Waterhole is free to use in development environments, but you'll need to buy a license to use it in production.


You can run Waterhole in a development environment for free, without any limitations. This includes domains with any of the following properties:

  • A single segment, like localhost
  • A local TLD, like .local, .localhost, .test, or .example.


When you're ready to launch your community on a public domain:

  1. Purchase a license and specify which domain you will be using it on.
  2. You'll be provided with a unique site key – add this to your Waterhole .env configuration:

Each license entitles you to run one production installation. You can change the domain associated with a license at any time on

License Validation

In production, Waterhole pings a license validation service hourly. This service collects the license key, public domain info (domain name, IP address, etc.) and version numbers so we can validate them against your account.

If your license is invalid, Waterhole will show an admin notification telling you what's gone wrong.

Tampering with the outgoing API call will cause Waterhole to consider your license invalid. If that happens, you'll need to open a support request to reinstate your license.