If you are thinking about building a website using WordPress, you are probably a bit worried about how much it will cost you, time- and money-wise.

The good news is that, time-wise, WordPress is highly efficient. WordPress installation is a quick process that takes just a few minutes to complete. And installing and setting up a WordPress theme does take a bit longer than that, but the installation itself is intuitive, user-friendly, and fast.

The bad news is that if you have been googling ‘wordpress cost’, you have probably seen two contrasting answers一some say that WordPress is free; some say that WordPress has ‘hidden’ costs. So, which one is it? What’s the truth?

In this article, we will give you an answer to the question ‘is WordPress free?’ and explain everything related to WordPress costs一whether it is really free, why it’s free, and which aspects of using WP require you to invest in them.

Let’s get started!

Is WordPress free?

Short answer? Yes. The WordPress core, as in the WP software, is and always will be free.

Long answer? If you are looking to build a website using this platform, there will be some costs attached to using WordPress.

Here’s why:

Free WordPress software

WordPress software, also known as WordPress.org, is free. You can download a copy of WordPress cost-free.

WordPress is open-source software built on another open-source blogging system, called b2/cafelog. Back in 2003, WordPress founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little edited the b2/cafelog system, adapted it, and created their own system. Over the years, the system developed into a Content Management System (CMS), now known as WordPress. Now, WordPress is software to which codebase thousands of developers contribute for free daily. Thanks to the input of thousands of people around the world, WordPress is what it is today.


Nowadays, many hosting providers offer ‘one-click WordPress installation’. If your host doesn’t offer this option, you need to install WordPress manually. You can check the official WordPress guide to help you.


Speaking of WordPress being open-source and its proprietary rights, we have to mention GNU General Public License (GPL). WordPress software is a platform published under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

The GPL allows you to do the following with WordPress:

  • Customize WordPress however you like.
  • Add, remove, and add anything within the WP software.
  • Repackage, rebrand, sell, and distribute WordPress.

You can do pretty much anything you want with WordPress (alter it, repackage, sell it to other people) as long as you do it in compliance with the GPL. The third bullet is valid for WordPress plugins, and themes一you can modify, edit and sell a plugin/theme code, as long as you comply with the GPL.

Another reason why WordPress software is free is that it is not owned by a company. Instead, it’s owned by a non-profit WordPress Foundation founded by Matt Mullenweg. The mission of the Foundation is to ‘create a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come’.

Free WordPress themes, plugins, support, and updates

Getting something for free can sound too good to be true. But in this case, getting themes, plugins, support, and updates means getting free products that experienced WordPress developers, and volunteers created so they can give back to the community.

There are thousands of free WordPress themes available. To ensure you are choosing a well-coded, reliable, and secure theme, we recommend you choose a theme for the WordPress theme directory or choose a free theme from a reliable theme maker. We suggest you avoid using any free theme that is not created by a reliable developer or company, as those themes can be written with malicious code that can disrupt your website and make it prone to security breaches and hack attacks. So, before choosing a theme, be sure to do a bit of research on the theme creator/vendor一check their social media reviews and comments, website comments and reviews on Google. Also, be sure to find and click on the button often referred to as ‘theme demo’. A demo of a theme should portray how a theme looks and performs. By viewing a theme’s demo, you can get the idea which parts of it you would change and how you would do it.

The same thing goes for plugins. If you are interested in using only free WP plugins, be sure to browse the WordPress plugin directory. Plugins in the directory and tested and safe. Additionally, if you decide to use a plugin from the directory, you won’t have to worry whether the plugin is compatible with a WordPress version一plugin creators make sure each plugin is updated and works well with the current WordPress version. Keep in mind that in some cases, plugins have a free version but can be upgraded to a premium plan.

When it comes to free support, you can get it anywhere. WordPress theme and plugin creators often offer prompt support, and your hosting provider will most likely provide support as a part of the hosting plan. Also, WordPress has many communities you can turn to for help, including Make WordPress Communities and Dev.to WordPress community.

When it comes to updates, we can say that WordPress is regularly updated and updates are free of charge. You will be notified within the WordPress dashboard panel whenever a new release comes out. To check if WordPress, themes, and plugins you use are up to date, all you need to do is navigate to the Dashboard → Updates section. 

What are WordPress costs, then?

Well, all the previously mentioned things一themes, plugins, support, and updates一can come in a premium version, meaning you need to pay to use them.

And it’s totally up to you whether you will choose free or premium products to build your website.

But one thing that you can’t escape from is hosting and domain name.

You need server space to host your website. You need to pay for hosting because you are actually paying for physical infrastructure, and support the company may provide you. The good news is that a hosting provider doesn’t own your website or your domain: you can customize it however you want any time, any where, or even choose to delete it. And when it comes to domain names, if you want to have a unique name for your website, you need to register the domain name, by purchasing it.


Suggested reading
It is essential you find the right, reliable hosting provider that will allow you to have an up-and-running website 24/7. If you are unsure which hosting provider to choose, check out our article on picking the right hosting provider.



If you can’t seem to come up with a domain name, use one of the available domain name generators. We recommend you check out Nameboy.


Final thoughts

We hope this post cleared the confusion regarding WordPress’s cost. Now that you know that building a WordPress website can be cost-effective, are you more inclined to choose WordPress or some other website builder? Let us know in the comments.

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