WordPress is a great tool for building interactive websites, and it’s amazing to think that it is available for free. Building a simple blog at WordPress.com is very easy, and there are dozens of templates to easily and quickly change the look of your site. Also, for a small fee you can have access to the CSS code to modify the look of your site further. However, what if you need more than a simple blog?
For those people who are a little more experienced with web applications than the average person, and want to have more features on their WordPress site, downloading the software from WordPress.org is the next option. A self hosted WordPress site gives the option to add “plugins” to the site to extend its abilities, for example adding a shopping cart, and the ability to modify not only the CSS code but the back end PHP files as well. There are also hundreds of customized WordPress themes that are available for download (although be cautious where you download them from).
However, there are downsides to hosting your own WordPress site. First of all, you have to pay a monthly hosting fee. Second, you have to update your blog software whenever there is a new release, and backup your database yourself. These are things that you don’t need to worry about when your blog is being hosted at WordPress.com.
For me, since I wanted to upload a template not found at WordPress.com, and add plugins like “Lightbox” for my Portfolio page, a WordPress.com site wasn’t enough. Although this means I have to upload the latest version of WordPress when it comes available, it only takes a couple of mouse clicks and a few minutes to do. However, it is strongly advised that your site and especially your database are backed up before doing this. Thankfully WordPress also has a plugin called “WordPress Database Backup” to help with this part.
While all of this sounds relatively easy, not all plugins are are “plug and play”. For example, the “WordPress Database Backup” software I downloaded gave me an error when I tried to email the database to myself before upgrading to the latest version of WordPress. Of course, there is a great community of WordPress users who very often will have had the same problems as you, and are happy to share their knowledge to help you fix whatever problems you encounter (I found out there was an email plugin that could fix the problem).
For more information on WordPress.com versus WordPress.org, follow this link:
Another great resource can be found here: