I having a few issues understanding how sites like gpldl.com can call themselves legal. This is basically a site where they purchase themes/plugins from developers such as:

  • WooThemes
  • iThemes
  • Gravity Forms
  • WPML
  • Elmastudio
  • Elegant Themes

The site then states that since their plugins/themes are licensed under GNU General Public License, they can then share them with others.

Some of the WooCommerce Plugins are kind of expensive and is it possible that these could in really be "free" excluding the support from the developer? Basically, my question is, is this actually legal to use? Can I download plugins and themes from this site and use them legally on a commercial project?


They are GPL licensed. Each WordPress file contains either a licence.txt or readme.txt file that clearly states they are GPLv2 or higher. As such they are free to redistribute the files as they wish.

Disclaimer: We also own a website that distributes GPL licenced WordPress software at https://www.gplvault.com and only accept files that are 100% GPL. The thing to watch out for is that none of the files carry a so called split licence where the PHP and HTML is GPL and the Images and CSS are non-GPL.


There's two possibilities here.

1. The themes are actually under the GPL

If this is actually the case, then you can use the projects/plugins/themes commercially, as long as you follow the rest of the terms of the licence.

2. The themes aren't under the GPL

Then no. The media was licensed wrongfully. All a copyright holder needs to do is tell you, and boom. You can't use the media anymore. That can seriously cause you problems: you would then have to remove anything and everything that used that media, so it can disappear without a trace.

The decision to choose whether the items are properly licensed is yours.

As a side note, you can ask open source licensing questions as Open Source SE (disclaimer: I'm a moderator there) as well.

  • I know for a fact that they are, their readme specifically specifies that, are there any other terms in GPL that could prevent me from using that theme/plugin in a commercial environment? Would you recommend I move this question to Open Source SE? – Tom Jun 23 '16 at 0:04
  • 1
    @Tom Nope. You just need to make sure that you understand and follow the other terms of the GPL. I'm making it clear though - they are pretty restrictive and long. It's a strong copyleft licence. – Zizouz212 Jun 23 '16 at 0:04
  • @Tom Your question is fine here, but open source is kind of like a dedicated site for open source licenses and the like, so it's always good to get a second opinion :) – Zizouz212 Jun 23 '16 at 0:06
  • ok, I'll ask on their too - more information I can get on this the better:) – Tom Jun 23 '16 at 0:09
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    @gnasher729 Which is why I included a section if the themes aren't actually under the GPL. – Zizouz212 Jun 23 '16 at 12:02

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