You’ve decided to setup your own blog. Well, that’s great news. The question that dogs you now is – where do you set it up? WordPress being one of the most popular blogging platforms on the Web is the obvious choice. However, you are still faced with two choices – wordpress.org and wordpress.com.
wordpress.org is the storehouse of all WordPress related information – themes, plugins, documentation, download, etc. But you are expected to manage all of these on your own, which includes:
Hosting the site
Maintaining regular backups for the site
Securing the site
Performing regular upgrades
wordpress.com is an excellent opportunity for small time bloggers to own a hassle-free and secure account for all their content. All blogs and websites created here are hosted and supported by the team at WordPress. So you are saved the trouble of managing the blog and instead, solely focus on the content.
Self-hosted or not?
With wordpress.org, you get a self-hosted site on your own domain (e.g. www.mycupcakes.com). You can create an account with any of the popular hosting providers such as Hostgator, BlueHost, GoDaddy, etc. who can host the site. With wordpress.com, you get a free account but on a sub-domain (e.g. http://myblog.wordpress.com). You have the option of upgrading to a premium account to get your own domain.
A wordpress.com site is akin to renting a car with no hassle of maintaining it. If your air-conditioning goes bad or the battery gives you any trouble, you can always go back to the rental agency to fix them for you. But you can’t fix that music system you’ve always wanted or get better safety measures installed. On the other hand, if you buy your own car, you are free to upgrade any part of it. But as our friendly neighborhood hero once said, with great power (or flexibility, in this case) comes great responsibility. So you are required to safe-guard, secure, and maintain your site all the way. For example, if a plugins breaks your site, you’ve got know how to set it right!
Software comes free. But you’ve got to pay for the domain name and hosting services.
Basic package is free. You’ve got to pay for anything more.
Required to setup your own backup mechanism. There are free as well as paid plugins available.
Depends on your hosting provider. Usually unlimited.
Basic account comes with 3GB space and no video storage. Pay more to get more.
You must do it manually.
Automatic updates, whenever needed.
Themes & Plugins
You can install unlimited number of themes and plugins. You can even build your own theme from scratch.
Very limited number of themes and plugins available, especially in the free version. On upgrading to a premium plan, more themes are made available to you. Plugins remain limited.
No Ads by WordPress. You are free to add your own using your Google AdSense account.
You are not allowed to post ads of your own. WordPress, however, may show ads in the free package. You’ve got to upgrade to lose them.
No built-in features. You must install suitable plugins to do what’s needed.
Features such as sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included, without having to install plugins.
If you are a serious blogger or own an ecommerce site, it is recommended that you have a self-hosted site. WordPress.org provides with all the flexibility you need to add a customized shopping cart or integrate with PayPal.
If you are only looking for a simple blog and don’t anticipate any changes in the immediate future, you could settle for a wordpress.com site.