Is WordPress free? This is a common question that people have when setting up websites or blog sites, especially if they’ve been recommended WordPress. The simple answer: Yes. But there’s a bit more to it than that if you want to actually use WordPress to build yourself a blog or website.
WordPress is free. However, you may end up needing to pay for:
- Updates of premium plugins/themes
- Premium themes
- Premium plugins
- Maintenance or troubleshooting
- Web design/ graphic design
- Images/ graphics
How do you get all of these things? What do they even mean? Before we can fully answer this, we have to address the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Let’s dive into this in more detail.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different platforms that offer WordPress users different ways to use WordPress software. When WP was new, many people used WordPress.com for blogging. It was quick, easy, and free to set up a blog on any topic you wanted.
The dotcom is a hosted platform, which means that WordPress provides users with a web host, theme, and plugin for their site. However, as mentioned above, it comes with limitations. One of which is you cannot use WordPress.com for an affiliate marketing blog.
Whereas, the dot-org is a self-hosted platform, which means that users must find their own web host and install WordPress on their own server, and you do not have restrictions against marketing.
WordPress.com is arguably the easier of the two platforms to use, as it requires no technical knowledge or setup. However, WordPress.org offers users more control over their site, as they can install any theme or plugin they want. As a result, WordPress.org is the better choice for anyone looking to make money from their website or blog.
To better understand this and why WordPress is free, we need to clearly define what it is.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) that can be used to create websites and blogs. It is one of the most popular CMS platforms in the world, powering millions of websites, even some very famous ones.
This free software is based on PHP and MySQL. In the past, you would have needed to understand coding to build a website or blog like this. Now, with WP, you do not need to know anything about code. You’ll be able to create posts and pages in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, the same as you would type into a Word document, for example.
WordPress is installed on a web server, which either can be part of an internet hosting service or a network host in its own right. An example of the former is a service like WordPress.com, and an example of the latter is a computer/server running the software package WordPress.org, also known as “self-hosted”.
WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, while WordPress.org is run by the WordPress Foundation. WordPress was released on May 27, 2003, by its founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of b2/cafelog. The software is released under the GPLv2 (or later) license.
Who Uses WordPress?
WordPress is used by more than 60 million websites, including 33% of the top 10 million websites. WordPress is one of the most popular website management or blogging systems in use on the internet today.
Who are these people and what do they use it for? A little bit of everyone and everything!
The best part about WordPress is that it can be used for big, notable brands or an individual who just wanted to start a blog for fun. Small business owners who want an easy way to build a website to showcase their brand can also do so with WP.
Some notable big-name brands that use WordPress include:
- Playstation Blog
- Sony Music
- The Next Week
- CNN Press Room
- Disney Books
- Time Magazine
- Spotify Newsroom
- The Rolling Stones
- Microsoft News
- Boing Boing
- Esty Journal
- Yelp Blog
- Angry Birds
- The Harvard Gazette
- The White House
- Creative Commons
- Hachette Book Group
- Reader’s Digest
- Grubhub Blog
- And many more
As you can see, there are many well-respected brands that use WordPress and they have crisp, clean websites that deliver just what their readers need and expect. You can absolutely do the same with your website using the WordPress platform.
However, to achieve the same quality of looks these brands have, you won’t be able to do it completely for free. You will need to invest in self-hosted WordPress and you may need to pay for a custom theme.
Building Your Own Site with WordPress
If you want to get your own website like those big brands who are using WP, you will need:
- A domain name
- A web host
- A website builder
Self-hosted WP is 100% free to use. All you need to pay for is your domain and hosting. We’ll talk more about this later. But first, let’s explain what self-hosted WordPress is in more detail.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform/software, which means that you will need to set up your own hosting account and install WordPress on your server. However, once WordPress is installed, you will have access to a powerful set of tools for creating and managing your website, as described above.
There are thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins available, so you can easily find one that meets your needs. In addition, WordPress is regularly updated with new features and security patches, so you can be confident that your website will remain up to date. The dashboard will tell you when your themes or plugins require an update and keeping an eye on this will keep your site secure.
As explained, WordPress is free and open-source software released under the GPL. This means that anyone can download and use WordPress for free. WordPress is used by millions of people around the world, including many large organizations, such as The Guardian, Forbes, and The New York Times and even small businesses and brands.
While WordPress is free to use, there are some costs associated with running a WordPress website. For example, users will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting, and they may also want to purchase a premium theme or plugin. Overall, WordPress is an excellent choice for those looking to create a new website or blog, as it is easy to use and relatively inexpensive.
If you want to be able to make money from your website without restrictions, you’re going to need to self-hosted. This will give you full freedom to do whatever you want with your site, including using affiliate programs and selling things.
Why is WordPress Free?
WordPress is free because it is open-source software. As explained above, it is released under the GPL. This means the General Public License, which guarantees that:
- You can use it for anything you want
- You can modify it in any way you see fit
- You can improve the software and even release your own modifications
- You can redistribute the source code
When we say that WordPress is free, we’re typically referring to WP as a CMS (content management system). This means we use the WP platform/software as a tool to build our sites.
Your DOMAIN is the address that people use to find your site online.
Your HOSTING is like paying rent for a space to build your house.
With self-hosted WP, you must pay for hosting in order to run the WordPress software for you.
Although hosting and the domain are the only things you are required to pay for, there are some other potential costs. Some people have referred to these as “hidden costs”. I don’t really believe they are hidden, but if you’re new to WP and don’t know to expect them, it can start to add up.
I will go over these additional costs, but just keep in mind that the only thing you truly HAVE to have is hosting and a domain. All other things are optional, and while many may make your life easier or site look nicer, you can also build on this over time if budgeting is an issue.
There are also many free plugins and tools that you can use. Most of the paid plugins and tools also have free trials if you want to see how they work before actually investing in them.
While WordPress is free to use, there are hidden costs associated with running a WordPress site. For example, WordPress.com charges users for certain features, such as custom domains and increased storage. In addition, WordPress sites require regular maintenance, including security updates and backup procedures. These hidden costs can add up over time, making WordPress a more expensive option than it initially appears.
When you choose self-hosted WordPress, you will still have costs involved, but most people like this option best, as it gives you more control and customization of your site.
You will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting, and you may also need to pay for premium themes and plugins. In addition, you will need to put in the time to design and maintain your website. While WordPress can be a great way to build a website on a budget, it is important to be aware of the hidden costs before you get started.
That said, it’s quite possible to build a self-hosted WordPress site for next to nothing when you use free themes, free plugins, and other free tools.
You can go to WordPress.org right now and see a wide variety of plugins available for free. You can also search from inside the WP dashboard once you have it installed on your site.
There are many hosting companies out there for you to choose from when you use self-hosted WordPress. Nearly all of them allow you to use WordPress to build your site on them. What this means is that once you have a domain, you purchase hosting and point the domain to that hosting. Then you need to actually build the site so that people see what you want them to see when they go to the domain.
Although there are many, there are two that I have worked with myself and feel good about recommending to others.
Both of these are great for self-hosted WordPress sites. Once you have your domain and hosting set up, it’s very easy to install WordPress from inside the hosting dashboard. It will walk you through the steps, and you will create a WP login, and once all that is complete, you will be able to log into your new website from the WP Admin control panel and start building out your pages and posts.
Let’s learn a little about each of these hosting companies.
HostGator is a hosting company that was founded in 2002. The company provides a variety of hosting services, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. In addition, HostGator offers a wide range of features and tools to help customers build and manage their websites.
The company also provides 24/7 customer support. Overall, HostGator is a great option for anyone looking for hosting services, especially for WP sites.
WPEngine is a hosting platform designed specifically for WordPress websites, as you can tell by the name. It offers a variety of features that make it the perfect choice for businesses of all sizes. For starters, WPEngine provides a managed hosting solution, which means that your website will be hosted on a server that is optimized for WordPress.
This gives you peace of mind knowing that your website will always be up and running, even during high-traffic periods. In addition, WPEngine offers a variety of security features to keep your website safe from hackers. And if you ever need help, their customer support team is available 24/7 to assist you.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn about WordPress and building WP websites and blogs. To answer the question, is WordPress free? Yes, it is!
And it might be one of the most valuable free tools an affiliate marketer can ever have. That said, it’s just one of several tools you will need for overall success.