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  • Can I use WP as the backend for my freelance projects? I have my own “CMS” that I use but WP has all I need and much more. I would like to use it in my next project, most of them are for small corporate web sites, but i’m not sure if I can.

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  • Mark (podz)


    Support Maven

    Email m @ wordpress dot org with lots of info on what you plan.

    Open source has no restrictions on commercial use. The terms of the GPL should be complied with. No more or less.

    The only ‘gotcha’ in commercial use comes if you plan to distribute a product that uses GPL code (like WP). In a nutshell: if you use WP as a base for a project and you distribute that project to customers for a license fee, you must also make the source available for free.



    Old topic, but hey-ho…

    This is an extremely confusing subject for me (sorry!). I had a look at the GPL, but all I got from it was that WordPress should be credited, and not passed on as one’s own.

    Alex – Am I understanding that what you’re saying is that designers should say ‘Hi, I’d like to charge you something you could most probably do for free’. To a certain extent that does make sense to me.

    It would be such a shame for me to migrate to Moveable Type (ugh) because that would be commercially viable (with a commercial licence of course). How about if a percentage of profit is made to the good of wordpress development? I dunno – I’m just exploring every possible option.

    (Delete this post if it’s deemed inappropriate!)

    Moderator James Huff


    Volunteer Moderator 🚀

    Here’s the basics of GPL and how it applies to WordPress:

    WordPress is free and the source code is free.
    You may use WordPress and its source code in any way you choose, but WordPress should be credited in some form.
    If you choose to sell a product based off of WordPress (anything that uses any piece of WordPress’ source code. A more powerful CMS, for example), you must make the source code freely available.

    So, some scenarios:

    1. You use WordPress for your blog. That’s fine, but please give WordPress credit.

    2. You use WordPress for your site which sells CDs, DVDs, and other merchandise. That’s fine, but please give WordPress credit.

    3. You use WordPress’ source code to build your own blogging platform or content management system and sell it for $50. That’s fine, but the source code must be made freely available.



    Thanks for that reply. I design in good faith, so I credit wordpress throughout, but I’ll add that WordPress can de downloaded free from, and i’ll add-in a donate link too. Design is about choice, and the customer chooses whether to D-I-Y or go with a designer – simple as.

    Thanks for the info! (Hope I’ve read it right!)

    GREAT post! Exactly what I was looking for! YAYYY!

    I think WP is a killer solution for many websites. There’s tons of types of websites that can be built with it easily and if there’s something it can’t do you just develop a plugin for it. I for one plan to use WP for clients in the future! You can simply be clear about it to your client: you’re using an Open Source tool and you’re not charging for the tool but for the customization. If I’m informed correctly you’re not obliged to make the plugin publically available since it’s a separate piece of code. If that were the case a lot of commercial vendors of Linux software would be in violation.

    So if I understand macmanx right, I am not allowed to create a plugin for a customer and charge 1000$ AND don’t release the plugin to public?

    And the other: Because the GPL is supposed to be a “viral” license (it inherits from the base code you are using to your own written code), I am not allowed to change my plugin from GPL to LGPL?




    If you develop a plugin (same applies to themes/template), there’s nothing that says you HAVE to make it available. However, if you make it available for download, or bundle it with WP and sell it (or give it away), then you HAVE to release the code for the included plugins (or themes/template) under the GPL using a GPL compatible license.

    The plugin is not a separate piece of code. It uses the WP core (hooks, filters, database). I think, and some one correct me if I’m wrong, if it is something that is 100% standalone, and can run with or without WP, then I think you can avoid GPL. But that doesn’t happen very often.

    However, the GPL for plugins only appliy if you plan to distribute it. If it’s not going to be distributed, then it’s a non-issue.


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