Gone are the days of manually coding your website. We have many fantastic tools to help us build our websites quickly and share our products, articles, knowledge, and more with the world.
But out of all the fantastic web platform tools out there, including household names such as Wix, Weebly, and Shopify, WordPress enjoys the lion’s share of the website creation and management market, powering nearly a third of the Internet!
In this WordPress.com overview, we’ll introduce WordPress.com and look at what this hosted version of the popular website creation tool is all about.
Granted, that slice of the pie mentioned earlier is split between two distinct WordPress flavors, but the self-hosted version from WordPress.org is the dominant version, and for a good reason too. However, depending on your requirements, the hosted version might be right up your alley.
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WordPress.org Vs. WordPress.com: An Introduction
If you hear people mentioning WordPress, 9 times out of 10, they’ll be talking about the self-hosted version at WordPress.org rather than the hosted version at WordPress.com, and the reason is simple.
The self-hosted version’s ownership, control, usage, and customizability almost always trumps the limited hosted version.
WordPress.org is almost completely boundless regarding what you can create, how you manage it, and who you present it to.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is more pre-fabricated. It’s a specific implementation of the broader WordPress ecosystem you get when you choose the self-hosted version.
You can kind of think of the hosted version as training wheels. It does a lot of the work for you and limits your creative control. Depending on your scalability requirements, it can become a little pricey.
Of course, the downside of taking the training wheels off is that the bike is trickier, and the same is true when you choose WordPress.org over WordPress.com.
What Is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a for-profit, paid service powered by the WordPress.org software. It’s simple to use, but you lose much of the flexibility of the self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress.com is a for-profit, paid service that helps users create their websites without coding or design knowledge. Since the hosted version is powered by the WordPress.org software, it’s simple to use, so the user doesn’t have to go through the hassle of finding and purchasing a separate hosting plan.
You can start on WordPress.com with a free plan option to set up and test your blog or personal website. Free themes are available, but the premium versions and the ability to add custom themes require upgrading to the Business plan or higher. The Premium plan allows for design customizations. More details are below.
The same with ads. Users will see a WordPress.com banner in the header and text in the footer. The removal of ads requires a paid plan.
Customizing Your Site with WordPress.com
After signing up for WordPress.com, you can get started right away. Your managed hosting is included, so you can easily create that beginner website.
After that, you can choose a template and begin adding plugins. With WordPress.com, users can access hundreds of different plugins that allow them to add features such as contact forms, photo galleries, eCommerce capabilities, social media integration, and more without having to write any code themselves. You can even purchase additional premium themes or plugins if needed.
The caveat is that you cannot install plugins on your free WordPress.com plan. By not being able to use plugins, you are missing out on the best feature of WordPress.
Some widgets are included, like the newsletter widget, for example, and some plugins can be installed with the Premium subscription, but the Business plan is required for custom plugins.
For example, the WooCommerce plugin or an SEO plugin like Yoast can be added to the Business and eCommerce plans.
How Much Does WordPress.com Cost?
Here are the annual costs (per month):
- Free – $0 – starter site with limited templates and features. The host is on a subdomain, example.wordpress.com. No access to plugins. 1GB of storage.
- Personal – $4 – create and point a custom domain to your site. Get 24/7 online support. Ads are removed. 6GB of storage.
- Premium – $8 – includes everything in Personal and more design tools, some plugins like Google Analytics, and some features. 13GB of storage.
- Business – $25 – includes everything in Premium and includes the ability to add custom plugins and access all free and paid themes. Includes SEO features and live support. 200GB of storage.
- eCommerce – $45 – includes everything in Business and the WooCommerce plugin preinstalled.
A free standard domain is offered in the first year. The domain renewal is about $18 per year. This does not include email hosting.
- Ease of use and scalability.
- No maintenance or updates.
- You can get started quickly as a blogger, artist, photographer, or other creatives for free with ads and a WordPress.com subdomain.
- A free standard domain in the first year with a paid plan. Renewal is about $18 per year.
- Native mobile app for iOS and Android. You can create and edit websites, check on stats, manage posts, and upload files from a mobile device.
- Direct support through a video library, email, and live chat.
- You are limited based on what you want to do with your site compared to the self-hosted version.
- Similar offerings from competitors with hosted platforms offer a better deal.
- Limited use of themes and plugins based on subscription level. The Business plan is required for the most customization at $33 a month or $25 a month paid annually.
- Limited monetization options. Google Adsense cannot be installed on free plans.
- If you have never used WordPress before, this platform has a bit of a learning curve.
WordPress.com Overview – Final Thoughts
The hosted version at WordPress.com is ideal for those just starting, as it requires no technical knowledge whatsoever. All you need to do is sign up for an account and start creating content immediately.
If you need a simple yet powerful website building solution that won’t break the bank to start and you don’t require a lot of customizations, then look no further than WordPress.com.