WordPress.com In 2018: What Do WordPress.com Client Reviews Say?
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a website building platform owned by Automattic, Inc. that makes it possible for anyone to create a free website and publish it live on the internet in minutes.
WordPress.com websites are built using the open-source content management system (CMS) WordPress.
Anyone can create as many free websites as they wish using WordPress.com.
Upgraded WordPress.com plans are available for users who want access to premium features such as:
- Custom domains
- Live tech support
- Increased storage space
WordPress, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?
If you’re learning about WordPress for the first time, there’s a good chance you’re confused by WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and WordPress.
What do the minor differences between each of these terms mean? WordPress is WordPress, right?
Not even close. Let’s see if we can clear things up.
WordPress: An Organization and a CMS
In 2003, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little took an existing content management system (CMS) called b2/cafelog and used it as a foundation on which to build a brand new CMS which they named WordPress.
We’ll call this “WordPress CMS” for the sake of clarity.
Open Source and Free
From its inception, WordPress CMS has always been open-source, which means anyone can download it, view and modify its source code, and use it to build a website for free.
One of the World’s Most Popular CMSs
When Matt and Mike released the first version of WordPress CMS it was only being used to power a handful of websites.
However, from these humble beginnings, WordPress CMS has grown to power more than a quarter of all websites on the internet today.
WordPress CMS lives on at WordPress.org. Both Matt and Mike continue to be involved in the development of the software. However, WordPress doesn’t belong to anyone, and the community of WordPress CMS users and developers contributes to the direction of development of the world’s most popular CMS.
WordPress.com: Everything You Need to Create and Launch WordPress Websites
WordPress.com is a software platform that gives you all the tools you need plus easy step-by-step instructions to create, publish, customize, and upgrade a WordPress site.
It’s a “one-stop shop” for WordPress.
Own a small business but don’t want to mess with website details? This WordPress.com video shows how easy it can be to create and launch your site.
Customer Service Included
You also get customer service — a big plus for getting your WordPress questions answered.
No technical knowledge is required.
What’s the History of WordPress.com?
In August of 2005, Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic Inc and simultaneously launched WordPress.com.
Initially, WordPress.com was open by invitation only, but in November of 2005, the publishing platform was opened to the general public.
Automattic has gone on to found and acquire many other important WordPress CMS products such as Jetpack, WooCommerce, VaultPress, Akismet, and Gravatar. However, WordPress.com remains Automattic’s flagship product.
Comparison Table: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
The table below provides a comparison between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
|In a nutshell||You get a professional-looking WordPress site quickly, without having to deal with technical issues. You get customer services support. They take care of hosting, security, spam, backups. Depending on the plan you select, you get access upto 300 themes, plugins, and a custom domain.||You choose a web host. You select a theme and install WordPress and plugins yourself. You get maximum control to customize your site. A good host provides security, backups, technology optimized for WordPress speed and performance. Hosts that offer managed WordPress hosting will update your WordPress core and plugins and often offer other website and marketing services.|
|How many vendors do you deal with?||One: WordPress.com.||One or more: You need to choose a host. You may wind up visiting several sources to find a theme you like. You may choose to hire a developer or WordPress specialist as well.|
|Plugins||Lower-tier plans: you get access to Jetpack. Business Plan: You get access to all plugins||You can add any plugin to your site.|
|Who is it best for?||Bloggers and simple portfolio, creative, and business sites including business services.||Any site from simple to advanced e-commerce and marketing agency sites, businesses of all types, sophisticated blogging sites, and more.|
Summing up the Differences
- WordPress CMS is open-source content management system software that was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little.
- WordPress.org is the website where anyone can download a free copy of WordPress CMS to install on their own hosting account and the community where ongoing development is coordinated.
- WordPress.com is a service anyone can use to create and publish WordPress CMS-powered websites. It’s one of several WordPress CMS projects owned by Automattic, Inc.
WordPress.com Reviews by Our Community
Overall Rating from 11 Reviews by WordPress.com Customers
Most Helpful Reviews
Heather Haynes bellabipolar.com
Sep 12, 2018
Mohamed Ibrahim thegenidea.ga
Apr 12, 2018
Alex Paing quincemedia.eu
Jul 23, 2018
Guy Twig norment.in.nf
Dec 13, 2017
Akhil Rob sliber.com
Jul 17, 2016
Sabir Langardar allforfreehere.wordpress.com
Oct 06, 2014
Bhavna Singh ricohidc.com
Mar 25, 2015
Sabir Langardar dragoncityfun.wordpress.com
Oct 01, 2014
mahesh suhag suhag07.wordpress.com
Oct 19, 2017
Dora Stark theforgottenlair.net
Jan 22, 2015
Understanding WordPress Hosting Options
Since you’ll run into the following terms when researching WordPress hosting, it’s worth defining them now.
What Does “Self-Hosted” WordPress Mean?
Websites built using WordPress CMS and hosted on a traditional hosting account are referred to as self-hosted WordPress.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting handles website-related tasks for you and provides technology platforms optimized for WordPress performance.
The technology and services provided by managed WordPress hosts may include:
- Servers optimized for top WordPress CMS performance.
- Technology designed to provide fast loading speeds for WordPress websites.
- Automatic software installation
- Software core and plugin updates executed for you.
- Automatic backups
- Security technology designed specifically to protect WordPress sites from hacks.
- Access to WordPress CMS experts, mentors, and community.
- Standout educational resources like online tutorials, webinars, success stories, and case studies.
- Upgrades of your site via plugin installations for improved marketing and sales performance.
- Sales and marketing services such as copywriting, SEO, and social media management.
- Invitations to WordPress-specific learning and networking events
What Type of Hosting Does WordPress.com Offer?
WordPress.com is not referred to as “self-hosted” nor is it “fully-managed.”
Instead, think of WordPress.com as being in the same category as services like Squarespace and Wix: a website builder and hosting bundled into one package.
WordPress.com as a website builder is a special version of WordPress CMS, custom-engineered for ease-of-use, performance, and security.
Is WordPress.com Just for Blogging?
WordPress CMS was originally designed to power blogs but has grown into a full-fledged CMS which can be used to create virtually any type of website.
The WordPress CMS can be used to create:
- Personal blogs
- Social media sites
- Business and e-commerce websites
- Creative portfolios and musician websites
- Product launch sites
- Event websites
- and much more
Jordan and Joe’s Paddleboarding benefitted from translation features in WordPress.com. Now site visitors from other countries can read the site in their own language and book a paddleboarding trip in advance.
Plugins: Expanding WordPress Functionality
Much of the power of WordPress CMS — and the ability to create advanced sites with it — is provided through plugins.
Plugins are used to add special features and functionality that aren’t part of the WordPress CMS core.
The two lower-tier plans at WordPress.com are limited when it comes to plugins.
Both come with Jetpack: a pre-installed collection of 10 popular functions that include contact forms, essential SEO, and site backups.
How Do I Get Full Access Plugins on WordPress.com?
To install any plugins other than Jetpack, you’ll need to upgrade to a WordPress.com “Business” plan.
The Business plan gives you full access to the WordPress plugin repository. At that point, it’s usually more cost-effective to self-host your own WordPress installation on a web host.
Here’s a glimpse of a few of the thousands of WordPress plugins that exist. Use plugins to add marketing, engagement, analytics, and e-commerce capabilities to your website.
As a result, WordPress.com websites should primarily be used to create blogs, business websites, and other simple, content-driven websites.
WordPress.com isn’t ideal for creating complex websites such as e-commerce stores, forums, social networks, or even a review site.
Themes: Customizing the Design of Your WordPress.com Site
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is that you don’t need to know anything about HTML or CSS to customize your website layout.
The easiest way to make your site look great is by picking a pre-built WordPress theme.
Does WordPress.com Offer Themes?
With a free WordPress.com account, you don’t have access to all the themes that a self-hosted WordPress installation has, so you miss out on popular themes like the Genesis Framework.
However, there’s still quite a few to choose from.
Free, Paid and Custom Themes
There are both free and paid themes.
WordPress themes are pre-built site designs. Themes enable you to get a professionally designed site instantly.
If you decide to upgrade to the “Business” plan, you can upload your own custom theme, just as you can on a self-hosted installation.
WordPress.com Website Plans
You can create websites for free at WordPress.com, but the free plan comes with a few limitations.
What are the Limitations of the Free WordPress.com Plan?
- Your URL will be a subdomain of WordPress.com and look something like this: https://yourdomain.wordpress.com.
- You only have 3 GB of disk space to work with. That’s plenty of space for lots of text blog posts. But if you create things like high-definition image galleries then you’ll soon run into trouble. Exceed that storage space and you’ll need to purchase an upgraded plan.
- Your free website will probably bear advertisements selected and placed by WordPress.com.
- The free plan does not come with any support. You’ll have access to the community forums, where you’ll find quite a bit of assistance. But if you want hands-on tech support you’ll have to pay for it.
What do I get With an Upgraded WordPress.com Plan?
Upgraded plans are available and range from the cost of an average shared hosting plan up to the cost of a respectable VPS.
All upgraded plans include:
- Increased disk space
- Email and live chat technical support
- Removal of all WordPress.com ads
- A custom domain
Depending on the plan you select, you may also have the ability to use premium themes and add Google Analytics tracking code to your website.
Can I Migrate From WordPress.com to Another Host?
One option is to start on a WordPress.com site just to get used to the CMS and see if it’s what you’re looking for.
If your site grows over time, and you choose to move to a self-hosted (WordPress.org) plan on a WordPress host, it’s not too difficult.
Use the Export Tool
Under the “Tools” menu option in your WordPress.com backend, there’s an option called “Export”.
From within your WordPress.com dashboard, you’ll be able to choose from DIY export or a paid transfer executed for you by WordPress.com technical staff.
This will let you export your site’s content, and then you can import it into any other self-hosted WordPress site that you create on a web host that supports WordPress.
What are the Pros and Cons of WordPress.com?
There are quite a few reasons to choose WordPress.com for your site.
Here are the pros that stick out:
The Pros of WordPress.com
- Very easy to setup and manage, even if you have no technical skills.
- Free sites are still quite powerful and have access to many themes.
- Almost all web hosts support WordPress installations, so you’ll be able to use other hosts with no trouble.
A Few Cons
But there are a few cons as well:
- The free plan is limited. While the business plan gives you a comparable feature set to a self-hosted plan, it’s expensive.
- You have no direct access to your database or site files, which limits the flexibility you have when migrating and customizing your site.
What are Good Alternatives to WordPress.com?
In most cases, those cons aren’t deal-breakers.
But if they are, or if you just don’t like the feel of WordPress, here are a few other options you have:
- Self-host your own WordPress.org installation – I’ve mentioned this multiple times, and it’s a great option. Sign up with a web host, and install your own full-featured WordPress site on it for free. Hosts like Siteground are much cheaper than a paid WordPress.com plan.
- Use a different site builder – There are other popular site builders like Wix and Squarespace that may be easier for you to use. Unlike WordPress, these use a drag-and-drop interface.
Who is WordPress.com Right For?
All WordPress.com plans (except for the Business Plan) include some significant limitations.
You’re locked into Automattic’s feature-limited version of WordPress CMS and the number of themes you have to choose from is limited.
Despite these limitations, WordPress.com may be the right choice for you.
The Easiest Way to Create a WordPress Site?
What makes WordPress.com successful is that it makes it easy to create a professional-looking website quickly and for free. Indeed, it may well be the easiest way to create a WordPress site.
Nor do you need to purchase hosting, figure out how to install WordPress CMS on a server, or configure domain name records to point at the right nameserver.
Suitable for Blogs and Some Small Businesses
WordPress.com makes it easy for anyone to create an attractive web presence for free, and their upgraded plans are suitable for popular blogs and simple business websites.
If you want to create a custom website to showcase your content without having to learn any code, or having to work with hosting and domains, WordPress.com may be just what you’re looking for.
Additional material by Dale Cudmore.
Most Popular WordPress.com Hosting Plans
|Price||$0 / mo||$4 / mo||$8 / mo|
|Visit WordPress.com||Visit WordPress.com||Visit WordPress.com|
|Unlimited||Unlimited||$24.92 / mo Visit Host|