4 Reasons You Should Never Use WordPress.com (And 4 Reasons You Should)

by Sanj Sahayam

Last updated on September 20th, 2018

First I want to clear up the confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress is WordPress right? Not really. But are owned by Automattic, both help people build websites and blogs, but there’s some very important differences between them.



Firstly, there’s WordPress.org – the organization that provides you with a free, open source, downloadable version of the WordPress software. You can download and install it yourself. Also, some select hosting providers and control panels offer easy, one-click WordPress installs. WordPress partners some specific hosting providers listed here. However, if you install it yourself, it means that you and your hosting provider are responsible for your WordPress installation. It also means that you need to do backups, security updates and any upgrades that are necessary yourself. Which is totally understandable, considering it’s free and open source.



Then there’s WordPress.com – the commercial entity that provides you with the WordPress software as a service which is ready to use, out of the box. So, instead of installing it yourself on your own site, you just sign up at WordPress.com and start blogging. No downloading, no installing — it’s all turnkey. And, all backups, security updates and upgrades are handled for you by WordPress.com. WordPress.com is free to get started, but offers premium services for prices starting at $36/year.

However, there are a number of constraints which I outline below.

Here are some of the biggest surprises I got when working with WordPress.com.

1. You Can’t Alter Page Structure

With WordPress.com, you can change things in the body of your page (the middle part), but you don’t have direct access to the HTML source and sections of your page. You also don’t have access to the PHP files (the files that WordPress itself is made from) you would normally have access to on a self-hosted WordPress.org installation. What this also means is that you can’t add CSS or JavaScript links to your webpage as you normally would. It’s less customizable and you have less control, is what I’m trying to say.

Any JavaScript code added to the body of your page is cleanly removed when you update the page. So how can you add in that cool new JavaScript widget you use on all your other websites? You can’t. You are limited to whatever widgets WordPress.com provides you with. It’s a bummer, but from their perspective, it helps keep things secure.

When it comes to displaying multiple images there are 2 options – as a slide show and as a gallery.

Thinking of embedding an <iframe> from another site as a workaround? It won’t work. WordPress.com has a list of external sites it allows connections to and chances are your site is not one of them.

So how do you add custom behavior to your WordPress.com website? You can choose from a list of embeddable options such as YouTube and Google Maps as well as a list of supported widgets. There are a number of widgets you can use but the list is by no means exhaustive.

WordPress.com options

WordPress.com options

2. Limited Themes & Plug-Ins

Plugins are one of the many features that makes WordPress a pleasure to use. How about if you wanted to install some plugins? You can’t do it.

It’s as simple as that.

With a self-hosted WordPress.org site, you can install as many themes as you like and from any source such as Theme Forest. With WordPress.com you are constrained to the themes they allow.

There are tons of themes on WordPress.com. Some are free and others are premium (they cost money). With WordPress.org, the number of available themes is endless.

WordPress.com themes

WordPress.com themes

Because you can’t change the structure of the page, you are somewhat dependent on the pre-defined structure of your theme and the features that the author allows you to change. This becomes an issue because each theme has different options you can and cannot change.

WordPress theme options

WordPress theme options

Some have footers you can change, some do not. Each has a different size header image. It can be quite tedious to find a theme that is both suitable in layout and functionality.

3. It Costs To Add Style

You’ve finally settled on a theme and now you want to change a few little things. On WordPress.com you need to purchase a Custom Design Upgrade to use customized CSS on your blog. As mentioned, this upgrade starts at $36/year. It could get quite pricey depending on the number of blogs you want to customize.

WordPress Custom Design Upgrade

WordPress Custom Design Upgrade

WordPress.com Pricing

WordPress.com Pricing

For the $36/year “Custom Design Upgrade” you get a simple text editor to update your CSS. There is no visual editor.

WordPress Custom Design CSS Editor

WordPress Custom Design CSS Editor

In addition, you aren’t allowed to hide the copyright information on your theme. This might be okay for personal blogs but may not be for a business blog or if you are creating blogs for clients.

4. The Content and Copyright Issue

Actually, there is no issue about who “owns” the content on a WordPress.com site. Their TOS states clearly that they have royalty-free access to your data to promote your blog:

“By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.”

There’s also the question about termination:

“Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”

WordPress.com may also choose to place advertisements on your website. You can have these removed by going premium and paying $36/year.

4 Reasons To Use WordPress.com

Given the above constraints, a designer might wonder why they would ever choose WordPress.com over a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Here are a few.

1. Backups – WordPress.com takes care of all backups for you. In their own words:

“ If a very large meteor were to hit all the WordPress.com servers and destroy them beyond repair, all of your data would still be safe and we could have your blog online within a couple of days (after the meteor situation died down, of course)”

2. AvailabilityWordPress.com is spread across hundreds of servers. The likelihood of all them failing at the same time is highly unlikely. This is not the case with your self-hosted WordPress.org installation. If it fails, all your blogs hosted on that server fail with it. And it’s up to you to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

3. Security – WordPress.com manages security for you and also provide fixes for any security issues that may turn up. Given the spate of recent WordPress hacks this is a critical issue. This more than anything would give someone a reason to move to WordPress.com.

Also following good security practices (like securing your admin panel through SSL) is a simple one-click operation with WordPress.com. When using WordPress.org, you have to install plugins to get this working or update your server to use SSL and install an SSL certificate.

To sum it all up, using WordPress.com may be a wonderful choice for someone that wants a turnkey solution that’s very easy to use. Very little stress and worry. However, just remember that a WordPress.com site is not completely under your control and that there are some design limitations.



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Sanj Sahayam

I am a co-founder of Unique Imprints, a web design company that focusses on getting small businesses on the web. When I'm not designing web pages you can find me learning programming languages or debating on usability.


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  1. Anonymous says:
    August 9, 2017 at 2:39 am

    First I want to clear up the confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress is WordPress right? Not really. But are owned by Automattic, both help people build websites and blogs, but there’s some very important differences between them.

  2. Sean Hale says:
    July 3, 2017 at 4:53 am

    I have totally enjoyed the post. Very good info and ideas. I have just started a new wordpress site with godaddy. I have used godaddy on and off for years. The only real problem that I see is you must understand that you get what you pay for. If your site really means something special to you then spend a few bucks. So Im up at about $250 a year I can add dowloadable audio video and documents. There is a good blog setup. Anyway it is all new to me and I would like to say a lot more but will wait to see if anyone is interested. Cheers and thanks again.

  3. Michael says:
    February 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Quick question. I’m thinking about migrating to .org and was wondering whether the premium theme I purchased over in .com will still be available to me in .org or do I need to Re-purchase it?

  4. Legibra says:
    December 16, 2016 at 4:28 am

    This is great and so true. One thing I’d add: if you’re intimidated by the techie side of self-hosting, you’re better off starting with WordPress.com and upgrading to self-hosted when you get the hang of it than starting anywhere else

  5. Gareth Griffiths says:
    November 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Nice post Ranj,

    I agree. WordPress.com is really good for bloggers that are just starting out, but it’s limits are ridiculous.

    Sure, some of it makes sense; you can’t install plugins, because you could code something a little sketchy and upload it whichcould comprimise data in other directories of the server. I get that. But in general, it seems too controlling.

    One thing I’ve seen people complain about is the fact that WordPress.com don’t allow users to use affiliate links. The users that complain, don’t want to spend a few bucks monthly for shared hosting and a self-hosted WordPress install.

    I don’t get it.

    I think it’s only good for hobby blogging. For anything beyond that, it’s not valueable.

    • CK Brooke says:
      October 1, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      They have actually changed their TOS and now allow affiliate links, so long as the primary focus of the blog otherwise is original content creation.

  6. Dandroid says:
    August 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    WordPress is so easy to use. I can’t find anything like this.

  7. Brian says:
    April 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Thank you for providing this valuable information. Hope you do not mind if i share your blog.

  8. Anonymous says:
    February 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    You provided essential information: the copyright information especially is VERY important. Everyone should pay attention to this detail.

  9. Pietas says:
    February 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    so apparently by signing the terms of wordpress i agreed that they can edit my blog and advertise it as a way that i was not. so they can make it look like i am plotting to take over the world when i’m a lonely farmer… i’m not a farmer but i get the point.

  10. Anonymous says:
    January 2, 2016 at 7:22 am

    one thing I know that those rules doesn’t apply to wordpress CMS.

  11. Angela Dunning says:
    November 26, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Great article and discussions in comments. I was wondering if anyone can advise me on something – I have purchased a new domain name which is presently hosted via Go Daddy – but want to build my new WordPress.org site using this new domain name – how do I go about this? Many thanks

  12. lyn jessie says:
    November 25, 2015 at 1:03 am

    This is a good blog i should say, I usually i don’t post
    feedback on other blogs yet would like to say that this
    post definitely compelled me to do so!

  13. alex says:
    October 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    WordPress is a nightmare fromm the pit to use period. I spent months just trying to understand it and make a website using a template. I finally just gave up.

  14. Suresh Kumar says:
    October 15, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I also listened these limitations of wordpress for bloggers. I opt blogger but still there is a limit on storage that we can’t upload images exceeding total space 15 gb in size. or you have to buy additional space by paying them.

  15. Brian says:
    August 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve read quite a few of the above comments now – any burgeoning website developer about to use WOrdPress Com or Org should read a lot of the salient comments above before starting anything 🙂

  16. Brian says:
    August 15, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Your 4 pros and 4 cons sum up my experience very well. I’ll make sure I keep a link here…whilst it would have been handy to have grasped all of this before I started using WordPress.Com – sometimes we just have to experience ‘it’ all ourselves….’horses for courses’ is about the best phrase I can use to sum up…one day when I’ve the time and inclination I’ll take on WordPress.Org with an application totally unsuited for WordPress.Com.

  17. Benny Subarja says:
    July 31, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I know this is about wordpress. But I found lately wordpress have so many critical hole in security. One of my wordpress blog on vps hacked and ‘it’ uploads so many hmtl sites.
    i started using htmly for some of my blogs. It is very simple blogging platform. But mostly still using wordpress.

  18. Michele fitzsimmons says:
    July 30, 2015 at 9:25 am

    After spending a couple of hours trying to reduce the space between two different types of bullets points on WordPress I came across your article. I am a bit confused. I purchased a theme via WordPress.org not WordPress.com so it wasn’t free. But I am experiencing big problems in making seemingly simple adjustments to my content. I am just trying to reduce the space of a paragraph between two different types of bullets points. I have had a look at code (called text on WordPress) but it seems very limited with just and as options. Not line height for example. I am self-taught with using code and am used to more flexibility that is offered through apps like mailchimp. Is it the limitations of WordPress that is the problem or am I getting something wrong?
    Any help would be gratefully received.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      July 30, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Michele. To adjust line height and space between paragraphs or bullets, you have to edit the CSS file. (Be sure to save a copy of it in a Notepad file first!) You’d have to go to Appearance > Editor to find that file. Be careful, though. Only make one change at a time, save, and view your site to see what it does. You want to be able to undo any edit if you don’t like it.

  19. stephanie says:
    July 24, 2015 at 12:13 am

    Hi, I am wondering what happened to Sanj? And why Kathryn is replying to his article? But mostly I am wondering what the thoughts are on more product based websites – 3Dcart or BigCommerce. We started with WIX and found it to be too limited for our product base and choosing a merchant and gateway for the shopping cart.
    I think the main reason I have not been very interested in web design although I am a network, data, and desktop support geek to some degree, has been because I am not that interested in business and selling. Eventually, I might want to promote my nonprofit school (when I have it developed and running), but that is sharing information more than it is sales. In any case, I choose to depend on easy to use outlets. Although if it were my money I would agree with finding a good developer – on the other hand my area has not presented too many knowledgeable and talented designers to choose from.
    That’s all. Thanks.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      July 24, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Hey Stephanie. This is an older article and, as often happens, the author no longer comments. As editor, I try to fill the gap. Thanks for your interesting comment.

  20. Zadli says:
    June 10, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Nice overview of the options for hosting. 😀

  21. Zadli says:
    June 10, 2015 at 2:19 am

    Great overviews 🙂

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      June 10, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Thanks! I hope it helps.

  22. Bob says:
    May 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Started a blog with WordPress.com with the free 14 day trial. But have decided to go with WordPress.org, to avoid all these issues at a latter date. I took the option of having my own domain name Churchwatching.com …….SO I WHEN I SWAP TO…….. Churchwatching.org can I still keep Churchwatching.com domain name?

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Good choice, Bob. To answer your question, if you paid for that URL (particularly if you were charged for 1 year or 2 years), you probably still own it.

      • Bob says:
        May 30, 2015 at 11:16 pm

        Cheers… 🙂

  23. Pj Germain says:
    May 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Awesome write-up on the differentiation between WordPress.com and self-hosted. I’ve done several of both and couldn’t agree more. I love my self-hosted sites, but must warn you about backups. Make sure you are backing up everything – databases included. And, be totally SURE you know your “disaster recovery” so that you can recreate EXACLTY what you had. Just copying your files ISN’T going to cut it. Save yourself a lot of pain

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 29, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Good reminder. Thanks, PJ.

  24. web start says:
    May 25, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I don’t know why people are even considering creating site using wordpress.com, there is no point. The hosting services are so afortable these days. Additionaly with your own WordPress you have the freedom to build your site the way you want.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 25, 2015 at 10:42 am

      My thought exactly. 🙂

    • Brian says:
      August 15, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      It’s just the available time (factor) – that made me follow WordPress.com – I was sold on the ‘swift development’ potential at zero initial cost. I bought the dream!

  25. Timo says:
    May 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I got bit by the code bug and I’ve spent the last 3 months glued to my computer learning HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, using jQuery, some PHP and all that tasty lovely stuff. Now I’m at the point where I would like to go online with my project. My father in-law has a small business and I made him a website, wich he liked very much, but I am not sure what is the best way to do it. I got a domain name already, and I would like to host it online in a way that is cheap (or free if possible) and make it easy for me to make possible upgrades and updates to it. Maybe have it so easy that my father in-law could even do it himself if needed. How should proceed? What / where should I study to get then required information?

    Thanks in advance for your time if you choose to help me out!

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Timo, consider Bluehost for hosting and Genesis for your theme. With the coding you already know, you can probably build a professional site that meets your needs.

  26. hasanur rahman says:
    April 30, 2015 at 6:05 am

    i use wordpress, cause this is very secure and i think everyone use wordpress for security. this is great article, thanks for sharing.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 30, 2015 at 9:57 am

      You’re welcome, Hasanur.

  27. rana says:
    March 27, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the post! Which blog service you would suggest me? I just want simple design options with the ability of color changing and widget placing. Im okay with paying for it but your comments have made me think twice in changing from wordprrss.com to org.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 27, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      I highly recommend WordPress.org. On my personal sites, I’m using a Genesis theme, but I also like WPMU’s new theme, Upfront.

  28. Kierstin C. says:
    February 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm


    I am wanting to do a personal blog…mostly just leisure stuff…info on health, fashion, decor, etc. I want to be able to customize my themes/background, fonts, add videos, songs, and pictures, and have different tabs to get to different sections (topics). I was going to go with mywebpage.co because I have read that it is universal and a bit more “up and coming” or cutting edge than .com. I was shying away from .org because I thought it seemed too informative and “scholarly” for a personal blog…I thought, typically, .org was more for organizations and such (hence the name, haha). So now I’m debating between the two. It says .org is $18 a year and .co is $25 I think. With both of them though, it will let me customize my URL–like: mywebpage.co or mywebpage.org . Are you saying wordpress will have more “rights” or control over my content if I use .co vs. .org? I don’t know hardly anything about coding but I’m sure I could learn…although I hate stuff like that. I also don’t really plan on making money off of mine, but I wouldn’t be opposed to working with companies I promote, respect, and like if they approach me. Also, I might do my own line of body products a little bit down the road (like a few months) and would obviously promote them on my blog, but likely sell them through a separate site if people actually want to purchase. Could I do paypal through my wordpress in any way? Which do you think would be a better fit for me? Not looking to spend a whole lot of money yet! Thanks in advance! Still a little foggy on all of this 🙂

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      February 27, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Hi Kierstin. Great questions. I always recommend wordpress.org, which is free to put on your website. Your cost will include your URL, a hosting package, a theme (check out Upfront at WPMUdev) and, if you need it, a web developer to set up your site for you. With .org, there’s no limit to the number/types of plugins you can use. Your site can look any way you want. And yes, you can use PayPal. Good luck!

  29. Indah Susanti says:
    February 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Great and fair review on both sides. Totally agree with your point of view. I am bit disappointed with wordpress dot com limitation but in other hand I don’t have time to maintain website on my own – so wordpress dot org sounds really appealing but in reality it would be tough for me to do it.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      February 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Indah, I understand the time issue, but once the dot-org site is set up, it doesn’t take any more time than a dot-com site. Dot-org gives you so much more flexibility, it makes no sense to go the other way. That’s just my perspective.

  30. furniture murah says:
    December 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    good job.. (y)

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      December 19, 2014 at 9:59 am


  31. sachin mathur says:
    November 26, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Really Gerat post on WordPress, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Many people dont know about it. I think some web developers also not know the difference between WordPress, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
    like your 4 constraints specially point no1 and 2…

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      November 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Great point, Sachin. Glad you found the article useful.

  32. Saiful says:
    November 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Yes, I’ve used both wordpress. But i also agreed with you such kinds of problems. But you can not easily find a system like wordpress. If have you another example can you please help me to find?

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      November 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

      From my experience, there’s nothing better than WordPress.org and a self-hosted site. It’s easy to build and maintain your site with only minimal coding knowledge, which means a smaller learning curve for a lot of functionality.

  33. Eazykiel says:
    November 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks For your suppot, Really appreciate it, it’s really hard getting response from white

    • Neil Patel says:
      November 10, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Eazykiel, glad we could help.

  34. Eazykiel says:
    November 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Please, Does adding a Domain Name to my wordpress.com blog makes it custom?

    With custom blog, can i use image advertisment?

    The blog aam taliking about is 247current.wordpress.com

    Thanks in advance

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      November 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Eazykiel, according to WordPress: “And many excellent premium upgrades are available to help you supercharge your site. These upgrades let you use a custom domain (like YourGroovyDomain.com), extensively customize the appearance of your site, upload HD video, and lots more.” It looks like you have to invest in upgrades to create a custom domain or to customize the appearance of your site.

      • Eazykiel says:
        November 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        Thank you very much for you response, But i still have 1 more question,
        Can i Advertise with image with custom wp.com blo?

        Just want to know what i am investing in. thank ma’am

        • Kathryn Aragon says:
          November 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

          Eazykiel, I don’t know. Hopefully someone else will chime in who has experience in wp.com.

        • Vaidehi says:
          June 17, 2017 at 11:46 am

          This is an old comment thread so I am not sure if you have already received your answer through experience. However, I wish to answer this query.

          WordPress.com upgrades do provide the option of WordAds. You can see more details about this here: en.support.wordpress.com/monetize-your-site/

          Also, you can earn through affiliate links. Use an image widget (which is also available in free plans), place an image and use your affiliate link to direct your traffic from the image to the product you are selling. You can also ad affiliate links, banners etc. in posts and pages.

          Also, I recommend you to put your queries in WordPress.com support forum (en.forums.wordpress.com/). I learnt WordPress through this forum. Hope this helps you too! 🙂

  35. Randall T. says:
    October 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I could not find a blog hosting platform that let you point many full domains, many sub domains, many routes to a blog article. I started out on free word press and spent several hours writing a blog on photography only to have it rejected when finished because I had links to amazon with my affiliate id in it.

    I have no problem with affiliates as long as the blog does add some legitimate value and isn’t just auto generated or junk pasted copies. I see no problem in it. And the diy how to real estate photography blog that got rejected was just that. I have created hundreds of virtual tours and photos for vacation rentals over the past 15 years and it was full of real info on creating HDR indoor photography. Something you rarely see done well and needs some improvement.

    Being a programmer, and while creating the silly article, I noticed I didn’t want to fuss with any styling and just fill in the blanks and let twitter’s bootstrap css do the work. Make it work on any device.

    I ended up writing one in node.js using scalable document cloud databases. I am testing anzurs out now with a few friends.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      October 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

      You’ve got some major challenges, Randall. Hope you find a satisfactory solution.

      • Randall T says:
        November 10, 2014 at 9:18 am

        It is working as one of my blogs sits on top of bing. “learn-angularjs dot com”.
        I have had 3 others on top of bing but would fall in a week or two after tweaking it in a bad way. (still learning what not to do).

  36. Julian says:
    September 24, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Hi Sanj,

    I wonder if you can help. The site i have mentioned is a wordpress.org and I understand most of the differences. However, having recently set up a wordpress.com site I can’t seem to get an answer to what should be a fundamental and simple question (IMHO). On wordpress.com can i have an email with that sub domain??? Eg) My site is websitesfast.wordpress.com. Is it possible to set up one or more email such as info @ websitesfast.wordpress.com ???

    I know I can buy a custom domain but I want to know if it is possible to do without a custom domain. You would think I could find the answer easily with google, but all results come back telling me how to do it WITH a custom domain, which is not what I want to know…..

    Many thanks

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      October 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I don’t know enough about email on the dotcom to be able to answer your question. I hope you’ve got it figured out by now.

  37. Thomas Docheri says:
    September 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    This is an old post but I’d like to make an additional point about copyright at WordPress.com.

    I host my site at WordPress.com. I also run WordPress.org in my own instances of httpd, MAMP and XAMPP sandboxes. I ran into this issue because I wanted to assert my copyright over my content. So, naturally I asked on the appropriate WordPress.com forum how I could/should do this. Automattic’s answer was that I could not, that the theme author owned the copyright (them, since I use one of theirs) and it was plagiarism if I pretended I was the author. I said I had no intention of making that assertion but I disagreed that any theme writer held a copyright to my content. They said ‘no’, refused to tell me how I could add my own assertion and of course, I was prohibited from removing their assertion at the bottom of every page.

    Well, this of course is just corporate bullshit. I had purchased the right to use css to make those modest changes you mentioned so I used css to add my own copyright assertion alongside theirs. I don’t dispute that the theme writer owns the IP to the theme but not to the content, and I so state at the bottom of each page. They sold me the right to use css so they can’t very well limit my ability to use it, although they of course, did not give me the recipe. I know html and css so it took an hour or two to hack a solution, first in my sandboxes. Automattic has never attempted to remove my assertion although they probably wish they could.

    Thomas Docheri

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      September 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Interesting story, Thomas. Thanks for sharing. It’s one of the reasons I refuse to consider WordPress.com.

      • Thomas Docheri says:
        September 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

        Hello Kathryn,

        Please understand, I did not relate that story about my experience at WP.com to imply I am dissatisfied hosting there. Far from it. I am able to do everything I want to do with my site at a very reasonable cost. The reason I choose to use WP.com is that it uses WP.org and WP.org is open-source. I can and do read the code to understand what a blog platform is all about. Indeed, it was reading the code that convinced me a) I could trust Automattic and b) I could make the changes I wanted to make with css. That I ran into a corporate drone playing gatekeeper in no way invalidated the quality and transparency of the platform. But as a software engineer with almost two decades experience with open-source, a ‘no’ from some CS jerk is a challenge I can’t ignore.

        When I first downloaded and began studying WP.org I fully expected that one day I would migrate my site elsewhere; somewhere that used WP.org but was not affiliated with Automattic. However, now that I am two years into my project I see no need to move. And the last thing I would ever consider would be using a blog platform (or a theme) that was not open-source.

        There is, in my opinion, one very specific reason to favor WP.org over WP.com and I wrote a post about it. I believe the way WP.com via Jetpack poorly implements support for LaTex. Jetpack’s “Beautiful Math” uses rpc and an external Automattic server to render LaTex meta-language into .png files and therefore must have an inbound connection from the cloud. This is okay when the servers are all co-located at an Automattic data center but not okay when you are running WP on your Mac. The LaTex plug-ins available in WP.org are superior (depend on the LaTex rendering engines embedded in all modern browsers) if the site uses lots of mathematical expressions, as does a friend of mine who teaches math and uses her blog to write math course-ware. She uses an Intranet server at her college to host WP.org and develops the content in MAMP. When I pointed this out to Automattic I was told they intended at some time in the future to modify Jetpack but to my knowledge they have yet to do it.

        Thomas Docheri

        • Kathryn Aragon says:
          September 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

          Thanks for the clarification, Thomas.

  38. Pawel says:
    September 9, 2014 at 4:39 am

    It’s really high quality text but some of disadvantages you mentioned here are mandatory on free websites like footer with information about script.. It’s business you know that:)

  39. Aleksandre says:
    August 4, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    My own experience with WordPress.com has consistently been sub-optimal, although perhaps my expectations of their service and the maturity of their personnel were simply too high:

    While they will always have at least one volunteer hanging around their forums warning of the terrors beyond their borders for obvious self-serving reasons, the best move I ever made was moving my blog to a self-hosted site. Really, if you can regularly manage not to run headfirst into door jambs, you can manage and protect a self-hosted blog. All the tools you need are easily and publicly available in multiple locations.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      August 5, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Agreed, Aleksandre. I can’t imagine why anyone would shy away from a self-hosted option.

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Aleksandre, thanks for the great feedback. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

      • HMS says:
        August 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm

        Thanks, Neil, but I most often patronize sites where my comments which get posted are identical to those I submit. What is the problem with your site that caused it to not only drop my included link but also changed my submitted name from my own initials HMS to “Aleksandre”?

        This obviously renders every other comment here equally suspect of being similarly massaged, you realize.

        • Kathryn Aragon says:
          August 6, 2014 at 9:26 am

          Hi HMS. Our policy is to only use people’s names in comments and not to accept self-promotional links. It’s a hard line to draw, so sometimes we get it wrong. HMS, at first glance, looked like a business, not a person. And yes, I remove most links from comments. If you notice, nothing else was changed. Our policy is meant to keep the quality of comments high and to reduce spam. We’re sorry if that offends, but we want to create an environment that’s useful for all our visitors.

          • HMS says:
            August 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

            Thanks for explaining, Kathryn. What you actually accomplished by removing my link was to render a verifiable claim linked into the WordPress support forum itself into unsubstantiated hearsay which you then had no trouble endorsing yourself in pursuit of promoting crazyegg.

            A more straightforward and helpful policy might be to advise commenters in advance of the editing their comments will undergo at your hands so that they can better produce the types of comments you prefer as shown above.

  40. Amrish says:
    August 2, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I really like wordpress.org. Even though it’s a little daunting having to deal with hosting and all the one-off issues of being on your own, it’s really not that difficult for newbies. My only issue with it is time. When I had blogs in the .org format, it was a lot more time consuming to maintain.

    While I like wordpress.com, you can’t monetize it and paying out of pocket to remove ads makes little sense when you can get a Blogger blog for free that you can monetize (at least from my perspective).

    I’m not really in blogging for the money and I have a lot to learn about how to be a better blogger, but, at the basic core of the business side of my brain, I can’t wrap my head around the sense in using WP.com.

    I would recommend that if you have the time to actually develop and maintain a WP.org site, it’s the best avenue out there for newbie bloggers. But, and this goes back to the basic Blogger v WP debate, if you don’t have the time, and if you don’t mind the restrictions that go along with developing on Blogger, I’d opt for Blogger. Just my opinion.

    • Neil Patel says:
      August 3, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Amrish, thanks for the share. We look forward to hearing more from you. Different people have different preferences and it’s always great to hear perspectives.

  41. Jack says:
    July 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your reply.
    I’ve been using blogspot for several years, but sometimes I find it not very user friendly and I’ve been told that wordpress is much better, that’s why I think about also running a blog there. On the other hand, I don’t want to invest too much time (and money) in blogs-after all, I just like to write and I don’t expect to make any money; besides, with this kind of blogs (travel-journals type) I don’t think I’m going to get a lot of hits anyway.



    • Neil Patel says:
      July 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Jack, I understand your concerns. However, you should really consider the benefits of blogging. You can really monetize if you do all the right things.

  42. Jari Ullah says:
    July 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Still after this, you are using wordpress 🙂 Well I don’t find wordpress good due to all mentioned reasons and one reason is personal 🙂

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      July 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for your input, Jari. The distinction is WordPress.com versus WordPress.org. We use .org because it’s such a flexible platform. But each website owner should use what works best for them.

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Jari, everyone has their own preference 🙂

  43. Jack says:
    July 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading the article and your comments. Right now I’m on blogstpot, but I’m considering setting up a wordpress blog. I’d like to start with wordpress.com, perhaps later switch to wordpress.org. I wonder, is it difficult to transfer the content along with all photos, descriptions, etc? Thanks!

    • Neil Patel says:
      July 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Jack, I would stick with your current blog platform. Unless, of course your traffic numbers aren’t that high.

  44. Husam says:
    June 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I totally agree with you about the four rreasons that you mentioned above about why you should never choose WordPress framework to bulid your own website..

  45. Mundana Kakabu says:
    May 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    thank you
    I finally know the correct answer to the question my clients

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 27, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Mundana, we’re happy to help.

    • neil says:
      May 28, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Mundana, glad we could clear everything up 🙂

  46. Johny Why says:
    May 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    –and it’s also a relatively painless introduction to wordpress, before moving up to the much more powerful wordpress.org.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      May 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Hi Johny. There’s always a need for an introductory product… even with WordPress. The dotcom version is certainly simpler, but I’m not sure it’s a huge cost savings. Thanks for sharing.

      • Johny Why says:
        May 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

        FREE seems like a pretty good cost-savings to me. Yes, there’s advertising on wordpress.com, so once someone is expert enough, they can move up to the also free, no-advertising wordpress.org.

  47. Johny Why says:
    May 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    You missed the most important reason to use wordpress.com– it’s an easy, simple way to get on the web for people with zero budget and zero technical skill.

    • neil says:
      May 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Johnny, great points. It’s all about ease of use when it comes to a CMS. Thanks for sharing your view 🙂

  48. Brittius says:
    April 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Wish that I was computer literate. My WordPress.com blog has been dead for weeks. Most of the time, I cannot sign in, then the dashboard is dead. Half the dashboard has been missing over two weeks.
    Previously, I had asked WordPress.com for help because for five years, I cannot get images onto the sidebar, but, trolls were sent by them.
    Probably time for me to quit blogging or go elsewhere.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Wow, Brittius, that’s certainly reason not to go with WordPress.com. WordPress.org gives so many more options, it may be worth considering. Good luck!

      • Siva says:
        November 16, 2015 at 5:15 am

        do you design websites ? Kathryn Aragon

  49. Cherie says:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Right now I am currently on the free WordPress.com site and need to be able to add my own html code, for forms, videos and buttons. Does anyone here know if upgrading to the .org will get me that, or do I need a certain theme, plug in or widget for that? Thanks

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Hi Cherie. In WordPress.org, you can work out of the WYSIWYG editor on one tab and the HTML text editor on another tab. That’s true no matter what theme you use. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  50. Tracy Pease says:
    March 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I think this may apply to businesses and people who are trying to make a living through blogging, but the vast majority of WordPress.com users are not doing that. They just want to tell a story, share a skill, or start a community. And, WordPress allows them to do just that with absolutely no web building skills, no HTML, and completely free. I’ve been blogging on the .com side for more than two years and have had absolutely no problem. I feel safe knowing they take care of everything. I knew nothing about blogging when I started on a whim and I never would’ve been able to do it without the ease of use of WordPress.com.

    Ads are only added to very busy sites and only for people not signed in. They’ve also started a program where .com users can sign up to have ads on their site and make a little money off of it themselves. WordPress actually went many years giving away websites and with no advertising department at all.

    They don’t have a way to contact them unless you are a .org/bigger business user. But, the forums are excellent and WordPress employees are constantly surveying it. I always get my problem answered within a day.

    So, while it’s true that all the limitations listed in this article exist, it’s also true that you are getting a good product and service completely free. If you want more, go .org, self-host, and pay more. If you are making money on it, that shouldn’t be a problem.

    I read the Blog Tyrant (www.blogtyrant.com) regularly and he says WordPress is the only platform serious sites should use. WordPress controls 17% of the Internet, which is the largest sole controllership on the Internet. Fortune had a great article with all of this in it last year. They use WordPress, too.

    The Blog Tyrant also says to make money, you MUST use .org and self-host. He holds the record for making the most money selling a single website and it’s all he does for a living, so I would guess he knows and what he says does align with what you’re saying here.

    Personally, I in no way want my site to become a job. I’ve been contacted by people wanting to advertise and have been glad to have an easy excuse to say no. I’ve been taking a break and I check in on my site from time to time and never have to worry about it. I pay the $99 for the bundle every year, which is feel is so little for what they give you. I do it because I like WordPress and I like the design control it gives you. You can also get into the CSS with the design pack.

    In the end, this was a good and accurate article, but the headline and the way it began made me think you didn’t understand the .com/.org difference. Otherwise, many good points.

  51. widodo says:
    March 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    it is verry good information, by the way, right now i use the wordpress commercial in my site, but in dummy bog habitually i use the blogger.

  52. Tim says:
    February 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Stupidly titled article. WordPress blogs that are self hosted are a security nightmare, we had 2 blogs all patched and updated and they were hacked and gave access to our main website. Use wordpress.ORG if you value security – it’s locked down for a reason!

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      February 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Dot ORG is the self-hosted option, Tim.

  53. wpdil says:
    February 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Great article! But i thinks self hosted blog is better than wordpress.com hosting.

  54. Sonja says:
    February 7, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Great article! Thanks for clearing some things up for me.

  55. Cinnamon B says:
    January 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Wow, that’s an eye opener. I’m using wordpress.com as a blog platform temporarily until I can get my own domain/hosting, then I will certainly switch to my own wordpress platform.

  56. Ilya says:
    January 29, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for review! Can someone clarify for me if it is possible to use iFrame embeds with a premium $100 a year plan?

  57. Hidayat Mundana says:
    December 29, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Everywhere always happen pros and cons. You are like and there is no love. Including when using WordPress.com.
    But the service Jasa Pembuatan Website Pekanbaru, I chose to use a more flexible WordPress.Org with little cost.

  58. Benjamin Slattery says:
    December 2, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Nice Post. Thanks for sharing!

  59. Don says:
    September 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Good heavens – why not just hire a good web designer/developer? There are a lot of good ones out there, and you can get an enterprise-quality, fully customized, HTML5/CSS3 website with database functionality, and ‘all the bells and whistles’ for just a couple of thousand bucks in most cases.
    *Helpful tip – check references, and ask to see a portfolio before hiring a web company. 😉

    • Shane says:
      November 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Because not everyone can afford a web designer. Oh, and the self-hosted version of WordPress doesn’t get affected the points in this article.

  60. moving van says:
    May 8, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    great tips i will take them into consideration when i use my next site

  61. abin says:
    April 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

    is there any special price for wordpress.org other than hosting price?

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

      That’s right, Abin. There’s no cost for WordPress.org itself, just hosting, a premium theme (which is recommended) and any premium plugins you might want.

  62. Jazmin says:
    March 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Hello there,

    Thanks for the great write-up. What about the significance of having a blog that is being promoted through the tags and other channels on WordPress.com? Seems like a great way to get exposure to your blog that you wouldn’t normally, especially when you’re first starting out.

  63. Sparkster Hubs says:
    February 22, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I will never ever use WordPress, their Terms & Conditions clearly state they ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY for breach of copyright/intellectual property rights and plagiarism on their website and they offer NO WAY OF CONTACTING THEM, THEY DO NOT SUPPORT EMAIL!

    Given the fact that I have just found a load of my copyrighted works published by somebody else’s blog on WordPress.com and they do not allow comments and offer no way of contacting I am extremely annoyed, losing income and I have nobody to submit a DMCA complaint to.

    As far as I am concerned WORDPRESS IS AN ILLEGAL WEBSITE which does not abide by internet law.

    • Jon says:
      September 15, 2015 at 7:39 am

      It’s not illegal if you agreed to it -.-

      • Shane says:
        November 29, 2015 at 5:10 pm

        Copyright Infringement is illegal. As WordPress allows Copyright Infringement and doesn’t have a team to combat it, WordPress.com is an illegal site. It’s also asinine to think that that user agreed to have his/her work stolen.

        • Anonymous says:
          December 2, 2015 at 5:00 am

          You don’t seem to understand what you are talking about…they already said they accept no responsibility for it. Therefore if you use anything (pictures for example)from another website they will not get in trouble for it because it was YOU who did it not them so they are not legally bound by YOUR actions. You however would be.

  64. Jean says:
    February 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for this, unfortunately the business bundle has gone up to $199.

  65. Ruby says:
    August 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

    WordPress.com doesn’t like piggybackers. If you’re planning to use it to promote your site or blog, forget it. You’ll get deleted in a flash 🙂

  66. Lisa says:
    February 25, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I just had a WordPress.com site disappear so I do offer a warning of caution as you do not own it. Just be sure to use a reputable hosting site when you move it to the .org format.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      February 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

      @Lisa – Wow. That’s a bad day when your site just dissappears.

    • Diane says:
      January 21, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Lisa that is so scary! Do you know why it just disappeared? Don’t they have to give you a reason?

    • Matt says:
      May 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Blgger is worse, they removed one of my blogs once, they said something like it went against one of their policies (without saying which policy it was!) and removed the site without giving me any notice, nor the chance to change and/or delete whatever it was they didn’t like. I had just started the blog and was writing some basic law firm web design stuff so it’s not like it was offensive! I will not ever put another blog on one of those free platforms again, not if I want to keep it running!

      • Kathryn Aragon says:
        May 12, 2014 at 9:49 am

        Wow, Matt, that must have been frustrating. I hope you found another platform for your site. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      • neil says:
        May 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        Matt, I have heard similar stories in the past. It’s definitely not something I would want anyone to go through. Keep up the great work and thanks for the feedback 🙂

    • Steve johnson says:
      July 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Same here. then said no more wordpress. Now I do my websites with cmas.systems and its great.

  67. Turnkey Solutions says:
    February 25, 2012 at 1:21 am

    The Holistic lifestyle and fitness program by Estee Clair Academy for esthetics & rejuvenation is Yoga based, all-round and flexible fitness program. We aim to achieve this by assessing individual physical constitution which helps in customizing & streamlining workout programs, food pattern and lifestyle to best suit the physical constitution.

  68. Lynda Williams says:
    February 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Nice overview of the options for hosting.

    • Hooma says:
      January 11, 2017 at 10:55 am

      The title almost scared me as I have chosen wordpress for my travel blog. Security has been my major concern. Please suggest the best free plugin for security.

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