Why have your blog on WordPress.com

Hav­ing your blog on WordPress.com

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Let’s not get con­fused. Word­Press is an open source con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS) for blog­ging and pub­lish­ing plat­form pow­ered by PHP and MySQL. There is only one ver­sion and the cur­rent one is ver­sion 3.2.1.

What dif­fer­en­ti­ates Word­Press is the method of host­ing. It could be hosted on WordPress.com or self-hosted on a web host.

When your blog is on WordPress.com is basi­cally free and if it’s self-hosted than you have to pay the web host­ing fees.

Depend­ing on the amount of traf­fic you get, it can cost USD$7.95 to as high as USD$270 monthly.

Why WordPress.com

Here are the reasons:

  • It’s Free.
  • No tech­ni­cal details to worry about.
  • No need to worry about band­width or num­ber of vis­i­tors to the site.
  • No need to bother about upgrad­ing the core files.
  • Prac­ti­cally zero com­ment spam.

The best rea­son to use WordPress.com is when you are doing it the first time. You’re new to it and would like to get your feet wet with­out any risks.

You can also con­nect your blog to pop­u­lar social net­work­ing sites like Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn, Yahoo and Messenger.

Social shar­ing is also enabled for Google+, Face­book, Twit­ter, LinkedIn, Digg, Red­dit and StumbleUpon.

I must admit I still have blogs that I reg­u­larly update on WordPress.com. I could, if I wanted to, move it to a self-hosted setup.

I didn’t because I don’t want to worry too much about the tech­ni­cal issue like upgrad­ing and plu­g­ins compatibility.

Upgrad­ing WordPress.com

If you’re will­ing to pay, WordPress.com offers an upgrade to a Pro ver­sion. It costs only USD$99 yearly and this is what you get:

  • Domain Name & Mapping
  • 5GB Space Upgrade
  • No Ads
  • Cus­tom Design
  • Video­Press

Per­son­ally I think it’s quite a good deal because if you were to get the fea­tures indi­vid­u­ally, it’ll cost more.

If you’re not sat­is­fied with the free themes, you can buy themes offered in WordPress.com. Cur­rently there’s 20 of them and I’d expect the num­ber to grow. The price ranges from $45 to $100.

If you get the domain name and map­ping, you could even con­fig­ure for a google apps email address.

One of my blogs, http://gazaliahmad.com is run­ning on WordPress.com. I got the domain name and map­ping for it. I’ve also have a cus­tomize email address for it. It’s gazali at gaza­li­ah­mad dot-com.

I may upgrade to the Pro or just sim­ply buy a pre­mium theme.

Why not WordPress.com

Are there things not to like on WordPress.com? Here are the list:

  • Stuck with the tem­plates (or themes) that WordPress.com provides.
  • No mod­i­fi­ca­tions of core files.
  • Can’t install and run any other third-party plu­g­ins or for that mat­ter JavaScript.
  • Ads-supported though sparingly.
  • Can’t run an email mar­ket­ing list.

I think that the lim­i­ta­tions aren’t that sig­nif­i­cant. The rea­sons for not allow­ing third-party plu­g­ins or mod­i­fi­ca­tions have some­thing to do with security.

On self-hosted Word­Press blogs, plu­g­ins are the main method of hack­ing into the blog. The most recent is the TimThumb Plu­gin exploit. The other source is when the blog­ger or site owner fails to update the core files or plu­g­ins reg­u­larly. Finally one more method is through mis­con­fig­u­ra­tion of the Word­Press install.

The ads that do appear are quite min­i­mal and some­times never at all. If it get’s unbear­able, I can always pay to get rid of it.

I don’t know about you, per­son­ally I hate those pop-ups that ask for your names and email address in exchange for a free some­thing. That’s why it’s really a non-issue with me.

The dis­ad­van­tage of using WordPress.com is becom­ing less insignif­i­cant. If you’re will­ing to pay $99 yearly, it nearly even out hav­ing your own self-hosted Word­Press website.