Now that I’ve explained what WordPress is and why you should use it, lets go into the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Although both platforms are based on open sourced software and are completely free to use, one version is much better than the other and this lesson explains why.
WordPress.com is a free hosted version of WordPress that enables you to build a simple WordPress blog in a matter of minutes. This version will give you a youraddresshere.wordpress.com URL to share with others, or, you can purchase their upgrade which enables you to use this service with a domain name of your choosing.
This free service includes access to a predetermined set of plugins including feedback, polls, and a rating system. If you want to serve a seperate theme for mobile users, you can also do this through WordPress.com’s system.
For themes, you’ll only have access to a limited number of themes that are preselected from the WordPress.com administrators. These themes are locked down unless you purchase an upgrade that allows you to modify and adjust the theme’s style sheet.
Other paid upgrades include:
- WordPress Value Bundle – For $99/year you’ll have access to use your own domain name, remove advertisements, video hosting, 5GB space upgrade, and the ability to customize your design. Or, you can purchase these services seperately:
- VideoPress video hosting – $59.97 per year.
- Use your own domain – $12/year.
- Customize Design – $30/year which allows you to change the CSS file, change fonts, and more.
- Space Upgrades – Price varies from 5GB for $19.97 to 100GB for $289.97.
- Remove Ads – $29.97 per year.
- More Users – They limit your users to 35. If you need unlimited, that’ll be $29.97 per year.
- Site Redirect – Forward visitors from one WordPress site to another for $12/year.
- Transfer – Want to go with a WordPress.org installation? They will do it for you for $119.
Do you see the problem here? If you want to take control of your WordPress.com site after you’ve built it, there’s a lot of fees on this free solution.
The benefits for WordPress.com include:
- Easy setup.
- Free web hosting.
- Automatic upgrades.
- Pre-selected plugins.
- No cost to get started.
WordPress.org provides download access to the software that you can then install and use on your own web server. This is actually easier than you’d expect because many web hosting providers including my favorite web host, InMotion Hosting (see my InMotion Hosting review), offers access to a one-click auto installation feature that will automatically install WordPress on your web hosting space. This process just doesn’t get any easier than the way InMotion Hosting does it.
With WordPress.org, you’ll have complete control over your website. This means you can run it as just a blogging platform for your personal website or you can use it to run a full and customizable website that can and will do just about anything you need.
You’ll also have access to purchase and use premium themes on your site. In my case, I choose a premium StudioPress Genesis theme and highly customized it to do exactly what I want here at web hosting choose. This enabled me to have a custom front page that offers all of the various sections I’ve developed for this site including this WordPress video training series.
Total Content Freedom – Unlike with WordPress.com, using your own hosted WordPress.org installation allows you total control of your content including the ability to use affiliate links and other monetizing methods to earn a living from your website. To get an idea of the limitations of WordPress.com, check out their terms of service and allowed / forbidden blog types pages.
The benefits of WordPress.org include:
- Complete freedom to do whatever you want with your website.
- Custom themes including premium themes.
- Custom plugins that will do exactly what you want.
- Full access to the code to edit and make changes.
- Total control of your site’s web hosting provider.
Next Lesson – How to Install WordPress
The next lesson shows you how to install WordPress manually on your web server.
Note: If you purchase InMotion Hosting through this link which will save you 30% on your web hosting fees, you’ll have immediate access to auto-install WordPress without having to follow this next tutorial. In that case, skip to lesson 4 which shows you the WordPress main dashboard once WordPress is installed.
Have questions about this lesson? Leave a comment below!