Is WordPress Free? Kind Of – Exploring the Hidden Costs

Is WordPress Free? Kind Of - Exploring the Hidden Costs

One of the reasons behind WordPress’ popularity is the fact that it’s open-source software. If you ask “Is WordPress free?”, the answer is yes. However, setting up and running a website still involves some hidden costs.

The good news is that you can set up a basic, functional website for almost nothing, and enhance your site with both free and low-cost plugins and themes. Knowing what to expect ahead of time will enable you to budget accordingly.

In this article, we’ll answer the question “Is WordPress free?” definitively. We’ll walk you through WordPress’ hidden costs, and go over how you can set up a website while spending as little as possible. Let’s break out the calculator!

Is WordPress free?

The WordPress software itself is 100% free and open source.

Open-source software is, by definition, publicly accessible. WordPress itself is available through what’s called a General Public License (GPL). That type of license guarantees the following:

  1. You can use WordPress for any purpose you want.
  2. You can modify the software in any way you see fit.
  3. Redistribution of the source code is permitted.
  4. You’re free to improve the program and release those modifications.

If you wanted to right now, you could go to and download the full, unrestricted WordPress software without spending a penny.

You need a way to power the WordPress software, though

While the WordPress software is free and open-source, you still need a way to power the free software and make it accessible to people around the world.

To accomplish that, you need to, at a minimum, pay for web hosting and a domain name.

With web hosting, you’re basically paying to rent a space on a server (computer) to run the WordPress software for you.

Then, your domain name helps connect visitors with your web hosting.

However, while web hosting and a domain name are the only costs you absolutely must pay for, there are still some other potential costs of running a WordPress site.

Three free aspects of WordPress with potential hidden costs

Beyond hosting and a domain name, three areas that could potentially alter the cost of your WordPress website are:

  1. Plugins
  2. Themes
  3. Professional development and support services

Plugins enhance your site’s functionality, adding new features and options. Themes, on the other hand, help you select a look and layout that matches your goals.

Then, you might want to pay someone for help managing or extending your website.

1. Plugins

If you go to right now, you’ll see that there are thousands of plugins available for free. In our experience, unless you’re looking for incredibly specific functionality, you can usually find a free plugin that will do the job:




This article was written by John Hughes and originally published on ThemeIsle Blog.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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