Has anyone noticed a massive decrease in the quality of free plugins? Almost every plugin now is just a shell free plugin with basically no functionality because everything is hidden behind a paid version. It seems like developers are using WP Plugins directory to advertise their paid plugins

I’ve been developing with WP for 7 years now and I feel like almost all free plugins are just a ploy to push the users to pay for a paid version since the free plugin barely has any functionality. Compare that to a solid free plugin like Advanced Custom Fields which offers like 90% of its functionalities in their free version.

Anyone else feels the same?

  1. You’d be surprised how little free plugins get from donations. Plus you’ll see devs on Twitter complain about how free plugin users still want support, as if they are paid users.

    It’s hard to work for free and post bills, you know?

  2. I think the trend started a while ago, but yes, I agree 100%. Also, the amount of marketing bloat in plugins has grown astronomically.

  3. Developers switched to the paid model over donations, generally because the paid model works and donations don’t. Dev’s gotta eat too.

  4. Everything free in life is someone trying to manipulate you into paying for something. That’s how our system is set up. That’s how SaaS works in general. There is no incentive for someone to provide you with a truly free product or service.

    There’s no free lunch.

  5. I haven’t felt or noticed the same. Still plenty of good free plugins around. Pods for example does everything the pro version of ACF does for free and the support is fantastic.

    There are also plenty of one of buy plugins that are the equivalent of subscription versions on Codecanyon and the likes. This also allows authors to make some sort of a living through their work.

  6. The entire wp plugin system exists precisely so developers can market their plugins. That’s literally why it’s there.

  7. To be expected since we don’t really know how to subsidize opensource initiatives properly.

  8. The most important plugins I use are still free (Pods, ClassicEditor, WebPUploads, Debloat, WPSuperCache, SimpleCSS) or at least free versions have almost all functionality of paid ones (Forminator, GenerateBlocks, HoneyPot, Polylang).

    I try to donate during BlackFriday time. I find if I can buy cheaper, it’s fair to donate some money on the other side, to developers of free software I use. FOSS deserves donation.


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