If you are looking to start a blog or website with WordPress, you have a decision to make. The road ahead forks into two paths. The first path leads to WordPress.com for a free WordPress account. The second path leads to WordPress.org for a complete, self-hosted installation of WordPress. Either of these paths lead to a free WordPress-powered site, but there are some key differences to consider. Here is a quick summary:
If you choose WordPress.com, you’ll have a site set up immediately after registration. Simply log in to customize your settings and begin adding content. The features included with the free account are perfect for small sites and blogs, and paid upgrades are available to do even more.
- Web-based service that requires registration.
- Advertisements may appear on your site
- Limited storage (paid upgrades available)
- Limited customization options, no plugins
- Your site’s URL will be “yourblogname.wordpress.com”
- No access to files or database
- All updates performed by WordPress.com
Or, if you choose WordPress.org, you’ll find a good web host, register your own domain name, and host WordPress on your own server. Self-hosting means that you have full control over every aspect of your site, including the database and all files. Self-hosted WordPress unlocks its full potential. There are a plethora of resources available Online that can help you master WordPress and you don’t have to have any experience with coding, html, web design, or the like. You just need to know how to use a computer on the Internet. Here is a great site for learning WordPress online that is great for beginners and uses a combination of videos, written lessons and forum support.
- Self-hosted WordPress on your own server
- No ads on your site (unless you put them there)
- Unlimited storage (based on your hosting plan)
- Unlimited customization options, plugins, etc.
- Your site URL will be whatever you choose
- Full access to files and database
- You perform all updates of themes, plugins, and core files
So which path should you choose?
If you are serious about blogging and want to use your blog in any professional manner, then you should go with WordPress.org. If you simply want to have a small blog with no intention of making money or having it tied to a business, then WordPress.com will work just fine.