Self-Hosted WordPress Website vs. WordPress.com
what’s the difference?
No doubt, you’ve heard of WordPress before – but you may not have realized there is actually more than one way to have a “wordpress website”. In this article, we’ll briefly look into a self-hosted wordpress site vs wordpress.com (and why it’s almost always a better idea to go self-hosted)!
First of all – what even is WordPress?
WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that allows content to be beautifully & systematically organized to make for an incredible user experience both for the backend admin and for the frontend site visitor.
THINK OF WORDPRESS LIKE: The house that you built on your property, that your street address directs people to. You get to build the foundation, put up the walls, lay in carpet, organize the drawers and make it “home”.
You can have a website without WordPress – but organizing your content, making changes to pages, easily creating new pages, etc – all becomes very difficult & involves coding and true tech knowledge.
Oh by the way, if you’re thinking – but I can do all of that in Squarespace or Wix…
Think again. Using WordPress for your website is so worth it. According to WhoIsHostingThis.com, 27% of the ENTIRE internet is powered by WordPress & there’s a good reason.
You have ultimate flexibility over the look, SEO, organization, plugins, everything. With WordPress’s most notorious competitors – you’re limited in what you can create and how your site can function & you often have monthly fees you need to pay to keep your website up.
Self-Hosted WordPress Site vs. wordpress.com
Now that I’ve thoroughly convinced you that WordPress is, ahem…AWESOME, let’s talk about this minor yet totally important difference.
So what is the difference between wordpress.com and a self-hosted wordpress site? They sound very much like the same thing, right?
They are not.
A site created on WordPress.com
…is created on the WordPress platform, yes, but is hosted and maintained by WordPress the company. That means there are significant limitations to what you can and cannot do on your own website. For example:
- You are limited to particular themes
- You cannot upload plugins
- Unless you upgrade, your website will say something like “powered by WordPress” (ie: no brand freedom)
- You cannot add in ecommerce or any membership components
some of the features can be accessed, but only on a paid wordpress membership.
A self-hosted wordpress website
…is one where you purchase a hosting plan with a provider (we’ll get to that later) and then install the WordPress software. Because you are installing the software onto your hosted website – you can do anything you want with it, make modifications, add themes, plugins, the works!
- You can use any theme you want!
- You can use any plugin you want (and as many as you want – though I don’t recommend going overboard!)
- You have total brand freedom!
- You can add ANY feature you can dream up to your website.
Pssst, if you want a little more in-depth coverage of this topic, I suggest you download the free guide: Demystifying Your WordPress Site – the 5 building blocks of a self-hosted WordPress site.
So what is better: Self-Hosted WordPress Website vs. wordpress.com?
If you want to have ultimate control over what is on your WordPress website, it needs to be self hosted.
Furthermore, from a purely financial standpoint, it really doesn’t make much sense to pay for wordpress.com. Not only are you limited in what you can do, if you want more freedom you have to pay more (and sometimes even more than a hosting company).
PLUS, because it’s on their site, technically WordPress owns your site – umm, no thanks?
Ready to get started with a Self-Hosted WordPress Website? First of all – YAY! You are one step closer to your dream website.
If you want to get started, there are a few key initial steps:
- Grab a Hosting Plan (here are my top 3 – in order of preference)
- Grab a domain name (URL)
- Install WordPress on your hosted site – unless you use one of the hosting providers I mentioned above, in which case it’s done for you!
- Find a theme you love (ORRRR check out the #effortlesswebkits which are not only WordPress themes but also templates + more!)
- Enjoy your awesome self-hosted wordpress website and all the benefits of a site that will grow with you as your business grows.