WordPress is reportedly the easiest and most popular website management or blogging system in use on the Web, webpagesupporting more than 60 million websites according to Forbes.

Self-hosted WordPress means that you install the free WordPress software on your self-hosted website. You need a domain name and a server host where you store your site’s files for your online presence. You have to do a little bit of setting up (and learning if all this is new to you) and also maintenance but you are free to do whatever you please witweb page.

WordPress.com like Blogger is a proprietary blog hosting provider. It looks similar to WordPress.org and uses the WordPress CMS at its core but it is not the same as WordPress.org. Yet it is free to join and use at it’s most basic level which is definitely a plus for the starting blogger.

Let us look at the similarities and differences of the two namesakes and discuss the pros and cons.

Theme Support And The Freedom To Design Your Site

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Full support vs limited support. WordPress.org (the self-hosted version) offers full theme support which means that you can choose either a custom or commercial theme or a free theme to design your site and you will have full support for the developers and also total freedom how you redesign the theme to suit your needs.

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The free version of WordPress.com, on the other hand, offers only a limited number of themes in the repository and you cannot alter the themes’ CSS to suit your needs. On the other hand, you can pay for a CSS upgrade or pick up one of the commercial themes that are more likable to you.


Plugins To Expand Your Site

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In the self-hosted version of WordPress.org there is an endless supply of plugins, usually, there is a rich offering of them to solve any problem you might have so you can choose the one you like most or that works best with your site. Many of these plugins are free, some you have to purchase but usually, the prices are quite reasonable. The notion of plugins is what makes WordPress so special and turns your site into a real content management system.


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The free WordPress.com version does not allow you to upload any plugins but there are many plugin-like features in WordPress.com you can use. There are a few widgets (contact info, category cloud and the like) you can choose from and you can customize the navigation menus of your site to some extent.

Note: there is a WordPress.com Premium program that you can purchase starting from $8.25 a month and that allows you to upload plugins, tweak the PHP code, manage ads, make changes to the themes, etc.


Regular Expense

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Running a self-hosted WordPress site is a regular expense because you need to find a web hosting company that provides space on their servers for your website files. Usually, you would have to pay a certain monthly fee to them. There is an abundance of such companies in the world and the prices start from a couple of dollars per month. It is recommended to search around in forums for the reliability of the providers and for the options they have in different packages.

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A one-time cost for a self-hosted website is the purchase of the domain name which depends on the name and the domain extension (.com, .eu, etc) you are interested in. At WordPress.com you can also purchase a custom domain name with the paid program for a monthly fee.

Otherwise, the most basic version of a WordPress.com blog is free of charge.


Monetization Freedom

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Self-hosted WordPress is superb for running a business website that you can monetize any way you like. You can for example, add affiliate links, sell advertising space, add AdSense, write paid posts, review products, etc.

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In the free version of WordPress.com, your blog is being monetized by the owners of the service. The site is branded with WordPress.com branding and it runs their ads. It is possible to remove all this and start monetizing on the content yourself but this comes at a monthly cost.

The rule of thumb for WordPress.com is that you cannot advertise a product that is not your own – so if you have written a book it is allowed to promote on your blog but you cannot advertise a book that someone else has written.

WordPress.com also runs a program called WordAds which is available to WordPress.com blogs that match certain traffic and quality requirements. Once you are approved for WordAds program, you will be sharing your advertising revenue with WordPress.com.


Maintenance: Problem or Challenge?

The most daunting feature of a self-hosted WordPress site at least for newcomers is the need to set it up and constantly maintain on your own. A WordPress.com blog, on the other hand, is hassle free and all the updates and maintenance is done by the service provider. Yet there are so many free and excellent tutorials on the web about WordPress that this should be taken as an interesting challenge. Also, many host service providers offer WordPress updates and other services as part of their package so this is also worth investigating.

It is possible to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (as well as from other services). It is not too complicated to setup a WordPress.org site by oneself even if you are doing it for the first time. There are plenty of tutorials on the web and some blogs offer the service for free.

Check out: 8 best WordPress migration plugin.

A WordPress.com Site Could Be Shut Down At Any Moment

WordPress.com terms of service state that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.” If you are a serious blogger the possibility of having been shot down is a grave drawback even if your violation of the TOS was unintentional.
Your self-hosted WordPress site could of course also be shut down because someone has hacked into your site files – but this problem can be fixed and most of all prevented with proper maintenance.

Self Hosted Has Room For Extension And Development

WordPress.com is not a development platform while self-hosted WordPress most definitely is. Let us imagine for example that you start out with a simple blog sharing your ideas and thoughts to the world, you become more and more popular and you start to sell some kind of service. With a WordPress.com blog, it is near impossible to venture out into selling such service but with a self-hosted website it is possible to extend with just a few plugins. Once again, if you are serious about starting your website the better platform for this would be a self-hosted WordPress.


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