January 9, 2023
So what is WordPress.com?
OK – so you probably know that WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) and it powers websites and blogs – in fact over 60% of all websites are built on WordPress. It is free to use and offers a range of features and customization options to help create a professional-looking website without needing to write any code.
What you may not know though is that there are two ways in which you can use WordPress: one being through WordPress.com and the other by installing the WordPress software (downloadable from WordPress.org) on your own web server – which is what we do.
I tend to think of WordPress.com as “the WordPress for dummies” but that is definitely not to say it’s a dumb idea to use it or that it’s a poor choice. It might be fairer to call WordPress.com the “one-stop-shop” but let me explain and then you can decide for yourself.
WordPress.com is a hosting service that provides everything you need to create a website using WordPress. It is a fully-managed service, which means that the hosting, security, and maintenance are all taken care of by the WordPress.com team. All you need to do is sign up for an account and start building your website. WordPress.com pricing plans start at $12 AUD a month for a personal site and up to $54 AUD a month for a Business site. It’s a very similar approach to some other CMSs you may have heard of such as Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly (if you head off to check these systems out don’t blame me when every online ad you see for the next 2 weeks is one of theirs!)
One of the main advantages of using WordPress.com is that it is very easy to get started. You don’t need to worry about installing or configuring anything, as everything is already set up for you. It is also a good option for users who don’t want to spend a lot of time on technical details, as the WordPress.com team takes care of that for you.
However, there are some limitations to using WordPress.com. You are limited to using the themes and plugins that are available on the platform, and you don’t have full control over the code of your website. You also need to pay for additional features and storage, which can add up over time.
On the other hand, if you install the WordPress software (available for free at WordPress.org) on your own web server (or ours), you have complete control over your website. You can install any theme or plugin you want, and you have full access to the code of your website. This gives you much more flexibility and customization options, but it also requires a bit more technical knowledge and time to set up.
In summary, WordPress.com is a fully-managed hosting service that is easy to use and requires minimal technical knowledge, but it has some limitations. Installing the WordPress software on your own web server gives you complete control over your website, but it requires more technical knowledge and time to set up.
This probably leaves you wondering “Which is the right CMS for me then?” The answer to that question really depends on how you see your business looking in the next 3 to 5 years. Making the wrong decision now isn’t the end of the world but making the right one will save you a lot of time and expense and a few headaches. My suggestion is to speak with an expert and then make your decision.
Finally, if you’re after a very thorough comparison of the two WordPress platforms here’s an excellent and very thorough article from WPBeginner.