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I'm developing a WordPress plugin. I'd like to charge somewhat for it, because I'd like to be developing related things, for a living. I also want to make it easy for people to e.g. contribute patches and bug fixes. So I'm thinking about hosting the source code at GitHub.

Does anyone host the source code for a premium plugin, or theme, at e.g. GitHub?

Do people actually pay for that plugin?
Or do people share the link to the GitHub repo, and download via GitHub?

Please note: I don't mind if some people download the source code without paying. But if everyone does that, and no one pays, then that'd be problematic, perhaps I'd have to get a "real" job.

What if there was a compilation and build step, so you could not use the source code directly. Then perhaps most people would buy the plugin? So they'd get a downloadable .zip file that they understand how to use? (Instead of unusable source code.)

(A compilation step? PHP? What? Well, I like Coffeescript better than Javascript. There's a compilation step from Coffeescript to Javascript: you'd need to open a shell and run make dist or something, and that would compile the Coffeescript code and build a .zip file.)

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closed as not constructive by Stephen Harris, toscho Jun 22 '12 at 15:33

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is not the right place for a question like this however if you expect to make money off a premium plugin that is widely available as open source, you can expect people to bootleg your plugin much quicker than if it were distributed via purchase only. Also, you'll find those with legitimate intentions will download your plugin for free too, because they can. Once you make it open to others on GitHub you fall under their policy. If on the other hand you are selling support services instead of the plugin itself then you could consider it otherwise its counter intuitive to your approach. – userabuser Jun 22 '12 at 15:31
@userabuser Okay, thanks. I'm not sure that I want to sell services, so perhaps I should consider a Git repo with access control instead, e.g. a private GitHub / Bitbucket repo, or a Git repo on a private server with access control. – KajMagnus Jun 22 '12 at 15:49
@userabuser I'm not sure I understand which questions are okay with this site. I've read the About page, and it says: "This is a free, community driven Q&A for WordPress developers and administrators". Given that description, I don't understand why questions like How Do I Protect My Premium WordPress App Theme from Copying? are okay with this site, but not this question. (I'm not suggesting that this question be reopened; you and Pippin below have already been helpful) – KajMagnus Jun 22 '12 at 15:58
Perhaps the About page should be a little bit more specific? – KajMagnus Jun 22 '12 at 15:58
See the FAQ for greater understanding. While I agree with you, in-part, WPSE is focused more around questions that have a definitive answer, be it one or more. Where as your question, while a perfectly fine question, would receive more answers that are subjective/opinion related, or open ended in such a way that although address the issue raised, provide no real right answer. Sure there's a logical answer, but topically this is not fit for the code-driven questions that mostly exist here but stop by the Chat room anytime for a talk! – userabuser Jun 22 '12 at 16:09
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have only ever hosted paid plugins on private Github repos.

If you are fine with some users downloading the code for free from Github, then I wouldn't worry about it too much. Most "normal" (non developer) users get turned off by Github because the first thing they see is a bunch of code.

I'm not saying that a large number of users wouldn't download from Github, or that some users might promote the fact that you can download it from github, but if you have the main plugin's site elsewhere (perhaps a dedicated domain) and you're advertising it for sell there, most users who are interested in just using it will probably purchase it.

To help mitigate the number of non-developer users that do download it from Github, one thing you might consider is not publishing the Github link anywhere except in a "Developer's" section of the site. Non-developer users will very, very rarely ever look at a "Developer's" section.

Just my two cents.

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Those are two very reasonable cents. Perhaps I should do that, and if it doesn't work out okay, I'll build another version of the plugin, with more features (which I'll probably do regardless). And give away the first version for free, but host the second version in a private Git repo and charge for access. – KajMagnus Jun 22 '12 at 16:10
That is what I often do. – Pippin Jun 22 '12 at 17:27

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