WordPress is the world’s favourite blog / website CMS
With over 60 million users world-wide, WordPress now powers nearly 25% of all websites on the internet today. Free and open-source, it’s the content management system software of choice for many of the world’s top internet marketers, from ‘mom & pop’ businesses to global industries, to build their online businesses, due to its flexibility, scaleability and ease of use. But this wasn’t the case around 10 years ago, when WordPress was mainly used as a blogging platform. Today, besides blogging, you can use WordPress to build and run powerful websites and web applications.
First, understand that WordPress, WordPress.org and WordPress.com are all referring to an application that builds websites – its called WordPress of course. WordPress is free and open-source.
If you’re new to WordPress, you might not realise that there are actually two versions of WordPress – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Confusingly both are built on the same core WordPress software platform. WordPress.com however is a managed, shared hosting platform built on WordPress. It handles all updates, backups, and security for its users. WordPress.org is a self-hosted version of the same core WordPress software that you can download for free, and host on a server of your choice, providing total flexibility of what you can build with it.
So which WordPress version is best to host a large website or a simple blog?
While hobbyist bloggers will continue to predominate the WordPress.com platform, today, many businesses may find it rather restrictive as a business website or ecommerce store and are moving to the self-hosted WordPress.org version that has no such limitations.
Which WordPress version is best for you will therefore depend on whether you are using WordPress as a personal blog or a business website. Also, if you need a website that YOU OWN AND CONTROL 100%, you should choose WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com. It could also cost you a lot less!
Further information on the main differences between the WordPress.com blogging platform and self-hosted WordPress.org version recommended for business websites is provided below:
WordPress.com versus self-hosted WordPress.org
WordPress.com is free to use, making it the world’s most popular blogging platform, but has usage limitations, unless you pay extra.
Even then, you cannot monetise a WordPress.com blog. You cannot sell your own products, promote affiliate products or sell advertising on it. More importantly, THEY own YOUR content and THEY impose the rules.
If you breach WordPress.com Terms of Service they can & do delete your files from their server without warning. Here’s the clause: “[WordPress] may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.” Be warned!
WordPress.com blogs are hosted on their server network – a bit like the Facebook network model – making it a good choice for hobbyist bloggers, but not for a business website or one where you need total control.
WordPress.org software is also FREE and has many advantages for those who want to own and control their own website.
‘Self-hosted’ WordPress.org core software is the same great software as used at WordPress.com plus enhanced flexibility minus the limitations. You can choose from thousands of premium themes and plugins to improve appearance, functionality and user-experience.
With self-hosted WordPress you have 100% control over what you put on your website and how you use it. Your website and all its content belongs to YOU and you can customize it any way you wish. You can monetize it by selling your own products online, promote affiliate 3rd party products and services to earn referral commissions, or offer advertising space on your website.
While the WordPress.org software is free to download, you need to purchase a domain name and hosting to run it on i.e. “your own self-hosted WordPress website”.
You’ll need to install WordPress on your chosen hosting server – most offer “one-click” WordPress installation using a free “out-of-the-box” default theme. You can change your theme at any time and there are hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. Similarly there are hundreds of WordPress plugins designed to extend the functionality available on your website.
Depending on the complexity of your theme and business requirements, at this stage you may wish to employ a professional to help you to configure your new theme and make your website look and work as you wish it to, especially if you plan to run an online store, directory or membership website for example.
We offer a low cost WordPress configuration service for anyone purchasing premium themes, plugins, or hosting via our referral links. This includes installing and setting up your choice of premum theme, with essential plugins, navigation menu, main pages, footer widgets, working contact form and even logo upload. Additional customdesign and development can also be undertaken via our parent company 1LG.com
WordPress.com: Why it’s not really FREE!
While a basic WordPress.com blog at yourname.wordpress.com free, they charge extra for the following premium upgraded functionality:
- Custom Design Font + CSS Editor: Lets you customize fonts and stylesheets, but not edit core PHP or template files. Cost $30.00 p.a.
- No-Ads: Remove WordPress adverts from your blog. You are still not permitted to add your own ads e.g. AdSense, affiliate links, sponsored / paid posts or any kind of prohibited code. Cost $30.00 per annum.
- Video Upload: Embed video in your blog posts and pages. You may need a space upgrade too! Cost $60.00 per annum.
- Space Upgrade: Increase from 3GB to 10GB, 25GB, 50GB, 100GB, 200GB + add ability to upload audio / music. Cost $20 – $290 p.a.
- Bundles: A combination of upgrades 1 – 5 above at a discounted price. Cost from $99 p.a. depending on space required.
- Premium Themes: Add options for site customization and a limited number / selection of premium themes with author support. Note: You are still not permitted to upload your own or 3rd party premium themes or plugins. One-time cost typically $50 per theme.
- Site Redirect: If you decide to leave WordPress.com they will redirect yourblogname.wordpress.com pages & posts to your new domain. Cost $13.00 per annum.
- Guided Transfer: Have WordPress.com move your blog permanently to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Cost $129.00 per transfer.
By now it should be obvious that WordPress.com is NOT FREE if you use your own domain, add extra functionality and use a premium theme.
In fact a self-hosted WordPress website with a premium theme on a $9.99 per month hosting plan that you own and control 100%, costs less in year 1 than WordPress.com with a $99 upgrade bundle & $50 premium theme!