Kirki Plugin Up for Sale, Development Discontinued

David Vongries, developer of the Kirki Customizer Framework plugin, announced he is sunsetting the product and will discontinue development and support. Vongries bought the plugin in 2020 from its original creator, Ari Stathopoulos, and grew its user base from 400K to 600K active installs. He launched Kirki PRO with additional extensions in March 2022.

“When I first acquired Kirki in early 2020, I had big plans for it,” Vongries said. “Although we were able to execute on step one of the 2-step plan we had for the plugin, as time went on, I lost passion for the project mainly due to the direction WordPress core has taken with Gutenberg.

“It’s clear to me now that I was too ambitious in taking on the project.”

Kirki’s customizer framework enabled theme authors to add custom controls and advanced features to the customizer, including the ability to style it, and add a custom header. Although block theme adoption has been a slow process, the death knell for the Customizer rang years ago.

In 2020, Vongries said that exploring how Kirki could potentially extend Gutenberg was one of his goals. Stathopoulos had also discussed the possibility of moving away from the customizer to work with full-site editing and global styles, helping themes that use Kirki transition to global styles. These goals did not materialize but the potential for them is still there.

Vongries is now looking for someone to acquire the plugin but is committed to providing limited support to users in the meantime, including fixing critical bugs and compatibility issues that happen as the result of WordPress core updates.

“The current active install count in the WordPress repository is 600,000, which presents a great opportunity to revamp the plugin and get it in front of actual users,” he said. “I believe that there’s still great potential in Kirki, and I’m looking for someone who shares that vision to take it forward.”

Vongries has put a price tag of $30K on the plugin, which includes all the assets – the website, GitHub, and PRO extensions. No further active development or updates are planned unless Kirki gets acquired by someone who wants to carry it forward.


4 responses to “Kirki Plugin Up for Sale, Development Discontinued”

    • Legacy. That’s about it. And it usually ends up costing the developer money since they bring none in.

      I still maintain Redux Framework. It still has over a million active users and apparently is #49 in the WordPress plugin’s top 108 periodic table. We still have far too many users (who are developers), and that’s not even counting their users (in the tens of millions).

      I predict it’ll fall under ‘legacy’ by 2030, if then, since theme options are slowly migrating toward Gutenberg blocks, which will eventually include layout. Anything after that, considering the user base and their customers, will be pure maintenance to support future versions of WordPress and PHP. I’m guessing the new owner of Kirki wasn’t making enough to make the effort worth his while? I feel for those users who get left behind. I’d be happy to maintain it, but I’m not paying 30 grand to do so.

  1. This is something David Vongries has clearly been planning for a while, conveniently announced right after getting everyone’s renewal payments for the overpriced and underwhelming Kirki Pro.

    For the most part, the few pro features were clones existing features with shiny new names – but we happily handed Vongries our $248 USD/year thinking that we were financing ongoing Kirki development. If you look everything that has(n’t) happened since Stathopoulos sold it to Vongries I don’t think that continued development was ever in the plans. This whole thing feels like a grift.

    • I have not made it a secret that I’m looking for a new home for Kirki. In fact, I tweeted about it first in April 22. After actively reaching out to companies that I think would be a good fit over the course of the last few weeks, I decided to discontinue support for the plugin publicly.

      The fact that the renewals took place a few months ago is coincidence and absolutely nothing I had planned or waited for. That said, I’ve sent you a full refund of your renewal payment.

      Kirki 4 and Kirki PRO was a lot of work. In fact, it took us almost a year to complete. That’s when I realized that I’ve taken on a project that’s too big to handle for a team of two, especially with what I had planned for “step 2” for the plugin. At the same time, I lost passion for the project, especially because of how complicated it is to work with Gutenberg. Extending Gutenberg is what I had to take the plugin to the next level.

      I’m sorry to hear that Kirki PRO is underwhelming to you and yes, we could have built more extensions and added more features, etc.

      The reality is though, that after almost a year of work, the plugin wasn’t profitable and we don’t have the resources to take the risk to execute on everything else I had planned for the plugin.

      That’s why I ultimately decided to look for a new home for Kirki and a company that can give Kirki the love and attention it deserves.


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