WordPress.com vs self hosted WordPress.org

There are two main options for using WordPress. You can start a blog on wordpress.com which is a website already running WordPress, or you can download the WordPress software from wordpress.org and host it wherever you like.

There are quiet few differences between the above two methods, and this article aims at helping you choose between the two.

About WordPress

WordPress is a very popular open source content management system (cms), maintained by a company named Automatic Inc.

Started mainly as a blogging platform, WordPress has evolved over the last decade into probably the go-to software for powering all kinds of websites, including business websites, ecommerce sites and even web applications.

Automatic, the company behind WordPress, uses WordPress to power its own blog hosting service at wordpress.com. True to the idea of open source software, WordPress is also released for free public usage on wordpress.org

These days WordPress powers about 30 percent of all websites on the web. The software is maintained by core developers along with a very large group of contributors.

Having a blog hosted on WordPress.com

Starting a blog on wordpress.com is a pretty simple process. All you need is a valid email address. Fill a few details on the signup form and you are ready to go.

WordPress.com offers a basic blog for free.

While you can experience blogging using the free options, as your blogging gets more serious, you will probably quickly require the paid extra features.

Having a self hosted blog

Self hosting your blog has a lot of advantages to it. The sense of freedom, knowing that you are the only one who sets the rules, is not something easily neglected.

That being said, this freedom comes with a price tag. Maintaining a self hosted blog; or any other website for that matter, requires certain skills and some decent learning curve to follow.

There are of course WordPress maintenance services like the ones provided by us. This services take all the technical and maintenance aspects of self hosted WordPress websites off of your shoulders, for a small monthly fee.

This way you can benefit from both worlds, take advantage of all the benefits of self hosted blogs, while not having to deal with technical stuff which can hold you from producing new content and promoting it.

Self hosted WordPress vs. WordPress.com

Self hosted wordpress pros:

1. You decide on everything (for reel!)

2. Freedom to do anything you want with your site

3. More features and options (ecommerece sites, membership sites)

4. Your property. Total ownership.

5. Use any WordPress plugin you like

6. Design your site the way you like, or use any theme you like.

Self hosted wordpress cons:

1. You need to take care of all the technical aspects of hosting a website.

2. You are responsible of keeping your data safe. Usually that means doing regular backups of site files and database.

Using WordPress.com pros:

1. Can quickly start a blog for free

2. Almost no technical skills required

3. No need to maintain and update WordPress

4. No real need to backup your data as it is taken care by wordpress.com

Using WordPress.com cons:

1. Ads are placed on your blog, but you don’t get paid for them. You can get rid of ads if you switch to a paid plan.

2. You can’t sell advertisement on your site. if your site get a lot of attention you can apply to WordPress.com shared revenue ads program.

3. You are restricted to a selection of plugins (on paid plans only) or no plugins expect Jetpack (on a free plan)

4. You can’t use your own theme. You can only select from whats available to users. Editing themes is limited.

5. No ecommerce or membership functionality available

6. No Google analytics or any other statistic tools. You are limited to WordPress.com stats.

The verdict: what should you choose?

If you are a complete newbie and want to see if blogging is for you, giving wordpress.com a try might be the right thing to do.

Maybe blogging is just a side hobby for you, or something you do voluntarily for the community. In this cases WordPress.com maybe the thing for you.

If you plan to take blogging seriously and treat it professionally as if you were starting a new business, going the self hosted way is probably your best choice.

Please use the comment section bellow. I would love to read your comments opinions and thoughts, about self hosted vs. WordPress.com blogs.

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