Envato has closed down all efforts at hosting WordPress websites, it appears. They've removed the option to buy hosting when you buy a WordPress theme, and Ben Welch-Bolen, the co-founder of Pressed — which they acquired — no longer works there.
I don't know the specifics of how they went about this decision, but I have reached out to Envato for comment, which I haven't yet received. It is disappointing to me as I thought this would be a positive new angle for their business.
At Publish last year, I discussed four major gateways for new website creation experiences: WordPress.com, GoDaddy, Bluehost (EIG), and Envato.
Envato is still very popular, and I expected hosting to be a positive development for them to further establish their role as a primary creation experience platform, but going back to only serving themes seems a step backwards to me in that regard.
I'm sure the decision was data driven, therefore they must not have seen demand for the product. And there's not much way around that. Like I said, it surprised me. I'm not sure if the failure was incentive based, as in authors and customers didn't see the value for Envato hosting, or if it was something else. But as far as I can tell, they are back to the status quo of selling just the downloads.
I'll let readers know what else I learn.