Those flashy internet websites and meme-laden pages that you scroll through all need to be stored somewhere. “Hosting” is the process of storing internet data and allowing users to access that internet data. Everything you see on the internet has to be stored and retrieved from servers. If you’re a big company, especially one whose business thrives on the internet, you may be able to purchase and operate your own web servers to maintain your website. For most smaller companies, blogs, and smaller websites, the cost of starting and operating servers is too high.
That’s where hosting comes in. Hosting allows your website to live on someone else’s servers, usually for a cost. We say usually because WordPress.com is actually free.
What is the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress.com is a hosting site created by the co-founder of WordPress.org. Don’t confuse these two websites! WordPress.org is the popular open-source web development service that is completely free, unless you want the premium services.
WordPress.com: Free hosting and paid hosting plans.
WordPress.org: Website development.
The Pros and Cons of WordPress.com
WordPress.com is the hosting site. It’s free, but has a number of limitations. You can only get up to 3 GB of total space for your website on the free plan. And they’ll show ads on your site. If you want to start and run a personal blog, 3 GB might be enough space. Or at least it’s a good amount of space to start with. If you’re running a more complex website with bells and whistles in addition to words, 3 GB can get eaten up fairly quickly.
- It’s free to start, which allows you to get your feet wet in website development without having to put on a swimsuit and grab a towel.
- There are ads on all the free subscription sites. If you’re trying to build a professional site, resume boosting tool, or just don’t like clickbait–this might not be the hosting service for you.
- No memberships, e-commerce tools, or advanced analytics.
- Everything will be branded with the WordPress.com logo.
WordPress.com is appropriate for someone just starting a personal blog who isn’t sure if they’re committed to that blog. I wouldn’t recommend the service to almost anyone else. Even if you’re trying to build a business website to advertise freelance work or display videos, WordPress.com probably isn’t the service for you.
Paid WordPress.com Plans
Of course, WordPress.com isn’t a great business model if they’re only selling ads on other people’s free websites. While their basic plan is free, they make their money by offering a number of upgrade options at different price points.
The basic paid plan is only $3 a month but doubles your data and removes ads from your website. More advanced business versions give you more plugins and analytics options that the free site doesn’t have. Of course, if you’re paying WordPress.com for hosting, then you’ve taken away the main pro of the service–the lack of a price tag.
Why Purchase Hosting?
Although hosting will cost more than $0 a month, it’s also a better alternative for more advanced and official websites. If you aren’t starting a personal blog, you may need more data and more options, and any sort of hosting service can meet those needs. The bottom line is simple: The free WordPress.com is great for a bored afternoon where you want to start a blog. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for hosting.