Summery: There are two parts to this StudioPress Themes Announcement.
First: The Genesis Framework and the Genesis sample theme are now free for everyone to use.
Second: StudioPress are preparing for WordPress full site editing, so on June 8th 2021 they stopped selling themes. StudioPress will continue to bundle their top ten themes with Genesis Pro subscriptions and with WP Engine hosting. But they will no longer sell themes for a one time fee.
Existing customers will keep access to any themes they already bought. StudioPress will archive less popular themes but will continue to update those themes with security patches if necessary.
Pro Plus account holders have received the pro versions of Genesis Blocks and Genesis Custom Blocks plugins for free. If you want to buy a Genesis child theme without hosting after June 8th 2021 I recommend Mai Theme.
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Big changes ahead for StudioPress themes
The next major release of WordPress is 5.8 and includes the first steps towards full site editing. The StudioPress changes are in preparation for this. It will take quite a while for StudioPress to make their planned changes, so they need to start now.
This is what you need to know.
The Genesis framework is now free
After June 8th 2021 Genesis and the Sample theme will be free for all to use. You can build a professional website using these free tools as is or get more power by buying a Genesis child theme from one of many third-party developers. Because you will no longer have to pay for Genesis, the total cost of ownership of a Genesis powered site should significantly reduce. In the future, you will only pay for the Genesis child theme, not the Genesis Framework.
See the full announcement on the StudioPress blog.
Genesis is now free.
To get your copy of Genesis you have to input your email address, but then the download begins.
You also need to download the Genesis Sample theme from GitHub…
The business model is changing from one-time fee to yearly subscription
After June 2021 you can no longer buy StudioPress themes outright.
They will still bundle the top ten StudioPress themes with WP Engine hosting and with Genesis Pro subscriptions. But you can no longer buy themes for a onetime payment.
You keep access to any themes you’ve already bought
Although new customers can no longer buy StudioPress themes for a onetime payment, existing customers will keep access to any themes they’ve bought in the past.
StudioPress will archive less popular themes
Full site editing will radically change how you build themes. So, it makes sense to archive older, less popular themes. This frees up the developers and the resources StudioPress need to add full site editing to their most popular themes.
Archived themes will continue to receive security patches and technical support. So, themes that were listed on the StudioPress sales page in May 2021 will still be safe to use for the foreseeable future.
Older less popular themes rarely get major design updates anyway, so this is not as big a deal as it might sound.
You do not need to change your theme, even if StudioPress archive it.
These are the top 10 themes.
These themes are NOT being archived!
and Navigation Pro
You can still get StudioPress themes via WP Engine hosting or a Genesis Pro subscription.
Pro Plus All-themes customers get two premium plugins for free
People who bought the all-theme, Pro Plus account will have two extra plugins added to their My StudioPress account for free. The plugins are Genesis Blocks Pro and Genesis Custom Blocks Pro. This is a real bonus for Pro Plus account holders.
Recommended third party themes
If you want to buy a Genesis Child theme in future, you’ll have to buy it directly from a third party.
StudioPress will continue to compile a list of recommended third-party themes you can trust. This will be like the third-party themes listed on the StudioPress site before June 8th 2021. The big difference is that StudioPress will no longer take your payment for third party themes. StudioPress will recommend high quality themes and direct you to the theme author’s website where you buy the theme directly from them.
How do new customers get a StudioPress theme in future?
After June 8th 2021 StudioPress will bundle their top ten themes with WP Engine hosting and with Genesis Pro. WP Engine hosting and Genesis Pro are both yearly subscription products. Genesis Pro is a theme and plugin bundle aimed at freelance web designers and agencies.
Buying themes now, what should you do?
Third party authors sell many excellent quality Genesis child themes. For instance, Rafal Tomal designed some of the most popular StudioPress themes. Rafal has also designed for BizBudding’s Mai Theme. Brian Clark of CopyBlogger fame uses Mai Theme on his new business websites, and I use Mai Theme on this site.
Rafal was the VP of Design at Rainmaker Digital where he led product design for StudioPress, Copyblogger, and Rainmaker Platform.
Brian Clark is co-founder of Copyblogger’s content marketing and SEO agency.