Plugin Licensing

polyhedron1-400
(updated May 1, 2015)
For those of you familiar with WordPress, you will know that it is supremely extensible with plugins and themes.  Many of these are open source and free, many are available for a fee as Premium Plugins or Premium Themes. Most of the time the prices for these are very reasonable and represent a small fraction of the total cost of a project.

However, some vendors of premium plugins practice selling licenses that are good for many or an unlimited number of domains and include technical support for a period, usually 12 months. Web developers can then install the plugin for their many projects across many different domains without having to buy a single domain license each time.

This can create a problem for clients. It’s nearly always good practice to update plugins when a security update for the plugin becomes available or if it’s needed to stay compatible with a security update from WordPress. Many vendors provide plugins with automatic-optional updates that makes this easy. Sometimes though when vendors are selling multiple domain licenses to a developer, the client may not be able to access the update because it is tied to the developer’s account with the vendor. In such cases, purchasing a single domain license in the client’s name will often solve the problem.

However, another possible solution we’d like to suggest to vendors is to unbundle technical support from upgrades and move to a two tier model. Offer a Developer License as the vehicle to provide technical support and a┬áDomain License as a means to provide access to updates for each client. Vendors should be able to work out the details for expirations etc.