Is there a Catch with Free WordPress?

Free WordPressOften, new bloggers wonder if there’s an expense that comes along with using WordPress. When they find out it’s including in their hosting package, they wonder if there’s a catch. This comes from the many free things we encounter every day, which makes us skeptical of anything free. So, the question we will cover today, why is WordPress Free and is there a catch?

Before we go any further, you need to understand what exactly we are talking about. There are two forms of WordPress, usually referred to as WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the free version you don’t need hosting for, but gives you only some of the features compared to WordPress.org. WordPress.org is also considered the self-hosted version, which you often get with the purchase of a hosting account.

As an open source software program, WordPress is free for everybody to use. Not only can use WordPress free of charge, but you can also modify, customize and even redistribute it. This gives you full freedom to use the very powerful platform and makes WordPress free for everybody.

WordPress Cannot Be Sold!

You might wonder why the owner of WordPress doesn’t sell it. If it’s so good, why don’t they sell it and make millions of dollars from the product? Well, the simple answer to this question, it’s not owned by one single person or company. WordPress was created as an open source community project, which allowed tens of thousands of people to actually contribute to the platform bloggers use today.

Of course, there’s a group of developers taking the lead, but anybody with anything they want to add can contribute. Whether it’s a bug the want to report or a new feature they want to add, anybody can contribute. It’s similar to the Open Office program users can download and use without charge in place of Microsoft Office. This concept helps to keep WordPress free and helps to keep it growing into a better platform every day.

Making Money with WordPress

Even though the core platform is free, there are some things you might need to pay for, which open up the opportunity for profit. Those contributing to the free WordPress can make a profit by creating and selling plugins or themes. Another way to make money with WordPress is by selling hosting designed specifically for the use of WordPress.

Many hosting companies offer WordPress as a CMS option within your package and if they didn’t, they would certainly see a decline in business. Even as a free program for users, this platform has become so popular that many have created highly profitable businesses with WordPress as their platform and products designed for use with WordPress.

Every blogger needs a theme. Choosing between the thousands of free ones can be difficult and it might not be easy to find the right one. However, some are in the business of creating and providing premium themes for a price. They range anywhere from $5 to $5,000, depending on what you want and need. A good theme will cost between $50 and $250, but you only have to pay the fee once.

Plugins are another very important part of WordPress and many great plugins don’t cost a dime. However, many will give you extra features and benefits if you upgrade to the paid version. Sometimes this is a one-time fee and other times you need a monthly subscription. It just depends on the plugin and what it does for you.

So, What’s the Catch?

We’ve covered a few of the optional costs with using WordPress for your blog, but you might still be wondering if there’s a catch. The only catch is hosting. To use WordPress for your blog, you need a hosting account allowing you to use it. There are specialty WordPress hosting companies, which may provide extra benefits at an extra cost, but you can choose one of the shared hosting packages from our top ten hosting list to use WordPress.

It doesn’t take a large amount of cash to use WordPress as your blogging platform. Some hosting companies will allow you to use WordPress with a shared hosting package, which you can pay for on a monthly, yearly or multi-year basis. For three years of hosting, your average cost will be $180 to $300. That’s not much for 36 full months of hosting. Of course, if you need more robust hosting, you will need to spend more for VPS or Dedicated hosting.

Once you have your hosting, you don’t have to spend a single dime on anything else to use WordPress. You can use a free theme to create a great looking blog and you can add functionality with plenty of free plugins. This makes it easy to get started with WordPress on a shoestring budget. Even if you can only afford the first month of hosting, you can get started for around $10 with WordPress for your blog.

After you get started, you might find that you need to pay for a specific plugin or you want a better theme. Even businesses and blogs requiring a custom theme and premium plugins can get started for less than $500. You can actually get your hosting, pay a designer to create a custom theme, pay for all the plugins you need and put up a professional blog/website with WordPress for less than $1,000. That’s far less than paying someone to actually code and design a website for you from scratch.

What WordPress has Done for Businesses and Designers

Before WordPress, it took knowledge of code, research and a ton of time to create the type of websites you see today. This was costly and businesses need to spend a few thousand dollars for design and coding of a simple website. The costs of maintenance were also involved and could run from a few hundred dollars a month to over $1,000 a month. WordPress changed the entire industry.

WordPress makes it affordable for any small business to design his or her own website without investing too much time or money. It also makes it affordable for those in need of the services of a designer. Due to WordPress, designers don’t need to spend nearly as much time coding sites and they can create them at a more affordable rate. Whether you decide to design your site on your own or you choose to hire a designer, you can thank WordPress for making it far less expensive.

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