Managing Themes / Plugins for Clients

I’ve been battling with an issue as a freelancer. Do I buy and manage themes or should my client?

Designer Buys Theme & Plugins

Add cost of theme to quote for client and manage theme yourself.


  • Direct Access to Support
  • Direct Access to Downloading Theme/Plugins


  • Have to remind client to renew theme/plugins
  • Difficult to manage who owns what theme / plugin in envato download user interface
  • Can’t transfer license to client
  • Client can’t get support on theme / plugins

Client Buys Theme & Plugins

Client creates account and manages account on their own.


  • Client has access to support
  • Client gets reminders on when they need to renew their theme / plugins
  • Only clients credit card is on the account


  • Setting this up with client is burdensome
  • Asking client to create support account with theme / plugin is a burden
  • Having to ask for passwords if client resets password on account
  • All support emails are sent to client, which I then have to remind them to send to me

How do you guys manage buying Wordpress themes and plugins for your clients?

you can use the envato toolkit and login your credentials on their site

Hi, It is better for you to buy yourself. So, you can utilize it for future work tasks.

Given that using an item for a clients project and again for other future projects would be illegal this is not a good idea.

110% it’s better that the client buys the item. simply because if you charge a client for a theme, plugin or otherwise then you have zero right (unless it’s in a contract somewhere) to deprive them of future updates etc. should you part ways.

With guest purchasing now active on envato the only real reason people would still choose to buy on behalf of a client is if they are misleading the client over it being stock work.

Hi @charlie4282
I think you are mistaken. I’m talking about purchasing theme with extended licence. We have many clients regarding property work. So, we do purchase item with extended licence. One more reason to buy it that client doesn’t know how things works pragmatically. So, he can’t use support or can’t get his desired results.

It will clarify my answer.


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@charlie4282 The issue I constantly run into with having my client’s purchase the license themselves is that it is burdensome to them to set it up and manage update emails. Basicly, I want a way for a client to pay for licenses, have ultimate ownership of the plugins/themes, but all support emails are sent to me.

I have used the Envato Toolkit. Its only for updating applications on your website. That I don’t have a big issue with. My biggest qualms is with not having access to support or client’s having to manage updates via email which they are clueless on how to do.

Where most authors have support forums there’s nothing stopping you registering support accounts on your email using the clients purchase code.

In the case of authors who use more direct ways to support items then as long as you have the purchase details/license codes then most will help.

I don’t see the download/update access beyond the purchasing account ever changing nor do I think it should - this is one of the few protections that envato and authors have to help limit less genuine behaviour.

I can see why the process seems frustrating but I understand why it works how it does and I’m sure if there was an easy way to improve it then envato would implement that.

I’ve been wanting to re-visit this issue as the I work with with an agency that supports hundreds of clients and we regularly have to activate themes through envato.

It appears the process has changed earlier this week and has now become extremely frustrating and cumbersome to manage as a developer.

We would first request the client to sign up and purchase the theme. Then they have to provide us with their login credentials.

The first big hassle here is that when I login, I have to keep the “verification” screen open and wait for the client to fwd the passcode to us to verify. If I close this window, then I would have redo the entire proces and have them send me a new code. (While quite cumbersome, we have tolerated this over the last year)

Now as of this week, it seems an extra level of protection was added which requests yet ANOTHER email verification/confirmation when I attempt to have the clients theme activated (which uses the envato API to login to their support panel to register the theme).

I have run into this issue with several clients this week already and it means constant back-and-forth and delays.

There honestly needs to be a better way to handle licensing, or at least allow license transfers to other accounts.

I see two possible ways of achieving this:

  1. Ideally, I would like to see a way to have us as the agency purchase the themes, activate them, and then transfer the license (with activation intact) on their accounts.

  2. Easily have a “one-time” code provided to us from the client to be able to access their account bypassing all two-factor versifications so we can easily download/activate themes via the envato API.

  1. Each purchase is a license to use an item and you can transfer this to the client already. The only restriction is to not transfer access to downloads of the item.

  2. I doubt this could ever happen for numerous reasons.

I actually agree that the process is not ideal, but logic dictates that if there was a simpler way to do it then Envato would have prioritised executing that.

Also at the same time the challenges are obvious due to a combination of:

  • security considerations
  • to protect authors, buyers and Envato,
  • because Envato don’t actually own the items for sale which adds to the complexity of access/distribution
  • and of course to prevent naughty behaviour

Have you seen another marketplace that used the same model as Envato that allows transfer of downloads and full access?

I’ve often wondered if one of the tech geniuses here could develop some form of collaboration tool or plugin that uses envato’s API to allow clients/freelancers to work more closely while retaining restrictions on not having to share logins, etc.