As part of the WordPress Series, today we’re going to look at WordPress.com.
If you want a simple blog to share information with your friends and family or even the world, you don’t have to purchase and host your own domain. You can use WordPress.com.
WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Before we can talk about WordPress.com, it’s important to understand the distinction between the .com and the .org.
WordPress.ORG is the support system for WordPress software. As a user, you would go there to download the latest version of the software, find themes and plugins, read support documents, chat in the forum, and more. In other words, the .ORG page is a resource page for the software. This WordPress Series is written for users who plan to host their own domains and will have full control over the software.
WordPress.COM is a website that hosts your WordPress webpage and software for you. You don’t have to purchase a domain and deal with free or paid hosting. You don’t have to worry about doing updates. You do have to worry about ads and size limitations if you want to use the service for free. Additionally, your free domain will look like wordpress.com/yourblogname.
Let’s learn a little more about WordPress.com.
- It’s free and super easy to set up
- All of the technical maintenance work is taken care of — Setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
- Your blog is on hundreds of servers, so it’ll always remain available, even under high traffic
- Your content is backed up automatically
- You’ll get extra traffic from being a part of the WordPress.com community
- You can find like-minded bloggers using search and the reader
- Your dashboard is secure (SSL) making it even safer to log in on shared networks
- WordPress.com provides 200+ themes (and adding more every day) which you can customize (for $30 per year), but you cannot upload a custom theme
- You can’t modify the PHP code behind your blog
- You can’t upload plugins
Note: These three issues make WordPress.com completely unusable for me. That’s why I host my own WordPress site and that’s the basis for this WordPress Series.
WordPress.org (self-hosted) Benefits
- Ability to upload custom themes
- Ability to upload plugins
- Complete control to change code if you’re technically minded
WordPress.org (self-hosted) Cons
- You need a good web host — This generally costs $7-12 a month, or thousands of dollars per month for a high traffic site
- Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run
- You’re responsible for stopping spam
- You’re responsible for creating and maintaining backups of your site
- You’re responsible for updating the WordPress software when new versions are released
- If you get a huge spike in traffic, your site will probably go down unless you have a robust hosting setup
Note: I use GoDaddy to purchase and host my domains. GoDaddy Hosting is extremely affordable. I pay about $90 a year for unlimited domains, data storage, databases, and more. If you call the sales team instead of buying online, they can work a deal for bulk buying.
If you are interested in using WordPress.com for your site, I suggest you check out the Tutorial on About.com.