You’re not alone if you’re confused after hearing about the two versions of WordPress. Yes, there’s the .com and the .org version. And although the platforms are somewhat similar, they are actually different in very significant ways.
Here’s what you will find in this post:
First and foremost, we’re going to assume that you’re a beginner, because that’s really who this website is for. With that said, you’re probably wondering why people would choose to host their website if they could set one up for free.
The WordPress.org platform is a robust, feature filled platform that you can use almost any way your developer mind could go.
This question above can be answered by the simple fact of “free reign.” Having a hosted website means you get to have full control over your site.
As long as you have the space for it, you can add as many plugins for special functionalities and features for your site. Want a customized social feed to appear on your sidebars? You might need to do a little research to find out what plugin works best for this, but once you know, installation is easy peasy! Most plugins are also created to be as user-friendly as possible.
A few years ago, there was a terrible rumor around the blog community that Google took down Blogger (Google’s Blog Platform) blogs if any of their rules were violated.
Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m guilty of not reading every dot and line. I’m guilty of missing things, because I was too lazy to read the rules in small print. Could you imagine having your blog taken down after months or years of hard work on it? What a disaster that would be!
Having a hosted website will give you a sense of security in that all decisions are yours to make. You’re not bound to someone else’s rules, simply because you’ve neglected to follow a particular guideline.
The free WordPress.com version You can add your own and make money! The free version of WordPress.com often has ads that appear on your site and will not let you insert your own.
There are 2 very important tasks you’ll have to remember if you choose a hosted website (besides the fact that you have to pay for it). These are to backup your site and keep up with the updates as much as possible. The best thing to do is to have a frequency in mind. Perhaps once or twice a week or even daily, if you publish posts more frequently than usual.
Yes, there are a lot of limitations to a free WordPress.com website. However, as of this year (2017), Automattic (contributor of WordPress) rolled out with an incredible, fee-based plan to accommodate larger, more complicated websites for a nominal monthly price.
For the low price of $25/month, you get unlimited storage space! You will be able to upload themes, integrate Google Analytics, customize your website’s design, and make money with the ability to create space for your ads. WordPress.com’s personalized ads as well as their branding can also be removed. So it’s like having a hosted website.
One of the most special benefits of having a WordPress.com website is that an SSL certificate is automatically installed. This ensures your privacy and security, which is something Google has recommended for sometime now. Having a WordPress.com site means you will no longer have to worry about where to purchase an SSL certificate. In addition, there will be no need to transfer from http to https, because it’s automatic.
Now that you know WordPress.com offers great plans, the choice comes down to whether or not you mind WordPress.com having control over your site. You don’t have the level of security you would have if you hosted it yourself. Personally, I love getting a good night’s sleep. So if this is something I feel I have to worry about, I’d rather pay the cost.
For beginners, and those who need help getting familiar with using a WordPress platform, I recommend trying out the WordPress.com system. Why pay more now when you can easily make a hosted transfer later on? It’s a great place to get your feet as wet as you can until you feel comfortable enough to move forward!