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Self-Hosted WordPress vs. Free WordPress.com. Which is Better?

Self-Hosted WordPress vs. Free WordPress.com. Which is Better?

Well, the truth is that you will never actually own your site at WordPress.com. You’re just borrowing it. I am aware the official content says otherwise, but the the fact is, WordPress.com can shut you down completely at any moment and there’s no legal action you may take to reverse it.

So, is the aforementioned belief really true?

Let’s start with the reasons why the .org (self-hosted version) surpasses the .com (borrowed version):

1. You get to control everything

Quite simply, WordPress.com allows you to do practically nothing in regards to changing the website that they say you own.

First of all, forget about any type of source code modifications to the heart or other elements of your site. With self-hosted WordPress, it is possible to do anything.

Second of all, what about email? With a WordPress.com blog, you can’t setup personal email accounts for your own domain name unless you now have “real web hosting” or pay for email from a third-party service provider.

2. You are able to work on any theme and layout

When it comes to themes, there’s a set of 150 themes available for WordPress.com websites, this includes both free and premium ones. Nevertheless, after you choose WordPress.com, you can’t even hire a designer to help yo make any kind of modifications to the themes provided.

In short, with the .org, you can take any design, turn it into a theme, and install it on your site and even modify any existing theme, right down to the source code of that theme. You have 100% full control!

3. You can tweak and install any plugin you wish

The fact that there is no plugin installation allowed at WordPress.com was quite surprising for me. Yes, you really can’t install any third-party plugins on your WordPress.com site in case your budget is $0.

(Okay, WordPress.com includes a set of already integrated plugin-like functionalities; more with this in a minute. And you can also sign up to WordPress.com Enterprise, that will give you accessibility to a group of discretionary plugins, which is cool… but the price tag starts at $500 a month. Yep, $500 bucks a month!

4. You are able to work with your own domain name

Yes, I realize that WordPress.com gives you the ability to be found on your own domain name also, but the kicker is the fact that you have to pay for it. And I don’t mean the price of the domain itself. Actually, you’ve got to (1) pay for the domain name and then (2) pay WordPress.com to assign it to your site. The current price on this is $13 per year. Feels sort of like I was being “nickel and dimed”.

With self-hosted WordPress you are able to again, do pretty much anything you want. You can use any domain name and even create other websites accessible through subdomains beneath the primary one (something you can’t do on the .com (borrowed WordPress version).

5. No one can shut you down

This is definitely the most significant reason behind self-hosted WordPress on this list (at least in my opinion).

When you’ve got complete control of your hosting environment, such as Managed cPanel Cloud Hosting, quite simply , no one can pull the plug on your internet presence.

If your site is accessible through WordPress.com, then they’re able to shut you down with only one click (even if you’re mapping your blog through a custom domain).

And simply to make things more clear, I’m not talking about having any kind of “naughty” content on your own site. I’m talking about scenarios where your website is for your business. You can’t sell other companies products and services on your WordPress.com blog as per their Terms of Service. They even frown on health and fitness blogs. In this situation, you certainly want to make sure where ever you build your business, it won’t be demolished over night, as we say.

6. It’s easier to sell a self-hosted site

Let’s stay on the topic of business. For lots of people, sites = businesses. And businesses change hands some times. Basically, if you have complete ownership of your web site, with no other individuals and no middlemen, selling your website is so much easier. No one acquires a company that doesn’t at least own their own website. No one! If you don’t own your own website, your basically wasting your time and you can count on not being considered a serious business in the eyes of the people who matter the most to your business. Yep, your customers too!

7. You can’t have your own ads on WordPress.com

You just can’t. There’s no official answer around this. But their Terms of Service make it very clear that they do not want people selling other companies products and services from their WordPress.com blog. You can and will be shut down at any moment, usually when you least expect it!

The clear winner is WordPress.org

Now that we’ve broken down the comparisons between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, you ought to be able to see why so many people prefer WordPress.org and their self-hosted platform. For anyone still on the fence about which solution is better for them, we’ve made a final bullet point summary.

WordPress.org is a great solution for anyone that wants to…

  • You can create a site or blog that you completely own.
  • You can setup your site as an online ecommerce site.
  • You can pick and choose your own plugins and themes.
  • You can have multiple site authors to contribute content.
  • You can get a lot of traffic and upload big images and video.
  • You can build a site that you can scale and make money with.
  • You own your own content and can enforce copyright.
  • You don’t have to worry about being shutdown over night.
  • You can create unlimited email accounts for your own domain.

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