If you’ve been looking to build your first WordPress website, chances are you opened Google, searched for WordPress, and saw this result right here, WordPress.com create a free website or blog. You probably thought, oh, that must be it, WordPress.com. This is that WordPress platform, everyone keeps talking about. And that is the source of so much confusion in the WordPress community. What is WordPress.com?
Do you have to build your WordPress website through WordPress.com? What about WordPress hosts? Can’t I build my WordPress website through other companies, too? Well, it’s important for us to take a step back and understand what WordPress is. WordPress is an open source website builder that can be installed on any server and any web host. Because it’s open source, that means it’s completely free to use, so you can download the code and install it on any web server. If you go to WordPress.org, this is the official site for the WordPress platform. WordPress can be installed anywhere. You could have a server room in your attic and run WordPress on it for free. So at this point you might be saying, well, wait a minute, what is WordPress.com? It looks so official and legit. So WordPress.com is owned by Automattic. Automattic is a company that was formed by the co-founding WordPress software developer.
So to make a long story short, the founder of Automattic first registered the trademark to WordPress, and even though he has since donated it to the WordPress foundation, his company still has special privileges to use the WordPress.com domain and branding for their web host. WordPress.com is essentially a blessed WordPress host from a branding perspective, as they get to use the WordPress brand and come across as the official hosting option. So if WordPress.com seems so official, does that make it the best option for your WordPress website? I tried it for myself and the experience was different than I expected.
You can actually create a website totally free on a branded subdomain, like yourwebsite.WordPress.com. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with blogging, I think WordPress.com is a great place to do this. Their free plan gives you all the tools you need to make posts, add pages, and get a basic website together, for friends and family to view. It’s a watered-down, modified version of WordPress that doesn’t let you install plugins or third-party themes, but it’s functional, nonetheless. And I can’t think of a better way to get serious, reliable hosting free for a basic blog. But if you’re serious about building a brand, you want your website to have a custom domain. You want your website to be on your website.com, instead of yourwebsite.WordPress.com.
And that’s you when you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Seems pretty fair, right? Well, this is where things get interesting because the $4 and $8 a month plans do allow you to connect your own domain name, but there’s still that watered-down version of WordPress that you get with the free plan. That’s right, even for $8 a month, you cannot install plugins and you can’t install third-party themes.
This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is. If you’ve never used WordPress before, take my word for it. You will want to install plugins and you will want third-party themes. These are core, essential parts of WordPress that you need to build a great website for your business, and it’s something that you really are going to want. Unfortunately, with WordPress.com, getting the full, true version of WordPress will cost you $25 a month. And to make matters worse, all of these plans are billed annually with no monthly option available. So you actually need to shell out $300 at one time for a year of hosting.
This brings us to today’s sponsor, Porkbun, your go-to platform for the lowest price domains and simple hosting services that help you cohesively build your brand. If you’re currently exploring hosting options, consider the world beyond WordPress.com. A simpler, faster, streamlined option awaits. Porkbun’s Easy WordPress offers the speed and reliability you’d expect at a price you can’t beat. Custom-built with security and performance as the number one priority. A third of the web uses WordPress, but the savviest customers use Porkbun’s Easy WordPress, it’s in the name. Your fancy new domain name deserves a trustworthy host, so once you’ve snagged your domain at the industry’s lowest price, you heard that right, lowest price, try Easy WordPress free for 15 days.
Then with monthly costs as low as $10, a price and a product perfectly fit for big businesses and growing personal brands. Head over to porkbun.com for a refreshing take on the domain industry, with the tools you need to showcase your skills. Along with finding superior products, you’re bound for a laugh or two. Enjoy, and huge thanks to Porkbun for supporting the channel. I just registered my new domain name for my upcoming online course at Porkbun, and I can’t wait to share that with you guys soon. So getting back to WordPress.com, I really would not recommend paying $300 a year for hosting when there are alternatives like Porkbun’s Easy WordPress hosting for a $120 a year.
Not to mention the fact that Porkbun offers a 15-day free trial with no strings attached, and they also have a monthly billing option for $12. You may be thinking that WordPress.com might be more reliable or just have better support because it just feels so official. But I can assure you the experience is just as good, if not better, at other web hosts. And I always recommend buying hosting month-to-month when you’re getting started so that way it’s easy to switch hosts if you aren’t having a good experience. Or you can cancel your hosting, if your business or blog doesn’t work out. Now, in fairness to WordPress.com, I need to give credit where credit is due. For $300 a year, they do give you 200 gigs of storage, which is pretty impressive when compared to other hosting plans that typically give you 10 to 20 gigabytes of storage.
However, WordPress itself, only takes a few hundred megabytes of space, so the only reason you would ever need more than 10 to 20 gigs of storage is if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos hosted directly on your WordPress website. And if you do require that type of storage, there are a number of workarounds.
Let’s take Amazon Web Services S3 storage solution. You could set this up to upload all your pictures and media from your WordPress site to be stored on AWS S3, instead of your main hosting account, and Amazon charges around $5 a month for 200 gigabytes of data storage. This is completely modular, as well, and you get billed down to the megabyte. So if you need 30 gigabytes of storage, 200 gigs or two terabytes of storage, a solution like this is infinitely scalable.
Hmm, let’s see, $10 a month for web hosting, $5 a month for 200 gigs of storage through Amazon, that puts us at $15 a month for the same amount of storage as the $25 a month plan at WordPress.com. WordPress.com also gives you 24/7 live-chat support, but I was unable to try it for myself as I don’t want to shell out $300 to try it. So in the end, should you use WordPress.com for your website? Well, I’d say if you’re wanting to use the free version, or if you’re looking for a basic blog, and that’s your only goal, to get a basic blog with your domain name, that’s simple and easy to use, I think the $4 a month plan can be a great option to connect your domain name and have that simplified, watered-down experience. One thing I wanna make clear is that this watered-down experience is proprietary to WordPress.com and you won’t find it elsewhere.
It’s a modified version of WordPress.org that isn’t part of WordPress itself, so that can be a blessing and a curse, depending on your needs. If you’re just looking for a carefree, easy interface to use for a basic blog, I actually think you’ll enjoy the experience at WordPress.com. It’s simpler than the normal WordPress interface, which can be a good thing if you don’t need plugins and third-party themes. However, if you’re building a website for your company, an eCommerce store, or anything beyond a bare bones, basic blog, I would highly recommend getting hosting elsewhere, such as from our sponsor, Porkbun.
Not only is there better value elsewhere, but you don’t have to be locked into a year and you can find a solution to fit your needs. Whether it’s simple hosting, complex hosting with staging environments and development environments, or renting a dedicated server, if that’s your thing. There’s a massive sea of options outside WordPress.com, and I encourage you to look around before making a decision on where to land. So what do you guys think of WordPress.com? Are you going to use it for your website? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.