Four WordPress.com Plans & WordPress.org
At the time of writing this post, 18 August 2018, the 4 Plans with WordPress.com are shown above. The company Automattic (California) was founded by Matt Mullenweg in 2005, and has the file servers which the free WordPress.com blogs or sites are hosted on. The Automattic team provides these Plans above and provides the services to host and manage your WordPress.com blog.
Some people refer to “self-hosting” or “shared hosting” as the best or the only way to go with WordPress, meaning some people recommend that you set up your WordPress blog through WordPress.org rather than with WordPress.com. I have been happily using the WordPress.com platform for 6 years now. Do not let others say that you are an amateur or stupid for using the services of WordPress.com rather than the services of WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is a foundation separate to Automattic and was also founded by Matt Mullenwegg, but is not lead or headed by him. When people say you should go for “shared hosting” or “self-hosting“, note that “hosting” means to host or upload your website content to file servers (which means space on computers which may not physically exist in the country where you live).
The phrase “self-hosted” can confuse people. This term means that you the consumer organises the hosting of your web content yourself. So the “self” in “self-hosting” means “do it yourself in relation to finding a web-hosting company or provider”. Not everyone understands what “self-hosting” means. Self-hosting can be shared hosting, where different websites share space on the same server (computer) that is provided by a web hosting company, or it can be dedicated hosting through a dedicated server meaning you can effectively “rent” a whole server just for your website.
If you run a blog through WordPress.com the Automattic company does the hosting for you. Thus your blog which you run through WordPress.com is often referred to as a “hosted site”. Of course any presence on the World Wide Web or internet needs to be hosted! To my mind, the reference to either “a WordPress.com hosted site” or “a self-hosted site that uses software from WordPress.org” would make things clearer.
If you are a business or otherwise wish to have the benefits of a “self-hosted” WordPress site, well then you can go for “self-hosting” which ostensibly or really means find a web-hosting service that you like (which you will pay each year) for hosting your web content and for allowing options like plug-ins and custom functionality (designing your website they way you would like it).
Simple Payment Button for some Plans
Having said that, did you know that the Premium Plan and Business Plan of WordPress.com allow a “Simple Payment Button” to be placed on your WordPress.com site? So if you are blogging about your hobbies or interests, and want to sell a few products or services, you don’t need a “self-hosted WordPress blog”.
You can see it in action on the blog post of my “Book Reviewers International” WordPress.com blog, link below. If you have one of the Plans in the aforementioned paragraph, you create your blog post or page, then click on the Add in the tool-bar at the top, then click on “Payment button”.
Here are some relevant screenshots. The first shows what the output of using a Simple Payment Button looks like.
The configuration or settings for the above are shown in the next screenshot.
Note: the email in the screenshot above is not a PayPal email address, so don’t try to sign into the PayPal account to misuse it, because it does not exist. I’m including it to illustrate how to set up a Simple Payment button.
I have tested the Simple Payment button and a consumer can use PayPal or a Credit or Debit card to make a purchase, which I think is great. The “down” side regarding “digital downloads” is that the button does not allow for a digital product (such as my WordPress Guidelines) to be instantly downloaded. That is why I added information about how the purchaser will receive the Guidelines in blue text beneath the Payment button. Click on the link above to go to the page to see the text.
Now I will go through the features of the Personal Plan with WordPress.com, with the first thing to say being that the prices of all of the Plans are in USD (United States dollars) and that one has to pay up-front, meaning that although the Plans state how much the yearly cost works out on a monthly basis, you are required to multiply the costs below by 12 to get the total amount (in USD) that you pay annually.
Custom Domain Name
Referring to the screenshot at the top of this page and the reference to a Custom Domain Name being available under a Personal Plan and other Plans, note that a completely free WordPress.com blog has a WordPress.com SubDomain Name, which means it has a home page with a web address (URL) which contains a sub-domain of the WordPress domain name.
A DOMAIN NAME is a way to identify and locate computers and resources connected to the Internet. No two organisations can have the same domain name. A domain name is like gold, because it is used in web addresses or URLs (Uniform Resource Locators to be technical) of a website. The URL or web address is what people type into the web address field of their computer browser to access a website. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages.
In 2003 (8 years before I began using WordPress.com) I designed, developed and uploaded my own website Peace in Practice to the World Wide Web. The URL of the home page of my PIP website is http://www.peaceinpractice.iinet.net.au and includes the iinet Domain Name and the peace in practice Subdomain Name.
The SubDomain Name of my PIP website is:
A SUB-DOMAIN or subdomain means that your “domain” or website is a sub-set or a part or a sub-division of a “master domain” or a “primary domain”.
In the example above, my PIP site content is hosted by the iinet company. This page here may make this concept clearer. The iinet company’s website has the Domain Name iinet.net.au and
its website address or URL is https://www.iinet.net.au
Note that the end of the website address (often called the web address extension) is net dot au of which the “net” part reflects the Internet and the “au” part reflects a location in Australia. Subdomains have 3 levels, the peaceinpractice part is the 3rd level in this example, the iinet part is the 2nd level, and the net is the 1st level or top level (sometimes called TLD or Top Level Domain). An interesting article on the history of the use of the top level domain names can be read here .
All domain names have a domain suffix or extension such as .com, .net, or .org and optionally 2 letters (Country Code Top Level Domain) which denote the location of the website registrant (i.e. the country of residence of the Domain Name owner). The domain suffix helps identify the type of website the domain name represents. The suffix (i.e. the additional part at the end of a word or phrase) for websites, of “online“, is becoming popular now (so I have found). There is a HUGE range of domain suffixes or Top Level Domain Names nowadays – see here .
My PIP website is a sub-division or subdomain of the iinet domain.
WordPress.com is of course a website, and when people say “WordPress” usually they mean the WordPress software. The company that makes free WordPress.com blogs available is called Automattic, and the COM part of their website address or URL denotes a Company. Nobody except Automattic is allowed to have the word WORDPRESS in the Domain Name for their own website, whether the site was created via WordPress.com or via a web hosting provider using software from WordPress.org, or created independently as I created my PIP website (by coding the HTML pages using FrontPage and uploading them to the iinet file servers).
The point of all this is that if you have a completely FREE blog with WordPress.com the web address of your blog will have a subdomain name, such as this blog that you are reading has –
The above is a web address or URL and the website has a SubDomain Name which is:
If you want your WordPress.com blog to have its own Domain Name i.e. not to be associated with WordPress and to have one of the suffixes such as – com or – net or – org (if not already taken) instead of “wordpress.com” you can pay for a Personal Plan or a Premium or Business Plan which means you can set up your own Domain Name for your WordPress.com blog.
My blog Book Reviewers International is on a Premium Plan and the URL is https://bookreviewers.online so the site has a Custom Domain Name, i.e. a unique and specific name customised for its purpose, without reference to WordPress. You will need to see if the Domain Name that you want is available and register it with WordPress.com or if you have a Domain Name registered with another company, you can use it with your WordPress.com site on a Personal / Premium / Business Plan.
Why would someone want a Custom Domain Name? The answer is that a Custom Domain Name (CDN) rather than a Subdomain Name can look professional and gives the owner a sense of uniqueness, plus, for example, people using a search engine to search for book reviews may type in –
bookreviewers online or book reviewers online
but not bookreviewers.wordpress.com
so my BRI website having a CDN will hopefully increase the chances of my blog being found “organically” or by people typing in the aforementioned search terms, because such Searches should find the URL in red above.
A Custom Domain Name is a way of creating a “branded link”. If you want a CDN you will need a Personal, Premium or Business Plan with WordPress.com OR you can go for a self-hosted site through finding a web hosting provider and downloading the WordPress software from WordPress.org which requires a CDN when setting up your site or blog. Even if you’re not yet ready to set up a website whether with WordPress or not, it may be wise to register a Domain Name with a registrant like GoDaddy or Crazy Domains, in order to secure ownership of the Domain Name. If someone else has registered a name that you like, you will not be able to use.
This WordPress.com page HERE gives instructions on setting up a CDN through WordPress.com.
It is rather nice having a unique custom domain name, which is achievable in Australia at $60 upfront per year (under a Personal Plan with WordPress.com) or at a higher cost (with a Premium or Business Plan).
Other Paid Plan Features
The Personal Plan provides twice as much storage space on the Automattic company’s file servers, and the Premium plan provides twice as much as the Personal Plan provides for. All Plans apart from the FREE PLAN will enable the complete removal of WordPress.com sponsored advertisements.
Be aware that the “Advanced Design Customization” is a bit misleading as my Book Reviewers International site is on a Premium plan, and I find that the cutomization of layout elements of that site is still rather limited, compared to what I would be able to do with a self-hosted site. You will need to either have knowledge of CSS and coding or be prepared to ask WordPress.com for help to do the customization that the Personal and other Plans allow for.
Jetpack Security Essentials comes with all Plans and adds security to your WordPress site. Click here for more information.
My Fascinating Animals website has only used 2 percent of its allocated 6 gigabytes space. I have been running it on a Personal Plan since February this year, however I started this blog way back in 2012. It seems to me that the 3 GB with the free plan is quite sufficient for a blogger who is not running a Business blog. A Personal Plan allows me to use a Custom Domain Name and to have advertising removed, which are the reasons why I went on a Personal plan.x
If you want to use plug-ins and want a Custom Domain Name, you could consider going for a self-hosted site using WordPress downloaded from WordPress.org, but that involves time and effort with backing up data and installing software upgrades and maintaining security, and especially requires time and effort with running the plug-ins (additional programmes for specific purposes, like calendars, contact forms, mailing lists, and e-commerce options). Alternatively, you could go with a WordPress web hosting provider that will manage security and backups without you having to do that.
By all means try out self-hosting and downloading the WordPress software from WordPress.org if you want to, noting that the cost of a Premium Plan with WordPress.com will be fairly equivalent to the hosting costs of a self-hosted blog using software from WordPress.org. Be aware that the reduced discount prices of hosting for the latter cases only apply to the first term or period of time that you are paying for.
For convenience, it’s perfectly fine to go with the WordPress.com Personal Plan to remove advertising from your blog, increase storage space and to use a Custom Domain Name; or to use a Premium Plan for its benefits, such as access to free Premium Themes. My Book Reviewers blog is on a Premium Plan. On this Plan my blog has its own Domain Name and I have more storage space and no advertisements, access to some customization and to Simple Payment Buttons, plus the Automattic company (that runs WordPress.com) manages back-ups, upgrades and security of my blog for me.
You may see advertisements on this blog. This is because this blog uses the free WordPress.com platform. If you don’t like the ads, just brush them away like you would with an annoying bug