Envato - prevent bundling of CC plugins

Some people may have seen me comment about this a lot of times but it needs bringing back up.

Visual Composer needs to be updated to fix issues with the plugin, but authors seem to have missed the notifications from Envato and now their items are being disabled, buyers sites are now “potentially” insecure until they are able to get hold of an updated copy of VC.

Items shouldn’t bundle plugins

It may seem obvious but you should never ever bundle other authors plugins in your items as you then (as the author) become responsible for updating your items. The only reason bundling became popular as a couple authors did it to gain an advantage and now buyers and authors want this to happen.

The cons:

There are major cons to bundling plugins including:

  • buyers need to keep updating the plugin separately

  • the plugin has to be downloaded within a theme

  • if the author stops supporting their item, buyers can have a vulnerable plugin without a way to get it updated without buying a separate license.

  • authors become support for the plugin, they have to keep updates on the plugin to their buyers.

Stop bundling plugins

I am fortunate that I only have around 20 sites with VC on and I have updated the majority but it’s a lot of work for something that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.

I know some plugin authors don’t allow extended sales so they aren’t brought into mess like this

WPML is probably the most common plugin which doesn’t allow bundling, but authors can show they support the plugin, Codecanyon plugins should be the same, authors can show “we support Visual Composer & Revolution Slider”.

Buyers can then buy a license from CC to go with their theme, buyers then get auto updates from the plugin author, update when they want and get support from the plugin author.

Buyers pay more in the long run for their items but they get far better support so issues like this won’t happen again as it’s actually becoming quite common (rev slider had the same issue).

Envato please ban bundling of plugins… your buyers deserve better.


Yes valid points. These problems can be solved by letting authors automatically update bundled plugins. I’m bouncing a few ideas around. Hopefully this can be fixed down the track with the new “Envato toolkit” currently in development. Need a legitimate way to get plugin updates out to buyers (bundled or unsupported or otherwise). If a purchase has been made, they should have access to security updates forever, even if a theme no longer exists on the market.

I’m in favour of bundled plugins because theme features can be improved immensely without re-inventing the wheel or requiring the buyer to purchase additional items in order to “make my site look like your live demo”.

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only a handful of authors missed the notification. when this post was released there were ~900 VC 4.7.4 themes, now there are 1070: http://themeforest.net/attributes/compatible-with/visual%20composer%204.7.4

the vast majority of authors got onto the fix rather quickly, it was impressive to see!

but plugins should be an extension to a theme and not a vital cog of the functionality, no plugins should be bundled or we will keep getting stuff like this. Don’t make me use VC etc when I don’t want it, give me the option

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I think i am handful author :stuck_out_tongue:

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If the Plugin purchased seperated then Extended License etc all Marketplace need to be changed.

I think current is good statement.

Example: Some of our themes located in nulled website with older version, people downloaded the theme and if it’s not updated plugin and you they hacked and understand the purchasing theme and keep update will helpful.

Problem is if you stop new things doing something that is so popular - then the new themes would really suffer against the old themes on the marketplace that have bundled plugins and as themes can be very heavily based on VC you can’t suddenly ask them to remove it.

At least with many themes using the same plugin when switching between many shortcodes like the layout will be intact.


The problem is the current system is crap, it’s putting websites in trouble by allowing bundling of plugins which aren’t able to be updated without a lot of hassle.

Something needs to be done as website security becomes even more critical, Envato buyers are being treated badly with the current bundling of plugins. Luckily I am a dev and know how to update the plugins but not every buyer does.

In the end though, buyers will get better support for the plugin, authors won’t have to deal with issues like this, plugin authors get more money (1000 purchases rather than 1 extended) and Envato also makes a bit more money.

Buyers will pay more but if you ask most buyers, they probably will agree it’s needed and they might even save money as they don’t want / need the plugins that were being bundled. They would then save time on having to learn to use / update the plugins.

Older themes would still be able to keep the bundling but all new items would move to the new rules, this would cause a little discrepancy between old and new themes but something has to be done.

Is what you’re suggesting that the theme come without a page builder at all and the customer can choose to buy the page builder if required?

yes, or any other plugin… WPML does this successfully (authors just promote they have tested their theme with the plugin) so why not CC?

The customer can decide to add a plugin that they may want e.g. sliders, page builders etc

Some themes come with 4 sldiers and various other plugins when a customer won’t use them, so why not let the customer decide what plugins they add to the site.

Themeforest themes have a bad rep among devs because of the bundling of plugins, themes need to go back being about a design and let the customer add plugins.

I can see a big benefit. Much of my support requests are from customers who don’t realise that plugins must be updated separately to the theme and are running insecure outdated versions of the plugins. TGM does notify them on theme update but I guess they’ve turned it off - not sure.

Issue is though that lot’s of customers do want bundled plugins and will buy older themes and pass up on the newer themes that don’t.

I don’t think many want the bundled plugins, they just expect them now but you might find a lot struggle with the things you mentioned including updates.

Overall themeforest themes are awesome quality but too many rely on too much plugins to make the theme work when the theme should be about design.

This is not going to happen. Important things like these are overlooked over here just like the mega multipurpose theme pricing.

unlikely but if enough people ask then it might be… as it will improve the perception of Themeforest themes

I think there is larger percentage of buyers who like to buy themes with bundled plugins. Envato is having all the statistical data. These plugins serve as a huge discount when bundled in a theme which easily grabs attention of the buyers and keeps envato in top of the business. Envato knows this and so they are not keen to change this anytime according to me.

Users can buy there own licence if they want. A theme doesn’t necessarily have to lock a user into using VC. So long as the shortcodes are added in a way that is independent.

Again with Rev slider - it can be a optional extra not enforced.

If VC only enhances the experience rather than that the theme doesn’t work without it?

yes they can but I bet a majority don’t as they expect not to have too as it’s in the theme… VC doesn’t add anything to a theme so it shouldn’t be bundled, a slider is an optional extra for any design so again shouldn’t be in the theme… a theme should just be design :smile:

maybe original plugin authors could offer a discount to those who get plugins bundled in theme, that then want to get updates automatically, without manual ftp/wait for theme author to update current hassle.

as a buyer took me a long time 3hrs to do all the VC updates to my sites yesterday, a hassle. for example I was using older theme version which had modified VC bundled, had to re-work/reinstall theme+plugin, major pain.

so I’d still allow bundling since integral for many themes, but have separate discount license offer for those who want official non-bundled version. agree w/OP re current setup has problems, needing to manually wait for theme authors to upload new versions whenever plugins are updated, that’s tedious…all should be auto-updated within WP plugin like others

Exactly now some buyers have 300+ themes, a lot of hassle for them which they might not be able to charge for (to their client).

Envato could probably do the discount automatically, if you buy Theme A and plugin B together they get $5 off the total price.

Themes shouldn’t need a plugin to function so bundling is a bad idea in my opinion

The bundling of plugins phenomenon is Envato’s own doing, because of the way themes are priced and adding more value to the theme makes it more favorable to buyers. If it wasn’t worth while to add so many plugins, authors wouldn’t do it, instead the trend has been created where to have a top selling theme one should include top selling plugins in order to remain competitive.