Is a Free WordPress Blog Worth It

One of the most often asked question by our users is “Do I have to pay to use WordPress?”. We tell them that WordPress is a free and open source software, which is usually followed by, “Why is WordPress Free?”.

In this article, we will discuss why is WordPress free, what’s the cost of running a WordPress site, and what’s the catch?

No, WordPress is not copyright free. It is licensed in a way that allows everyone to use it, but each contribution made to the software is copyrighted.

It is released under GPL, so you are free to use, modify, and redistribute the code. You will have the copyright to modifications you make to the software, not the entire code.

GPL requires that any derivative work you release or distribute should be licensed under GPL as well. You may have the copyright to do anything you like, your derivative work automatically inherits the GPL license, so others are free to use, modify, and redistribute your code in any way they choose.

Does this mean that all premium WordPress Themes and Plugins are Licensed GPL?

According to an official blog post on WordPress.org, themes are GPL too. Images, CSS and Javascript used inside themes and plugins can be excluded, but all PHP and HTML parts of themes and plugins extensively use WordPress functionality thus they are a derivative work therefore are licensed under GPL.

While some folks do not agree with that, most trusted WordPress businesses follow and abide by the community guidelines.

The Content Published with WordPress also inherits GPL?

No, you are entitled to license your content any way you like. Unless the content you are publishing is actually a derivative work of WordPress or any other GPL licensed work.

For example, if you are sharing your articles, photos, or any other artwork on your blog, then you own full copyrights of it.

However, if you are writing a blog post showing people how to use a WordPress function with examples, then that particular blog post could be licensed differently. The code used in examples is actually derivative work and automatically inherits the GPL license.

The WordPress Trademark

The code of WordPress as a software is released under GPL but the words WordPress, WordCamp, and the WordPress logo are registered trademarks owned by the WordPress Foundation.

To distinguish between a site or resource that is official or community run, the foundation asks folks to not use “WordPress” in their domain name.

This is the reason why our site is called WPBeginner instead of WordPressBeginner. Any website, training course, or resource that you see has WordPress in their domain name is probably being run by someone who doesn’t know enough about WordPress. This means you probably shouldn’t pay them any of your money:)

Most legit businesses built around WordPress are aware of the trademark policies, and they respect the rules.

Cost of using WordPress

WordPress as a software is free for you to download and use. However, to use WordPress on the web, you will need WordPress hosting.

You can use WordPress.com to create a free blog, but be aware that there are some differences. See our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details.

The cost of using WordPress is relatively minimal and hold true for running any other type of website as well. The only real cost is web hosting ($7.99 per month) and domain name ($14 / year).

However WPBeginner users can get a free domain name and 60% off web hosting from Bluehost which means you can start a website for as low as $2.75 per month. Bluehost is an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Related: How to Start a WordPress Blog (Ultimate Guide)

Additional costs could be commercial WordPress themes also known as premium WordPress themes. However, you are not required to use those because there are over 9,500+ free WordPress themes that you can use.

People often use commercial plugins, but you are not required to use those as well because there are over 59,000+ free WordPress plugins available.

We have created a detailed guide on how much does it really cost to build a WordPress website with instructions on how to start a website on a budget and save money.

We hope that this article answered your questions about WordPress licensing, the costs of running a WordPress site, and the business around WordPress. You may also want to see our list of easy to start online business ideas that actually make money.

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