If you’re just getting started with WordPress, I very highly recommend getting acclimated with an account at WordPress.com. That will give you a chance to play around with a lot of the features without having to spend any money. Of course, if you like the features there, you can continue to use it for personal use absolutely free. Just be aware that WordPress.com makes money by displaying their ads on your blog.
Want to be a pro blogger or use your WordPress site for your business? That’s still totally doable with a WordPress.com site. They have upgrades for both. The upgraded accounts don’t have WordPress.com ads on them, but you also can’t add your own ads to make money (more on that in a bit). Their Premium plan is perfect for pro bloggers that don’t mind using the stock themes, or don’t mind paying a bit extra for a premium theme. They also have a Business upgrade, which includes integration with Ecwid and Shopify for e-commerce and unlimited access to the premium themes.
While hosting at WordPress.com might be just fine for many users, it does have some drawbacks:
- You can’t add functionality. Want to put Google Ads on your site? Sorry, not allowed! Need to integrate with a CRM? Nope! If it’s not supported by WordPress.com, it’s just not going to happen.
- Some of the functionality found on WordPress.com isn’t available elsewhere. That’s great if you plan to keep your site there forever, but if you plan on moving, you might not be able to replicate some of the features with another hosting provider.
- You don’t have access to your files or data. That makes it very difficult to copy the whole site to another provider if you choose to move. While you can export your content, that’s really the only thing that you can take. All of your settings, functionality, appearance, and everything else can’t easily be moved elsewhere.
So where does that leave you? Simple! You can use self-hosted WordPress, which some call WordPress.org.
A self-hosted WordPress site eliminates all of the drawbacks of WordPress.com, but gives you a new one: you have to find a hosting provider. Pongos works with several providers that offer WordPress-optimized hosting. Here are some of our favorites. Please note that if you purchase a plan through one of the links below, we may get a referral fee, but we’d still recommend these providers even if that wasn’t the case 🙂 These are the providers we actually use with clients.
Which one should you choose? We’ll discuss that in our next post!