When starting out as a newcomer to WordPress blogging, this one question comes in every blogger’s mind. Which one to choose? Is it better to get a self-hosted, or is it better to go with the free version? In this discussion, I will provide you with a simple comparison table between the free, premium and self-hosted WordPress blogs with the list of pros and cons.
This is Episode 4 of my Blogging 101 Series.
Which WordPress To Choose?
Many users get confused with the differences between the free from the self-hosted WordPress. The goal of this comparison table is to list the options available for each service so you can make the right choice for your blog.
|Services Needed||Free Version||Premium (Upgraded)||Self-Hosted|
|Domain Name||Free default URL (example: username[dot]wordpress[dot]com; cannot be modified)||$12 to $18/year (provided by WordPress[dot]com)||approximately $10+/year (provided by your own choice; some registrars have sale)|
|Hosting & Web Space||Free (3GB)||$19.97/year (5GB)
|approximately $5+/month (annual payment also available depending on hosting provider; some providers have sale)|
|Ads||With Ads (provided by WordPress[dot]com; no revenue for users)||$30/year with Ad Control subscription (50/50 revenue split between you and WordPress[dot]com)||FREE (provided by your own choice)|
|Theme Support||Limited free themes that exist in WordPress directory (scripts and codes cannot be modified)||$30/year with CSS Upgrade subscription (only selected commercial themes can be purchased for a one-time fee)||Fully customizable and modifiable from free to paid themes (provided by your own choice)|
|Plugins||No Plugins allowed (only pre-installed plugins provided by WordPress[dot]com)||$2500/month with WordPress[dot]com VIP Program subscription (full control of plugins and theme for 5 sites)||Fully customizable and modifiable from free to paid plugins (provided by your own choice)|
Which One Is Better For You?
If you are a blogger who does not mind about growing your audience and readers and not care about making money from your blog in the future, then go with the free WordPress version. However, if you are a blogger trying to make blogging into a career opportunity and wanting to grow your online presence and brand, then you want to use a self-hosted version.
Often people will say, self-hosted WordPress will cost you money. For a small website, it is actually cheaper.
For example, you use the free version, but you buy from them a domain name ($12 to $18/year), pay for an ad-free option ($30 per year), and get custom design upgrade ($30 per year). That total is around $78, and you are still not in full control.
For the self-hosted version, you can use Bluehost (officially recommended by WordPress) which costs $3.95 per month. So, that’s $47.40 per year, and it includes a free domain name. If you go to other web hosting companies, then you will pay a similar price, but you won’t get a domain. However, you can get a domain name for $10 from Godaddy or NameCheap. Your total expense for self-hosted WordPress would come to $57.40 per year and you will have full control over everything.
My Version Of Choice
While none of the upgrades are required for the free version, I feel that a blogger cannot maximize the full potential of his/her blog unless additional features like plugins, customized themes are available for us. If you like me who wants to keep the revenue I make, then it is much more cost-effective to get a self-hosted version and have control.
I hope you like this discussion and will help you decide which WordPress to get. If you liked it, make sure you share it on social media like Facebook, Twitter or any other site that you like (of course with a credit link back to this blog post).