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WordPress Web Hosting

WordPress Web Hosting comes in two different flavors. They offer a free blog hosting service at wordpress.com, but they also offer a user-hosted blogging platform at wordpress.org. Want to know more about how these services compare and contrast? Keep reading!

wordpress.com

This is the URL for WordPress's weblog hosting provider. Accounts are available upon registration, which is also necessary to post to other's accounts. Initial accounts are free and can be set up in a few seconds.

Certain elements of the WordPress.com free site can be altered with an upgrade. WordPress.com offers a good variety of templates, but you don't have the ability to edit them unless you upgrade your account and pay a yearly fee. Then you have the opportunity to create and use custom CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The free storage space of 3 GB can also be increased to 5 gigabytes or more (15 or 25) with yearly upgrade fee. Likewise, the Google Text ads that are "occasionally" shown on blogs to support the free version can be dropped for a yearly fee. And the 35-user limit for a private blog can also be lifted with a yearly upgrade fee.

Static pages are available, as are built-in statistics about facets of use such as number of site visitors, where your visitors are coming from, and which search engine terms are getting people to your site. Wordpress provides you with a subdomain on the wordpress.com domain, so your blog names "myblog" would have an address like this:

myblog.wordpress.com

But alternatively, a wordpress.com blog can be redirected to a domain of your choice and published with your own address (provided you have registered a domain name). Wordpress.com also provides support for trackbacks, file import, continuous saving, and a support team that can be contacted using a wordpress.com site contact form.

WordPress.com has facilities for both the import of blogs from certain other blogging services, as well as XML export if you decide to move your blog elsewhere. A spam-blocking feature is also advertised.

Wordpress.org

This is the URL for WordPress's self-hosted blogging tool.  Signing up for WordPress.org is best done as a second step, after insuring that you have a host that runs a version of PHP that is 4.3 or greater, a version of MySQL that is 4.0 or greater, and runs Apache or Litespeed. WordPress provides a list of seven hosts that they recommend. We also discuss wordpress web hosting at BestWPTricks.com.

Some of wordpress.org's features are identical to those at wordpress.com, while some provide more flexibility in managing and designing content. The features that wordpress advertises most prominently are:

  • immediate changes without rebuilding or regenerating
  • WordPress Pages to create static content
  • WordPress Links, a feature to allow updating of multiple blogrolls through an administrator interface
  • Trackback and Pingback support
  • Comments that can be disabled on a per-post basis
  • Spam protection
  • Password Protected Posts
  • Importers for blogs created in other applications
  • Multiple authors and 10 user levels to control privileges for publishing, editing, etc.
  • Ping-O-Matic support

Wordpress has - in January, 2009 - 4,024 plugins in categories such as widget, post, admin, sidebar, comments, images, links, google, AJAX, and rss. These plugins include capabilities such as:

  • calendar
  • guestbook
  • translation
  • image gallery
  • polls
  • smart YouTube insertion
  • security scan
  • members only
  • XML Google Map and Google Earth support

Specialized plugins also focus on making WordPress blogs render on mobile handsets and manage AdSense and/or other ad networks, on your blog.

Comparing

One important element to look at is the terms of service. Check out the termination parameters on wordpress.com and compare to the web hosts you are considering using. Of course, if you are hosting your own site on your own server, there's no question about termination. Likewise, check the license as wordpress.com: by accepting the terms, you are licensing your content to Automatic for use in promoting your blog. That might be okay, but the terms include allowing them to "modify" and "adapt" your content, and it's not clear what this might mean. Compare this to the terms for the web host you might use, and consider what this means to you.

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