WordPress is easily the most popular content management platform in the world. Not just this, WordPress powers a significant portion of total websites globally. There are several reasons for this all-conquering popularity. Firstly, it’s open source so it can be modified extensively by developers to fulfill any functional requirements. Secondly, it’s a pretty good CMS as well, and comes packed with features to satisfy the needs of most content managers.
WordPress.org and WordPress.com – Intro
Another reason why WordPress is popular is because it can be had for completely free. However, like its competitors Squarespace and Wix, it is also offered as a hosted solution for which users have to pay a monthly fee.
What is WordPress.org (Self-Hosted WordPress)
The WordPress that you can download for completely free is commonly known as WordPress.org or self-hosted WordPress. It is called self-hosted WordPress because the user is responsible for downloading and deployment of the WordPress platform to an online hosting service.
Self-hosted WordPress has proven to be extremely popular because it gives users complete control over their WordPress installation. This means they can choose a robust hosting service and configure it to be as secure as possible. This way, the data also remains in the hands of the site owner.
What is WordPress.com (Hosted WordPress)
Much like Squarespace and Wix, WordPress is offered with hosting plans as well. The reason being that not everyone is technically capable of deploying a WordPress installation on a web hosting service. For non-technical users, hosted WordPress offers a way of getting a custom domain and fully functional WordPress site with absolutely no hassles.
Although hosted WordPress is a convenient way to get into the world of WordPress, it’s not very popular with more demanding users who want more control over the security of their data.
Which One is Better?
When it comes to choosing between hosted and self-hosted WordPress, the decision will depend on the requirements and more importantly, the budget of the user.
On the face of it, hosted WordPress certainly looks to be a great value. For just five dollars a month, you get a fully functional WordPress site which is yours to customize and use. Total yearly cost for this beginner plan amounts to around $60, which doesn’t seem too bad.
For individuals and smaller businesses who’re just looking for the most convenient way to set up a WordPress site, hosted WordPress is a no-brainer. But this gives rise to a new question: What are the alternatives to hosted WordPress. The answer to that, is that there are many (if not better) alternatives. That discussion is out of the scope of this article.
Consider however that if you’re able to follow some simple questions, you can go for the self-hosted WordPress option which will end up costing you about the same amount of money, but you’ll have greater control over your data.
There are many web hosts that specialize in WordPress hosting, and some even provide free WordPress hosting so you can try their services before committing to a payment. Opting for cheap hosting might seem enticing at first, but it will also mean that you forego important aspects such as expert customer support and page load speeds.
For self-hosted WordPress, it is generally recommended to go for hosts like SiteGround. They provide dedicated WordPress hosting with easily-reachable and dedicated customer support.
It is almost a no-brainer for SMEs and larger businesses to opt for self-hosted WordPress. The security and dedicated support (if you choose a reliable hosting provider) are absolutely necessary in the operations of a professional WordPress site.