If you have been searching the internet for ways to start your own website, you have probably come across WordPress. WordPress powers 40% of all websites on the internet, and is the most powerful online content management system. But is WordPress free?
There are actually two WordPress systems, and beginners often struggle to understand the differences between them. Below, we’ll cover the key differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and you can decide which suits your needs best!
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
It’s important to note that there are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. They serve two completely different groups of customers, with several key features setting them apart. Here are the main differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
|Website builder with domain hosting||Software to build your website|
|Start building your website immediately||Needs paid domain hosting plan to start using|
|Free and paid plans||Free (open source)|
In summary, WordPress.com and WordPress.org provide two very different services. The former is a website builder, while the latter is software you integrate into your website. Knowing which one is right for your website will make your life much easier!
The Problem With WordPress.com
If you’re just starting a website to experiment with, then go ahead with the free WordPress.com plan. It’s fairly easy to use and get to grips with, and it’s free! If you don’t plan on getting too serious with your first website, it’s probably best to limit your investment in it.
However, if you’re looking to monetise a website and build a business with it, it’s worth reconsidering the free plan. Here are some of the main disadvantages of the free plan:
- Website domain ends with ‘.wordpress.com’ (e.g., sophicalcontent.wordpress.com)
- Lower rankings in Google search results
- Limited customisation options when building your website
- Your website advertises WordPress.com
So, even though WordPress.com has a free plan, it comes with many drawbacks. Not only are you limited in how much customisation you have at your fingertips, but the lack of authority and credibility the domain and advertising provide makes things even more difficult. Readers and customers will just prefer to visit and buy from a website that has its own .com domain name.
So, while the free plan is fine for experimentation, it’s worth thinking about a paid plan or using WordPress.org instead. But can you use WordPress.org for free?
As we mentioned earlier, WordPress.org is software that you can use to build your website. You’ll need to find a web hosting service before you can use WordPress.org’s features. This is because WordPress.org is integrated into your chosen hosting service, and installed onto your website’s domain.
WordPress.org offers more than 50,000 plugins to integrate into your website. This opens up lots of room for customisation. If you’re trying to create a very specific design for example, the themes and plugins that WordPress.org offers will make this much easier than if you use WordPress.com.
The important thing to note is that WordPress.org as an integration is free. However, in most cases, the hosting is not. So, while you can install it on your chosen domain at no additional cost, you might have to part with some cash before that. But are there some free WordPress hosting services you can use?
Free WordPress Hosting – 3 Options
If you want to use WordPress.org for free, you’ll need to use a free web hosting service. However, most free web hosting services out there have several limitations. Below are three free WordPress hosting options you can consider, along with some pros and cons for each one.
000WebHost is a hosting platform powered by its parent company Hostinger (more on that in a moment). They offer free and paid plans, and they’ve been around for over a decade.
- No Ads
- Comes with the Zyro Website Builder, for easier website customisation
- They can suspend your account if you exceed the free plan’s limits (with only 1 warning!)
- Limited 3GB bandwidth
- No WordPress acceleration (which essentially makes your site faster and more reliable)
2. AccuWeb Hosting
AccuWeb Hosting offers a free plan, with the key note to take being that their only server for this plan is in Canada. But if you’re located in North America, you can make use of their decent bandwidth and storage allowances on the free plan.
- 30GB bandwidth
- 25 free email accounts
- 2 GB SSD Storage
- Only server location is Montreal, Canada
- No free domain registration
- Only one website per account
3. Award Space
Award Space is another hosting provider that offers both free and paid plans. Their focus is on speed of setup, boasting a one-click sign-up process. But you should note that this is only ideal for sites with low traffic.
- PHP MyAdmin access
- 99.9% Uptime
- Low 5GB Bandwidth
- Only 1 top-level domain
- Low traffic limits
All three of these free WordPress hosting options are worth considering if you’re on a tight budget. However, it’s also worth remembering that even if the free plan isn’t cutting it for you, it’s normally fairly straightforward to upgrade in the future.
So, if you’re looking to build a website for leisure or just as a pet project, the free plans might be perfect for you! However, if you’re looking to scale your website into a money-making business, it’s best to stick to the paid options.
Hostinger for WordPress
If you’re happy to pay for hosting, then Hostinger is a brilliant choice. Sophical Content runs on Hostinger, and we’ve had a great experience from the start! Aside from all of the usual perks of a top-class hosting provider – like great reliability and high bandwidth allowances – Hostinger has an excellent support team as well.
When the site was still in very early development, it was tough to get some of the technical aspects of the website right. But the customer support team at Hostinger were always happy to help, and they’ve made our lives very easy! So, if you’re looking for an effective hosting solution for your next WordPress website, look no further than Hostinger!
Is WordPress Really Free?
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both offer free options. While WordPress.com is ideal for those looking to set up a simple or experimental website, WordPress.org, paired with a good hosting service, is the way to go for those looking to monetise their website. If you want a beginner-friendly guide to using WordPress, the book WordPress in Easy Steps is a great place to start.
Once you set your first website up with WordPress, check out this article to learn everything there is to know about navigating the dashboard!