Few days ago someone asked me on LinkedIn a question about WordPress. She asked me if the 18$/year for a domain worth it or not. I felt she wanted her blog as something more than just a hobby, so I started talking about WordPress hosting options, domains, etc.
Anyway that made me think there’s still some confusion out there about these things as not everybody is used to talk about these terms so I decide to do this entry to clarify a bit some stuff.
Domain name: Is the address of your website. Example.com is a domain.
Web Host/Server: Is where the webpage is located. Is like an empty house where you put your stuff. You’ll find later about 3 main different hosting options.
WordPress: Is a blogging tool. Is like the basic furniture of a house. How you decorate it, or what you put inside, it’s up to you.
WordPress.com: Is the free version of WordPress. They give you a space hosted in their own servers, so you have no power over it. They let you be at their home and with their furniture, but you can’t really do much. You can’t install plugins, can’t add advertisement and so on. There’s some upgrades you can do to this but it will still be very limited.
WordPress.org: WordPress give you the furniture buy you have to find your own home. As long as it’s your home, you can add almost whatever you want. You can decorate it with plugins, with themes, with advertisement etc.
So now that you have clear these concepts, let’s start talking about the wordpress hosting options.
This is usually the first option for beginners as it’s the easiest one to use and it’s free. As said before, it’s quite limited. They give you a domain (actually, a sub domain) like example.wordpress.com. You have limited themes for the appearance of your website, and you can’t customize them too much. Unless you pay for it, that’s it. With WordPress.com you can pay for many stuff, but I don’t think it’s usually worth it.
Like the domain name for 18$/year. Yes, if you buy this you will be able to have a website name like Example.com, which looks more professional than Example.wordpress.com. But you will still be stuck in their servers. Therefore, you will still not be able to use plugins, get the theme you want or add advertisement to earn money with your blog.
WordPress.Org – Hosting options
First of all, I should say this option is obviously a bit more complicated as you will have to find a hosting server you like. But nowadays most of them have pretty nice options for moving your WordPress.com to their servers in one click. And it will give you a lot of advantages as you will have a lot of control of your blog. You can eventually earn money with it thanks to advertisement (The most famous one being AdSense from Google)
Also you need to know that most of the hosting server options offers a free domain name of your choosing. I recommend you to get a .com if possible. Let’s see the 3 main options.
Remember the analogy with a host server being a house? This is like renting a room in a big house, so you will share it with other roommates. Actually with a lot of roommates. Its main advantages and disadvantages can be related as well.
The main advantage it’s the price as you share a single server with more people. The main disadvantage is that your roommates can be using a lot of resources (like the bathroom) and that will affect you. Or maybe they bring a lot of visitors home and it will be too crowded, making the access to your room slow. Though usually roommates that are too greedy can eventually be kicked out of the house. This is recommended if you’re just starting socializing and won’t bring home many visitors.
The most basic one can be around 4$/month.
This is like share hosting but with two differences. First is that you probably won’t have as many roommates as in share hosting so your performance will be better. And second is that you will even have some exclusive resources that your roommates can’t use.
As an example, having a private bathroom in your room. Even if you have many visitors you will do better than in share because there’s more space. But of course this is a bit more expensive. This is recommended if you have a group of blogs that receive a fair amount of visitors and you want a bit more space than in sharing.
The basic one can be around 30$/month, but depending on how much resources you want can be quite more expensive.
Owning your own home. It’s incredible for bringing as many visitors as you want, you won’t have to worry about roommates bringing their visitors at the same time. Of course this kind of hosting is way more expensive than the two previous one. This one is recommended if you are a big business/writer and have a lot of visitors a day.
The most basic ones are around 70$/month. But these usually don’t come with much resources. More powerful dedicated servers can cost even up to 1000$/month.
Because of the low price of shared-hosting servers, I think paying for WordPress domain name for 18$/year (1.5$/month) is not really worth it. Same with the rest of pay features WordPress.com offers. I think for beginners is much better to rent a share-host server for like 4-5$/month with free domain name. Is not much difference and yet this option will give you a huge control boost over your blog compare to WordPress.com
This comes from someone who right now is using WordPress.com, though I plan to migrate to share-host maybe in the next few weeks. That’s why I wanted to check what WordPress hosting options I had! Actually, if someone knows a good server host I’ll be glad to receive opinions! So far I checked a few I like and I guess it wouldn’t take me longer to decide.