want to choose a file from your computer, so click Choose File.
- Click Upload file and import.
- Select the Download & import file attachments option.
And, that’s it! You should see all of your content available on your new CBD WordPress site.
Moving Your Business Forward With A CBD Merchant Account
Now that you’ve secured your website and are not at risk of losing all your hard work, getting a CBD merchant account should be next on your list. Your self-hosted WordPress website is not in danger of being closed, but having your payment processing terminated is still a real threat.
Generic payment processing solutions like Stripe, Square, PayPal, etc. do not support CBD merchants and will shut down your account, freezing any money that might be in there at the time. It is not a fun experience. Here at Leap Payments, we set out to provide CBD merchant accounts that are not at risk of this happening. We have a domestic bank in the US that fully supports the CBD industry and does not treat merchants like they are “high risk”.
Since starting to offer our services to the CBD world, we have had thousands of CBD merchants sign up and begin processing. The application process is easy and accounts are approved in 24 hours. If you’re serious about taking your CBD business to the next level, give us a try.
FYI, BlueHost and GatorHost (sister company) do NOT allow CBD pages on their platform. I know, they just told me to leave! Our pages hosted there pushed back to Shopify checkout… Totally ridiculous how slow the wheels are moving for all business to get comfortable with CBD which is, a miracle plant that helps so many people, me being one of them!
Thank you for your insight into this. We have also confirmed on our end that at the time of this reply, both BlueHost and HostGator are not supporting merchants with websites selling CBD in any form.
They have confirmed that it does not matter which CMS or hosting service you use with them, if your site is on their servers, they will terminate it immediately.
We have updated our list of providers to reflect this!