Why is WordPress Free? What are the Costs. 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.
WordPress is an open source software. It is free in the sense of freedom not in the sense of free beer. You may ask what is the difference between these two?
Open source software comes with the freedom for you to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute the software in any way you like without paying any fees.
However, there might be costs involved in other areas. We will discuss the cost of using the open source WordPress software later in this article
How Do People Make Money with WordPress
The two main profitable parts of any open source software are products and services based on the same open source software.
People often confuse WordPress with WordPress.com, but they’re actually two different things. WordPress (often referred to self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org) is a free blogging platform and website builder.
Matt Mullenweg, co-founding developer of WordPress, launched a company called Automattic which provides “restricted” free blog hosting service at WordPress.com, and you can pay / upgrade to unlock features and remove ads.
However, to get the full power of WordPress on WordPress.com platform, you’ll need to sign up with their WordPress VIP service. This costs over $5000 per month for hosting + $5000 set up fee.
Automattic has raised a total of $317.3M in funding over 7 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jan 1, 2015 from a Venture round. (Source)
Other developers have also gone ahead to build successful multi-million dollar businesses around WordPress by creating commercial plugins, commercial themes, and even offering WordPress hosting.
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.
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 6000+ 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 54,000+ 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.