Paid vs. free vs. freemium
Since you bought this course, I will assume you know what WPML is; at least you will have a rough idea of what it is used for. So I will not go into too much detail here, but just this:
- WPML, which stands for WordPress Multilingual, is a plugin for WordPress websites that lets website developers and owners present their content in multiple languages.
- WPML is actually a suite of several plugins. I will go over them in the next lecture.
- WPML not only allows to simply create content in multiple languages, it also offers a translation management plugin, so that you can on-board translators for different language combinations and manage the progress of each translation in the backend.
That said, compared to other plugins for multilingual WordPress websites, WPML has been the gold standard for me since 2012. Back then, WMPL offered a developer licence, which I bought for my various website projects. Today, WPML only offers their different licenses based on subscriptions. This means, in order to obtain the files for the plugin(s) and in order to receive updates and support, users have to pay an annual fee.
From an economic standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Once a plugin developer has so many installs, they need to hire developers and support agents. Funnily enough, all my favorite product developers for WordPress assets have moved from one-off pricing to subscription-based pricing over the years.
What you are paying for is not the files and the code. Under GPL (https://www.wpbeginner.com/glossary/gpl/), all products for WordPress have to be open source. What you are paying for is updates and support. The latter will make sense to you, without a doubt. But why should you pay for updates?
It is vital for any WordPress website that all its files are updated in a timely manner, for two reasons.
- As the entire WordPress ecosystem evolves and is further developed, WordPress itself - the core - has to be developed further. Think compatibility with browsers, database software, file formats, and more. Along with the WordPress core, theme and plugin developers have to follow suit, in order to ensure that their products work well with WordPress and other software and systems, such as PHP versions. (PHP is the language that WordPress is written in.)
- Security. Because WordPress and all the products developed for it are open source, it is vulnerable to a myriad of attacks. You've certainly heard of hackers. They place malicious code in websites when they find a way into a system. Outdated WordPress core files, themes and plugins can open the gates for hackers.
And this is why it is important you take into consideration buying premium plugins and themes over free ones. Because with free plugins, you never know when the author will stop maintaining their product. Their incentive to do so can quickly fade when they have the next great idea. I am not saying that all plugin providers are like that. :) However, with plugins that are crucial for the design and/or functionality of your website, you should consider investing in products that are built by people who have committed themselves. Being held accountable by customers is a great incentive to keep a good product working.
Having to deal with themes and plugins that are no longer maintained can be a pain in the butt at the least, and may cost many tens of hours of redesigning or fixing it at worst. Well, that's not true. Worst-case scenario could actually be your site being hacked and your hosting account being shut down because infected files could corrupt the entire server if you are on shared hosting. I've seen that happen to one of my servers with more than 25 accounts on it in the early days of my web hosting and design career. A lesson learned.
Now, you might say that there are plugins out there that have a free version and paid versions for functionalities that you might not need (freemium). But if you look at the comparison chart over at WPML, it becomes pretty clear that WPML is the most popular and most favorably priced one among the big names. Here's a screenshot. Follow this link for the complete comparison.
I don't want to repeat what is written on that page. So I hope you gave it a good read. :) But I do want to draw your attention to the fact that one of the plugins owns your translations. If you stop subscribing to their service, the translations are gone. By the way, the outlined checkmarks, as opposed to the full checkmarks, refer to features that are only available with a paid plan.
The best purchase you can make at WPML is the WMPL CMS package, currently valued at $79 per year. I would choose it over the WPML Blog package because with it, page builders ("themes") are supported, such as Divi by Elegant Themes, you can translate widgets, manage translators, and you can register up to three sites, whether those are your own or client websites.
And remember: With this course, you are entitled to one licence (WPML CMS) with updates and support (by WPML) for life. That is because I have the "old" developer license mentioned above. If you plan on offering WPML translations to your clients, you can buy a license from me with the same specs for a one-time fee of 129 Euro. (Yes, I double checked with WPML and I am allowed to do so.)
If you have any questions regarding their pricing or anything else related to this lecture, please feel free to drop it in the comments.
One last thing
I will say that WPML is a very comprehensive tool. But if you are a translator, you have a huge advantage because you probably work with CAT tools. Especially if you've built your own WordPress website or at least know how to navigate WordPress, this knowledge, combined with your CAT tool know-how, will make using WPML a lot easier for you.