Should I pay to use Java 11 in production?

In short … Don’t worry! OpenJDK is free!

If you plan to use the JDK 11 and you don’t need a commercial support from Oracle you can use the OpenJDK 11 for free.

If you need a commercial support and you use the OracleJDK in production you need to pay a subscription. I think that the price list is the following (no guarantee, to be sure ask directly to Oracle): https://www.oracle.com/assets/java-se-subscription-pricelist-5028356.pdf

JDK Development Production
OpenJDK FREE FREE
OracleJDK FREE $$$

The still free JDK :)

The OpenJDK 11 uses the same binaries as the ‘commercially supported’ OracleJDK 11 and the two versions are (according to Oracle) ‘interchangeable’.

Here the explanations from Oracle:

Beginning with Oracle Java SE 11 (18.9 LTS), the Oracle JDK will continue to be available royalty-free for development, testing, prototyping or demonstrating purposes. As announced in September 2017, with the OracleJDK and builds of Oracle OpenJDK being interchangeable for releases of Java SE 11 and later, the Oracle JDK will primarily be for commercial and support customers and OpenJDK builds from Oracle are for those who do not want commercial support or enterprise management tools.

The sources:

https://blogs.oracle.com/java-platform-group/faster-and-easier-use-and-redistribution-of-java-sehttp://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/eol-135779.html

Alternatives?

As alternative to the OracleJDK you have: