Why Is WordPress Free? How Does WordPress Make Money? (YouTube Video)

The idea that something as useful as WordPress should be free is hard to understand… Wix, Weebly, Squarespace: none of these (WordPress’ main competitors) are completely free (not without having to put up with adverts and other relatively significant limitations anyway) – so what makes WordPress so special? And if it really is free, then how can it make enough money to pay for all of the various costs of developing, maintaining and distributing itself?

Here’s how it works:

Why is WordPress free? How does it make money?

– (note: video credits to Topher DeRosia – creator of HeroPress)

Video Transcript:

Hi! This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to take a look at the questions “Why is WordPress free, and how does it make any money?” In addition there are a couple other questions that we’re going to look at as well and one is “if WordPress is free how do the people who make it make any money?” So let’s dive in and take a look. WordPress follows the Free Software philosophy which is that all software should be free to anyone who wants to use it and the original authors chose to license it to be free to everyone. At the time they were building it for fun. They enjoyed it, it was fulfilling a need they had in their own lives. As time went on more and more people began to use it and more and more people began to contribute to WordPress and to make it be better and larger and faster. And those people did it for free as well. But how does that work? How is it that people can contribute for free? Let’s take a look. Almost no one makes money building WordPress. The work that goes into WordPress is almost exclusively volunteer. However many people make money building things with WordPress. For example theme shops, plug-in shops, hosting companies; all sorts of things. WordPress is like a tool. It’s just a thing like a hammer. Because WordPress is software it’s free to distribute it doesn’t cost anything to make a copy. There’s no difference in costs between everyone in the world having it and only one person having it, so there’s no reason not to give it away. Using the analogy of hammers if hammers were free no one would make money selling hammers. BUT people would continue to make money building homes. So here’s our classic hammer. Imagine for a moment that everyone in the world had one. No-one could ever make any money selling them because everyone has one and could get one any time they need. But then people would be able to use them to build these homes and many many other things. And now we get to the important point about why people put money into free hammers and free WordPress. In this picture is this great big black thing with a yellow casing. That is also a hammer but that is called a nail gun and it can put in nails three or four per second whereas a regular hammer takes much longer. WordPress gets built because the builders are investing in it. They’re making those power hammers. They want their customers to have a better tool. They want a better tool for themselves and so they put time and energy into making it better. That’s what they get out of it and that’s why they can work on it for free. A byproduct of that is that the average user gets the advantage of all of that work so you as a blogger or any other kind of WordPress user gets the benefit of all that free work from all of those people. But they also get the benefit from making a better tool for their own company. So circling around the reason people make WordPress for free is that it creates for themselves a better tool that they can then use to make lots of money. The fact that you as a regular WordPress user get to take advantage of all of that work is a very pleasant side benefit. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress check out WinningWP.com.

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By WinningWP Editorial

Run by Brin Wilson, WinningWP is an award-winning resource for people who use – you guessed it – WordPress. Follow along on Twitter and/or Facebook.
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