What are WordPress GPL Themes and Plugins – Pros and Cons

Almost all the new bloggers who are willing to blogging and run their blogs on the WordPress platform must try to just think about better themes to customize their site. Due to this, they are in search of better and high productive themes at a lower price. That’s why there is the establishment of the new term WordPress GPL.

Nowadays the majority of the WordPress bloggers who are not able to afford the theme from the original source at the fixed price used to follow this minor but tricky process. As we all know that the premium price of the WordPress themes is around $50. In fact, all the WordPress users and bloggers are not able to afford this. That’s why they are going for the GPL Theme to save money.

What is GPL Theme

GPL Stands for General Public License. It means the license made for the public where the public users like you are able to make any changes over that files. Similarly, this type of license has also termed the GNU. At first, this practice was done by the programmer Richard Stallman to grow the number of users for freedom over the software.

This GPL is not only limited to the WordPress themes and plugins but the scope and use of this practice are wider. And it’s a free software license to share, use, modify and contribute. But in actuality, the term ‘free’ doesn’t mean it is free in price, it’s free on its alteration, distribution, and utilization. Among the various GPL Platforms here we are on the WordPress GPL Themes and Plugins.

In fact, the themes can’t be categorized as GPL, Premium, and Nulled. All the themes and plugins are under the GPL License. One thing that you need to keep in mind that the term GPL is just for the convention. Almost all of these themes are reselling by the distributor because they are under GPL.

Thus, WordPress is also under GPL so, all WordPress derivatives are under GPL. That developer charges for premium support and automatic updates rather than themes and plugins.

Features of GPL Properties (GPL WordPress Themes and Plugins)

  1. It’s free to use and cheaper in terms of WordPress themes and plugins.
  2. Under the GPL License theme, you have the proper right to modify, make changes and customize the theme without any problems.
  3. There is the proper freedom to redistribute the themes to the users. So, why there are many sources that provide you the GPL Themes at a cheaper price like $3 for $60 themes.

Reason! WordPress is Licensed Under GPL

In fact, WordPress is licensed under the GPL. So, why WordPress is free to use. Although WordPress is licensed under the GPL the themes and plugins (almost/ mainly) are not licensed to the GPL. We can find that almost all the extra themes and plugins are licensed to the property for the creator.

WordPress is a free software to use. It’s a free platform for making your blogs, landing pages, website, and eCommerce stores. Although WordPress is free to use we need to pay the charges for the hosting, themes, and plugins to run it. That’s why to save money many of us move towards the WordPress GPL Themes.

Advantages of GPL Themes and Properties

Before talking about the negative points over the GPL let’s try to make happy yourself if you are using the GPL Software or Planning to use it.

Cheap: The first advantage of GPL Software files and themes is that its cheap nature. Yes, the main reason to go for the GPL License themes and plugins by many WordPress bloggers is due to its cheaper price. The price of GPL themes and plugins is approx. 20 times cheaper than the original price.

For instance, you may get the most popular Magazine theme, Newspaper X at Rs 200 from the reseller which is priced at $59 for an Original premium.  It means that GPL License is an opportunity for many people to get the knowledge and idea about the variety of themes and plugins at as much as lower cost.

Free: Here the term ‘Free’ doesn’t indicate the software is completely free. Here we are talking about freedom. As we have already mentioned that there is the proper right for customization on the GPL Files.

If you are interested to customize, modify and overwrite the files and themes then obviously you can go for it. Besides this, there is also some source from where you can get such files to get for free.

Income/ Redistribute: Some rough people and clever minded started the GPL Programs as the source of income too. Here we can find the many people who claim we providing the premium GPL themes at a cheaper price. In fact, they are the man who redistributes such themes, plugins, and software in certain charges. Nowadays, there is a short term job for many people to sell the GPL Licensed themes to the bloggers by joining the membership of such GPL Source.

Also Read: Proven Trick To Get Google Adsense Approval

Why Not WordPress GPL Themes and Plugins

Hey, bloggers remember, cheaper things are cheap due to their cheap features. Okay, we can find some negative points on such GPL Licensed files and software to use and implement for the task. Here you need to go.

Nulled Version: In the name of GPL software there are many sources that provide the nulled version of it. Nulled Version are those free premium themes and plugins which are distributed from non-authentic bloggers or website. For normal users, it’s difficult to analyze its nulled, GPL, and Premium version. So, the scammers make the weapon it for making scam with us. So, it’s the main point to know about the GPL.

Malware: We can find that majority of the GPL Software like GPL WordPress Themes and Plugins contain malware and Trojans which may harm your website. The majority of the blog expert and web developers suggest the same thing to not go for the GPL themes for saving money.

In reality, it’s true. The malware and other attacking tools under the themes harm your WordPress website and blog and cause a critical issue in many factors too.

No Further Updates: One of the major downgrading points of GPL Themes is its Stable nature. It means the WordPress themes under the GPL Property can’t get further more updates in the upcoming days. Due to this, you will get deprived of further updates based on the performance, features, and many more from the developers. For better ranking and better performance up-to-date is also the major factor for your blog. So it’s your time to think about it.

No Premium Support: Such licensed themes and plugins are just like the free themes. Here the main difference between the free themes and GPL is that the free themes provided by the official developer have no risk to use but in GPL themes there is the appropriate risk to use

Okay coming to the future support. Under the GPL Property, you are not able to get any support from the developers / official distributor side.

Down Performance: We’ve detected the proper downgrade in the performance of such blogs/ webpage that are using such nulled and GPL themes. At this time, we all need the fast loading and better performance site for better ranking on the search engines. So, if you are optimizing your site for search engines then it’s time to stop using the GPL Themes.

Legal Action: Not sure, but there will be any such legal actions on you in terms of using other’s premium properties in terms of GPL License.

No Update: If many people use GPL themes and plugins then it is sure that the developer won’t get any profit from themes and plugins that developer may stop updating their themes and plugin in the future.

Free & Premium Themes

Coming to the point, hereafter the GPL Themes we have also other two main types of licenses based on the themes. The free themes are one major type of theme that can be used by the wish of the developer with some watermark and credits.

While Premium Themes are the paid version of that free themes where we have to pay a certain amount on it for the developer and seller. The main thing that we can find on premium them is that it’s extreme level features. Using these Premium license themes, you are able to unlock all the features, customization, footer credit, and many more.

Here are some difference between Free Themes and Premium Themes.

It’s completely free to use.It’s a paid theme where you have to pay the mentioned amount to the developer and seller.
By default, the users (bloggers) need to provide the same credits to the developer.No need to provide any credits to the developer.
Limited customizationFull customization
No more additional features and can’t possible to remove footer credit.Complete features and can remove footer credit easily.
Difference Between Free & Premium WordPress Theme

Free Vs GPL Vs Premium

Let me clear that we have three licenses on themes and plugins. The first is free to use, GPL based and Paid. In fact, all this license has their own uses, demerits, and features.

At first, the free themes are safe to use if it is provided by the official distributors and sellers. For example, the GeneratePress theme for free from official WordPress is safe to use. So, the free version themes provided by the official developer are safe to use on your site.

Moving towards the GPL, it’s a public based license. It’s a kind of free license theme that can be used by everyone without paying. In GPL themes we have found stable premium features with no future updates and support.

While the premium themes are chargeable themes where you have to pay a certain amount either on a yearly, or lifetime basis to get the service support and future updates.

At all, you don’t need to pay any amount for free themes but lacks premium features, GPL themes are cheaper with premium features but lack future updates and Premium features meet all you need.

Is it Illegal to Use GPL Themes and Plugins?

In reality, the term GPL is not a negative word that makes you sad. Using the pirate themes without any license and purchase code is an illegal task but using the properties under the GPL Licensed is not totally an illegal task.

Can I Update WordPress GPL Themes and Plugins?

Updating the GPL Themes and plugins is not possible as an automated process. But you can download the latest package of it and upload it again to make your site theme updated. In fact, it’s a lazy task and a waste of your time.


In my opinion, I would like to tell that it is better if you buy GPL themes and plugins from a trusted and authentic source or website.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Pluginandthemescreator

    Thanks for your help. I love this blog, it always helps me to improve myself. But I have one question there was a GPLsite where you get automatic updates how is that possible, because you tell here thats not possible

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