Why Is WordPress Free

Why is WordPress Free?

WordPress has emerged as one of the most popular and widely used content management systems (CMS) in the world, and because of that, many wonder why is WordPress free. In this article, we will delve into the topic of why is WordPress free and address some common questions surrounding this topic.

wordpress.org vs wordpress.com:

WordPress.org: This is the self-hosted version of WordPress. It is free and open-source software that you can download and install on your own web hosting server. With WordPress.org, you have full control over your website and can customize it to your liking. You can choose your own domain name, install themes and plugins, modify the website’s code, and even monetize it with ads or e-commerce functionality. However, you are responsible for managing your own website, including backups, security, updates, and performance optimization.

WordPress.com: This is a hosted platform provided by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. With WordPress.com, you can create a website quickly and easily without having to worry about hosting or technical aspects. It offers various plans, including a free plan with limited features and advertisements. The paid plans offer additional features such as custom domain names, advanced customization options, access to premium themes and plugins, and the ability to monetize your site without ads. However, the level of control and flexibility is limited compared to WordPress.org. You have less control over the code and the ability to install custom themes or plugins may be restricted.

we also have a full article on wordpress.com vs wordpress.org to know best which platform is best for you

Why is WordPress free?

WordPress.org is the home of the open-source WordPress software. A platform this big often brings the question “why is WordPress free?”, While the WordPress software itself is indeed free, it’s important to understand that there are associated costs involved in utilizing it effectively.

WordPress.org follows an open-source model, which means the software’s source code is freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute. This openness has contributed to the widespread adoption and continuous improvement of WordPress. However, the costs primarily arise from the following factors such as hosting, domain name, themes and plugins.

It’s important to note that while these expenses are associated with running a WordPress website, they are not mandatory. Depending on your specific needs and goals, you can choose to invest in certain elements or opt for free alternatives.

In the next sections, we will explore how WordPress manages to offer its software for free while sustaining its operations and continue answering the remaining questions.

How does WordPress make money?

WordPress operates under a unique revenue generation model that allows them to offer the core software for free while sustaining their operations. A key player in this ecosystem is Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, which plays a significant role in generating revenue.

Automattic and WordPress.com:

Automattic is a company founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. It operates WordPress.com, a hosted version of WordPress that offers website hosting and related services. While WordPress.com has a free plan, it also offers premium plans with advanced features, additional storage, custom domains, and monetization options. These paid plans generate revenue for Automattic.

Premium Themes and Plugins:

The WordPress ecosystem thrives on themes and plugins developed by third-party developers. Many premium themes and plugins are available for purchase, allowing website owners to enhance their website’s design, functionality, and customization options. WordPress.org itself has a repository of free plugins and themes, but developers can offer premium versions with additional features and dedicated support, monetizing their creations.

WordPress.com VIP:

WordPress.com VIP is a premium service provided by Automattic. It caters to enterprise-level clients and offers highly scalable and customizable solutions, including hosting, support, security, and performance optimization. This service generates revenue through subscription fees and additional services tailored to specific client requirements.


Jetpack is a plugin developed by Automattic that provides a range of features for WordPress websites, including security, performance optimization, backups, and website statistics. Jetpack offers both free and paid plans, with the latter providing advanced functionalities and priority support.


WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress that allows users to set up online stores. It offers various extensions and integrations for enhanced e-commerce functionality. WooCommerce generates revenue through the sale of premium extensions, themes, and support services.

These monetization strategies enable WordPress to generate income while keeping the core software free and open-source. The revenue generated is reinvested into the development and maintenance of the software, supporting the wider WordPress community and ecosystem.

Is WordPress copyright-free?

Copyright is an essential concept in the realm of intellectual property, protecting original works of authorship. While WordPress is open-source and freely available, it does not mean that it is copyright-free. Let’s explore the concept of copyright and how it applies to WordPress.

Copyright and Its Application:

Copyright grants exclusive rights to the creators of original works, such as literary, artistic, or software creations. It ensures that creators have control over their work and can determine how it is used, reproduced, and distributed. These rights are automatically granted to the creators upon the creation of their work, including software like WordPress.

GNU General Public License (GPL):

WordPress is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This license is a widely used open-source license that guarantees certain freedoms to users, such as the freedom to use, modify, and distribute the software. The GPL also ensures that these freedoms are passed on to subsequent users if the software is redistributed or modified.

Misconception of Copyright-Free:

Despite WordPress being licensed under the GPL, it does not mean that it lacks copyright protection. The GPL specifically grants users the freedom to modify and distribute the software, but it still requires adherence to the conditions of the license. This means that if you modify WordPress or distribute it, you must comply with the terms of the GPL, including preserving copyright notices and ensuring that the modified versions are also licensed under the GPL.

It’s important to recognize that while WordPress is freely available and can be modified and distributed, it is still protected by copyright. The GPL ensures that users have the freedom to use and modify the software, but it does not negate the copyright ownership held by the original creators and contributors of WordPress.

By understanding the concept of copyright and the GPL, we can appreciate the balance between the open-source nature of WordPress and the protection of intellectual property rights.

Key points of the costs of WordPress.org

Running a WordPress website involves various expenses that website owners need to consider. While WordPress software itself is free, it’s important to be aware of the associated costs that come with building and maintaining a successful website. Let’s explore the key points regarding the costs of WordPress.org.

Hosting Fees:

To make your WordPress website accessible on the internet, you need a reliable web hosting service. Hosting fees can vary based on factors such as the hosting provider, the type of hosting (shared, VPS, dedicated), storage space, bandwidth, and additional features. While there are free hosting options available, they often come with limitations and may not provide the necessary resources for a growing website.

Domain Registration Costs:

Every website needs a domain name, which serves as its unique address on the internet (e.g., www.yourwebsite.com). Registering a domain incurs an annual fee, which can vary depending on the chosen domain extension (.com, .org, .net, etc.) and the domain registrar you select. Premium or sought-after domain names may come with higher price tags.

Premium Themes and Plugins:

While WordPress offers a vast collection of free themes and plugins, you may choose to invest in premium themes or plugins to enhance your website’s design, functionality, and customization options. Premium themes can provide unique designs, advanced features, dedicated support, and ongoing updates. Similarly, premium plugins often offer specialized functionality, integrations, and enhanced support. The costs of premium themes and plugins can vary depending on the developers and their specific offerings.

Website Maintenance and Security:

Keeping your WordPress website secure and up to date is crucial. This may involve investing in security plugins or services, regular backups, and maintenance tasks such as updating themes, plugins, and the WordPress core. While some maintenance tasks can be done manually, you might also opt for paid services or professional assistance to ensure optimal performance and security.

It’s important to emphasize that while the WordPress software itself is free, building and running a successful WordPress website entails financial considerations. These costs include hosting fees, domain registration, premium themes and plugins, and website maintenance and security. By understanding and budgeting for these expenses, you can create a sustainable and efficient online presence with WordPress.

Can I make money using WordPress?

WordPress offers a range of opportunities for monetization, making it possible to generate income through your website or online presence. Let’s explore the potential avenues for making money with WordPress.


Blogging is a popular way to monetize a WordPress website. By creating high-quality, engaging content on a specific niche or topic, you can attract a dedicated audience. Once you have built a substantial readership, you can explore various monetization strategies such as display advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or selling digital products like e-books or online courses. Successful blogging requires consistent effort, quality content, and effective audience engagement.


WordPress offers powerful e-commerce capabilities through plugins like WooCommerce. With WooCommerce, you can set up and manage an online store, sell physical or digital products, and integrate payment gateways. Whether you sell your own products or act as an intermediary for other brands, e-commerce can be a lucrative way to monetize your WordPress website. It’s essential to focus on product selection, user experience, and marketing strategies to attract customers and drive sales.

Freelance Services:

If you possess specialized skills such as web development, design, content writing, or digital marketing, you can offer your services as a freelancer through your WordPress website. Create a portfolio page highlighting your expertise, showcase past projects, and include a contact form to receive inquiries. Promote your services through social media, networking, and online marketplaces to attract clients who are seeking professional assistance.

Membership Sites:

With WordPress, you can create membership sites that provide exclusive content, services, or community access to paying members. By offering premium content, courses, or other valuable resources behind a membership paywall, you can generate recurring income. Membership sites work best when you have a loyal and engaged audience that sees value in the content or services you provide.

It’s important to note that making money with WordPress requires more than just setting up a website. Providing value to your audience, building a strong brand, and actively promoting your offerings are crucial. Additionally, consistently improving your skills, staying updated with industry trends, and adapting your strategies to meet the evolving needs of your audience are essential for long-term success.

Remember, success in monetizing your WordPress website takes time, effort, and a strategic approach. By focusing on providing value, building an audience, and leveraging the various monetization avenues available, you can turn your WordPress website into a profitable venture.

Key points:

WordPress.org, the open-source nature of the software, allows it to be freely available. However, there are associated costs involved in running and maintaining a WordPress website.

WordPress generates revenue through various monetization strategies. Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, plays a significant role in revenue generation through premium plans, services, and plugins.

While WordPress is licensed under the GPL, it is not copyright-free. Copyright protection applies to WordPress, and the GPL ensures that users have the freedom to modify and distribute the software while respecting copyright ownership.

The costs of running a WordPress website include hosting fees, domain registration, and optional investments in premium themes and plugins. These expenses contribute to the functionality, design, and performance of your website.

WordPress provides ample opportunities for monetization, such as blogging, e-commerce, freelance services, and membership sites. However, success in generating income requires providing value, building an audience, and employing effective marketing and engagement strategies.


In summary, while WordPress itself is free, it is essential to recognize that running and maintaining a website using WordPress incurs costs. By understanding the expenses involved and exploring the various monetization avenues, individuals and businesses can leverage the power of WordPress to create successful online ventures.

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