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Why is WordPress Free? The Ultimate Guide to Know Everything! 2024 Edition

Why is WordPress Free? The Ultimate Guide to Know Everything! 2024 Edition

You are not the first to ask, “Why is WordPress Free?” It is a very genuine question! And the good news is that with this simple article, we will get around to answering it. 

It is natural to ask why something is free, especially when dealing with something as good as WordPress. Believe me, and I was a skeptic, too, at the start. 

Now that I have worked on many WordPress-related projects, I can understand where you are coming from. “What’s the catch?” can be another way to express this skepticism.

So sit back, put your reading glasses on (only if needed), and let’s dive straight into it!

How Does WordPress Make Money?

If it is on the web, it surely needs money to run to at least cover the basic costs of the domain name and hosting. And if is free, how does it cover such costs? 

How is it making money to keep itself running? 

Some might even become skeptical and question whether WordPress is free or whether there are hidden costs in the play.

Well, the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, owns a company called Automattic. Automattic offers several freemium blogging services, including the popular The company also owns the widely popular freemium WordPress plugins like Akismet and Jetpack.

Quick orientation: This guide looks at the software, not hosting service platform.

Are you confused? Do you need help with understanding the difference between and is a freemium website hosting service, which means it is free to use to some extent, but you need to switch to a paid plan to use all of its features.  

The income that receives from these upgrades contributes to supporting the research and development of the open-source platform.

Why is WordPress Free

So basically, the company Automattic funds the workings of the free platform.

Three free aspects of WordPress with potential hidden costs

The prerequisites for creating a website include purchasing a domain name and hosting plan. But three other things could cost you money when creating WordPress websites.

  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Development and support services

Plugins enhance your site’s functionality, adding new options and features. Themes, however, give you the flexibility to help you choose a look and layout that matches your goals.


Why is WordPress Free

If you scout the website, you will soon stumble across thousands of free plugins that will help you enhance your website in different ways. However, if you want premium ones with particular functionalities, you can use the free plugins to do the job nicely.

Most of the time, free plugins lack all the premium features that their paid counterparts offer; in some cases, the premium features are worth it, and most cannot do without them otherwise. But again, it mostly depends on the user’s personal choice and goals.

Premium plugins are priced around the $20-$30 market for a yearly license. There are a lot of such plugins available. It’s not very uncommon for popular websites to use dozens of plugins. Paying for that many premium plugin versions can quickly translate to an expenditure of hundreds of dollars. 

Fortunately, rarely, you won’t find a free plugin to get the job done. However, it is always better to save your budget for the other aspects of your website.


Why is WordPress Free

Just like the plugins, you also see thousands and thousands of free options for WordPress themes. Regardless of the type of your website, you can find excellent free themes:

If you’re new to website development, your best bet is often to buy a premium theme. Preferably, you’ll want to opt for one that gives you access to features that make building a website more accessible. 

The more functionality you seek in a theme, the more difficult it will be to find one. Some of the most popular themes include many pre-built pages, robust page builders, and many other free elements that you can use for free.

Premium themes also come with automatic updates and robust support from their respective developers. This is why you should choose a theme that receives regular updates and has an active community nested around it on the web.

The only downside is that the themes that come with the premium licenses are more expensive than the plugins since they do not charge a recurring fee. For a popular theme, you can expect to spend over $50.

Development and support services

If you have some understanding of using WordPress, there’s no reason you should need to pay for professional development or third-party support services.

However, if you find yourself with technical issues you can’t find a way to solve alone, you might need to crack your wallet open.

Data from Upwork shows that, on average, developers charge anywhere between $20-75 per hour for custom WordPress work. Upwork and similar platforms might change the rates towards the end of the scale.

Suppose you find yourself in a situation where you need to hire a professional developer for custom work or troubleshooting. In that case, consider hundreds of dollars in additional costs. Fortunately, support services tend to be priced much cheaper, and there are plenty of free support options online.

Conclusion: Why is WordPress Free

The answer to the question, “Is WordPress free?” Yes, but it is complicated. Let me explain. Even with open-source CMS like WordPress, users must spend money to get their website up and running. This is to secure a domain name and hosting.

But hosting and domain names are not just it. Things get complicated as WordPress also offers its users thousands of free themes and plugins to choose from. As far as WordPress themes are concerned, the best ones are often the premium ones.

Users get many more options with the WordPress plugins in terms of monetary variety. There are also a lot of free tools that users can rely on while building their website. However, the WordPress software at its core will always be free!

FAQs: Why is WordPress Free

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about “Is WordPress free?”

What does WordPress charge for? is an open-source platform that is free to use. However, costs are attached if you want your WordPress site to be live on the web. The primary cost is associated with the hosting and the domain name. 

Users can also extend their WordPress site’s functionality and features with premium themes and plugins. However, users can always keep their costs low by opting for the free alternatives in terms of WordPress themes and plugins.

What does “open-source” mean?

Open-source refers to software whose source code is accessible to the general public on the web. Users can view, modify, and share the code, driving collaboration and community-wide development. It basically means that WordPress is free to use.

Are there any restrictions on using WordPress for commercial purposes?

No, there are no restrictions on using WordPress for commercial purposes. Users can build commercial websites, sell products or services, and profit using the platform.

Do I own my WordPress website?

Yes, the users do own their website(s). Users can install and run the software on any web hosting provider to make a website they 100% own. This gives them total control over how they run their site.

This is not the case with other solutions like With, your site can be removed anytime if it violates their terms and conditions. So, you do own your website.

Can I make money from WordPress?

Yes, you can monetize your WordPress site in a lot of ways. For example, you can advertise with Google AdSense, create a membership site, start affiliate marketing, sell digital products, and more.

You can also use the free plugins to accept online payments and donations directly on your website via Stripe. This simple guide answers your questions about Why WordPress is free, the costs of running a WordPress site, and the business around WordPress. 

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