I purchase and use several extensions on an annual subscription basis (and whenever the Extension provider has an unlimited use option - I usually go for that).

Many extension providers have a Download ID, API Key or Subscription Key which is for upgrades and ongoing updates.

I usually build a boilerplate (i.e. a site with the extensions installed and configured), then clone those boilerplates to generate 'Quick Start' Joomla! sites.

I use these boilerplates for my own clients (i.e. site owners whom I design and develop for), and I also share these boilerplates with other Joomlaists in my user group.

I'd like the people who receive and use those boilerplates to get ongoing updates as well, and I keep my subscriptions paid up.

Do I have to remove the Download IDs and Subscription Keys before distributing my Joomla! sites?

3 Answers 3


I think you have two different questions here. In my opinion (IANAL) it is perfectly fine to create this "Quick Start" Joomla packages that include these extensions and keys for your own use, but it starts to get grey when you distribute them to others.

The code of a Joomla extension itself must be GPL, and is therefore able to be distributed freely. The subscription keys, however, offer additional access to the services you paid for, typically upgrades and support. Depending on the extension provider, distributing those are more than likely a violation of the terms, and not acceptable use.

  • I'm glad another knoweldgeable person finds this as a 'grey area.' We need to support the extension developers and not 'abuse' the freedoms of GPL - but we want to benefit from it as well - so figuring out the where the 'line' is would be helpful. We could always communicate with the extension developers to get their approval regardless of 'strict' GPL interpretations, one way or the other.
    – NivF007
    Apr 22, 2014 at 19:01
  • The line is usually in the terms set up by the developer. Many offer developer licenses with this specific use in mind. Others will only support a single domain, but allow installation on unlimited domains. In general though, to be compliant with GPL, they would have to allow redistribution of the code. Apr 23, 2014 at 3:26
  • They may have to allow redistribution of the code, but that doesn't mean they have to allow access to restricted areas of their sites meant to be reserved for paying customers.
    – Deb Cinkus
    Apr 23, 2014 at 23:05

I believe if it's GPL then you're allowed to do that, but I always check the developer's site to see if they have restrictions. Many of them only support 1 domain, others don't care. I tend to put JCE on everything I build (including the paid plugins). I also validate Rocket Theme's updater on sites that use a Rocket theme, but for other plugins, I tend to be a little more selective and just update the site if the client asks me to.

But then again, I don't promise them more than about 30 days of updates unless they want to pay me to maintain their site. And if they start to do that I'll likely use watchful.li to push out updates anyway (then your akeeba and a few other codes are safe in the watchful site).


It depends on your license, as I understand, if you have a developers license, yes, you can use these extensions in all sites you create for thirds.

If you have a "usual" license, you may only use it in the number of sites your license allows you too (if limited, usually 3)

The extension is GPL, the license for software updates and support is not.

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