Moving From Blogger to WordPress.com – Does it cost anything & should you do it?

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?

Hi Ashley!

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?

Thank you!

Nadia

Hello Nadia! πŸ™‚

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…

Should you?

Personally, I think the hierarchy of best blogging platforms goes like this (from worst to best):

WordPress.com » Blogger » WordPress.org (self hosted)

The problem with WordPress.com is that since it’s a free platform, you can’t install any plugin or theme that you want. You can only use “pre-approved” themes and widgets, which are very few. Also, WordPress.com doesn’t let you use JavaScript! That means things like Rafflecopter can’t even be embedded properly.

Here’s a little chart to better explain:

Feature Blogger WordPress.com WordPress.org
Price Free Free (with optional paid upgrades) $6 per month
Plugins Limited Options Limited Options UNLIMITED
Themes 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.

Conclusion

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!

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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18 comments

  1. Ho Humdee Hum. Why do I feel like this post was directed at me, even though it is for everyone? Baha. Maybe all the peer pressure to move lately. GAH. You’re posts are NOT helping Ashley. WordPress is so appealing right now. But I don’t have the time or continual money flow to support a blog just yet.

    This is what I get for trying to go on big trips. Haha. Either way, your awesome tips are totally gonna come in hand when I can make the switch! Rock on Asheybaby!!!

    <333 Inky

    Inky recently posted: 2nd BLOGOVERSARY DAY #1!!!
  2. That’s it. You are too persuasive, Ashley. These BBB’s are killing me. I am (likely) to be moving to WordPress.org when I finish my mid year exams. Blogger has ate up 2 of my posts and is overall- fustrating. I know I’ll be hiring you for that book blogger plugin! >.<

    Thanks for sharing, love <3

  3. Thanks so much, Ashley! You’ve been my inspiration, and I finally made the tooo-long planned switch to Wp.org (I first considered wp.com, but your post and the awesome comparison table shattered this idea to pieces).

    I think the follow up post should discuss the ways of migration from Blogger to WP. I can share how I moved – just googled, found a tool called CMS2CMS (www.cms2cms.com) and had all the job done in literally mins.

    What I can say now? Just WOOOOW! WordPress gives so much more opportunities, but also it is more complicated. but I take my time:)

    1. Congratulations and welcome to WordPress! πŸ˜€ I’m glad the transition was smooth for you! I know WordPress is WAY different from Blogger, but there are so many more possibilities. It might take a while to get used to the different interface, but I think it will all be worth it in the end!

    1. There are actually quite a few free WordPress themes. πŸ™‚ There are almost 2,000 available on the WordPress.org website. Or if you just Google “free WordPress themes” you can find a bunch! Examples:

      175+ Free Responsive WordPress Themes
      41 Great Looking Free WordPress Themes

      Or I have 3 for sale on my Creative Whim website. I charge a little bit for those though! ($19.99 – $35, depending on the theme)

      Of course the paid ones will be of higher quality than the free ones, but there are still tons of great free options out there. πŸ™‚

  4. When I started my blog, I used WordPress.com. I had used Blogger in the past, and although WordPress had more limitations, it was easier to make a professional-looking blog without spending a lot of money. There were also a lot of nice features with tagging/commenting/etc. that helped me find my niche in the book blogging community. It took about two years of book blogging for me to get to the point that I felt like I had outgrown it, and moving to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog has been a wonderful experience.

  5. Agree 100%. I’ve used Blogger, WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and came to the same conclusion. If you want a blog for FREE, Blogger is best. If you’re prepared to spend some money (very small amount per year, actually), go with WordPress.org and by your own hosting. I’m new to your blog, Ashley, and I’m loving it!

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