Before we get into the main question this week, I’m going to answer a pre-question!
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both use the same WordPress blogging platform. The difference is that WordPress.com is free and WordPress.org is not. With WordPress.com, you sign up for a free blog on WordPress.com’s servers and host everything there for free. However, since it’s free and hosted by someone else, there are limitations. You can’t install anything you want. You have a selection of pre-approved plugins and themes that you can use, but you can’t use anything other than that.
With WordPress.org, you have to pay for your own web hosting (about $5 per month) and your own domain name (about $10 per year). Then you install the WordPress platform onto your own server space and host it there. Since you’re hosting it yourself, there are no limitations. You can install any of the THOUSANDS of plugins and any of the THOUSANDS of themes.
So onto the main question:
Can you move to WordPress.com without your own domain?
I love your bloggging tips, and lately Blogger have been frustrating the heck out of me, I’m annoyed at the lack of widgets and plug-ins and different themes. I want to move my blog to WordPress.. but! I can’t afford self-hosting a blog on WordPress is there a way I can move my blog just to wordpress.com? without having my own domain?
Hello Nadia! 🙂
It is possible to move your blog to WordPress.com without having your own domain. So your URL would be something like http://nadia.wordpress.com (I’m sure “Nadia” is taken, but that’s just an example). With that, it’s completely free and you don’t have to pay anything. However…
Personally, I think the hierarchy of best blogging platforms goes like this (from worst to best):
WordPress.com » Blogger » WordPress.org (self hosted)
Here’s a little chart to better explain:
|Free (with optional paid upgrades)
|$6 per month
|Can upload custom themes, but it’s not very user-friendly.
|Can only install pre-approved themes. Some are customizable, but not very.
|Unlimited themes. You can buy any theme you want and customize it however you want with extensive options panels.
The big drawback for WordPress.com is that you can’t install any plugin you want, and you can’t install any theme that you want. They have a few pre-approved options, but that’s what you’re stuck with—the pre-approved ones.
So just looking at the chart, Blogger is actually a bit more flexible than WordPress.com. Although it’s not the best in terms of plugins and themes, at least you can tweak your theme however you want (if you have the knowledge to do it or if you hire someone to do it for you).
What about the WordPress.com add-ons?
On WordPress.com you can buy a variety of add-ons, including the ability to change theme CSS for $30. My personal recommendation is to never buy these. If you want to use WordPress as a free blogging platform, that’s up to you. But as soon as you’re prepared to spend ANY money, just move to WordPress.org. You will end up paying more on WordPress.com add-ons but will get less than you would on self-hosted WordPress.
It’s more worth your money to move to self-hosted than it is to buy add-ons.
Because of the limitations of WordPress.com, I honestly don’t think it’s worth it. I would highly encourage you to take a closer look at self-hosted WordPress. It’s only about $6 – $8 per month, which is about the price of one book! It’s not as expensive as some people think! That’s one less book per month.
But if you really can’t afford it, then I would recommend sticking with Blogger. Of course it’s completely up to you and you can switch to WordPress.com completely for free (without a domain name). So if that’s what you want to do, then go for it! But from a “freedom” perspective, I don’t think it’s entirely worth it.
You can create a free WordPress.com account and don’t transfer anything over yet. Just play with it and see if you can find themes and plugins you like. If you end up liking it, make the switch. If not, just ditch the account and no harm done!