WordPress is an open source piece of software that is use by millions. Open source means that is free to use and can be change and share by anyone. It was created over almost 12 years ago and mainly as a blogging tool. However it has grown into one of the most popular CMS or Content Management Systems based on PHP (a programming language) and MySQL (a type of database). With a community of people both using and building upon its foundation, you can use it for just about anything you can set your mind to. There are two versions, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com provide you with an easy and free way to publish a website or blog. You do not need to have an account in order to read or comment on WordPress.com blogs/sites, however the owner of the blog/site have the option to require you to be registered to their site to leave comments. With WP.com you don’t have to worry about finding web hosting or downloading/installing the software. The only down side is that it’s less flexible than the self-hosting version. Meaning there are some limits to what you can do. Such as:
- Limited to using WordPress.com Themes
- No custom plugins
- Limited storage space
- No FTP (File Transfer Protocol, a tool use to transfer files between computers) access to your files
- Ads shown (they have to make money)
Your web address (or URL) will be as follows “myblogname.wordpress.com” unless you purchase a domain name on your own (or through them) and add it to your account. You can eliminate the other roadblocks by paying a fee.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version. This means you are responsible for finding and paying for web hosting that allows WP. Typically you can purchase a domain name for roughly $10/year. Some web-hosting sites will give you a free domain (for a year) if you do everything through them (purchasing the domain name and hosting). You can get hosting for a little as $10/month. Here are some of the benefits of going with WP.org:
- You own your content
- Can use Premium themes (given that you purchase them)
- No ads, unless you add them yourself
- Have access to your files via web host (usually via cPanel which is like a dashboard) or FTP
There’s a lot more to breakdown. So I hope you come back for more. Whether you are new to WordPress or just need a refresher, be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide.