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15 Aug Is WordPress Really Free? Here’s The Real Scoop

WordPress really free? This is perhaps one of the most common questions asked by many people because the concept of WordPress being free is confusing.

Is WordPress really free? The answer is actually more complicated that we think. A WordPress site can be free but have some cost attached to it. However, the WordPress software itself is free and always will be.

Here are some things you need to know about the software.

WordPress is free to use under the GNU General Public License (or GPL). This means anyone can download, edit, customize and even sell the code so long as it’s released under the GPL license.

So What Does “Free” Mean in WordPress?

WordPress is “free as in speech” and “free as in beer”. Free as in speech means WordPress is free in a sense that you can download the software and then do with it as you wish. Since it is under the GNU license, it’s an open source. This feature means that:

  • You can use WordPress in any way without restrictions.
  • You can customize, add and remove without restrictions.
  • You can repackage, rebrand, resell and distribute WordPress so long as it is released under the GNU license.

The third part is important because it means that you can download and amend the WordPress code and sell it for profit so long as you release it under the GNU license. This means that you can sell the code but give client access to it so that they can modify it themselves.

This can be mind blowing if you don’t deal with software companies, but in this case it’s totally true.

Free as in beer means that you can “download, use, and redistribute, you can even see the source, but you can’t change it”. WordPress is owned by the non-profit WordPress Foundation. Its mission is to provide a stable codebase for generations to come and to educate people about WordPress and related open source software.

WordPress has hundreds of themes and plugins; some of them are free, others you need to pay for.  You can download a plugin, modify it and resell it so long as it is published under the GNU license. One of the best ways you can do this by writing another plugin that extends the original plugin. This is allowed since it’s an open software.

Since WordPress is run by a non-profit organization with hundreds of developers that contribute for free they recognize that WordPress itself cannot exist so they cannot earn a living. This is why many choose to give back to the community by contributing to the codebase, providing support via the WordPress support forums, or running events like WordCamps and local WordPress meetups.

So, what isn’t free?

It’s still surprising to many that many aspects of WordPress are free. This is especially true if you buy from companies like Adobe and Microsoft; despite this the WordPress core will always be free.

However, this does not mean that running a professional WordPress site is entirely free. How much it costs depends on the needs of your site or if you want to use premium themes or plugins. Some aspects of WordPress where you might need to shell out cash include:

  • Hosting
  • Premium support
  • Updates on premium plugins
  • Premium plugins
  • Premium themes

A self-hosted site means you have to pay for hosting, you might also prefer more usable or customizable plugins and themes.

Fortunately, how much you get for free and how much you end up paying for is depends on your needs. However, the core WordPress software itself is free. WordPress website still represents extraordinary value for money but it’s worth paying a little extra for a high-performing, professional website.

A Sydney WordPress Developer can provide provide a user-friendly, functional and attractive website. He can enusre that your site has the necessary plugins and content to achieve your business goals.

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