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How does WordPress.com compare to WordPress.org? Hosted vs Self-Hosted explained
These two may be very confusing for some people. You may hear there are advantages to one or the other or may not know what the difference is. The similarities are that both of these are brought to the public by the same people. These are both the WordPress Open Source blogging software. Open source being people are able to work on the program. The differences are discussed below
The biggest advantage of WordPress.com is that WordPress.com hosts your blog. It is completely free to use with you only needing to set up the blog. There is no installation and your blog is automatically backed up. You also get cross traffic from other blogs. You are going to get a blog name set up as blogname.wordpress.com or similar.
The disadvantage is that a you are limited to their themes. You are also limited to the plugins they use, which are very few. They do not allow advertisements or selling on their blogs. If they decide that your blog is not in line with their standards they could block or even delete your blog.
If you are using WordPress.org then you have a self-hosted blog. This means you or someone uploaded the application to a server. Your web host offers you space on their servers.
Choosing your theme or adding a plugin can easily be done by a few clicks of the mouse. For specialty themes or plugins you need to load via your file manager, which does take a few more steps. Being able to add specialty plugins and themes is part of what gives self-hosted WordPress. You can also modify the source code if you know programming.
The greatest thing is that you do not have to worry about WordPress deciding your blog goes against their standards. You do not have to worry about your content being controversial. Running an advertisement or not is entirely up to you. If you want to sell something you can.
It does cost $5 to $12 a month for web hosting. You are responsible for backing up your website, and updating your WordPress when newer versions become available.
Which one should I use?
If you are just wanting to try it, then WordPress.com is an easy way to start a temporary trial. Once you decide you like it, or if you are going to pay any of the fees for an upgraded blog on WordPress.com, then you would be better off getting a host and switching to hosted WordPress.org.
While it is more maintenance, the advantages of the hosted WordPress are very worth it. The cost of a web host can easily be recovered by the ability to host multiple blogs on one account and the ability to advertizing to monetize each. You can also add donation boxes or other a product to sell. This means your blog could earn potentially a lot more than the monthly hosting fees.
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