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Is WordPress Free for Blogging : How Much it cost to Start for Beginner?

Everyone while planning to start a blog always heard about the WordPress and Blogger the two very best platform to start blogging then after knowing about Blogger the very first question they ask is, is WordPress free platform for blogging?
At first, to answer your query, is WordPress free? then the answer is yes.We all know, their query to ask for same is relevant as we all are aware of the Blogger, which is owned by Google and allow free hosting and content management but very few knew about WordPress background and how it works?
WordPress is free to use, edit, customize or resell to the others but some additional cost involved to use WordPress which we will discuss later in this guide.
Now you are surprised and thinking that WordPress in the content management industry is one of the well-known tools then why the company behind its development is not making money.
Is WordPress Free to Use
The reason is WordPress is an open-source software where thousands or millions of developers are contributing to making this software very powerful and it is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Now let focus on WordPress free in which term, is it free to use?  and is it free to sell?
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Is WordPress Free, if so on which sense?

In the initial brief summary, we already discussed how WordPress is not owned by a company but it is a collective contribution of thousands of developers.
WordPress is owned by a nonprofit organization which is well known as WordPress Foundation. This organization was founded by the co-founder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg.
The WordPress foundation is key focused to provide free access of WordPress source code to support the community and has the responsibility to safeguard the key trademark of below ownership.
  • WordPress
  • WordCamp
  • WordPress logo
All three are registered trademark owned by the WordPress organization, so it is advisable to respect the WordPress community and do not use any of this for the commercial purpose and instead use their abbreviation to avoid future legal issues.
They have strictly depicted, do not use WordPress or WordCamp in your domain name or top-level domain name as their goal is to restrict the commercial activities around WordPress use.
Till this point, you got an idea of how WordPress is designed and who is controlling this whole future development but still, the two queries remain to discuss further that in which sense WordPress is free to use?

How WordPress is Free in Use?

WordPress is an open-source software which is open to download for everyone, you can do the changes with the existing code and customize on your own need.
There won’t be any restriction to do so as this is under General public license (GPL) which also known as GNU General public license (GPL), this license is used with all the open-source software.
Here the reference of free WordPress means freedom to use in the way you want not in terms of monitory. Let me clarify what you can do with the source code of WordPress and how it is allowed to use for free.
  • You can install and use it for as long as you want without any restriction.
  • You can distribute the same copy of WordPress to another blogger for community support.
  • You can customize the existing source code and can redistribute to another blogger under the GPL License.
  • You can contribute to the WordPress community by sharing new patch, fixes or implementation and can become core contributor.
Well, from all the above points you got an idea how WordPress is free to use in every aspect but make sure while you doing any changes with existing source code of WordPress and creating new, then the new version will be automatically launched under the GPL license.

Is WordPress Free to Sell?

We already discussed how WordPress is free to use but what if anyone wants to create a market around it by selling the customized or edited version of WordPress.
Then as I said earlier everything you are extending on top of the WordPress source code will be launched under the GPL license only.
You can customize, bundle and redistribute the WordPress source code as the way you want but will be under GPL license only.
Which means the person to whom you are selling your customized version of the software will also get full ownership of the code you sold him, which he can further do changes and can resell it under GPL license.
Which means even if you buy or download the free or premium version of plugin or theme, you are allowed to the changes and can sell it to others like WordPress where the newly created plugin or theme will be under GPL license.Similar case with the Plugins and Themes created under the WordPress GPL License where all are free to download and use and allow to customize and redistribute.
But still, the view on Theme is under controversy but from the official post of wordpress.org, it found below defined details.
  • PHP in a WordPress theme must be under GPL.
  • Artwork and CSS maybe but not required under GPL license.
Which proves that whatever new changes you are making under the existing theme of GPL license then in newly created theme all the Images, CSS and Javascript can be excluded from GPL however the HTML and PHP will be a part of WordPress derivative and therefore will be under GPL.
If you are with me till this point then why we discussed earlier that it can cost you some additional bucks to live your WordPress website? Let me answer that as cons of WordPress.

Cons of WordPress use?

Till this point, we learned how WordPress is free to use and require no extra money to invest but the reality is WordPress is just a content management system which can not be live on the internet without hosting.
Hence it needed below resources in addition to the WordPress software suite to make your site complete and live on the internet.

WordPress Hosting

WordPress will first need to install on one of the hostings where the hosting ensures to hold you all content live on the internet.
By Default, every hosting you purchase will have a default installation of WordPress and an average shared hosting may cost you around $3-5/Month as their subscription charges.
Bluehost Shared WordPress Hosting plan
Hosting could be expensive but Bluehost offers around 60% off on your first-time purchase, if you want to buy or learn more on hosting plans then do not miss detailed step by step guide on how to buy hosting.

Domain Name

To live your site on the internet you need a domain name which will be an address of your website which anyone can browse it and can visit your site, there are numerous domain provider companies outside.
If you do not know what is a domain name and how to purchase then make sure to visit detail guide on Best Domain name where the average cost of a domain name may cost you around $12/Year
.com vs .net domain name price
Above two, hosting and Domain name is a primary need for any WordPress website to get live on the internet and will definitely require an average of $6-7/Month as an investment.
But in addition to this if you need an advance feature then it is optional to buy some premium services such as:

Premium Theme

By default in wordpress.org theme library has multiple themes which are under GPL license and free to use by any WordPress user.
WordPress Theme
But if you want any premium theme then probably it may cost you around $50-60/Year which is not that much necessary and I do not recommend any beginner to buy at first until you really need this.

Premium Plugins

WordPress has a collection of thousands of plugins and keep adding day by day to automate most of your task, out of them the very famous is search engine optimation (SEO) plugin called Yoast SEO.
Free Plugins for WordPress
Almost every plugin in their free plan offers the best value but if you are looking for premium support or auto-update of a plugin then definitely you can buy it from their monthly subscription plan.
If you are having minimum 6-7 bucks is good enough to have a WordPress website live but you will also argue, why to invest even $6/Month when you have a platform like Blogger which is completely free.
If you are thinking so then I advise to better go through a detailed guide on differences in between Blogger vs WordPress and how WordPress is best CMS as compared to Blogger.
After going through the above-suggested guide I am confident enough that you plan to start with WordPress, if so and still not want to invest even 6$ then probably the next solution is WordPress.com.
You have heard about WordPress.com and WordPress.org and may be considered both as same but the reality is both are different but how, let me brief?

The difference in between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?

Till now what we discussed was all about the WordPress.org, not WordPress.com, where WordPress.org is just a suite of software which can not live without hosting or domain.
However, WordPress.com is created by the same co-founder of WordPress.org Matt Mullenweg. Where you won’t need to buy the hosting and up to certain limit you will get access to a platform like WordPress.
WordPress.com Features:
  • It will give you unlimited free hosting, so no need to spend 4-5 bucks per month.
  • It will give you free subdomain which ended with Extention(Eg-.wordpress.com).
  • It will provide you a limited number of free themes from the WordPress library.
  • From the free library, you can also install the available limited plugins.
Cons of WordPress.com:
  • If you are willing to switch to the custom domain then you need to upgrade their monthly plan.
  • If planning to change the theme or want to add custom theme need to upgrade to the monthly plan.
  • If planning to add or use any additional plugin out from WordPress free library need to upgrade to a monthly plan.
  • You can not monetize your website under the free plan but after upgrading to their monthly subscription you can join their advertising program called WordAds.
That means if your aim is to just write and host content only and don’t want to monetize your site or wanted to use the WordPress feature for free then probably you can go with WordPress.com.
Considering their monthly subscription it starts from $5/Month to $40/month so better to check the latest pricing on their site.
However, WordPress.org is completely open suite where we already learned:
WordPress.org Feature:
  • Free to use, so no need to pay any monthly subscription.
  • No limit with the use of additional plugins.
  • No limit with the use of any custom or additional theme. Etc.
  • You can monetize your site with Ad networks like Adsense and can make money.
Cons of WordPress:
  • Need to pay for hosting and domain.
  • You are responsible for the security and backup of the site.
I tried my best to highlight all the major differences between WordPress.org vs wordpress.com which give you some guidance on why always chose wordpress.org in case you really keen to make a business around WordPress or blogging career.

Will the content published on WordPress will be under GPL?

Till this point, we discussed that everything contributed for or within WordPress will be under GPL so there might be the chance you are thinking, is this also cover the content?
As per the wordress.org guidelines they have done trademark registration on the use of name WordPress and their source code is under GPL license.
So writing content will be your own copyright you can claim it whenever you want. It will not come under GPL and you can have your own copyright or license for your own artwork or post or content you are planning to publish.
Unless you use the source code of WordPress to do some derivative works or explaining on building something new functionality using the same source code then only that content could be under a GPL license.

How do WordPress Community making money?

There is a business around everywhere then why not with WordPress, open-source software will also need different technical support for the user.
Such as explained below.
  • Hosting companies like BluehostHostgatorSiteGroundNameCheap etc are getting million dollar worth of revenue every year just to host the WordPress website.
  • There are thousands of plugin already been created where the owner providing premium support and auto-update feature and making million-dollar revenue such as the very famous SEO plugin Yoast SEO.
  • Thousands of premium theme selling in the market for $50-300/Year such as OceanWP, Hestia, Astra, etc.
When the first-time WordPress VIP was launched under their WordPress.com subscription plan they have made around $300 Million in 7 rounds to use the full access of WordPress.
Even you as a GPL user of WordPress can do the extension of WordPress software with some advanced feature and bundle and later can sell this to other users and can make money out of it.

My View on Is WordPress Free to use?

I imagine, if you are at the beginning stage of blogging and planning to start your new successful blogging journey then I recommend to start with WordPress.org as it is completely free and you can estimate yearly cost of around 40-50 Bucks max.
If you are planning to start with WordPress.com then it may be your worst decision to switch it out from there to wordpress.org, so better to plan your future approach.
WordPress is totally free in terms of use so why not get an advantage for the same and start your journey with blogging whereby applying the Adsense ad network or many other passive earning ways you can make money.
The very best part is custom plugins which can automate most of your process to rank faster in Google and get immediate results.

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