Why do WordPress Plugins Charge an Annual Fee?

It’s a fair question: Why do plugin developers charge annually for premium plugins? Why can’t you just buy a plugin once and own it for life?

We’re going to tackle this question below. Hopefully we can help illuminate why we charge an annual fee for our premium plugins and what that fee provides for our customers.

Here’s what you need to know about why your WordPress plugins charge an annual fee.

Plugins are not static.

Think of your favorite premium WordPress plugins like living, breathing organisms. When we release a new The Events Calendar plugin into the world, we don’t drop it off, move on, then never touch it again—quite the opposite. 

Our team is constantly working to resolve bugs and keep your plugins running smoothly. We’re regularly evolving and adapting to changes in WordPress, and we also make updates to ensure our plugins are compatible with other important tools like Yoast, WooCommerce, Divi and Avada. Plus, we release updates to keep plugins up-to-date with broader sea changes in website design, like making sure our products work on any device or browser.

Want to keep up with all of our product news and releases? Check out our Release Notes.

We’re always introducing new features.

We don’t just squash bugs and solve issues (although that is an important part of our work). Beyond fixing the occasional problem, our team always has new projects in the works for added features and upgrades.

A few examples:

We never nickel-and-dime you for these upgrades. Your annual payment supports our team’s ability to create new features and major releases (plus, these are the features you want—we rely on user feedback to drive decisions about new features).

We have a team of human beings providing premium support.

The Events Calendar employs a support team of nearly 20 people around the world.

Your subscription gives you access to support any time you need help or get stuck. The annual fee for our plugins allows us to keep our support team staffed and equipped to provide individualized, one-on-one support to all of our customers.

“Open source” doesn’t mean “free.”

We are big believers in developing open-source plugins for the WordPress community. But freely sharing ideas and code doesn’t mean developers can’t—or shouldn’t—charge for their services. 

We’ve always offered The Events Calendar code completely free to anyone who wants to use it. When we charge for our premium offerings, it’s a business decision: It allows us to keep our company afloat while offering new ways for users to enhance the free calendar with extra features. 

The idea that we give something away for free while also making money off it is a bit of a paradox. But this approach is what supports our business (and the businesses of lots of other plugin developers). 

At the end of the day, charging a fee for premium plugins is a win for users, who receive ongoing support and improvements, and it’s a win for companies like ours, so we can continue funding our open-source efforts.