WordPress.org Self-Hosted Site
WordPress.org is the self hosted version of the software. You can download the WordPress software for free, but then it must be installed on a web server. Most civilians don’t run their own web servers, so securing a web hosting company is usually in order. Many reputable hosting companies will offer a WordPress installation as part of their hosting package, so you don’t even have to worry about the PHP and mySQL requirements, download, or install. Hosting will run you anywhere from $4-$10 dollars per month, with the lower rates normally achieved through a 12-24 month pre-payment.
The beauty of the self-hosted version of WordPress is in the extended functionality and customization available through the thousands of plugins and themes offered. You can also go behind the scenes and alter the source code and CSS of your site, allowing further hands-on tweaking, if you’re so inclined.
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.
Some benefits exclusive to a WordPress.org self-hosted site include:
- custom CSS control
- access to core page code
- template access
- ability to install plugins (most important)
- 1000’s of themes available
- custom themes can be uploaded
- can install e-commerce themes
- integrate e-commerce themes with shopping carts
- can monetize your site in any way, including selling ad space
The word limitations is not totally accurate, since your options are quite endless, but there are several features that WordPress.com offers right out of the box that you have to configure through plugins on your self-hosted site. Although it takes a little more time, it’s a much more flexible way to implement them, since you have many different plugin options available to accomplish each task. This way you can install the exact configuration and features that work best for your site. But for now, the out of the box features missing include:
- website statistics
- email subscriptions to blog updates
- social networking enabled comments
- URL shortener
- automatic posting to social media sites
- social networking share buttons
- display recent tweets
- extended image gallery formats
Luckily for us, the good folks at WordPress.com realized how awesome it would be to have these features quickly available on your self-hosted site, and created one mega-plugin to harness them all – Jetpack. Jetpack allows your to integrate all the features listed above, plus more, into your self-hosted WordPress.org site. It’s a best of both worlds scenario to be sure, and one more reason to consider starting with a self-hosted site for any serious storefront, e-commerce, or business venture.