I'm buying a theme for my "website". The license for the theme allows me to use the theme on one "website". Sounds easy enough, right?

But what is a "website"?


It sounds like a troll question, but what I've think of as "my website" has multiple parked domains, let's say 11, but all for the same business. Like

  • example.com
  • example.net
  • example.co.uk
  • example.uk
  • example.com.de
  • example.com.au
  • etc.

Using location services I redirect visitors to the preferred domain in their location, so only 1 "website" is accessible to visitors.

Eg. If you visit the .com.uk site in Australia, you'll be forwarded to the .com.au domain.

Non-forwarded Domains?

Also 4 domains use domain forwarding, eg. the dot net site forwards to the dot com site. So the "website" is only accessible from 7 domains.

CMS installs?

And "my website" is also a multi-site installation of Wordpress with slightly different content for some domains. For instance one site says prices include VAT while others say we include GST and another says nothing. Also there are some minor spelling differences. Let's say we have 5 sites on our multi-sites Wordpress install.


Again, through the magic of cloud-based servers, our site is maintained through a single portal but deployed in multiple locations let's say our cloud server has servers in 3 locations:

  • Europe,
  • US and
  • Asia.

Demployments? Endusers? Companies?

However, I only put the theme in a single place, it's for a single end user and a single company. In my mind, it's a single website and I should only purchase one license.

Do I have more than one website? And what is the generally accepted definition of a website?

  • 2
    It might be helpful if you copied in the relevant portions of the license pertaining to usage. We can answer this based on our experiences, but you really should seek clarification from the author too. – dan Nov 10 '17 at 7:07
  • None of the online dictionaries I checked define website in terms of domains. Definitions differ, but it is usually defined in terms of subject matter, owner, and inter-linking. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 10 '17 at 22:57
  • I've often found it means on a single WordPress installation on a live site and a single dev setup...(which also means not using it on a WordPress multisite setup for more than one site on the multisite setup) . As dan mentions though, you should seek clarification from the theme author. – Bronwyn V Nov 13 '17 at 1:38
  • 1
    As long as all the websites show the same contents and in the about us/contact us refer to the same organization and the differences are only to improve the user experience as VAT GST depending on the location of the user or other arrangements, it is one website. If any website is instead related to a different organizations (like for a multinational company that have separate juristic person each country) they need different licenses. Of course anybody that issue a license can include more limitation than the "usual practices". – Massimiliano Rubino Nov 13 '17 at 5:52

The licensing agreements with any theme companies/authors and if you are using something like Wordpress.com to host it may be different. @dan is right to review and compare those.

There are some general points. A website is a group of pages for let's call it "a purpose." Websites are typically built on one domain: mydomain.com. Within that construct, you can build subdomains, which can have their own websites, such as www.mydomain.com, mail.mydomain.com, testing.mydomain.com. Still 1 domain.

If you want to change the suffix, then by accepted standards (and domain registrars) you have a new domain. Mydomain.com is a wholly different domain from mydomain.net or mydomain.io. With that background, let's look at your theme question;

You purchased one theme for one website. Your theme license agreement will tell you if you can use that theme on more than 1 website. Typically that would be called a enterprise or multi-site license. If the license does not specify authority for multiple websites, then you will have to purchase additional theme licenses for each of those parked domains and their websites.

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  • None of the agreements mentioned in your first paragraph have anything to do with it. The only agreement that means anything is the one with the theme author. – Rob Nov 26 '17 at 14:54

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