WordPress Made Easy

Who Owns WordPress and How Does WordPress Make Money?

Beginners have always been unclear about who owns WordPress. Thinking that something can be completely free is a little unrealistic. You’ve come to the right place if you’ve ever wondered who owns WordPress and how it generates revenue. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll address these often asked topics as well as how it affects the ownership rights of the material on your WordPress site and blog.

Comparing and Understanding WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

It’s critical that you comprehend which WordPress you’re referring to before we can respond to your question regarding who owns it.

The most common reason for misunderstandings is that many individuals are unaware that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two quite distinct products with different owners.

Who Owns WordPress and How Does WordPress Make Money?

The well-known content management system (CMS) that you frequently hear about is WordPress.org. This is authentic WordPress, and it is totally free. Self-hosted WordPress is a common term for it. This is the WordPress people are referring to when they say things like “you can create any type of website in WordPress with plugins and custom themes.”

A simplified version of WordPress is available through WordPress.com, a web hosting provider, making it simple for you to start a blog. All the WordPress extras, like plugins, unique themes, etc., are not included.

We won’t discuss the feature comparison of the two in order to keep this essay on the topic. Our comparison of WordPress.com and WordPress.org contains more information about that.

The ownership and business models behind the two items must be understood in order to comprehend their differences.

Who is the owner of the well-known WordPress software and WordPress.org?

The software used by WordPress is open-source. This implies that everyone can view the code and make improvements to the product. WordPress is what it is today thanks to the independent contributions of thousands of people from across the globe.

The GPL license governs WordPress, thus it’s critical that you comprehend its advantages in order to comprehend ownership more clearly.

We shall list the three key advantages of the GPL:

  • WordPress can be used however you want, without any limitations.
  • Without any limitations, you can change, add, or remove anything from WordPress that you don’t like.
  • WordPress is released under the GPL license, but other than that, you are free to rebrand, sell, and distribute it.

The final section typically leaves people in awe. You may use WordPress, alter the name and the logo, and begin selling it (100 percent legal).

In other words, the community owns the WordPress code base (you). Thousands of people donated to this nonprofit project without receiving any form of payment. In the area of this essay devoted to business models, we shall go into greater detail about this.

Any website you build using self-hosted WordPress software belongs entirely to you. Additionally, you are the sole owner of any content that you post on these websites.

The WordPress Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose sole goal is to guarantee that WordPress is freely available, maintained, and developed, is the owner of the WordPress trademark and the WordPress.org domain.

Who is WordPress.com’s owner?

WordPress.com is owned by Automattic, a business that is not publicly traded.

Understanding Automattic’s contributions and the factors that led to them receiving advantageous treatment, such as the right to use the WordPress name and the coveted WordPress.com domain as part of their commercial product, requires some familiarity with the history of the open-source WordPress project.

Matt Mullenweg, a co-founder of the open source WordPress platform, founded Automattic.

In 2005, almost two years after WordPress, Matt founded Automattic with the primary goal of simplifying WordPress hosting and enabling users with little to no technical experience to build a blog with WordPress.

Automattic had a vested interest in the continued development of the open source WordPress software as the WordPress.com platform was powered by it.

It should go without saying that Automattic didn’t just invest in WordPress for financial gain—a number of the company’s early workers had previously worked on WordPress as contributing developers.

Matt first registered the WordPress trademark through Automattic because the open-source project initially failed to generate any revenue.

In order to safeguard the long-term viability of the nonprofit project as WordPress gained popularity, Automattic gave the WordPress trademark to the WordPress Foundation in 2010.

It’s significant to remember that Matt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic and a member of the WordPress foundation board.

Now that you are aware of the background, let’s discuss who owns the content on WordPress.com.

You must abide by WordPress.com’s Terms of Service if you use their platform to create a website.

Despite the fact that it expressly specifies that it is intended to offer you as much control and ownership of your content as possible, your site may still be shut down if someone feels it is in breach.

Although you have complete control over your website, you are only able to use the set of features that are provided to you and do not include plugins, custom themes, etc.

Ideally, you now know the answer to your inquiry regarding WordPress’s ownership.

Let’s now examine how WordPress generates revenue.

Business Model of Automattic vs Business Model of WordPress

We won’t spend too much time comparing the business models of Automattic and WordPress because their respective business models are very similar. Automattic’s business model is to provide WordPress-related services like hosting, backup, and others.

In other words, Automattic monetizes your free blogs on WordPress.com by selling advertising space there. You can purchase premium upgrades like the ability to conceal adverts, buy domains, more disk space, commercial themes, etc. if you decide to pay for their hosting plans.

This section’s objective is to answer frequently asked questions about the open source WordPress software’s business model, such as how WordPress developers can make money while willingly working on a free, non-profit project.

Why do developers contribute to WordPress if they aren’t being compensated, to begin with?

Although there may be charitable motives, we’ll concentrate on the two main financial motives:

  • They market WordPress-related goods and services (custom plugins, themes, web development, consulting, etc.)
  • They are employed by a business that offers WordPress-related goods or services.

In other words, they are making money, but the WordPress foundation is not paying them.

Businesses that sell WordPress-related goods and services have multiplied along with WordPress’s rise in popularity. The commercial interest in continuing to develop the free and open-source WordPress software has increased as a result.

Similar to what Automattic accomplished in the beginning, more businesses are now employing committed employees to work on the development of WordPress because they see that as the project expands, so do the revenue prospects.

What role does the WordPress foundation play in this scenario?

Since the WordPress Foundation is a non-profit entity, donations are its main source of income.

Both private individuals like you and businesses that use WordPress to generate revenue make these donations.

How does all of this affect pharma test e300 you, the user?

WordPress is not something you directly pay for, but you can be indirectly paying for it.

You indirectly pay for WordPress, for instance, if you host your website on Bluehost, Siteground, WPEngine, or any other significant WordPress hosting provider. because each of these businesses consistently donates to WordPress.

This should help you comprehend the WordPress business model more clearly and allay your worries about it.

What can we do to make things better and reduce some of the ambiguity?

Due to the involved business structures, not much can be done to change the domain situation.

The only effective solution is education, which needs to be two-fold.

The media’s function comes first and foremost.

To prevent publications that falsely identify Automattic as the parent firm of WordPress, major tech media sources like TechCrunch, Recode, TheNextWeb, etc. should improve their fact-checking procedures. Saying the parent firm of WordPress.com could be sufficient.

You can easily locate a ton of articles from prominent tech media publications that present misleading information by searching for “WordPress parent business” on Google .

The second function is enforcement, which is handled by both Automattic and the WordPress foundation.

Because these press releases are typically geared to these media outlets, if there is any reinforcement with the leading publications, the rest will follow.

When you encounter a WordPress booth at a blogging event, it’s usually an Automattic (WordPress.com) booth. Although the marketing language could be enhanced, from my personal observation of the staff members addressing inquiries at the booth, they go above and above to help and usually always explain the distinction.

At least two people inquired about the ownership of WordPress at TBEX North America 2015 while we were there, and the Automattic staff did a fantastic job of clarifying the distinction.


We hope that this post has given you some insight into who WordPress is owned by, how it generates revenue, and what this actually implies for the control and ownership of your website.

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