7 Reasons Why I Like WordPress.com Hosting

WordPress.com is not only a great place to start blogging but it may even be your last stop. When you self host a WordPress.org install you are on your own. Managing your own install isn’t a cake walk. The learning curve is steep and takes lots of time – time you won’t be spending on content creation. I’ve been there, done that and returned.

A back of the envelope calculation for a domain name, reliable hosting, a decent theme, and a couple of premium plugins comes out at anything between $250 and $450 for that first year. An equivalent site on WordPress.com would cost between $150 and $250 for a Pro site with a premium theme whilst SquareSpace costs $250 for unlimited storage, bandwidth and a custom domain. via 7 Reasons Why Novices Should Not Self-Host WordPress – WPMU.org.

The pros and cons of being free hosted by WordPress.com or self hosting WordPress.org software are summed up very well in WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

Don’t lose track of the fact that you don’t have to purchase a single upgrade to establish a successful free hosted WordPress.com blog.

Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org means you will be responsible for all software, theme and plugin installations, all WordPress.org software upgrades, all backups and all troubleshooting.

Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org means you will have additional responsibilities and if something goes wrong with the software, plugins, etc. or your web hosting, then you have to figure it out how to fix it and/or how to get your blog up and running again.

You will be losing the expeditiously delivered, hand holding technical support provided by the long suffering Volunteers and Automattic/WordPress.com Staff in the WordPress.com support forums. As a WordPress.org blogger you will be expected to search first and to RTFM (read the flipping codex and previous support threads), prior to posting for help to the support forums. If you have not done that and post anyway then you will find yourself twisting in the wind, while waiting endlessly for help or you will simply give up and hire help.

Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org means your blog will no longer be a part of the WordPress.com community ie. your published posts will not automatically appear in the WordPress.com Reader and your content will lose the traffic it previously received from it.

Moving to WordPress.org to make money

The most common reason for moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is the desire to make money from advertizing and/or affiliate sales. In reality if your WordPress.com blog does not currently attract 1,000 – 1,500 unique visitors every day, and your traffic stats do not demonstrate a growth trend, then it’s unlikely that you will earn much more than what’s required to cover web hosting costs, so don’t hurry into self hosting thinking you will be handsomely paid for the effort. Note that WordPress.com does have the WordAds advertising program which is open to blogs on their own domains that have a enough high traffic flow to qualify for acceptance.

Moving to WordPress.org to use different themes

The second most common reason for moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is the desire to customize a theme. You cannot build or use your own custom theme built from scratch at WordPress.com, but you can customize an existing theme, either a free theme or a premium theme by purchasing a Custom design ie. CSS editing upgrade.  Also note that many “free” WordPress.ORG themes require a magnifying glass examination by a coder before uploading them.

Moving to WordPress.org to use plugins

The third most common reason for moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is the desire to use plugins, especially SEO plugins. The pagerank of WordPress.com is 9/10 and the Alexa rank is 15!  In truth the SEO derived from being hosted on this WordPress.com domain is HUGE. Yet the SEO myths still abound. All blogs hosted here benefit from that ranking, and believing that installing an SEO plugin on any self-hosted WordPress.org install can beat it is unrealistic.

I think many bloggers are in a hurry to get self hosted WordPress.org installs and they don’t recognize what a good thing we have going at WordPress.com, where we have:

  1. reliable free hosting (no downtime);
  2. no bandwidth limitations for text;
  3. generous free space allotment for media;
  4. no software upgrade hassles;
  5. traffic from the global tags pages;
  6.  great support from Volunteers and Staff when we need it;
  7. many free features;
  8. a variety individual upgrades;
  9. a choice of free blogs without upgrades or Premium bundles or Business upgrade bundles.

WordPress.com may even be your last stop. However, if it isn’t for you, then here’s a brief summary outlining the steps involved in moving:

For more details read Moving Your Blog from WordPress.Com to WordPress.Org: Resources and Tips.

Related posts found in this blog:
Create a WordPress Website Step By Step
Domain Mapping Tips
Do I Need a Domain?

67 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why I Like WordPress.com Hosting

  1. I own a domain with .co.za. I wish to link this domain to my wordpress.com website. Does the fact that it is not a .com domain have any effect ? My next question should probably be directed at Google, but I wonder if you might have an opinion – when I Google I often select my own country believing the search results will be more targetted. I have noticed however that my (relatively new) wordpress.com website pops up well on world wide Goggle search, but when I switch to a country specific search it disappears off the radar. Rather weird. Would using my own domain which includes the country code .co.za help ?

  2. Hmm I didn’t find it under settings reading or under appearance customize, the latter seemed to be all about colors and the theme header image and stuff like that.

    1. I was referring to Featured Content. The Related Posts feature is built into Expound. The settings for Featured Content have moved to Appearance → Customize

      Easily feature all posts with the “featured” tag or a tag of your choice. Your theme supports up to 5 posts in its featured content area.
      Tag name ___________
      Hide tag from displaying in post meta and tag clouds.

  3. TT, this is a great post. As you may remember, I seemed to endlessly rant about the global tags over here at wordpress.com so I left. I don’t run a very advanced site, so I don’t feel like I’ve spent a lot of time doing site maintainance. I don’t mind the 5 or so minutes a week I spend updating plugins. I’ve moved my original site back to wordpress.com because I really don’t know what I want to do with it. I restarted a self-hosted site and probably won’t leave there until one of the following 3 things happen,

    1. My host decides I’m using up too much processing power.
    2. WordPress.com allows us to upload audio without purchasing a space upgrade.
    3. The audio on my site exceeds 3 gb. I’ve already posted 9 audio clips as of yesterday and I’m not even to 500 mb yet, so I may not even be running the site anymore when it gets to that many clips. The host I’m using is a free one, and I’m very happy there.

    You did hit on one of the biggest annoyances of mine with the WordPress.org support system. I was trying to get my child theme working and was asking a question and was met with “Stop bumping.” Well, at least acknowledge my question and I won’t keep asking it over and over again. That site took me quite a while to set up and get it working the way I wanted. I ended up discovering what the problem was on my own.

    Now, I’m considering a theme change, but to one of the themes available most likely one that’s available both here and on the wordpress.org library so that both sites look the same. I think I’ll return here if I ever leave self-hosting. The big thing I was worried about with my site was that people who aren’t familiar with how wordpress.com’s global tag system worked would complain to me that the links at the bottom of my posts took them to some unknown page that they didn’t expect. Anyway, tirade over, a few final closing thoughts.

    1. If anyone is interested in radio airchecks, my self-hosted site is http://bobsairchecks.x10host.com.
    2. Question for TT, how do you get the “related posts found in this blog” thing? That’s kind of cool.

    1. Hi there,

      The big thing I was worried about with my site was that people who aren’t familiar with how wordpress.com’s global tag system worked would complain to me that the links at the bottom of my posts took them to some unknown page that they didn’t expect. Anyway, tirade over, a few final closing thoughts.

      Prior to August 2011 all categories and tags we assigned to our posts redirected to the WordPress.com global tags pages and only the links displayed by Tags and Categories widgets directed to content in our own blogs.

      For related posts see:
      The settings for Featured Content have moved to Appearance → Customize
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/related-posts/

  4. I am back to WordPress.com with a custom domain after making the rounds through Blogger, self-hosted WordPress plus a number of other platforms, some now extinct!

    Your advice is spot on and I wish read by me more than fours years ago so I could have avoided all the pitfalls you outlined above.

    Great resource you have here!

    1. Hi Greg,
      Welcome back and thanks for the kind words about my blog. I acknowledge that WordPress.com may not be for everyone but it’s my first choice for the 7 reasons I posted above.

  5. Totally content with WP.com. I have two blogs right now. Once I found the theme for my first blog, I stuck with it because of ease and familiarity and the availability to change the header photos for some variety and interest (thanks to your suggestion). I recently started my second blog for a cross country camping trip; it is my traveling journal and photos for the family (and others who “like” on WP reader!)

    I find the forum on the ball and extremely helpful, and as said before, if I don’t know the terminology generally through some forum research I can find the correct words and ask my question with some “intelligence”. LOL

    That very problem of lack of terminology came up on my second blog; my photos were overlapping, creating extreme frustration. I asked my question on the forum, the answer didn’t work but I had the right words to look up an answer on the forum. I found my answer (of course, a TT answer) and now I use the code in my text to keep the picture from overlapping.

    Change WP.com? Not on your life!

  6. I wonder if you have found traffic coming in from search engines increasing significantly after a month perhaps, to make the traffic drying up from wordpress reader not so painful eventually when you were independently hosted?

  7. WordPress.com lets me do everything I want to do, and takes care of all the stuff I don’t want to fool with. I can’t imagine going any place else. (And there happen to be some very nice, very helpful people here, too … )

  8. I have also heard the odd horror story eg: a blogger who lost her entire media library even with a paid for transfer. Days, possibly weeks of reuploading photos ensued.

    1. I have stories to tell about self-hosting gone wrong that would make you sob but not now. I got carried away already when responding to Jamie Ray and even edited the post more than once to add more information to it.

  9. Good post, and I agree wholeheartedly. There’s plenty of flexibility within the WordPress-hosted options. Plus there is the advantage of the Reader and the interactivity tools – you can’t beat the ease of clicking the like or follow buttons on WordPress-hosted sites. I should also mention that WP staff have been very quick to respond and helpful any time I’ve had to ask for help from them.

  10. I think that there is a bias or misperception that WordPress.com is “just” for personal blogging and WordPress.org is for professional blogging. Since I was going to do a personal blog it was a no-brainer to go to WordPress.com; but if I was going to do something larger I would still choose it. Overall, I have found WordPress.com to be relatively easy to work with, as long as I read up before I take any new action.There is a lot to learn. I can understand why people get frustrated and quit if they expect that they can just sign up and start writing.

    Your point about how many daily visitors/clicks you need to make advertising viable is sobering. I had no idea you needed that many. Glad I bought the no-advertising add on.

    1. Hi Jamie Ray,
      You nailed it! There’s a ridiculous bias and it makes us Volunteers answering support questions shake our heads and LOL. Another idiotic belief is the one that WordPress.org software is more advanced than what we operate on here. It’s not. We are the guinea pig platform and the versions we run on are upgraded here on continuous roll out. There are as many as 2 dozen code changes made in a day and it’s at least a full month after this platform is running on new WordPress software version before it’s made available to WordPress.org bloggers. Along with the bias is an asinine belief that moving to self-hosting amounts to moving up when it’s actually moving out.

      WordPress.com blogs are part of a community and when you move your blog to self hosting your new blog will be a stand alone island. There is no WordPress.org Reader or WordPress.org community. Yes you can transfer your followers and email subscribers but I don’t know a single blogger who has moved to self hosting who retained them all. There will be a number that will be “lost”.

      In conversation with many bloggers who do move I find they are fueled by a mistaken belief that their same content in a self hosted install will be able to achieve higher SEO if they install a plugin. Get a grip! The SEO derived from being hosted on this WordPress.com domain is HUGE. The pagerank of WordPress.com is 9/10 and the Alexa rank is 15! All blogs hosted here benefit from that ranking, and believing that installing an SEO plugin on any isolated self-hosted install can beat it is unrealistic.

      Why would one abandon a host like WordPress.com that has so little downtime? WordPress.com is BIG and their servers are reliable. There are three HUGE server farms in three different locations and that kind of redundancy is simply not available from smaller web hosts.

      Some bloggers blog only for income and of course they need to be on WordPress.org software. But those who say they are moving because they want to make a little spending cash make me shake my head in consternation. I don’t want to be mean but truth does hurt.

      Reality check: If they move a blog that has 1,000 – 1,500 unique visitors every day and that traffic is NOT comprised of a significant number of ad clickers, who actually purchase something, they will not make much more than pocket change over and above their web hosting and associated costs.

      If they are moving because they want to make money then that also assumes they are moving a blog with high quality original content that can’t be found elsewhere (pageranks ranging from 4/10 – 5/10), and that they intend to ramp up their content creation and publication, as well as, the time they spend on promotion. Yet I have had bloggers tell me they think that they will spend less time because plugins will do more for them – say what?

      And then there there are those bloggers who move so they have access to more themes. More is not better and many “free” WordPress themes require a magnifying glass examination before uploading them. Why? Because some have encrypted hidden links and other black hat stuff and even worse embedded in them.

      I’d best stop here before this becomes a rant … maybe it’s already a rant.

      P.S. Update: I did edit the post and add a sentence or two from this comment to it.

      1. I think it is a rant- but also a good read. One more misperception- if it is “free” then it can’t be any good. Thanks, hope that doesn’t set you off on another tirade.

        1. Hmmm Jamie Ray
          Okay it’s a rant and I have spent years avoiding ranting online but maybe this topic deserves a rant or at least maybe I can justify feeling that does. lol :D

    1. Hi Judy,
      I have no desire to return to self hosting. I am not technically minded and don’t like worrying about updates and rogue plugins, etc. Here that’s all taken care of for us – yes!

    1. Hi Sun,
      I’m so glad you read the summary. Staff did a great job of laying it out but I suspect some bloggers I recommend the link to in the support forums don’t actually read through the entry.

      1. Everything you say about the advantages of WordPress.com resonates with me. I’m one of those bloggers who tried .org and learned the hard way.

        I read the entire Google essay on “duplicate content” and am confused. I don’t understand under what circumstances I should make a WordPress.com blog private? Is that advice intended for people who are publishing the same content on both WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

        1. Is that advice intended for people who are publishing the same content on both WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

          In a word “yes”.

          Search engines serve those who use them. Their aim is to provided the most relevant results in response to search queries. Nothing is a greater waste to time than having to crawl through search results polluted with with duplicated content created by opportunistic bloggers attempted to game the system to draw traffic to the same content on more than one domain. The Penguin algorithm will detect the duplication of content across domains. Alleluia! for Google.

          However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en

          Clearly no blogger ought to be publishing the same content one more than one domain. If one wants to refer to their own previously published content on another domain then a quote and backlink are the way to go; republishing the whole article is unacceptable. If one wants to have a backup of all their articles in a different blog make the duplicate content blog private.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I’m looking at my response to Jamie Ray and wondering why I didn’t include all that in the post. I think it was because it would have sounded either too preachy or like a rant.

    1. Hi Peter,
      Without doubt any of my readers could self host. Yes, there’s a learning curve involved but there’s a learning curve involved in anything new we take on, and everything new we take on requires a major investment of time and usually a financial investment too.

      Bloggers are writers who write for the web. As that can be done free of charge and unfettered by time investment into learning and coping with technical stuff, and as moving incurs costs and ongoing expenses, then the real question for those who consider moving their content ought to be:

      How will self hosting a WordPress.org site better help me to achieve my writing goal(s)?

      I have asked clients the question I posed above and when I received answers like “I want a nicer theme” or “I want to make some money” I am done with them. There are custom design upgrades available for theme customization via CSS editing here at WordPress.com. And, provided a blog qualifies, it can be accepted into the WordAds advertising program.

      I send them off to either (1) set up a local install of WordPress.org software on a computer so they can gain some skills on their own, prior to hiring a web host and moving their content, or (2) if they are inclined to throw money at the situation, then I recommend that they hire an expert ie. a code poet.

      Code Poet is a directory of WordPress professionals, web designers, and developers brought to you by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and the largest operator of WordPress sites (30 million and counting).

    1. Hi there,
      Well, what can I say in response to that? I’m red-faced but the truth is that any of us can self host. It’s not above our reach but we may not be so inclined.

  11. Moving is certainly not on my to do list, I had a business previously that was self hosted and the techy stuff just isn’t my forte, plus it’s so time consuming.

    I am genuinely grateful to have free access to WordPress.com not only does it allow me to focus on content creation and cut my teeth in the world of blogging but I am having so much fun traveling through the blogosphere reading others blogs.

    1. @thespiritualrebel
      Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what the stats on returnees to WordPress.com blogging are? Reading your comment is validating because you been there and done that and returned too. We Volunteers do meet returning bloggers on the support forum and sometimes we renew contact with those we actually helped with moving to self -hosting.

      I had excellent personal support when I moved to self-hosting but I’m not inclined towards mastering techy stuff and I didn’t want to be in a position of having to rely on someone else in order to mange my install. Over time I realized I ought to move back and I did so.

      I didn’t have any financial goal I wanted to achieve via self-hosting. Yes, I am visual and being able to tweak and fiddle and twiddle with themes was fun but I’m not a theme designer. I am a blogger who writes for the web. Like you, my focus is on content creation and I love reading other blogs. By returning I gained more time to do both of those.

  12. I concur with timethief’s analysis and endorse WordPress.com over WordPress.org in almost every respect. However, I strongly recommend those bloggers who are technically literate and not afraid to get their hands dirty to download WordPress.org to their personal computers and get it running in a sandbox. I run mine in MAMP on a MacBook Pro and take it with me wherever I go. There is a fairly steep learning curve with WordPress.com and better to make the inevitable mistakes you will surely make in your sandbox than on your live blog. If you ask about this on a .com forum (I did) the answer you are most likely to get back is you can host a visible-only-to-you sandbox on .com. True, but you still will not get access to the WordPress internals or the MySql database. You can learn a lot from studying the code and the schema, assuming you can understand them. I write about downloading, installing and running a sandbox in MAMP and XAMPP on my blog.

    The one area WordPress.com is discernibly deficient to WordPress.org is LaTeX support (LaTeX is a meta-language for math typesetting). WordPress.com has Beautiful Math in JetPack (I believe this is the WP LaTeX plugin, also available in .org) but it is inadequate for serious math equation presentation. I friend who teaches math at a public university in Portland, Oregon uses MathJax-LaTeX in .org to write math courseware for her undergrads. Trying to use Beautiful Math was for her a non-starter. I have discussed moving .com to MathJax twice with Automattic staff (the MathJax folks want to port the plugin to .com and have volunteered to do the work) and have been advised that .com will move to MathJax in the future. They declined to say when. I think when they do there will be very little reason to self-host, advertising revenue notwithstanding.

    Thomas Docheri

    1. Hi Issac,
      I hope you will read my response to Jamie Ray above. I know it sounds like a rant but it contains the truth. There are biased beliefs out there centered on thinking that moving to self-hosting a WordPress.org install is something to aspire to, as if it’s moving up. Well, it isn’t and that’s the plain spoken truth.

      Many of those who left thinking they would make significant income from ads and/or from affiliate sales, and/or who thought the ability to tweak themes was way cool, and/or who believed that SEO plugins would assist them to achieve a higher pagerank (SNORT!), ended up in a circle game that brought some of them right back here, after they have spent time, money and effort on moving. Not all return here. Some simply leave blogging altogether and others move to hosted blogging on other platforms.

      I guess what triggered me to speak up is the fact that I read so much biased B.S. The truth is that free hosted WordPress.com blogging rocks!

      1. Yeah I do get a general sense of perceived inferiority of .com versus .org. I never really understood why (the one I hear a lot is ownership of content, but that’s a non-issue when you own your content anyways), and I still don’t, since my experiences with wordpress.com in general over the past two years has been nothing but positive.

        1. Hi Issac,
          You are right. Without doubt we own our content here at WordPress.com and that’s a fact. However, it doesn’t stop the idiotic from claiming that we don’t when we do. Those who spout that nonsense are sometimes the very same low life who steal my content and post it on make money splogs they have operating on free WordPress.org software.

    1. Hi Terri,
      As you love where you are just as I do I encourage you to stay strong and avoid being sucked down into never-ending this vs that discussions. What’s important is to know is the facts are and when bloggers publish about the two “flavors” of WordPress blogging recommending self-hosting as if it’s above WordPress.com blogging I click out and find another blog to read. That’s based on almost 8 years of reading inflated expectations based on biased nonsense and misinformation published in poorly written blogs, kept by folks who aren’t accomplished at discerning truth from fiction and good writing from bad, but are focused on making a buck.

  13. Oh my TiTi,
    You know how much I LOVE WordPress.com! Too much to put in words.

    I would much rather spend my time creating content/writing than be worried about the technicalities of it all. I enjoy the hassle free blogging experience wp.com offers and have been here for more than 4 years now.

    Although I started off on a free domain, I then upgraded to my own domain, recreated the look with Custom design and all so simply….thanks to you and wp.com’s awesome support system.

    I literally recommend wp.com to everyone…and wonder why on earth would people go any other way :) But like I have my reasons, many have theirs and I respect that.

    For me personally, wp.com ROCKS! and I love that I found YOU on wp.com too :)

    Much Love,
    Z~

    1. Hi Zeenat,
      It seems so amazing that 4 years have passed you started to light up my blogging world. It’s been wonderful to see you develop your blog develop from the get go. I really like the appearance of your blog as it showcases your content so well.

      Like you I love, love, love WordPress.com blogging too. That said, I freely admit I don’t always recommend WordPress.com to clients. I send some to Blogger, to Tumblr or to self-hosting WordPress.org software, depending on what they want to accomplish and what they want to invest in terms of time and skills, etc.

  14. you just confirmed for me why I’ve hesitated in moving to wordpress.org…..I will do it some day. some day when I have more time :) thanks for the tips, as always!

    1. Hi Toby,
      Though my responses to comments on this post may give the impression that I’m negatively focused towards WordPress.org blogging across the board and for all, that’s not so. There are some bloggers who will find self-hosting to be a better fit for them. When it comes to blogging software, WordPress is the best.

    1. Hi there,
      I’m glad you are staying. :) I wouldn’t be lost if I left. I’d just have even less time to create content and be unhappily fretting over technical stuff.

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