So WordPress is Free – What’s the Catch?


Probably the most common question about using WordPress is the cost – “How much does using WordPress cost?” Since WordPress is an open source software and it’s free (meaning, you can use it online from your web browser). This question is usually followed by “Why is it free?” This post answers why WordPress is free, what costs are involved when you maintain a WordPress website, and if there’s a catch as to why WordPress is free.

Why Use WordPress

There are plenty of reasons why you should use WordPress, and it’s not surprising why it’s one of the most popular CMS and blogging platforms out there. It’s free, it’s user-friendly, and there are tons of free themes and plugins you can use to extend the functionality of your website.

Why isn’t WordPress Sold as Software?

Since WordPress is used by millions of people all over the world, they’d sure make a lot of money selling it instead of keeping WordPress free. This would be true, if WordPress was owned by just one person or one single company.

What makes WordPress the great software it is today is the contributions of thousands of people towards its improvement. WordPress has its own team of developers, but anyone can contribute to it, as well as report bugs and suggest features that would make things easier for the users.

How People Earn with WordPress

Developers make millions of money with WordPress by creating premium plugins, themes, as well as hosting (I prefer Bluehost to GoDaddy, but operate on Godaddy for lots of sites). Some of the developers who have made handsome amounts to their names include StudioPress (Genesis theme and this site is custom designed using Studiopress themes and frameworks), WooThemes, Elegant Themes, Mojo Themes, and many more.

WordPress developers and consultants also make income through the creation of custom websites, plugins, and applications on WordPress especially for their clients. Some WordPress developers do this as their full time job and earn six figure incomes in the process.

WordPress and Copyrights

In case you’re wondering, WordPress is not copyright free, but everyone can use, edit, and redistribute the code. When you do modify the code, you’ll have copyrights to these modifications but not the whole code. WordPress is released under GPL, which means that the work you release and distribute will also be licensed.

WordPress Trademark

The words WordPress, the WordPress logo, and WordCamp are registered trademarks of the WordPress foundation. One of the ways you can tell if a site is official or part of the WordPress community is if it includes the words WordPress in the domain name. This is also the reason why a lot of resource websites do not have WordPress in their domain name, just WP or something similar. One of the ways you’ll know if you’re dealing with a legit website is if they respect trademark policies and rules.

The Costs of Using WordPress.ORG

To download and use WordPress is free, but in order to use WordPress online, you’ll need to get your own hosting. If you want to create a free blog, you can use, but there are differences between using WordPress and Using WordPress is considerably cheaper, as your main costs are your domain and hosting, which can be as low as $4/month with BlueHost.

Other costs you would incur would be using premium WordPress themes – but this is completely optional as you literally have thousands of free themes that you can use.

The same goes for plugins – there are premium plugins out there, but you can choose to use more than 20,000 free WordPress plugins instead.

You might be wondering, why would people choose to pay for themes and plugins when there are thousands out there for free? Well, some people like to get an exclusive look and feel to their site and using a premium theme gives them just that. You’ll find a lot of different WordPress sites using free themes, and they’re literally all over the place. Additionally, paid themes and plugins often come with great after-sales sport as well as updates to fix bugs or improve their user experience.

It is my hope that this article has shed some light on your questions about using WordPress. Please feel free to leave a comment below to let us know about what you think.

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Category: Learn


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Article by: Lisa