WordPress GPL Commercial Themes and Plugins - dummies

WordPress GPL Commercial Themes and Plugins

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

When you start getting into themes and plugins to extend your WordPress site, you need to understand what GPL and open source means. Because WordPress is licensed by the General Public License (GPL) and is an open source software (OSS) project, any themes or plugins also follow the GPL licensing structure. Many of the popular theme and plugin providers in the commercial WordPress space are compliant with the GPL, and you can feel comfortable knowing that the software they’re using is free of any restrictions on use or distribution.

Don’t confuse open source and GPL with a free price tag. It’s standard practice to charge for commercial services that abide by the GPL. Typically the commercial providers listed in this article are charging a price for their time and the services and support that come with your purchase.

The popular commercial WordPress plugin and theme providers listed below offer products that enhance the WordPress platform by extending the features and look of your website.

WordPress commercial themes

WordPress themes are used to dress up the appearance of your site through various layouts, design, colors, and fonts. You have several commercial providers of commercial WordPress themes to choose from. The ones listed here are all open source and fully GPL compliant, which means their themes are licensed by the GPL. Here are a few of the top providers of commercial WordPress themes:

WordPress commercial plugins

WordPress plugins are extra pieces of code you can add to a default WordPress installation to extend the features that are available on your site. E-commerce (selling products), social community, discussion forums, and social media sharing are some examples of features that are not built into the core of WordPress. However, all those fantastic features can be added through the use of WordPress plugins. Sometimes you might need to acquire your plugins from a commercial plugin provider.

Some of the following commercial plugin providers sell just one plugin, whereas others sell several within a marketplace. Each provider covered here has licensed its plugin products under the GPL. A few of the top commercial plugin providers are

iThemes A marketplace of various plugins
Gravity Forms Provider of a comprehensive form builder plugin for
WPMU Dev A marketplace of various plugins available, with an emphasis on
WordPress Multisite and BuddyPress
WooCommerce An e-commerce plugin for WordPress that allows you to sell
products and items and take payment directly from your own