I’m sure many premium WordPress plugins have caught your eye if you’re like me. Often the free version is good enough for your needs, but sometimes you just need those extra features. So you go to their website and see that the plugin requires a subscription. Usually a yearly fee. Should you go ahead and purchase it? And what happens if you don’t renew the subscription? Will the plugin stop working?
You Usually Pay Yearly for Support and Upgrades
To answer this, we need to ask, “What are we paying for?” Obviously, when you make the first payment, you’re paying for the right to download the plugin and activate it with a license key – there’s no getting around that. But when the website asks you to activate a PayPal subscription, what you’re really paying for is support and continuous updates.
For example, I recently reviewed the plugin GenerateBlocks, created and maintained by the author of the GeneratePress theme. I use it extensively on my site to create all kinds of endlessly customizable reusable interfaces. I purchased the premium version, and till the time of renewal, I will get priority support and updates.
But what happens after that? Does the plugin stop working? Will the plugin auto-delete itself?
Only Service-Based Plugins Will Stop Working
Unless your plugin connects to a 3rd party service to provide its functionality, you can continue using it even after your subscription ends. Let’s say the plugin regularly checks keyword positions for your articles by connecting to the author’s service. Then, obviously, that will stop working once the subscription ends. This is because the author continues to expend resources on the plugin, which isn’t free.
But if the functionality is self-contained, it will continue to work. I just mentioned the premium version of GenerateBlocks. When the year is up and I choose not to renew my subscription, I’ll still have access to all the premium features just like before. The only difference is that I won’t get any more updates and support. If there’s a problem, I’ll need to ask a question on the plugin’s help page, just like everyone else.
The Free Version Still Receives Updates
Often when you purchase the premium version of a WordPress plugin, you won’t uninstall the free version. The two typically work side-by-side, with the premium version extending the free version’s functionality. So when your subscription expires, only the free version will receive updates. This probably includes important security updates etc. So even afterward, you still get the most important improvements to functionality and security.
Is it Worth Paying a Subscription for a Premium WordPress Plugin?
Often, the answer is no. At least the ones I’ve purchased continue to work perfectly well after the subscription ends, without any new updates. If the nature of the plugin is such that you need to ask the author for help constantly, then obviously, you need to keep paying for it, but otherwise, you can safely let the subscription expire and continue using your version of the free plugin without any qualms.
If, later on, you see that the plugin developer has added new features to the plugin that you want to have, you can always make another payment and get the updates and support for another year! This way, you save money on renewals and reserve the option to pay for more features that you want. The best of both worlds!
In general, it’s best to think of yearly WordPress plugin subscriptions as a single payment to obtain the software and then cancel the renewals almost immediately.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!