There are two different editions of WordPress available to develop your website. To this day there remains confusion over the two versions of WordPress, especially when starting out with WordPress for the first time. The differences between the two are substantial and you should understand those differences before starting out.
WordPress.com is your first choice and is a hosted version of WordPress that is completely free unless you want to add some premium features. This can be a convenient way to start out if you are new to website design and want to try it out with a minimum amount of time and setup.
There are some premium add-on’s that you can purchase to give you some functionality that you might want. The bundled premium versions are outlined below:
All of these functions are available a la carte as well but are more expensive when purchased individually. Before purchasing any of the add-on’s, you will probably want to look at running your website with your second choice which is WordPress.org, (also free). There is a brief outline later in this article.
Some of the limitations of WordPress.com are:
- No Advertising – You cannot run ads on your site unless you buy VIP hosting. It’s amusing that you can’t run ads but that Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) can run ads on your site unless you pay to eliminate them.
- Limited Theme Customization – You will need to choose your themes from a preselected number of themes. You cannot modify these themes. There are nearly 300 themes available and of those roughly 225 are free and the rest are premium themes that you will need to pay for. They do have some truly nice attractive themes to choose from.
- No Plugin Uploads – A substantial limitation is the inability to upload plugins. Plugins are products developed for the WordPress community that add improved functionality to WordPress. Some are free, and some are paid. Plugins can automate lots of stuff and make web development a lot easier, so this is a serious consideration.
- Violate Terms Of Service and Get Deleted – It is imperative that you read the terms of service carefully and that you understand those terms. There are quite a few things that they do not allow. People can easily report blogs that violate their terms of service, and you might wake up one day to find your website or blog deleted.
If you are serious about a business website and want to take full ownership and control over it, you will want to consider WordPress.org. This is a free software product that is available for download. You will need to purchase hosting to publish your website, but you will have complete control over every aspect of it and will not have the restrictions that come with WordPress.com.
Your choice of themes with the self-hosted WordPress.org is significantly increased. You will have access to thousands of themes, both free and paid. With so many choices, you are much more likely to find a theme that fits your needs.
You will also have access to thousands of plugins both free and paid that can enable you to implement just about any functionality you can think of.
Many websites that are developed on WordPress.com eventually migrate over to WordPress.org due to the additional capabilities that are available. So if that’s where you think you’ll end up, it will save time and money to start out there rather than having to migrate to WordPress.org later.
Dave is a developer for Yellow Frog Media where he works on websites for small to medium sized businesses. In the past he has served as a blogger, teacher, software developer and project manager. He resides in Arlington, Texas with his wife Charlotte and their four-legged child. (A Jack Russell Terrier mix named Eddie).