When I started out in WordPress I was broke. Not just broke, broke-ass. Newly married, new baby, $6.57 in the bank, no paycheck coming in and starting a new online business.

I needed to start and grow a site. I needed the support of a community. I needed it all at top quality. And I needed it all completely for free.

So I hacked WPMU DEV. Well, not literally, of course. But I found every free resource WPMU DEV has to offer and used them all until I landed my first paying WordPress job (and then eventually started working for WPMU DEV, but that’s a story for another time!).

In this post, I am going to share all my secrets for how I got access to WPMU DEV products and services and WordPress SuperPowers without spending a dime.

Shhh… #DontTellFarmer

#1: Tutorials on Our Blog for Everyone

WPMU DEV’s tutorials took me to another level and gave me the confidence I needed in what I was selling. If WordPress is capable of doing it, we probably already have a tutorial on our blog showing you how to get it done. Plus, we’re adding new tutorials. All. The. Time.

We have literally thousands of free tutorials from Weekend WordPress Projects to Mastering Multisite. Plus, our readers and support crew are all over the comments on the blog, sharing everything from helpful advice to code snippets, links and other handy tips, so it’s a good idea to scroll to the bottom of posts just to check out the conversation. If you get stuck, just ask and someone will respond pronto.

To get started, click the Categories tab on the WPMU DEV blog page and select Tutorials to find a lesson that fits your skillset.

You can thank me later 🙂

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At the point you are able to get your membership, the Academy is waiting to turn it up a notch – downloadable course materials, final assessments from real professionals and completion certificates.

#2: Free Training on YouTube

Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the WPMU DEV YouTube channel. Every so often, a new series, course, tip, trick, how-to or plugin demo drops in and you’ll be the first to know.

If you want to get the most out of our plugins, learn the famous 5-minute WordPress install or if you are looking to grow your startup, scroll through our library of 200+ videos.

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Our video team is pretty cool (I’m on it!) and our CEO James Farmer even jumps in from time-to-time to share growth hacks for your business.

#3: The Best WordPress Support on the Planet is… Public Facing!?

Our support team fields over 3000 WordPress related questions per month – and answers most of them in under one hour. All of those threads are available to search on Google… for free! If you have a question, chances are someone else has already asked it and you can Google it.

Here’s a sneaky little trick. Just type “site:premium.wpmudev.org/forums” in your Google search bar followed by your WordPress question and watch Google work its magic.

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And when you’re ready to start your membership, you can ask questions, participate in support discussions and even earn points towards a free lifetime membership. You can’t tell me that’s not wicked awesome.

#4: Premium Plugins at Repository Prices

We build some of the best plugins in the world, active on literally millions of sites. But did you know we have 16 free versions of some of our best plugins available for free on WordPress.org?

Not only are the plugins free, but our team is actively providing support and working to create the best user experience possible with regular updates.

With 750,000 active users and an averaging rating of 4.6 stars, these are my top picks for free must-have WPMU DEV plugins:

Smush free

WP Smush

This is the first plugin I install on every site. It’s that good.

WP Smush keeps your site running fast and your images looking sharp. It uses our super smush servers to automagically compress and resize your images as they’re being uploaded.

Plus, we have dedicated team members in our support crew who respond to questions submitted to the WordPress repository. It’s totally free and fully supported. What more could you ask for?

Custom Sidebars

Custom Sidebars

This incredibly easy to use plugin can save you countless hours when customizing your sidebar. Custom Sidebars lets you create and display custom widget configurations on every post, page, category, post type or archive page on your site. It also works with almost every WordPress theme on the market.

Free doesn’t always mean it’s cheap and in this case, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Once you get started, you’ll quickly see the premium version is just an expansion pack that extends functionality when you need it. You can get started for free without annoying limitations and expand as your business grows.

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WordPress PopUp

Love it or hate it, pop-ups grow businesses and WordPress PopUp is an awesome free pop-up plugin.

When you’re ready for more targeted controls, extra styles, and extended behaviors you can upgrade to PopUp Pro without losing any of your existing pop-ups.

Plugins like this make it easy to dive in and build great things when your budget is tight.

#5: Going Social, News and Information

The WhiP

The WhiP is like having a WordPress pro send the best articles from their RSS feed directly to your inbox. It’s filled with curated, unaffiliated links that our editors hand-pick from the WordPress community and the wider tech world.

News, opinions, tutorials, theme and plugin reviews – you name it – The WhiP packages the best of WordPress from around the web and into a fast-access roundup.

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Even though the WhiP is supposed to be reserved for WPMU DEV VIP members, did you know you can subscribe and get a completely free copy each Monday? Pretty sweet.

#6: Social Media

One of the best things about WPMU DEV is our community. While you may only be able to watch the discussion threads on the forums, thanks to social media, you can join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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We have real people watching our social media accounts who enjoy talking shop and bantering with other WordPress enthusiasts.

As a bonus, you may catch a special promotion deal to get a full-access membership at a discounted rate.

#7: What’s New at WPMU DEV

When you sign up to the WPMU DEV general email list you get current news, promotions and round-ups from our blog.

Not only does our email newsletter help keep you informed, but it also helps open your eyes to what’s possible with WordPress, Multisite, and BuddyPress.

Having a bigger view of WordPress helped me better understand and articulate a project’s scope to potential clients and opened new possibilities for my site and my business.

#8: Sign Up Free for 14 Days

We recently-ish introduced a huge change to our pricing model: You can now join WPMU DEV for free, download all our plugins and themes and try out our services, completely for free for 14 days.

Back when I got started with WordPress, joining WPMU DEV for free wasn’t around. I sure wish it was! The 14 days gives you full access to everything members get – 24/7 support for any WordPress questions (not just questions about our products), updates for all our plugins and themes, access to our premium video tutorials and Jobs and Experts page, VIP editions of The WhiP, plus you can enroll in any of our Academy courses for free. We’re talking courses on starting an online business run by our CEO James Farmer, WordPress Multisite Masterclass, and WordPress development.

From Zero to Hero

There you go, that’s my personal guide to getting the most out of WPMU DEV completely for free.

WordPress has a low barrier to entry but with so many free and premium products and services available, it’s comforting to know you’re being supported. This is especially true when you’re supported by some of the best in the world with an extensive track record of outstanding support.

View @ WPMU DEV

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