Is H5P free or not?

When people encounter H5P for the first time, they often seem to be a little confused about the business model. They are told that H5P was this cool free software, and then they are supposed to pay for it?! No. Yes. Someone else pays. It is complicated … Nah, not really.

The free software H5P

If one speaks of H5P, one usually means the software (suite) that bears this name. That software is absolutely free and will remain free. You can download it as part of a free plugin for Drupal, moodle, WordPress and a couple of other web based platforms. The software H5P is also integrated into Lumi. Lumi is a free application that you can run on your desktop computer.

But here it says …

Usually, what people refer to when they believe that H5P costs them something is one of two things:

Using is a web based platform that was built around the software H5P and can be run as a service. Using requires you to get a paid account after some trial period. You do, however, not pay for the software H5P, but for hosting your content on the internet, for premium service, and for some exclusive features. Oh, and you are funding the core development of the software H5P! Developing software costs a company money even if they give it away for free.

Installing the H5P plugin on

This may sound a little familiar now: There’s the free software WordPress that you can install on a web server, and there is the commercial service on where you pay for hosting your blog and for being able to install extra plugins. So, if you are on and you pay for installing the H5P plugin, you are not paying for the software H5P, and H5P Group does not earn a cent here.

What was that about someone else paying?

You may have been looking at which can be used to create some H5P content, but that site is intended for testing the software, not as a free host for your content. Some people use it that way, but if you do, then you should be aware that in this case you are exploiting the site. In the end, someone has to pay for server bills.

There are a couple of other sites that offer you to run H5P and host content there, but those currently either live from donations or pay it out of their own pockets hoping to find a feasible business model some day. Again, please be aware that someone else is paying the bills for you.


I hope this explanation helps to calm you down if you were one of those people shouting about deceit because they didn’t understand the difference between the free software H5P and some commercial service offering the software in one form or another.