What is a WordPress license? Basics of the GPL

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WordPress publishes under an Open Source license called the GPL. Explains what open source is, the types of licenses, and the GPL.

What is Open Source?

WordPress provides an open source (open source software).

Open Source software is software whose source code published free of charge and can copy, change, and redistributed by anyone. The abbreviation is OSS.

MySQL, a database management system, and PHP, a programming language, are also OSS.

What is an Open Source License?

Open source is available for free, but you must follow the specified license (license terms).

Types of Open Source Licenses

There are the following types of open source licenses.

What is the GPL?

GPL stands for GNU General Public License, also called the GNU GPL. There are four freedoms.

The GPL requires that redistributed programs distributed under the same license. This idea calls copyleft.

There are two versions of the GPL, Version 2 and Version 3, which use today.

License of WordPress

The license of WordPress base on GPL v2 or later.

Licensing of Themes and Plugins

Within the WordPress community, there is a 100%GPL, Split License mentality.


Adopting the GPL or a compatible license for all files contained in a theme or plugin.

If you publish your theme or plugin to the official WordPress directory, it needs to be 100%GPL.

Split License

You can use the GPL or its compatible license for PHP code only, and non-GPL-compatible licenses for other files.

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