WordPress requires a theme in order to customize the design of your website. In most cases, to get the level of customization you desire it will require a premium WordPress theme, which requires the purchase of a license. As someone who not only creates WordPress Websites but often provides maintenance on sites created by others, one of the biggest issues my clients and I run into is a premium WordPress theme that isn’t licensed to the client. How does this happen and why is it important that you own your premium WordPress theme license?
Why you may not own that premium WordPress theme license
I discussed premium themes in a previous article. The thing is, in many cases, you aren’t the one creating your website. You’re going to hire someone to create it for you. Chances are, they are going to choose their favorite premium theme to build it with. It’s highly likely, if they do a lot of WordPress website building, they’ll have their own license for that theme. It allows them to install the theme and create your website. If you have an ongoing relationship with them, it also allows them to log into your WordPress Dashboard, input their license information, and do needed updates to the premium theme.
This is not an unusual practice. For most web developers creating a long-term relationship with the client is their goal.
But what happens when the person who built your website is no longer in the picture?
Maybe they aren’t in business anymore or perhaps you had some sort of parting of the ways. Now you’re left with an unlicensed premium theme installed on your website. This means you can’t get updates, including security updates, for that theme. Unless you have someone else knowledgeable in WordPress log in to your Dashboard, you may never even realize that you’re dealing with an out of date premium theme and the possibility of security vulnerabilities that come with it.
How I handle the licensing issue as a WordPress website creator
When I build a website for a client, I explain that I will be using a premium theme and possibly premium plugins, that are licensed to me. I explain that they are not charged for those items, which results in a lower cost for their website build. At the end of the build, they receive 30 days of free maintenance, which includes theme updates.
When the 30 days is about to expire, I send the clients a letter not only offering them a deal for continuing monthly maintenance, but also explaining that if they decide not to sign up for one of my maintenance packages, they will be responsible for licensing any premium themes and plugins that I used in the building of the website. I then list the theme or plugin, the cost for licensing and a link to the website(s). I feel it is common courtesy to do so.
Unfortunately, it appears many WordPress developers, designers and creators don’t provide this information to their clients. This leaves many WordPress websites vulnerable and sadly, the owners usually aren’t even aware of it.
If you’ve had someone else create your WordPress website, do they still do updates for you? Or are they long gone?
Make sure you own your premium WordPress theme license if your website creator is out of the picture. Doing so will allow you to keep your website updated, safe and secure.