3.x.x themes on Themeforest require Extended License

@John Thank you for weighing in on this and getting involved. I think it’s paramount to the community to have clear legal guidelines from it’s partners, especially with the prominent placement and tight integration ThemeForest is given in the marketplace.

You’ve been CC’d on my conversation with their support team. Let me know how else I can help.

Thanks again, and good luck with them :wink:

Has there been any update from Envato/ThemeForest on this issue? I’ve had clients drop Ghost this past month instead of waiting it out.

I’m literally laughing over this.

I’m being one of those ignored voices, that reclaims further support on the themes side from the Ghost organization. A few of use are not deverlopers (we may be able to maintain a server, but we are not good enough to translate the default themes and keep them up-to-date with the code updates happening in the source repos.

Issue here is the theme ecosystem is too inmature out there. Yo have right know two choices: Get a theme posted on Github, and trying to support (donate) the maintainer, so you don’t end with a theme without updates, or use Envato. And their legal terms are clear. If a user is charged while using the end-product (paywall), you need to use the extended license.

From https://themeforest.net/licenses/faq#main-differences-licenses-a:

And from https://themeforest.net/licenses/terms/regular:

It’s hard to be the first, but paywalls are still not popular as feature on CMSs. This is why is critical that the default themes are thought to be fit for content makers, instead of focusing on developers, that have more skills to remove translation strings than the other way around. Still, the crew from Ghost is more focused on developers, than content makers. A bit weird taking into account that their main product is a CMS (?)

Seems now that if you want to use a major feature of Ghost, you need to either use a default theme (only if you and your public speak english), trust a Github repo maintainer, or be ready to pay almost a grand. That’s not great.

I heard back from Themeforest and they are, so far, sticking with requiring an Extended license if a Ghost Install makes use a of paywall feature. John was copied on my ticket and I know there are others in the system as well.

I’ve asked to be escalated to someone at Envanto to have this stupid policy reviewed. In the course of my ticket with Envanto they said that a Regular license can be used to run a site like the Envanto Market place itself, but a small paywall newsletter requires an Extended license.

Here is the response I got:

I do apologise for the delay in our response.

Even though the Ghost platform offers the ability to set up a paywall for sites using the platform, alongside free content, the question here is whether the customer actually makes use of that functionality.

To clarify, if a customer does not deploy the paywall functionality in their End Product (even though the website might technically have this functionality available), then they would only need a regular license. If a customer does deploy the paywall functionality (ie, and has content/functionality behind a paywall) then an extended license is required.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me back.

I’ve asked Ahmad, the author of the absolutely stellar Penang theme for a refund. I’ve also contacted him to see if I can purchase directly or if he will consider making his themes available elsewhere.

For clients where $2k is realistic, say as part of $35k web project, authors like Ahmad absolutely deserve $2k for their work. But for a small site with a shoestring budget, it’s not feasible.


I wasn’t copied on that last response, but I’ll reach out now to their partnership team separately.


@John have you got any feedback yet? I am an exclusive author at envato. And I am also worried about this.


Have reached out 2x via support tickets and 2x via members of staff in the partners team - so far still no response from anyone there. I’ll try one more time now as a last effort, if there’s still no response then we’ll figure out what to do from there.


Thanks for your efforts @John.

1 Like

Hi everyone - just a quick update here cause I know there are several people waiting. I chatted with the team at Envato today in detail, and we’re actively working together to find a solution will work for everyone.

Their license is nuanced and has to account for a huge range of products in their marketplace outside of just Ghost authors and users—so it’s going to take a little bit of time—but there’s now multiple people working on it.

Thanks for your patience! I’ll post another update when we’re a little further along :slight_smile:


@John Do you have any updates or progress you can share from internal or external conversations? It’s been 5 weeks since your update and almost 3 months since this issue was first raised.

I’ve spoken with @GBJsolution and it’s known they’ve lost sales over this.

Can the Ghost Community and Team provide a ThemeForest-free marketplace for themes under the Ghost umbrella? (https://ghost.org/marketplace/)

Thank you John for your stewardship and leadership here.


@John there’s a similar situation happening on Creative Market as well. They have 3 types of licenses:

If you are going to use the membership features, then you should use the Commercial one since you are going to get “a profit”. Although the price difference is only $10, it doesnt make any sense to pay multiple prices for the same theme, since all the functionality is within the platform. Theme prices should be related to the amount of features they bring.

I’ve been thinking about building a marketplace, but having the developers to support it is the most important thing. I understand they like the visibility that brings places like Themeforest, but this is nuts.

Ok! Finally some news to share, and it’s good :slight_smile: here’s the official update from the Envato team, who have been working hard on this:

We are very pleased to let you know that we will be making changes to the Blogging category (which includes Ghost themes) to enable the Standard License to be used for sites that monetise through a membership paywall.

We expect these changes to Themeforest licensing to be formally made and announced by the end of June this year.

Envato is a very large business with thousands of sellers, of which Ghost authors make up only a small proportion. Making policy changes such as this to existing licensing is not easy, because it applies very broadly to all sellers, not just us. So, the reason it’s taken some time is to make sure that it’s done right, rather than rushed with mistakes.

I believe Envato will follow up with their own policy announcements and communicate with affected sellers directly, as they roll out the policy updates in the next few months.

Appreciate everyone’s patience here, thanks for sticking with us while we figured things out!


I think $10 is a pretty acceptable premium given that members-themes require much more development work and generally have lots of extra styles and logic built in. Doesn’t seem unfair to me :slight_smile:


Yeah, me neither honestly. My point is related to have “multiple” licenses. Member enabled themes should just have the commercial price from the beginning :slight_smile:

Thank you & the Ghost Team for putting in the work on this! And thank you Evanto as well!

1 Like

@John The end of June has arrived, do we have any update from ThemeForest/Envato? If Covid-19 has set them back, do they have an updated timeline for the Ghost Community? Or has this disappeared off their roadmap entirely?

Thank you.

Have followed up, will report back


Envato have now completed the updates to their licensing:

We are pleased to confirm that we have made changes to the Regular License terms for items in the Blogging category in Themeforest.

The changes mean that items within this category, which includes Ghost themes, may be used for monetized membership websites under a Regular License.

The licensing clarification can be viewed here and here, part of our License FAQ page which legally forms part of the license. We have also updated our Help Centre article here.

We trust that this provides the clarity and certainty for your customers and community to operate using the Regular license, and appreciate this has taken longer than expected

Kind Regards,

Rohan Chandler
Envato - Author Management Director


Thank you @John for following up. This is a great win for the Ghost Community. Cheers.


Yes indeed. It’s a great relief for developer and user of themes available on themeforest. Thank you @john for your great effort. :clap: :love_you_gesture:

1 Like