If you go to the Google search site:https://themeforest.net/item/ This item is licensed 100% GPL, you will find a lot of GPL themes.

Is it legal to use a theme which I buy once in multiple sites?

(Please use "Yes" or "No" and simple English.)

  • 1
    Don't link to a Google search. No need to say "use 'YES' or 'No'." If an answer didn't actually answer your question, use comments to ask her to clarify.
    – Brandin
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


Yes. The number of sites that use a GPL-licensed theme is not limited by the GPL. Using a GPL-licensed theme on only one site is exactly as legal as using it on one hundred different sites.

Using a theme on a site is actually redistributing that theme to the site's visitors. Since the GPL is a free software license, it must not place restrictions on the number of times redistribution can take place or on the number of sites where you perform redistribution. Therefore, you may use the theme on as many sites as you please.

It may be confusing that the ThemeForest web site says that each theme purchase includes a license for one site only:

Regular License
Use, by you or one client, in a single end product which end users are not charged for.

This certainly sounds like the opposite of the answer above! However, the ThemeForest FAQ clarifies that those terms do not apply when the theme is marked "100% GPL" and that the GPL applies instead (emphasis mine):

Sometimes an author will choose to distribute a theme or plugin item on the basis that it's 100% GPL [...]. In these cases, the GPL license applies to the whole item instead of the terms of the Regular or Extended License. Different versions of the GPL exist and the relevant version of the GPL will identified. You will need to make sure that you read and abide by the GPL terms.

  • As I understand from your answer it's legal to use the 100% GPL themes in multiple sites as a commercial use but through the last days I do a lot of search, I get some point of views convinced that the GPL is about the "source code" as an open source not the "use" of the source code. they say "Why do you need a license if it is already open source? the license is an argument between you and the author to use the code in your commercial project. it's open source, but that does not mean it's free" Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 13:09
  • so if I will use the theme in commercial use I will need to buy a license to use the open source code . have they a misunderstanding , or what ? Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 13:09
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    @MohamedYasin Regarding "Why do you need a license if it is already open source?" -- You don't pay for the GPL license, exactly. You pay to have the GPL code given to you. Quite simply: if you don't pay, you don't have it. Once you pay and you do have it, you may redistribute it however you like. You could, in theory, get the theme from someone else who already paid. However, there might not be anyone who is bothering to distribute the theme for free secondhand (and it might be easier to pay someone who is offering than to spend days looking from someone who will give it for free).
    – apsillers
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 14:09
  • Yes. GPL allows commercial distribution and use. Access to source code does not make it Open Source. The name does not help, there is a definitions. It talks about freedoms: To use (for anything, any number of times, by anyone), distribute (for any price, to anyone, as much as you like), study, modify … Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 0:20

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