If you don’t know already, WordPress is a software licensed under the open-source GPL license. This license governs what you can and can’t do with WordPress. While the GPL license does allow you to reuse, modify and redistribute WordPress for personal as well as commercial purposes, it does require you to release your derivative work under the same license.
All WordPress plugins and themes are also licensed under the same license. That means you are free to modify, reuse and even redistribute all the free and premium WordPress plugins you buy. The only limitation is that you will have to release your derivative work under the same license.
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While modifying and redistributing a plugin/theme developed by someone else is not illegal, but it can be considered unethical by some people (especially developers) in the WordPress community. And because the license allows you to modify and redistribute other developer’s work under your own name, there are a lot of people who are taking advantage of this license.
These stores are also known as GPL Clubs in the WordPress community. The reason why these stores exist is that people can’t always afford some of the more expensive WordPress themes and plugins fees, especially if they don’t know that the product will be exactly what they need. These stores don’t develop or update any plugins they sell themselves which allow them to sell the products at a greatly reduced cost than if you purchased from the original developer.
While it is totally legal to obtain a copy of plugins and themes from these stores, it is is up to you to decide whether or not it is ethical: Something to bare in mind though:
The owners of these businesses are mainly anonymous because a lot of people in the WordPress community consider it unethical to sell the work of other developers under your own name and there have been many controversies in the past over this issue and it should also be noted here that some products are trademarked which is a different matter entirely.
In this article, I will guide you through some of the more reputable GPL Clubs where you can access popular themes and plugins at greatly reduced prices.
GPL Plugins offers over 2500 WordPress themes and plugins. You can either buy the plugins/themes individually for less than half the original price or you can get a premium subscription for just $21 a month.
Their website says they update the plugins and themes every day. That means, they update the plugin files on their site as soon as a new update for the plugin is released by the original author.
They offer many popular WordPress plugins for a great discounted price. For example, Backup Buddy is available for just $10 and Gravity Forms is available for just $7.
GPL Vault has been online since the year 2016. They offer over 1400 Premium GPL WordPress Themes and Plugins. Their membership starts at just $10 a month which you can, as mentioned on their website, cancel anytime you want. They also offer a 5-year plan for a one-time payment of $199.
While they offer 1400 premium plugins, you cannot download more than 20 a day due to their fair usage policy. They offer a lot of popular WordPress plugins like Beaver Builder, Backup Buddy, Gravity Forms and Easy Digital Downloads.
Online since 2016, GPL Guru offers over 2000 premium WordPress themes and plugins for a monthly subscription of just $9.99. If you don’t want to get a subscription, you can buy individual plugins and themes starting at just $5.
For every plugin and theme you buy individually, you will get free updates for 365 days as soon as they are released by the original developer.
GPLDL is a bit different from the others on this list. They offer all the premium WordPress plugins and themes on their website for free. While they don’t charge anything for downloading plugins and their updates, they do ask their users for donations if they like the service.
GPLDL offers over 1100 WordPress and WooCommerce themes and plugins. Their repository includes a lot of popular plugins and themes for WordPress and WooCommerce like Divi Builder, iThemes Backup Buddy, iThemes Security and Gravity Forms.
Andy Sozot is one of the only people in this business who publicly displays his name on the website. He sells premium plugins and themes individually for just $10. He also offers a $15 a month subscription which offers full access to all the themes and plugins.
His offerings include popular premium plugins like Backup Buddy, iThemes Security, WooThemes Sensei and Gravity Forms.
Woo Society offers over 190 WordPress and WooCommerce plugins. As the name suggests, they mostly offer WooCommerce plugins and unlike other providers on this list, they don’t offer WordPress themes. You can either buy individual plugins starting at just $9 a plugin or you can get their premium subscription for just $15 a month.
They offer popular WooCommerce extensions for integration like Constant Contact, Twilio SMS Notifications, and Authorize.net.
GPL Chimp (formerly known as WooGang) offers over 300 WordPress plugins, themes and WooCommerce extensions for a recurring monthly subscription of $15. You can also buy plugins individually starting at $10 a year. Their website advertises that they have over 2000 paying members.
Their collection of WordPress plugins mostly consists of WooCommerce extensions. GPL Chimp’s collection includes popular plugins like WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro, Gravity Forms and Backup Buddy.
WP Null is a Russian site that only sounds and looks like a ripware torrent site but is a GPL plugin and theme provider just like the others on this list. Unlike other providers, they don’t offer a subscription and don’t allow buying plugins individually. To download themes and plugins, you have to buy points starting at $4 for 10 download points.
They offer over 1500 Premium WordPress Themes and Plugins including Gravity Forms, Beaver Builder, S2 Member Pro and iThemes Backup Buddy.
GPL Kit (formerly known as WooGPL) offers over 550 WooCommerce and WordPress plugins for just $7.5 for the first month and then $15 a month after that. Unlike other theme providers, GPL Kit offers a WordPress plugin under the same name that you install on your WordPress website.
This plugin then allows you to install plugins from the GPL Kit collection with just one click and automatically updates them as soon as new updates are released. For just $15 a month, you can use GPL Kit for 25 sites. Popular WordPress and WooCommerce plugins like Monarch by Elegant Themes, Divi Builder and AffiliateWP are available.
Ultimate Woo is a WordPress plugin that is a suite of WooCommerce extensions. The company markets it as “Jetpack For WooCommerce”. As the name suggests, unlike most of the other providers on this list, this subscription based plugin only offers WooCommerce extensions.
The plugin comes with popular WooCommerce extensions such as Chained Products, 2Checkout Integration, Amazon S3 Integration, and Drip Integration. Unlike other providers on this list, once you install Ultimate Woo, you can enable any of the 78 WooCommerce extensions available with just one click. Ultimate Woo also installs plugin updates automatically as they are released.
Their personal license starts at $99 a year for a single WordPress site. You can also get a Business License for up to 5 WordPress sites and developer license for unlimited WordPress sites, for $199 and $399 a year respectively.
Started in 2015, WP Spring offers hundreds of premium WordPress plugins, WooCommerce extensions, and WordPress themes. You can buy plugins individually starting at $10. They also offer an all-access subscription for $15 a month which gives you access to all the plugins and themes. If you are only interested in the themes, you can get their theme-only subscription for $10 a month.
As mentioned on their website, they offer access to WordPress plugin, theme and WooCommerce extension updates as soon as they are released. Some popular WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions include Gravity Forms, Restrict Content, 2Checkout Integration, Authorize.net Integration and AffiliateWP.
Owlego is online since 2015 and offers over 1500 Premium WordPress Themes and Plugins with new ones added almost every month. This site is a bit different than the others. They offer a free one-day account which allows you to download as many plugins as you can in a day.
Owlego’s subscription starts at $10 a month and offers lifetime updates to up to 50 downloaded items. They also offer a $50 a year subscription which offers lifetime updates for up to 500 downloaded items. Both of these plans allow you to download plugins and themes as many times as you want as long as you are a paying member and offer lifetime updates even after the subscription ends for the plugins you download.
Some of the popular premium plugins offered by this provider include Yoast SEO Local, Gravity Forms and its add-ons, Autoblog, and Social Locker for WordPress. They also offer hundreds of popular CodeCanyon and ThemeForest items.
Theme Canal sells premium plugins and themes individually starting at $8. Their premium subscription starts at $15 a month with an additional one-time registration fee of $5.
Their offerings include popular WordPress plugins such as Gravity Forms, AffiliateWP, Beaver Builder, Coming Soon Pro, and Advanced Custom Fields Pro. Theme Canal’s offerings also include premium WooCommerce extensions such as WooChimp, 2Checkout Integration plugin, and WooCommerce 360 Images.
96Down offers over 1600 premium WordPress themes and plugins for just $18 a month that you can use on unlimited WordPress websites. Their website advertises that they have over 3700 members.
This provider has been online since 2012 and is one of the oldest. Their offerings include popular premium plugins such as Elementor Pro, Yoast SEO Premium, and Gravity Forms. They upload newly released updates of themes and plugins to their site every 12 hours.
GPL Life offers hundreds of premium WordPress themes, plugins and WooCommerce extensions that you can buy individually starting at just $5. If you buy a single item, you will receive updates for the item for the next 365 days. You can also buy a 30, 90 or 365-day subscription for $19, $44 and $99 respectively. Their subscription isn’t recurring meaning you will have to manually pay every month if you want to continue using the service.
Their collection of premium WordPress plugins includes popular plugins such as Gravity Forms, Advanced Custom Fields Pro, Divi Builder by Elegant Themes and Backup Buddy by iThemes. GPLLife’s collection also includes hundreds of themes from popular providers such as Elegant Themes, App Themes and StudioPress.
If you are just starting out as a blogger and don’t want to spend a thousand bucks just to test the waters, buying plugins from one of these providers might help save you a lot of money. Most of these providers do not offer any kind of support for automatic updates. That means you will have to manually install plugin updates by first downloading them from these providers and then installing them on your own.
There are some providers on this list like GPL Kit and Ultimate Woo who provide a plugin that offers a suite of plugins that can be enabled with just a click. These one-click install plugins also offer automatic plugin updates just like you would get when you buy from the original author of the plugin.
If you have ever bought a plugin from one of these providers or are thinking of buying one from these providers, we would recommend you to buy the plugin from the original author after trying it out to support the original developer or to gain access to customer support if you need it.
Whether or not it is unethical to sell plugins developed by a 3rd party under your own name is up to you to decide, but by the letter of the law it is not – theme and plugin developer choose to offer their products under the GPL license which specifically gives people permission to resell or giveaway their products if they want to.
We would love to hear your opinions on the matter. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments.