Before we can explain the differences, it’s important that you understand what WordPress actually is. WordPress is a 100% free blogging platform. I’m not talking about the blog you can create for free on WordPress.com, I mean the actual platform itself.
This is why it’s important that you know the difference between WordPress.com (The business) and WordPress (The blog software).
Now keep in mind, WordPress – (The blog software) is free and has no limits on its features. The only thing you need to install this version is a blog-host. That’s why people call it “Self-hosted WordPress”.
Since WordPress is also a business, they of course need to earn money. Offering the software alone for free, won’t make them any money. The way they do this, is through WordPress.com – Here they have made a convenient and easy way for you to setup a blog for free, on their domain and hosting server. However, in order to make money they have limited most of the functionality in order to force you to upgrade to one of their paid plans.
What you probably didn’t know, is that all those “premium” features they offer in their Business plan ($299 per year!) isn’t actually limited in the software itself. They have just limited it on your blog as a fancy way for them to charge you for something that’s actually free.
Even when you’re using their free plan, they still make money because they put advertisements on your blog posts which you won’t earn any money from. But in all fairness, they supply you with something completely free, so it’s not that bad – you wouldn’t want to work for free either I suppose.
Self-hosted WordPress is really just taking WordPress (the software) and installing it on your own host. That means you get full access to all the functionalities of WordPress, that they would otherwise charge you for on WordPress.com.
The 2 most important features of going self-hosted is that you are able to use custom designs and plugins! That means, if you find a design (like on PipDig / Themeforest), you can easily add it to your self-hosted blog without any trouble. On WordPress.com, you won’t even be able to, because you can ONLY choose from their selection of boring-looking designs.
We recommend any blogger, that instead of using WordPress.com you simply install WordPress on your own. This way you can use your own domain, you can install and use any blog-design you want, you don’t have any forced ads on your blog and more importantly, you get access to all features of WordPress.com that they would charge you up to $299 per year for!
The only thing you need is to find a webhost that offers WordPress. Luckily that won’t be a problem, as there are plenty of those! Almost everyone even offer a “one-click” installer, so you literally only need to click on a button to get WordPress setup for you. The prices for hosting range between $1,99 – $4,99, but that’s still a lot cheaper than using the premium plans on WordPress.com!
Here at Selfhosted.co we even offer the free service of setting everything up for you. If you want our professional assistance, simply get in touch in our live-chat, or fill out the contact form on our homepage by clicking here.