When you want a site, a whole lot of people will tell you to make a website with WordPress. Why? Because it’s simple, quick and free. Yes, once everything is set up, you can have a basic website in minutes, 30 minutes or so.
But when you make an account with WordPress, it presents you a range of subscription services to make full use of it. So, how come people say it’s free? Well, the thing is they don’t talk about wordpress.com. If you search, how to make a WordPress website, you will come across wordpress.org. And that’s what you will be using to make your website.
But before clearing up the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, let me tell you a little about the basics.
Basics of a website
Instead of worrying about how a website would work, you can concentrate on the visuals and design it. Whether you want a blog or a full-fledged website, WordPress is one of the easiest ways to build a website from scratch. Next, comes the hosting.
You need a storage space – hard disk drive or a USB drive – to store your files, and also your website. But in the case of a website, the files should always be accessible from anywhere in the world. A site is made up of text, images, audio, video and various other things. And thus, to make a WordPress website, you have to pay for a hosting service such as GoDaddy, Bluehost and HostGator. At a monthly or yearly subscription cost, they provide you with a storage server that’s always online.
Once, you have your online storage, you need something to access it – an address. The domain name is that address. For example, you type in l a z y w r i t e r (dot) i n and you reach my website. Lazywriter is my domain name and “in” is the domain name extension
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source CMS which is available for free. You can install the software on your hosting servers and then make a website with WordPress acting as the backbone. It offers a range of themes for your design needs, or you can upload your own.
You pick up a theme and then add the pages you want for your website. And you can also customise the theme to suit your taste. You like the content placement but not the colour, you can change it in code. Or is it that you love the colour but not the font? Well, scan through the code and change it.
Those changes can be a thing for some other day, but your website is ready to go online. Of course, you need to decide the pages’ content on display.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Above is the situation when you decide to make a website with WordPress (dot ORG). Let’s find out the difference it would make if you design a WordPress website (with the dot COM one).
While wordpress.org provides the open-source software, wordpress.com is a blogging platform owned by Automattic Inc. They made the website using the WordPress software, and now allow people to log in and host their blog, but with certain limitations.
Yes, with a paid account, you can use plugins and some customisations, but you can’t edit the code behind. Moreover, you get limited plugin support and can’t use custom-made plugins. You can pick only those which Automattic Inc. offers. And the same goes for themes.
WordPress.com hosts your blog, you can’t change it. It though, maintains, backs up and updates the system when there are changes. But with a self-hosted wordpress.org blog, you need to handle everything yourself. Also, when you opt for a self-hosted blog, you own your content, but it’s not the case with wordpress.com.
Should I choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
If all that you want is to have a blog to write, go for wordpress.com. It’s free and if you want some customisations, pay them (monthly or yearly), but you can modify only what they allow and nothing more than that. But the plus point is that you don’t need to or pay someone else to manage hosting servers and your website.
But if you want to make a WordPress website, download the free software from wordpress.org and get going. If you don’t want to develop it, you can hire a web developer, and that would be a one-time investment. You can then play with the code as much as you want. The hosting and domains would be recurring charges, but it won’t cost you a fortune.
And don’t forget the unlimited storage. With a premium hosting plan, you can get unlimited storage for your self-hosted blog, but with wordpress.com, even the costliest plan has storage limits. However, you can start with the free plan of wordpress.com, make a website with wordpress.org later and import all your posts and pages there. It’s easy. Even I started with lazydiary.wordpress.com before making lazywriter.in.
And when you have made your mind to make a website with WordPress, here’s a suggestion.
Steps to make a website with WordPress
I use GoDaddy for my site, and it offers me a free domain for a year with my hosting plan. There are a number of hosting plans. But to make your task a bit easy, you can go for the Managed WordPress Hosting plan. When you buy the plan (and your domain name), GoDaddy installs the WordPress software on its servers, and you’re ready to pick up a theme and design your website as you want.
There are many free themes available, or you can pay to get some premium ones. And you always can hire someone to design one for you and upload it there. The space is all yours to destroy. And some knowledge of the programming languages comes handy, but not necessary.
Hope this article clears some of your confusion about WordPress. If you want some more info, get in touch with the Lazy Writer.