WordPress.com Hosted Site
WordPress.com is a free, hosted service. There’s no downloading and installation of software required, and no web hosting accounts to sign up for and configure. Simply supply an email address, username, password, and available site name to WordPress.com and you’re off and running, literally in minutes. Your site name, or blog address, will become your site URL, displayed as yoursweetsite.wordpress.com. As with any free service there are some limitations, but these can be overcome at any point by upgrading to a paid account on WordPress.com, or transferring your .com site to a self-hosted WordPress.org account.
WordPress.com is a community of bloggers first and foremost, much like Tumblr, Blogger, and to a lesser extent, Facebook. Blogs are written, tagged, posted, searched, liked, commented, shared and reblogged, all within the WordPress.com framework. You can search blogs by topic, then add them to your Reader to receive all the recent posts from blogs you follow. Anyone looking to start an online shop or serious business site would be wise to explore WordPress.org to avoid all of the limitations listed below.
Some common features of both the .com and .org sites include easy setup and installation, easy to use blogging interface, categorizing and archiving of posts, commenting tools, spam protection, multiple blogs, media library and gallery capabilities, RSS feeds, and import and export functions.
Default features exclusive to WordPress.com include:
- full website statistics tracking
- post ‘like‘ and ‘reblog’ options
- optional polls and post ratings
- email subscriptions to your latest posts and comments
- direct-embed widgets for BandPage, Flickr, Goodreads, Twitter feed, and more.
- selection of 12 social media buttons, including ’email’ and ‘print’
- Publicize – post directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more.
- Reader – selected WordPress.com blogs and topics you are following
- Freshly Pressed – selected community highlights from WordPress.com editors
There are some limitations, however, to the hosted free version of WordPress. These can again be rectified by either upgrading to a paid service on WordPress.com, or securing your own web hosting (paid) and installing the WordPress.org software (free).
Limitations to the free version of WordPress.com include:
- no custom domain name
- no custom themes
- no plugins (widgets only)
- no custom CSS control
- no core source code access
- 3 GB maximum allotted space
- no direct video uploads (only links)
- limited number of themes
- limited customization (depending on theme)
- can’t sell ad space or monetize your blog
- small ads potentially displayed to visitors not logged in