After 2 years and over 200,000 downloads, we’re turning WPML into a commercial plugin. I know this may not be the most popular move, but I can promise that the long-term results would be great for everyone.

The Numbers

We’ll be offering two versions:

  • Multilingual Blog – $29 USD
  • Multilingual CMS – $79 USD

The blog version will be fine for most blogs. It includes the standard translation controls you’re used to in WPML.

The CMS version includes the Translation Management and Strings Translation packages, which are typically used for larger sites.

Each purchase will come with one year of support and updates. After that one year, you can get additional support and update years for 50%.

The Big Difference

We thought that it would be appropriate to improve WPML, in return to asking for payment.

Instead of one developer, there are now three working on the project – full time.

The results, so far, are:

  • 17 critical bugs fixed.
  • 3 security holes closed.
  • 231 PHP warnings and notices fixed (try running WPML with WP_DEBUG to see for yourself).
  • 43 code optimizations, reducing memory consumption by nearly 50%.
  • 19 SQL query optimizations, reducing DB access by up to 90%.
  • 5 usability improvements, to help site admins find what they’re looking for faster.
  • 3 new features that we still managed to slide in.

This is the beginning. Next, we’re planning new features which have been on hold for too long already:

  • New (working) version of BuddyPress Multilingual.
  • Support for e-commerce plugins like Shopp and WPEC, without waiting for anything from anyone else.
  • Better interoperability with major caching and SEO plugins.
  • Interface for industry-standard translation software (Trados and the likes).

Premium Support

Just like most of you, we’re developers ourselves and we use tools that others have built. The thing that we suffer from most is slow support for stuff we rely on.

As we turn WPML into a commercial product, we’re bumping up the support. WPML forum is getting a major face-lift. We’ll be answering every thread and making sure that nothing is left to chance.

Some technical improvements to the forum will include the ability to subscribe to threads for email notifications, and an indication for the length of the support queue.

You can Still Use the Free Version

The current free version of WPML, on wp.org, is going to remain there.

If you’re happy with it, you can keep using it for as long as you like. Heck, we’re still running with it on our own sites.

Free For…

All current ICanLocalize translation and support clients don’t need to pay to get WPML. It’s included.

We will also give free access to non profits and theme and plugin developers.

Launch Date

Our new site, with the purchase mechanism will be live shortly. As I’m writing these lines, our folks are checking and double checking everything. We’re down to the very last issues and hope to release in a few days.

All these upgrades and payments and nasty stuff are up to you to choose. If you want to get the newer versions and enjoy premium support, you’re welcome to purchase. Otherwise, what you have is just fine.

76 Responses to “WPML is Becoming a Commercial Product”

  1. Hello,

    I’m now in a bit of a tricky situation as I’m just finishing a small site for my B&B and I selected WPML before I realized that it was going commercial. However, I can’t justify paying for the updates each year and so I’ll be stuck at some point in the future when I need to update WP and can’t because the version I paid for is not tested/working!

    I also just needs updates.

    Any suggestions?

    • WPML is an open source software. You’re welcome to download the last version that we released on wp.org and make the changes yourself. You don’t need permission from anyone to do that.

      We discovered that it takes several people, working full time, to maintain and develop a plugin of this order. To fund this activity, we’re asking for payment for our work. If the amount we’re asking doesn’t seem to justify the effort we’re putting into it, you should use something else. I don’t recommend buying something because you feel obliged or tricked.

      There are other multilingual plugins for WordPress which are currently free. Being free, they cannot dedicate this amount of energy to the project. It’s good that you have a choice between free and ‘community’ maintained projects and paid and professionally maintained code.

      • Thank you for the reply.

        I’ve looked at the two package options and I’m wondering if I need the full CMS package for a simple site. I can’t find detailed info on what the “WPML CMS Navigation” option does?

  2. I think that your pricing plan has some serious problems. The cheaper Blog License comes without string translation, which I think is essential to all users.

    It would be better to have different prices for: a) two languages, b) three languages, c) four or more languages.

  3. “I don’t know, maybe I’m the only user who feels like this?”

    No you are not. There is me! And others I bet!

    I think you WPML developers have choosen the wrong business concept. It does not make sense to start a GPL-project and all of the sudden try to make money by chargin for distribution. I know it is hard to gain commercial success with free software, but chargin for distribution is not the way to go. I agree with Christopher Culver, anyone could redistribute the latest version of WPML for free, except you are able to change the licence (which will be really difficult). Going for support and service is pretty common and a much better solution in my opinion. Besides that you have snubed many users and developers with this change of concept.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appriciate your work and I know how much it is. I support ftree software as much as I can and I know most people don’t. But this is a no-go!

  4. Looks good. Reading over most of the comments here, most people seem to agree.

    The terms look okay too: old plugin won’t break, license stays GPL, one-time fee.

    I maybe have one or two clients who run WPML so I’m going to see if, how and why I’d upgrade and how I’m going to ‘finance’ this; just buy it myself or charge them 😉

    Generally though, I like this approach and I wish you good luck!

    Cheers

  5. While I understand the frustration that people are feeling at having to pay for something that was once free, I totally understand why WPML has gone commercial. I honestly think that for the type of product it is, the price is extremely competitive.

    Don’t forget that it means you can use it on as many sites as you like. Many other commercial plugins have a much more expensive pricing structure.

    When you have invested as much time and money into a product as these guys have, why shouldn’t they get some kind of financial reward?

    I would rather pay for something that is this well supported than simply using something because it is free, hoping that I get the support I need. As Amir said, there are other plugins out there – if the pricing is too much for you, take one of them for a spin!

    I say keep up the good work!

  6. I really think this would be a nice move… if you didn’t deleted the old content from wordpress.org… that is a really dirty trick to force us to upgrade to an unstable version to tell us to buy a new one…

    • Actually, the good folks running the WordPress plugins repository decided to de-list WPML. We kept it for doing essential security updates, but they thought that it better be removed. We don’t control their policy.

  7. I think that is a very silly move. If your product was any good, maybe it wouldnt be such a bad idea, but considering WPML sucks so much it’s not even funny, nobody is going to use it anymore!

    WPML is not even a real multilanguage system, it just emulates one by creating duplicate posts with different IDs, which of course breaks a lot of functionality with WordPress plugins, custom queries etc.

    • That’s the good thing about the Internet. We can each have an opinion and the stage to voice it. WPML is not meant for everyone and it’s good that there are some fine alternatives out there. Best of luck with your websites.

  8. Hello,
    This plugin was using for a long time. But apparently not use anymore.

    Why?

    I have several sites with this add-on. All of my work corporate jobs. I won the money with them as noticeable. Money is not important. If you need money we could donate to you.

    Open source is a structure to make money is not wrong. Once upon a time in mysql had the structure, completely open source. What do they do? Continued to the open source version. Money advanced versions offered for sale in a way. Here’s what should be. WPML than I would’ve expected to do so.

    But it happened. You have that decision.

    Open-source-minded developers who think like me to draw their own ways to fall.

    Best Regards.

  9. It is always a pleasure to give money to people and products that deserve it. Congratulations on your move and I know you will continue to provide a great product and service. I am the most recent proud owner of WPML CMS paid version.