Difference Between Self Hosted WordPress.org & Free WordPress.com

When starting a blog as a beginner, this question crops up in everyone’s mind. Which one do I use? Is it better to pick the Self Hosted WordPress.org, or is it better to use Free WordPress.com? In this blog post, we explain and compare the difference and what features you have with each one.

WordPress.org

  • It’s really easy to use and FREE!
  • You own your content and data. You have full control. Your site will NOT be turned off because someone decides that it is against their terms of service unless you are doing something illegal.
  • You can install and use any plugin you like.
  • You can upload your own themes and modify them in design and style.
  • You can make money from it by using your own ads, and doing things your way.
  • You can add Tracking and Custom Analytics.
  • Like any other website, you need great web hosting. This costs anything from £0.99 to £7 a month. When your website gets bigger the price of your hosting will also increase.  At this point you should be making enough money to cover it.
  • You are responsible for updates. WordPress upgrades are super simple and require just 1 click.
  • You are responsible for backups, but there are loads of amazing plugins created that can backup your website automatically on a schedule.
  • You are liable for preventing spam, but there are also plugins for this too. Akismet, which comes built-in with WordPress.org, is the main one to use.

WordPress.com 

  • It’s free with the option to buy premium features.
  • WordPress will make regular backups of your site.
  • You cannot sell ads on your free website, as it is forbidden under their terms and conditions. They have an Ad Control feature you could apply for, but you need to have at least 25,000 page views a month. You will also have to give WordPress 50% of your earnings.
  • WordPress will place ads on all free websites. Nothing is really free without a catch. There is also the option to pay for those ads to be removed.
  • You cannot use plugins. WordPress.com does not allow you to use plugins! If you want to use plugins, then you have to move to their VIP program which is priced at over £4000 per month. For real!
  • You cannot use custom themes you are restricted in their choice of themes which is being used by hundreds and thousands of sites. They do offer a “design upgrade” for an annual price, however you still can’t change theme files. Only ad additional css. It’s great if all you want to do is change your website colour.
  • You cannot use other analytics software because you cannot add custom codes.
  • Your site can be deleted by WordPress at anytime, if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
  • Powered on WordPress.com has to be displayed on your website even if you purchase the upgrades.

Which one is Better for You?

If you are a personal blogger that does not care about making money from their sites, then WordPress.com is the best choice. If you are looking to make blogging a career, then you want to use self hosted WordPress.org. Often people will say, self-hosted WordPress costs a lot. For a small enough site, it is actually cheaper.

Let’s say you use WordPress.com, buy their custom domain, pay for their ad-free option, and get a custom design upgrade. That total is a little less, and you are still not in full control.

For WordPress.org, you can use Surpass Hosting which has hosting plans that start from $8 per month. If you go with other hosting companies, then you will pay a similar price. You will have full control over everything.

The interface of both are very similar. Neither are easier to use.

We always recommend everyone to use WordPress.org, so you have full control of your site and content. The choice is, of course, yours.

We hope this helps you to choose the version of WordPress which is best for you. If you do need assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Installing Plugins on your WordPress Website

If your website is hosted on WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins.

People come to us and say they can’t see the plugins menu in their WordPress dashboard. If this is the case for you too, then It is because you are using WordPress.com, or you don’t have administrator access to your website.

In order to use plugins, you will need to use self-hosted WordPress.org install on an independent hosting server separate from wordpress.com.

There are three ways to install a WordPress plugin and we will go through them now in detail.

Install a Plugin via the WordPress Plugin Directory

The best and easiest way to install a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin directory. The only problem with this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is only lists free plugins.

To start with, you need to do is go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins then Add New.

You will see a screen just like the one in the screen capture above. Find the plugin by using the search bar and typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for. You will see a list of results like the example below:

You can then pick the plugin that is best for your site. We did search Social Share, we were looking for a plugin that installs a social sharing bar on our blog. In this case the second one in these results will be perfect, we will click the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin. You will then see the install now button switch to an activate button once installed.

Click on the activate plugin link to activate the plugin on your WordPress site.

That’s it, you have installed a WordPress plugin.

The next step is to setup the plugin. This is normally settings, which are different for each plugin. We will not be going into that in this post.

Install a Plugin via the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload Feature

To install a Paid WordPress plugins you will need to upload the plugin file. This is because paid plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

We will walk you through how to install WordPress plugin using the upload option in the admin area.

You need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Then, you need to go to your WordPress admin area and visit Plugins then Add New page.

Then, click on the Upload Plugin button on top of the page.

This will give you the plugin upload page. Click the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer. These files are normally found in your download folder, if you didn’t choose a different place to save them.

Select the file, then you need to click on the install now button.

WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it. You will see a success message like the one below after installation is finished.

Once the plugin is installed, click on the Activate Plugin link to turn the plugin on.

The next step is to setup the plugin. This is normally settings, which are different for each plugin.We will not be going into that in this post.

Install a WordPress Plugin via FTP

Sometimes, your WordPress hosting provider may not allow you to use the above methods.

If this is the case, it is better to install the plugin via FTP.

The FTP solution is not as friendly for beginners as the first two options.

You will need to download the plugin’s file (it will be a zip file), just like in the plugin upload method. Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.

Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to upload to your website via an FTP client. For both Mac and Windows users this could be FileZilla.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP log in details (username and password), then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them. Normally you are sent this information in a welcome email, when you purchase your hosting package.

Open the FTP client and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to go to the folder /wp-content/plugins/

Then upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your server.

Once the all the files have been uploaded, visit your WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. Now you will see the plugin on the plugins page list.

You then need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Once activated, you may need to configure the plugin settings. They are different for each plugin. We will not be going into that in this post.

We hope this helps you to install new plugins yourself. If you do need assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How to Launch a Website

Undoubtedly, it’s easier to build a website these days.  This is great.  With inexpensive platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and web-based website builders, anyone can create a great website.

However, just because you add text and images doesn’t mean your website is ready to be published.  You need to do some final pre-launch tasks so that your site is truly ready.

This informative infographic sets out an easy-to-follow website launch easy-to-follow of steps you can do prior to publishing your website. This list is geared toward WordPress websites, but it is also informative for non-WordPress web sites.

Do not fret, there are not all that many technical tasks you ought to complete, but it’s imperative that you give your website all the chances it needs to be successful in the long term. The twelve actions set out on this easy-to-follow list are the vital tasks you ought to take.

One example, and this may seem evident to many, but your web site can have great on-site search engine optimization at the time of pre-launch. This is to a certain extent technological and partially requires keyword analysis so that search engine optimization is done right. If you are not sure about how to do proper on-site SEO, you can find all kinds of useful information offered for no cost on how to do this.

Set your site up to succeed from the beginning by executing these uncomplicated twelve actions prior to you push the website publish button.

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