Today’s review is a bit different in that I won’t be reviewing a theme or plugin. Instead, I’ll be looking at Codester, a marketplace for buying/selling WordPress themes and plugins (as well as other platforms).

Codester offers some nice benefits for both buyers and sellers, which makes it well worth taking a look.

Because there are already some giants in the form of Envato marketplaces ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, I’ll sprinkle in some liberal comparisons throughout this review so you can get an idea of how Codester stacks up.

So, if you’re interested in a new place to buy or sell WordPress themes and plugins, keep reading as I dig into the Codester marketplace. I’ll look at it first from the perspective of a buyer (because that’s what I am). Then, I’ll highlight some of the nitty-gritty details that make it a nice marketplace for developers as well.

Codester Theme and Plugin Selection

As far as WordPress and WooCommerce goes, Codester currently offers 153 themes and 70 plugins. While that’s nice, it obviously doesn’t compete with ThemeForest and Codecanyon on pure volume.

Browsing through the themes, I found some nice looking designs for both standalone sites or existing frameworks like Genesis. The themes are all divided up into descriptive categories, which makes browsing them easy.

The best seller is the affordably priced Red Waves, which retails for only $35:

codester review

On the plugin front, Codester’s selection is a bit more limited, The bestseller is an affordable .htaccess site control plugin from WPSOS. Not a game changer, but a helpful little tool.

Overall, I think there are some decent themes and plugins, but the lack of options makes it pretty hit or miss. They do have a different selection than ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, though, so it may well be worth checking Codester before you buy anything.

Hopefully with some growth in developer adoption, Codester can grow its marketplace of offerings.

Codester Pricing – Affordable Options

While the selection might be limited, Codester doesn’t falter when it comes to pricing. The average theme or plugin is definitely more affordable than the average option on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.

For example, themes start at just $19 and most seem to cap out around $39-49. Despite the shift to author-driven pricing, most ThemeForest themes are still priced at $59. Codester’s prices are both lower and more variable because it has always had author-driven pricing.

Plugins are similarly lower priced. They start in the single digits and go up from there. While CodeCanyon has some plugins in the single digits as well, most are priced much higher.

Bonus – No Added Transaction Fees

If you’ve ever used one of the Envato marketplaces, you probably noticed that they add a $2 handling fee if you pay with a method other than Envato Credit. While not a dealbreaker, this fee is definitely a bit annoying. Codester doesn’t charge anything to process payments, so you can subtract another $2 from all of their prices when compared with ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.

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12 Months of Included Support

Another area where Codester beats out the Envato marketplaces is in developer support. By default, all of the products on Codester come with 12 months of support, which is double the 6 months of support included in standard purchases on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. Of course, you can extend support on both of those marketplaces, but it will cost you more money.

So, having that support benefit included in already lower prices is definitely a nice bonus.

Overall Thoughts as a Buyer

The breadth of products offered is a bit limiting – I would love to see a more vibrant marketplace. But, Codester does have some exclusive products over other marketplaces and their pricing and support policy beats out ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.

So, if you’re willing to accept the smaller selection, you should definitely give Codester a look. It won’t be replacing Envato marketplaces any time soon, but it’s a nice complementary selection. As Codester continues to (hopefully) grow, I assume the diversity of WordPress products will increase.

Codester Benefits for Sellers

I’m not a WordPress developer, so I can’t speak from firsthand experience here. But, Codester seems to definitely give devs some benefits over ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. Here are the major differences you can expect with Codester:

No Exclusivity Requirement or Tiered Payments Based on Exclusivity

While Envato marketplaces offer different commission structures based on whether or not you sell exclusively through Envato, Codester has no such requirements. You’re free to sell exclusively through Codester or through Codester plus your own store.

That decision will have no effect on the money you earn from Codester. So, if you do desire to sell through both your own site and a marketplace, Codester is the clear winner here.

Regarding the money you can earn, here’s what to expect…

Receive 70% Commission Rate No Matter What

With Codester, you get a 70% commission rate, no matter how many sales you have or your exclusivity. This is both simple and flexible. There aren’t any hoops or difficulties to jump through – just 70% commission all of the time.

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Set Your Own Pricing With No Restrictions

Since ThemeForest’s recent move to author-driven pricing, this may not be as big of a differentiating feature. But, it’s still nice that Codester lets developers set their own prices with no category restrictions.

Overall Thoughts for Sellers

Of course, there’s still a bit of an elephant in the room. Despite these advantages to sellers, Codester is still missing out on one huge element:

Audience size.

I don’t have access to direct statistics, obviously, so I’ll use Alexa ranks as a rough proxy. Codester is currently 49,238 globally, whereas ThemeForest is 304.

To its credit, Codester’s rank has been rapidly improving, but that’s still a pretty big gap.

As a third-party, my thoughts are that, for now, Codester is great for developers already selling through their own store because there’s no penalty for non-exclusivity. It probably doesn’t make sense for developers who sell exclusively through Envato to switch (at least not yet).

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to like about Codester. It has competitive prices and a good support policy for buyers. And for sellers, it offers higher commissions, more flexibility, and no penalties for non-exclusivity. The only negative is its size and selection in comparison to Envato. Hopefully Codester will continue to grow and make this less of an issue.

Give Codester a shot when you’re looking for your next theme or plugin. It may or may not have what you need, but you’re certainly not going to lose out on anything by trying. And if it does have what you need, you’ll get better support, and probably a better price, than you would at ThemeForest and CodeCanyon.


Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also find him on Twitter.

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