One of the reasons that WordPress has become so popular is the fact that it is an open source platform. This means that people can use it, distribute it and alter it as much as they want without having to pay a single software company responsible for developing it. An easy way to understand this is to understand the difference between Windows and Linux.
Windows is a proprietary operating system developed, maintained, licensed and wholly owned by the Microsoft Corporation. If you want to do anything involving Windows, you have to pay Microsoft. Linux is an open source operating system developed by a community, it belongs to no one and anybody can make as many copies as they want, install it is much as they want and distribute it as much as they want. WordPress is more like Linux than it is like Windows.
What About Paid Themes?
Paid premium WordPress themes, and the reason that you have to pay for them, might be a little bit confusing if you’re not familiar with how software development works in many cases. The companies that make paid WordPress themes support their themes and, to a large extent, that’s what you’re paying for. This brings up one of the primary shortcomings of a great deal of open source software: support.
If you use a free WordPress theme on a business site and you run into trouble, you’re pretty much on your own. The theme is free, which is an advantage, of course, but there is no support that comes with it and there is nobody to ask if you have an issue. Features will also be minimal. You will have to understand WordPress quite well to be able to install most free themes and altering them may require you to crack open the CSS, HTML, PHP and other files associated with the theme and manually change the code.
Paid themes are greatly enhanced with easier user menus, built in styles and other features that make them a lot simpler to use, particularly for business purposes.
WordPress remains open source. You can install WordPress on your server and use it as a platform for managing your site at no cost. It’s one of the best content management systems out there, by any measure. If you want to get the most out of it, however, you may want to consider utilizing a paid theme on top of your WordPress install. This gives you the advantages of paid software with the financial advantages of open source.