I need to create a specialized analytics app based on Piwik, it will be a commercial SaaS service for small businesses. It uses the piwik javascript tracker, API and the DB to store events, custom variables etc.. just like piwik and extra functionality built on top. I'm just not sure if Piwik license allows it.

If you distribute a modified version of Piwik, or software that includes Piwik as a module, or develop a website for a customer/client that integrates closely with Piwik, you must give access to the code source and publish all the code under the GPL.

However, it also states:

The data coming from the Piwik API belongs to you and is not covered by the GPL.

You can use Piwik as a service, and reuse, publish, display, modify, process the data coming from the Piwik API using the REST API web services call.

.. so does that mean If I use Piwik Tracker, APIs and the database, but NOT its front-end admin panel, then GPL doesn't apply to me?

1 Answer 1


Piwik is open-source software released under the GPLv3 license. This means that you have the right to create a service that is built upon the functionality of piwik. If you use any part of Piwik in your project, the GPL applies to you.

The limitations on your project depend on the business model you are going for.

  • If your customers will always connect to your server when using the SaaS service you are providing, then you don't need to publish anything. This is because giving someone the possibility to interact remotely with your software is not considered to be distribution under the GPL.
  • If your customers run your software on their own servers, then the GPL license requires you to release the code for your entire service under the GPL license and to give your customers the same rights as you have with regards to changing the code and/or distributing it.

In any case, the data gathered using Piwik does not have to be made public.

  • Yes, the customers will always to my server since its a SaaS service but besides the distribution clause, it also says or develop a website for a customer/client that integrates closely with Piwik which is what I'm worried about. I developed a website for myself in this case and it does integrate closely with piwik.
    – Nimbuz
    Apr 3, 2015 at 12:20
  • @Nimbuz: Your website likely also falls under the GPL (not the data you collect with/from it!), but that would only have an effect if the site gets distributed (transferred to another legal entity). If you don't provide you site or service to others to run on their machines, nobody has the right to see your source code. Apr 3, 2015 at 12:31

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