Plugin Licensing/Marketplace

I think paid plugins were discussed before, but I wonder if the licensing/payment process can be somewhat integrated with Kirby.

If the plugin depends on a remote service, you just slap a pricing plan on that and you’re good to go. But that doesn’t follow the “Try > :heart: > Buy” mentality of Kirby. Besides, what if your plugin doesn’t use a remote service? How would you incorporate pricing?

I think it would be cool if aside of Kirby licensing, you had plugin licensing as well. You could build your own functionality for that in the plugin, but it would be better if Kirby had a native flow for this.

This could be taken a step further if Kirby can handle license purchases as well - you register in some sort of Kirby developer program and Kirby provides licenses for your plugins:

  • Developers can easily make paid plugins
  • Users can buy licenses for those plugins
  • Kirby and the developer share the revenue
  • Developers get a good incentive to support and advance plugins
  • Users get better support and experience

Everybody wins. @bastianallgeier thoughts?

I’m obviously not talking about making even the tiniest plugin paid. But it would be great if plugins that do a lot and demand a lot of time to develop/maintain could be supported in some way.


I think this could become way too complicated to handle in terms of bureaucracy.
Kirby would have to essentially act as a middleman.

Plus, the Kirby team would have to go through each plugin and make sure the code is ok and it’s not doing anything fishy since these plugins would then be sold under the Kirby name.

I don’t think the team has the time nor the resources to do something like this.

Kirby would have to essentially act as a middleman.

If a company has an affiliate program, it can’t not be a middleman, I think? YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, App Store. And I do realize the difference in scale between those companies and Kirby. :smile: I was wondering if the team has been thinking of anything in that direction.

Plus, the Kirby team would have to go through each plugin and make sure the code is ok and it’s not doing anything fishy since these plugins would then be sold under the Kirby name.

There could be some sort of way to grant eligibility to participate in the plugin program. Something like:

  • being a contributor to Kirby
  • being an active member in the community for X period of time
  • having a plugin with X or more stars/downloads/whatever

I don’t think the team has the time nor the resources to do something like this.

Perhaps members of the community could be chosen as curators and they would review plugins that developers submit in a queue.

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I let the Kirby team answer about whether they have something planned, but my 2c:

I maintain (wasn’t very efficient at it lately, but still) 12 plugins, with 4000+ installs with Composer (submodules / direct downloads not included). They are MIT so no mandatory license but I have a little something in each readme if anyone wants to support me when used in a commercial project. So far I’ve got 4 donations (mainly by Kirby devs I know :black_heart:) and 4 affiliates.

Don’t get this message wrong I’m not complaining at all, I earn a good living, I’m happy to maintain these when I find time (else I wouldn’t have published them under MIT) and I’m very grateful for those who helped me with €.

I just think there’s such a huge gap between these “stats” and a model where plugin devs would find a satisfying balance if they were expecting a regular income from it that I’m afraid this could be a lot of work and effort for not much reward.

But maybe @timoetting who published the Builder field with a pay-what-you-want license has a different input? Or @distantnative with detour who added a built-in donation thing?


i also have a lot of plugins for k2 and k3. i tried making money with them in k2 and it was hardly worth the effort to setup my fastspring account.
the community had that discussion here in the forum before and during k3 beta on slack. plugin devs accepting donations and the affiliate system seemed most according to the kirby vibe - but please correct me if i remember wrong.
also i would like to quote @mzur who said to me once that he does not want to license/mircopayment for his uniform plugin because he would feel to much obligation to respond on issues and that would ruin the fun he has maintaining them. i feel the same way about that now.
like @sylvainjule i can still count all donations made for my k3 plugins with my fingers - i do have 10 like most people do.


Well not really. If I use an affilate link the final user is buying from Kirby directly. There’s no middleman involved in the transaction. I act as a spokesperson basically.

Things are different if Kirby sells something on my behalf (like a plugin I made).
I agree with @sylvainjule when he says

this could be a lot of work and effort for not much reward.

I think, we should see this from different views. Right now, we talk about these two aspects if they were the same:

  1. You get donations because you developed a nice plugin and its users love you.
  2. You earn cash because you sell your plugin.

Regarding aspect 1, I’m sure this concept wouldn’t work out. If we talk about aspect 2, we have a concept which is run successful by different companies. It shouldn’t be much work to set up a marketplace for plugins run by the Kirby devs. As a developer, you sign up, provide your plugin and 5 or 10 % of the revenue goes to Kirby devs. To make this interesting for the plugin buyers you should:

  1. Enforce a quite liberal license regarding usage/changing the source code on your own behalf
  2. Ensure that users are allowed to modify and to use the plugin, even if it’s not further developed/the plugin developer closed its business (this requires that there’s no extra or no at all license check for plugins)
  3. Support is provided by the devs like in a public forum style; the plugin dev has to reply to issues within like 2 week to keep his plugin in the store
  4. If code quality sucks (security issues/insane data loss bugs) or there’s legal issues with the plugin, the plugin is removed from the store and the recent/newest users will be refunded.

This somehow sounds a bit complex but at the end, it was even done by one person businesses and is most of the time a one time setup with rarley any support for the Kirby team. At the end, this is a process which makes it easier and standardized to buy plugins for Kirby 3 and ends in a one-stop-place where checking out is like 1 or 2 minutes. I don’t buy plugins because most of the times, there’s zero safety regarding future/if problems occur with the dev and this makes it less risky. Of course it won’t work out for plugins with 5 lines of code (well except if they are very good :wink: ).

(Yes, it’s a very short explanation; sadly I’m lacking the time today but I wanted to make sure to support @hdodov’s idea because it’s a bit sceptical treated)

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I completely agree with that. A paying user equals responsibility. My point isn’t to make paid plugins the new standard. I’m talking about having the ability to easily make paid plugins.

This would give Kirby the ability to grow further. I’m not talking about turning into a WordPress type of mess, though. But nowadays, you have web services for everything and it’s expected to have the ability to integrate those services into everything. Due to Kirby’s flexibility, integrations for third party services can be very versatile. The problem is - someone needs to develop them and support them. Since nobody would do that for free, Kirby needs to figure out a way to allow that to happen.

I don’t quite understand what web services have to do with your arguments? Integrations are one type of plugin but by far not the only one.

Again - I never said that integrations are the only type of plugin, nor that they should be. However, they allow Kirby to be the foundation of a larger system, thereby allowing it to be the solution for more use cases.

Due to the flexible nature of Kirby, it can solve problems without turning them into a mess. Why not take advantage of that? Isn’t the main mission of Kirby to deliver a nice experience for both end-users and developers (I remember reading that somewhere)? One reason that makes integrations hard to happen is, as I’ve said, developing such solutions requires more resources than usual. I started this discussion because I wondered what Kirby can do to help with that.

I don’t have an answer for you. @bastianallgeier is currently on vacation and will certainly get back to you when he’s back.

As @bnomei already mentioned above, there were discussions on Slack before the launch of Kirby 3 and in the end there wasn’t a high demand for a marketplace, and least as far as I remember. Currently, there are hardly any paid plugins for Kirby 3.

With the official list of plugin on the website and the affiliate program, we have a achieved a first step to officially support Kirby developers, compared to Kirby 2.

Feedback here seems somewhat limited at the moment, but maybe that’s due to the holiday season. So let’s wait and hear some more voices.


For what its worth… I think most of the time people make a plugin because they have a personal need for it at that time. Most of them release it publicly in case it helps someone else out. Personally, if i need to come up with a little plugin for a client site, then i’m getting paid for that as part of the project.

So it’s totally ok if nobody clicks the affiliate or tip links, because I had my time to make it covered already. Anything else is a bonus. In fact, nobody ever has tipped me or clicked through on the affiliate link and bought a licence. But thats ok, i do it for fun and i like to help people. The community is one of the great things about Kirby, after. I think it would be very sad if people stopped making all the awesome plugins because there was no money to be found it.

Other CMS systems have gone down the premium plugin route, and I honestly think its damaged them in the long run.

Yes, I think that is true.

However, there are sometimes plugins that go beyond the occasional “I need it for a project so I extend it a bit more to make it useful for everyone”, for example the Merx e-commerce plugin. For a big plugin like that I think the price tag makes sense and is totally justified (even though these agencies probably developed the stuff for their own use in the first place).

While I do create the occasional plugin myself, they are usually small ones mainly intended for my own use cases or because I want to try things out and learn stuff. For me personally, it wouldn’t make sense to try and monetize on them beyond the occasional donation (if there are any) and the same probably holds true for many of our devs.

The current state of affairs, however, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to attract other devs by supporting plugin sales. But it’s a difficult situation. We are a small team with limited resources and providing a marketplace would indeed mean that we have to make sure that what is sold through this marketplace is worth the money and doesn’t hurt the brand in the long run.

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In cases like that i think it is justified - a plugin like that is a huge chunk of effort, even if a client got it started with their budget. Charging a premium for that is understandable.

I just worry that all the best plugins will end up behind a pay wall, and it create perceived level of investment to new users. I chose Kirby over another system 4 years ago because at the time the official plugin that allowed that system to process contact forms was ridiculously over priced. I didn’t have the confidence back then to make my own, but I probably could now. It seemed under hand to me that the people who made the system where further squeeze users for something fairly fundamental. It should have been in the core of the system.

If people think, rightly or wrongly, that they need £300+ to get off the ground with Kirby (for a Kirby licence + 3 or 4 cornerstone plugins like form handlers) then ultimately that will damage Kirby a fair bit.

Similarly, if the route was taken where big features where deliberately kept out of Kirby’s core offering and instead offered as premium paid for plugins made by the Kirby team… that approach doesn’t sit right with me.

As you say, it is a tricky situation and needs handling with great care.

Yep, it would be sad indeed. And just to be very clear, again, I’m not saying this should happen. :smile:

All plugins I’ve made were for my personal use initially. In fact, I try to split functionality into multiple parts, packaged as different plugins. Those plugins I want to give for free, of course, they can help fellow developers build something on top of them.

But the reason I’ve made those plugins was to use them as dependencies for yet another plugin that combines those functionalities and is an integration for a third party service. I’ve been developing this plugin (and its dependencies) on and off since March. I think it’s fair to ask for some support?

I don’t even want the pay-up-front method. As I previously said, I want this plugin to follow the Try > :heart: > Buy mindset of Kirby. I still want it to be open source. I still want people to be able to download it for free and play around with it. I just want to emphasize the support part because I’ve really put (and I’m putting) a lot of effort and research into this. At the same time, I’ll be releasing the core components of this plugin (the dependencies) as MIT-licensed, do-whatever-you-want-with-it packages that people can use to build similar integrations on top of them.

I’m thinking if Kirby can help in that regard, not in killing smaller plugins, making them paid, or turning core functionality into paid plugins. That would suck indeed.