What is WordPress? WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today.
Just Getting Started with WordPress?
Our handbook for beginners offers an introduction to WordPress, the amazing open-source website platform. You’ll learn the benefits of using WordPress, as well as step-by-step instructions for getting familiar with the WordPress Dashboard. You’ll also learn about WordPress themes and plugins, how to create your first post or page, and optimize your site for search engines—all with helpful links to video tutorials.
Who uses WordPress?
You’re in good company if you use WordPress to publish on the web. Many famous blogs, news outlets, music sites, Fortune 500 companies and celebrities are using WordPress.
If you’re ever curious about about who uses WordPress, head on over to the WordPress site showcase and you’ll be impressed by the number of well-known sites and famous people using WordPress to power their websites.
How do I get started using WordPress?
Now you’re probably asking, “how do I get it?”
WordPress is free. Yep, that’s right – it’s 100% free.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get WordPress today to start creating your awesome website.
More WordPress 101 Tutorials
- WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
- Your WordPress Login
- Exploring the WordPress Dashboard
- Using the WordPress Admin Bar
- Exploring WordPress Settings
- WordPress Posts vs Pages
- Creating a WordPress Post
- Adding Links in WordPress
- Adding Images in WordPress
- Using the WordPress Media Library
- Formatting WordPress Posts
- Scheduling WordPress Posts
- WordPress Categories & Tags
- Creating a WordPress Page
- Applying a WordPress Page Template
- What are WordPress Plugins?
- Installing WordPress Plugins
- What is a WordPress Theme?
- Using WordPress Widgets
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Creating a Custom Menu in WordPress
- Managing Comments in WordPress
- Creating Users in WordPress
Why is WordPress Free? What are the Costs? What is the Catch?
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 post, we will discuss why WordPress is free, the costs 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 freedom for you to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute the software in any way you like. However, there might be costs involved somewhere. We will discuss the cost of using the open source WordPress software later in this article.
Why Don’t They Sell WordPress as a Software?
We often get asked why don’t people and companies behind WordPress sell it? If WordPress is as good as everyone says, then they would obviously make a lot more money by selling it. This statement would make sense, if a single company or individual owned WordPress.
WordPress is an open source community project where tens of thousands of talented people have made contributions to make it into a great software that it is today. There is a core team of developers that lead the project development, but anyone can contribute patches, report bugs, suggest features etc. Furthermore, project leaders change from one version to another. If you get involved into the community, then you can easily become a core contributor of WordPress.
The philosophy behind Open Source software movement is that software are not like other tangible products. Once a software is created, it can be copied many times with little cost. Let’s take example of a toy factory. Each toy manufactured has different parts and each part has a cost. The manufacturing cost of these parts can be calculated by the factory to decide a reasonable profit margin for the product. On the other hand the cost of creating a software and making copies of it is not the same. Some groups believe that with each copy sold, the profit margin of the software becomes more unfair.
To understand more about open source software, check out GNU’s Philosophy.
How do People Make Money with WordPress
The two main profitable parts of any open source software are products or services based on the same open source software.
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 such as CSS modification etc. However, to get the full power of WordPress.org on WP.com service, you have to spend over $3250 per month for hosting.
In May 2014, Automattic raised a series C investment round of $160 Million which valued the company at $1.16 Billion.
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.
Some examples of successful multi-million dollar WordPress companies are:
- WPEngine, a managed WordPress hosting company that has raised over $40 million dollars.
- Awesome Motive – led by Syed Balkhi is another multi-million dollar company based around WordPress. The company manages WPBeginner, OptinMonster, Envira Gallery, WPForms, Soliloquy, MonsterInsights, and other popular WordPress plugins.
- Sucuri – the popular WordPress security solution in the market.
- iThemes – one of the oldest and well-established WordPress company behind popular plugins like BackupBuddy.
- ElegantThemes – multi-million dollar theme company behind the popular drag & drop page builder: Divi.
- Gravity Forms – the most well known premium WordPress form plugin.
Good WordPress developers and consultants also make a comfortable full-time income by building custom websites, applications, and plugins around WordPress for their clients. Some of them are doing over six-figures in annual earnings by themselves.
Is WordPress Copyright Free?
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. So while 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?
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 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 code of WordPress as a software is released under GPL but the words WordPress, WordCamp, and the WordPress Logo are registered trademarks owned by 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 site, training course, or resource that you run across that has WordPress in their domain name is probably being run by someone who does not 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 – WordPress vs. WordPress.com [infographic].
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 and domain. WPBeginner users can get a domain name and web hosting for as low as $3.95/month from Bluehost or Siteground (both officially recommended WordPress hosting providers).
Additional costs would be commercial WordPress themes. However, you are not required to use those. There are 4000+ free WordPress themes that you can use.
People often use commercial plugins, but you are not required to use those as well. There are over 45,000 free WordPress plugins.
So why do people buy paid themes or plugins? Free themes are being used everywhere. To get a little more exclusive design and feel for the site, folks often purchase a commercial “premium” theme.
Another reason to purchase a paid theme or a plugin is to get support. Free theme or plugin providers are not required to offer support or updates because it is usually their passion project. However, paid plugin and theme shops offer regular support and updates because it is their business.
We hope that this article answers some questions about WordPress licensing, the costs of running a WordPress site, and the business around WordPress. Please feel free to add your comments, questions and feedback below.
Why You Should Use WordPress?
Often beginners ask us: Why should I use WordPress? Isn’t my old site good enough? Why do I need to switch to WordPress? If you’re asking these questions, then you’re at the right place. In this article, we have compiled a few reasons why you should use WordPress, in what ways you can use WordPress, and who is using WordPress.
People often make the mistake of classifying WordPress as just a blogging platform. Although that used to be true in the past, WordPress has evolved through out the years into a versatile content management system (CMS). While you can still use WordPress to create a simple blog, now it also allows you to create fully functional websites and mobile applications.
The best part about WordPress is that it’s easy to use and flexible enough for just about anything. That’s the main reason why WordPress has grown so much in popularity. According to a recent survey, WordPress powers 22.5% of all websites on the internet.
Due to it’s robust features, many of the top brands use WordPress to power their websites including but not limited to: Time Magazine, Google, Facebook, Sony, Disney, LinkedIn, The New York Times, CNN, eBay, and more.
Let’s take a look at why you should use WordPress.
WordPress is Free as in Freedom
WordPress is a free software, this means you are free to download, install, use and modify it. You can use it to create any kind of website. It is also open source which means the source code of the software is available for any one to study, modify and play with.
To run WordPress, all you need is a domain and web hosting. We recommend using either Bluehost or SiteGround because both of them offer our users a free domain and 50% off their hosting prices. Check out our guide on why is WordPress free?
Due to the nature of open source, WordPress is a community software. It is maintained by a large group of volunteers majority of whom are WordPress consultants with active interest in growing and maintaining WordPress. Anyone can contribute to WordPress by writing patches, answering support questions, writing plugins, creating themes, translating WordPress and updating documentation.
By using WordPress you become part of that awesome community. You get free support from other community members, download free plugins and themes, and once you have little experience with WordPress you can even contribute back to the community.
WordPress is Easy to Use and Learn
WordPress is used by millions of people and almost every day new people are joining the WordPress community by creating their first WordPress powered websites. The reason why people quickly adapt to WordPress is because it is fairly easy to use.
Our website WPBeginner has tons of articles written specifically for beginner level WordPress users. We have a detailed step by step guide on how to install WordPress and hundreds of other WordPress tutorials.
If you want someone experienced to setup your WordPress site, then our talented staff members are happy to help you get started. The best part is that we offer a Free WordPress Blog Setup service.
For any WordPress related issue, you can search the web or search our archives, and you will definitely find help.
WordPress is Extendable by Using Themes and Plugins
Most people using WordPress are neither web designers nor programmers. As a matter of fact most folks start using WordPress without any prior knowledge of designing websites.
The reason why WordPress is such an ideal candidate is because there are thousands of free templates (themes) to choose from, so you can give your website any look you want. There is a WordPress theme for just about everything. Whether you want a photography theme, magazine theme, portfolio theme, or an eCommerce theme. There is a perfect theme available for every kind of website.
WordPress themes are easy to customize because a lot of them come with their own options panel allowing you to change colors, upload logo, change background, create beautiful sliders, and do other cool things with your website without ever writing any code at all.
WordPress is super flexible and can be extended by using plugins. Just like themes, there are thousands of free and premium plugins available for you to use (What is a plugin?). Not only these plugins can add extra functionality to WordPress, there are lots of plugins which can add a whole new platform to your WordPress site. Take a look at the plugins we are using on WPbeginner.
WordPress is Search Engine Friendly
WordPress is written using standard compliance high quality code and produces semantic mark up which makes your site very attractive to search engines.
By design WordPress is very SEO friendly, and you can make it even more SEO friendly by using WordPress SEO plugin. To understand you how to improve your site’s SEO check out our WordPress SEO tips for beginners.
WordPress is Easy To Manage
WordPress comes with built-in updater that allows you to update your plugins and themes from within your WordPress admin dashboard. It also notifies you when there is a new version of WordPress is available, so you can update it by just clicking a button. You can keep all your WordPress content safe by setting up automated regular WordPress Backups.
WordPress is Safe and Secure
WordPress is developed with security in mind, so it is considered quite safe and secure to run any website. However, just like the real world, the internet can be an uncertain place.
There are intruders out there who want to get their hands on as many sites as they could. On our websites, we use Sucuri to monitor security threats and we highly recommend them.
WordPress Can Handle Different Media Types
Using WordPress you are not just limited to writing text. It comes with built-in support to handle images, audio, and video content. You can also use for document or file management.
WordPress supports oEmbed enabled websites which means you can embed YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, and Soundcloud audio by just pasting the URL in your post. You can even allow your visitors to embed videos in comments.
What ways to use WordPress?
WordPress can be used in many different ways. It is open to possibilities. Our site is not a blog, it is more of a business resource website, and we are running it on WordPress. You can use WordPress as the following:
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Rating Website
- Shopping Store
- Video Collection Site
- Membership Site
Note that above are just some examples of how you can use WordPress. To see how other top businesses are using WordPress, visit the WordPress Showcase
We hope this article answered your question about why you should use WordPress. The best way to experience the true power of WordPress is by using it. Give it a try, and let us know what you think.