First I want to clear up the confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress is WordPress right? Not really. Both 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