Everyone knows how easy it is to create a website nowadays. Just an idea in the head and a computer (or mobile) with internet to publish a website in minutes. And the best, without spending a penny it is free WordPress.
And that is how many start on the internet. Thanks to free tools like WordPress.com , it allows you to create website and blogs easily and at no cost. And if for some, the site is just a hobby, for others it is profession. At that moment the question arises: when to invest in a paid plan?
If you have or want to have a website or blog in WordPress, this article is for you! In it I will explain all the features of each modality of WordPress.com , so that you can evaluate and decide which one is right for you.
Differences: Free WordPress vs Paid WordPress
Before detailing the differences between the modalities of WordPress plans, we have summarized below, for those looking for a more objective analysis.
Remember that we are comparing the modalities of WordPress.com, which is the version hosted by the company itself. If you are looking for WordPress that is installed in an external hosting, check out this article that talks about WordPress.org.
|In what situation you fit?||WordPress.Com||WordPress.Org|
|My website or blog is just a hobby||✓|
|I’m just trying to tool||✓|
|I need a website / blog and do not have financial resources||✓|
|I’m starting not know if it will still work out||✓||✓|
|I have an established business||✓|
|My project will have great features and customization||✓|
|I will monetize my blog or site||✓|
|I plan to create a virtual store with WordPress||✓|
As we have seen, choosing a paid or free WordPress depends on the timing and needs of your online project. Not always opting for the paid plan is the best choice.
Now let’s look at the features offered in each modality, explain what they are for, and in what situations they are important. This will give you the information you need to make the right decision.
Domain is one of the most striking differences between the free and paid forms of WordPress.com. When you create a free website or blog in this tool, you are obliged to use an address that is part of their domain. In the paid version, you can use your domain.
This works as follows: In free WordPress, when choosing the site name, it automatically puts wordpress.com in the address. So your address looks like this: yoursite.wordpress.com. The same goes for other free platforms such as Blogger and Wix. In fact, what you are using is a subdomain of WordPress.com.
To have the right to use a custom address (eg, yournameublog.com), you need to hire a paid plan from WordPress.com. This feature is available from the most basic paid plan, whose monthly fee is $ 3 (₹200) per month, paid annually.
But why have a custom domain?
Maybe you’re asking yourself that question. One of the reasons to have a domain of your own is to give more credibility to your website or blog. When we have an end address “wordpress”, “wix” or “blogger”, we pass a less professional image to visitors to the site. By being free, you can convey the idea that is not so reliable because the person or company behind the site has not even invested in a domain, something so basic these days.
Another reason would be visibility in search engines. Imagine that you have a blog for years and then decide to register a domain to make it more professional. When you do this, you will need to change all the URLs for the new domain. This will impact your positioning on Google, even if you do the page redirects. To avoid this, the ideal would be to start with the address that you intend to use definitively. In addition, we know that ranking also gets hampered on sites that do not have their own domain.
A positive question of WordPress.com is that they offer 1 year of free domain in the plan, which means a savings of $ 10 to $ 15 (₹700-₹1050) in the first year. Then you need to renew and pay for the domain annually.
It is important to say that in some cases, free WordPress is the best choice. For example, blogs and websites created just by hobby or test can continue on the free paid plan. There is no reason to pay for the service.
Institutions or small businesses that do not yet generate revenue to invest in this can also continue in the free plan. Just keep in mind the future possibility of investing a little more and taking the next step in your business.
Another big difference between free and paid WordPress plans is in the display of company ads. In the free wordpress plan, your site displays WordPress ads and you get nothing for it. In paid plans this does not happen.
The explanation is simple. Imagine that you have a company that lets you create websites for free. Thousands of users come in every day to create and publish websites and blogs, without spending any real with their business. Your company needs to pay bills, including servers to store all of that content. This business does not seem to make much sense, does it? Unless there is some interesting counterpart to the company.
In exchange for offering something free to users, the company posts ads from WordPress.com itself on the free websites and blogs built in the tool. That way, they get more users. Some of them will become subscribers to paid plans, returning revenue to the company.
For users who own a free website or blog on WordPress.com, it seems like a fair trade. After all, what’s the problem with displaying WordPress ads within your content? However, if you have a business and want a professional website to showcase to your customers and potential audience, displaying ads can negatively influence the perception of users about your company or brand.
To not show ads on WordPress.com you need to hire one of the paid plans. The Personal plan, which is the most basic ($ 12 / month), no longer displays company ads. Already to remove also the brand WordPress.com, you need to hire the most expensive plan.
All WordPress.com plans differ in the space you have for saving your site’s files. The free wordpress plan offers a storage space of 3 GB. Paid plans provide 6GB, 13GB and even unlimited storage. It’s a lot of space, even in the free wordpress plan.
To give a reference, this site has not yet reached 3 GB of content, although it has been updated frequently since 2013. Of course we need to take two things into consideration. The first is that our images are illustrations, not photos and videos, which consume much more space. And the second is that we always optimize the images before posting them on the site.
Still, we can say that the space of the free plan is quite broad. Institutional sites would probably never have problems of lack of space in free WordPress. Frequently updated blogs with lots of pictures, however, would possibly come up against this limitation over time. Online shops could even use the free plan, due to other restrictions that will quote below.
Themes and customization of layout
One of the strengths of WordPress is the amount of themes available. There are thousands of free wordpress and paid wordpress themes. Although reduced, even on WordPress.com the variety is satisfactory. In total, there are over 300 ready-to-use layouts.
In this case, the difference between plans is in the amount of themes available.To get access to WordPress premium themes you need to have a Premium (or higher) paid plan, which costs $ 26 per month. At the moment there are almost 200 topics in this category.Free and Personal plans have access to 131 themes.
It’s still a good variety, but depending on the needs of your site or blog, you’re likely to miss a different design or more options that work best with your content type.
In addition to the amount of themes, the level of customization of the design is also restricted in the free and Personal plans. You can change only the theme’s default color scheme, background, and font styles. And in a reduced range of options. That’s enough to give your page a different air, but it can be frustrating with time if you try to evolve with the layout.
In other words, if you want to have full control over the look of your website or blog on WordPress.com, you need to have a paid plan from the “Premium”. With it you have more layout options and you can edit the theme CSS at will.
What’s more, if you want to upload your own theme, you can do so in the Business plan. This is one of the differentials of the plan, which costs $ 25 monthly.
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Every website or blog need specific functionality , and so serve the plugins. They can be used both in the “visible” part of the website to enter a shop or contact form, for example, as in the inside to view statistics, increase the security of the site, do SEO, among others.
WordPress.com All plans come with Jetpack plugin installed . It was created by Automattic, the same company that created the WordPress. The Jetpack has a package of useful features , including SEO, spam protection, sharing and site statistics, among others.
Nevertheless, the Jetpack unfortunately is not complete. That is where is the biggest limitation of WordPress.com. The only plan that allows you to install plugins is Business , the most expensive of all ($ 25 per month).We would say this plan is what is closest to that we reached with the installed version of WordPress (.org).
So if you want to have a professional website or blog that allows you to make advanced customization’s, know that is unlikely to do so without the business plan . The same goes for a virtual store like WooCommerce , which is also a plugin. Basically you have two options: use this plan or migrate your site WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Before taking such a decision, however, make a reflection. Choosing to WordPress.org will cause you to be responsible for managing all technical aspects of your website. Hosting, update tool, security, performance, all this will be your responsibility. You’ll eventually still need to rely on the help of a technician to evolve with your site. Depending on the case, it may be how to replace six per half dozen , so think carefully before deciding.
If you want to invest in greater freedom and flexibility with the installed WordPress , check out our tutorial on how to migrate your site WordPress.com to WordPress.org . This is a step that I recommend if you want to take your WordPress beyond and sees no problem in getting responsible for the technical management of your website or blog.
Optimization for search engines (SEO)
WordPress is recognized as the most user – friendly tool for the search engines and this is probably one of the main reasons that made it so popular in the world. Currently it is used by 30% of the websites posted on the Internet.
We know, however, that there are two types of Word Press. Word Press hosted by the website owner (.org) and hosted by Word Press platform (.com). Despite the same structure, both differ in how they do SEO.
WordPress.org (installed) allows greater control, since the optimization goes at the performance level of the hosting, theme and other components. It is the highest level of customization possible. On the other hand, it also requires more of those who run the site, since everything is under their responsibility. If you do not do a good job, you can even have a WordPress not optimized.
All sites built on WordPress.com are friendly to search engines. However, it is more limited. You have no control over the hosting of the performance, for example, despite being of high quality. The theme cannot be fully customized (except in the business plan), which may influence the site’s loading speed. Finally, only the business plan allows you to install the plugin Yoast SEO is indispensable for those who work with it.In other words, the perfect free WordPress plan or paid WordPress plan must take into account the goals of your site. Organic traffic is very important for the success of your website or blog? If the answer is yes, invest in Word Press paid (business plan) or the installed version. You also start small and change plans as needed.
Site visitors to access data are available on all plans, via free plugin Jetpack. With it you can view the number of visitors, place of origin of visits, most visited pages and several other interesting information.
Although it is useful and easy to use, this tool is quite limited compared to solutions like Google Analytics. To use Google Analytics, you must have the Business plan. All other plans just use the Jetpack statistics tool.
So, if Google Analytics is indispensable for you, consider hiring a business plan.
Many bloggers and website owners monetize their blogs and sites through ad serving. However, this is a limitation on WordPress.com plans. Even in paid plans there is complete freedom to serve ads.
It works like this: to serve ads on your site or blog, you need to hire a paid plan, Premium or Business [$ 8(₹350) and $ 25(₹800) per month per websites]. In these plans, you can add ads to the site using the Word Ads program, the company itself and make money with views.
The weakness of this feature, in my view, is that it limits the use of Word Ads. Not allowed to serve Google AdSense ads , for example, which is much used by advertisers. The only way out of this ends up being use WordPress.org.
The last significant difference between free and paid WordPress is the type of support provided to users. In the free WordPress you have a basic support, which is access to the WordPress community.
Just as users of WordPress.org, you’re on your own and need to find the answers to your questions. Of course, the WordPress community is huge and can help you on many issues. Still, you are who must seek the solutions (or hire someone to help you).
Already paid plans are supported by chat and e-mail, which can help in the creation and management of your website or blog. Nothing likes to speak directly to those who understand, at the time you need. If this is a convenience that you value, consider hiring a paid plan WordPress.
Which to choose: free WordPress or paid?
The choice of the optimal mode depends on a combination of factors, but we hope we can help you with some tips.
When choosing a free WordPress:
- If you are starting and still do not know if it is worth investing;
- In Case your blog or site is just a hobby;
- Suppose, you do not have the resources to hire a plane, but want to have some presence on the Internet.
When choosing the paid WordPress:
- If you have a website or blog of your business and would like to give more credibility to it;
- In case you want to turn your website or blog into something professional and can generate revenue in the future;
- Suppose, you want to have more freedom and flexibility in creating your site or blog and still have the convenience of WordPress.com.
It is worth remembering that in the paid plans, the WordPress.com offers one year free domain and 30 days for a refund if you are not satisfied. It’s a way to experiment without running the risk of losing the amount invested.
As we have seen, WordPress.com offers many possibilities for anyone to publish your site. With a little dedication it is possible to create a great blog or website without spending money through free Word Press. Or make your project more professional using the tool’s paid mode.
We hope We’ve helped you understand the differences in WordPress.com modalities and find out which one is best suited to your time and needs. If you have any questions, leave a comment here and We’ll respond with pleasure.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you need an even more flexible and customizable solution, consider using WordPress.org. WordPress.Org hosting starts from only $2/month (₹125/month), check here.