Who Owns WordPress and How Does WordPress Make Money?

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There’s been some confusion among newbies as to who controls WordPress. It’s absurd to believe that something is completely free. If you’ve ever wondered who is the owner of WordPress and how WordPress generate revenue, you’re in the right area. 

In this beginner guide, we’ll address these commonly asked queries and explain how they affect the rights to ownership of your WordPress website and blog posts.

Knowing the Differences Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Before answering the question regarding the ownership of WordPress, Knowing what WordPress you’re discussing is crucial.

The primary reason for the confusion is that many users don’t realize that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are fundamentally two distinct products with different users.

Read more: Best Gumroad Alternatives (Cheaper + More Powerful).

WordPress.org is the famous CMS for managing content, which you will always discuss. WordPress is completely cost-free. It is sometimes referred to in the same way as self-hosted WordPress. If you’ve heard that it is possible to build any website using WordPress using plugins or customized themes, that is what WordPress users are talking about.


WordPress.com is a web-based hosting provider that provides an uncomplicated version of WordPress that makes it simple to create blogs. There aren’t all the WordPress features, including plugins, themes that you can customize and more.

To keep the focus of this post, we’ll not get deep into the differences in features between both. 

The distinction between them is vital to understand both items’ ownership and business model.


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

WordPress is open-source software. That means anybody can look at the code and add to the program to improve it. It was the efforts of tens of hundreds of individuals from all over the world who helped to build WordPress to the level it is in the present.

WordPress is licensed under the GPL. Knowing the advantages of this GPL licence is essential as it will assist in better comprehending the owner’s rights.

We’ll summarize the GPL into three major advantages:

  • WordPress is a platform you can utilize in any way you’d like, without a limit.
  • It is possible to modify, change or take out anything within WordPress that you do not like without restrictions.
  • It is possible to repackage the software, rebrand it, sell it, and distribute WordPress without restrictions unless you ensure the GPL license releases it.

The final part typically surprises people. Sure, you can use WordPress, alter the name and logo, and then begin selling it (100 per cent legal).

The basis of the code that powers WordPress is the property of the WordPress group of users (you). Many of the thousands who contributed to this nonprofit organization did so without direct payment. It will be explained further in the section on business models of this piece.

Synopsis: Any website you build with the self-hosted WordPress software is yours to control. The content that you post on these sites is completely yours to keep.

The WordPress trademark, as well as the WordPress.org domain, belong to the WordPress foundation. WordPress Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation whose sole mission is to ensure that WordPress is free to maintain, update, and further develop.

Who is the owner of WordPress.com

WordPress.com is controlled by a private firm called Automattic.You must know the history associated with the WordPress project to comprehend Automattic’s involvement and for which they are given favouritism, such as having the option to use the WordPress trademark and the sought-after WordPress.com domain in their paid service.

Automattic was founded by Matt Mullenweg, one of the developers who co-founded the open-source WordPress software.

Matt developed Automattic in 2005, nearly two years later than WordPress began, with the principal objective of simplifying WordPress hosting and allowing users without technical skills to begin a blog using WordPress.

Since the WordPress.com platform was run with the open-source WordPress program, Automattic was a participant with a stake in further developing the free WordPress software.

Several early Automattic employees worked as contributing developers of WordPress before they joined Automattic’s founding, and it isn’t a surprise that the financial aspect was not the sole reason Automattic decided to invest in WordPress.

Initially, the project’s open-source version earned no revenue, so Matt first registered the WordPress trademark using Automattic.When WordPress gained popularity, Automattic donated the WordPress trademark to the WordPress Foundation in 2010 to make sure that the WordPress Foundation would be long-term sustainable for nonprofit organizations.

It is important to know that Matt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic and a board of directors member for the WordPress foundation.Once you’re well-versed in the history of WordPress, we can discuss the control of content at WordPress.com.

When you design a site with WordPress.com, You must comply with the terms of Service policy. Though clear, it’s intended to grant the user as much control over your site’s content. However, anyone can close your website when they think it is in breach.

You have complete control over your website but are restricted to the available features. It does not include custom themes, plugins or other features.By now, you’ll know the answer to your query about who controls WordPress.

We’ll now have an in-depth look at how WordPress generate income.

Business Model of Automattic vs Business Model of WordPress

Automattic’s business model is to offer WordPress-related services, such as backup, hosting, and many more, so we will not devote too much time to this.

Simply put, Automattic makes money on WordPress.com by selling advertising on free websites. Opt to purchase their hosting services. You will receive premium features, including blocking ads, buying domains, extra storage space, themes for commercial use, and other features.

This section describes the business logic behind the open-source WordPress software and answers the most frequently asked queries like, what are the ways WordPress developers earn money when contributing their time to a free nonprofit project?

Let’s start by asking why developers give to WordPress even if they’re not getting money.

Although there are noble motives, we’ll concentrate on two main reasons for money:

  • They offer WordPress items or services (custom themes, plugins, Web development, consultancy and more.)
  • They work for a firm that offers WordPress products and services.

They make money, yet the WordPress foundation does not pay them.  Since WordPress is growing in popularity, there has increased the number of companies that offer WordPress-related services and products. It has created a greater commercial demand for the continued growth of open-source WordPress software.

Imagine the things Automattic could do when it first started; however, today, numerous firms have dedicated staff members that contribute to the growth of WordPress because they know that as WordPress development increases, so will the revenue opportunities.

Where is the WordPress base fit into the scheme of things?

WordPress Foundation operates as a nonprofit organization whose primary revenue source is contributions.They are donated by users like you and companies using WordPress to earn money.

What is the significance of this? Pertain to you as a customer?

Although you’re not paying directly for WordPress, you indirectly contribute. If, for instance, your site is hosted for instance, on BluehostSitegroundWPEngine or another major WordPress hosting provider, you’re indirectly committing to WordPress. Since all of these hosting companies frequently give back to WordPress.

Suppose you’re employing Yoast SEO, BackupBuddy, Sucuri or any other product families like (OptinMonster, WPForms, MonsterInsights and more) and indirectly committing to WordPress. These companies all regularly organize WordCamps or contribute to WordPress.

We hope this article helps you better comprehend the WordPress business structure and eliminates your concerns.

What could we do to make improvements and de-mystify some of the ambiguity?

Very little can be done about the current situation because of the business models at stake. The only way to address this issue is through education, which must be a two-part process.

One of the most important is the function of the media. Media outlets covering technology like TechCrunch, Recode, and TheNextWeb, as well as others, must be more thorough in verifying the facts to avoid stories that claim Automattic is the company that owns WordPress.

It’s as easy as claiming that the parent company is behind WordPress.com.

Google “WordPress parent company “, and you’ll see many news articles from major media sources that report inaccurate details (for example, Here, Here, Here, here, and this).

Another role is enforcer via the WordPress foundation and Automattic. These press releases typically target the media outlets; therefore, if there were reinforcement from the most prominent media outlets, others would note it.

Typically, it’s an Automattic (WordPress.com) booth at blogging events where you come across a WordPress Booth, and it’s an Automattic (WordPress.com) booth. 

The marketing language can be improved upon after having witnessed the workers answering questions on the stand; they’re extremely friendly and usually, clarify the differences.

At the Automattic booth at TBEX North America 2015, when a person went to Automattic’s booth, two visitors asked about who owns WordPress. The Automattic staff did a great job explaining what the distinction is.


This article should help you answer your question about who owns WordPress, how WordPress generates revenue, and what that means in terms of control over your site and control.

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