Some of the Restrictions on WordPress.com Blogs

I know wordpress.com free hosting is way more restrictive than wordpress.org, but there are two main things I’d like to know about what we can do—your recent post on font icons, can these be used on .com? And also I wanted to put a publisher-created countdown in my sidebar (flash) and obviously .com doesn’t allow flash for security reasons, is there anyway around this?? I’m not sure what all of .com’s capabilities are, so not sure if I’m missing out on a few tricks…

Thanks 🙂

Rachel

Hi Rachel!

Since WordPress.com is a free, shared platform, it has a lot of restrictions for security reasons.

No external stylesheets

You cannot include ANY external CSS stylesheets. Sadly, that includes Font Awesome Icons. When using font awesome, you have to include the stylesheet of the fonts, which is an external stylesheet. But this is not allowed on WordPress.com.

No Flash, iframes, or embeds

You cannot use any Flash applications or embedded pages, which includes iframes. These are blocked for a reason, so if your publisher countdowns don’t come in any other non-Flash format, there’s no way around it. You can’t even put the Flash banner on another site and show it through an iframes, because iframes are not allowed either.

No JavaScript

You cannot use or embed any kind of JavaScript. This includes, but is not limited to: Twitter feeds, Rafflecopter forms, Goodreads widgets, and “Link up” widgets. However, WordPress.com has created alternative shortcodes or widgets for some of the more popular ones (like Twitter follow buttons and feeds). But for others (like Rafflecopter), there is no alternative.

No changing layout HTML

In WordPress.com, you can pay for an “upgrade” that will allow you to customize the CSS, but there is no way (paid or not) to edit the HTML of a theme. You can use HTML in posts and widgets, but you cannot change the HTML of the core theme files.

If you want more freedom and control, go self-hosted

WordPress.com does have an audience, but it’s typically for people who want to avoid as much tech stuff as possible. They just want a blog that’s super easy to set up and doesn’t require any maintenance.

But if you want the freedom, control, and plethora of plugins that people rave about, go for self-hosted WordPress.org.

Do you use WordPress.com? What are some of the restrictions that you’ve found most frustrating?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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16 comments

  1. Hi Ashley, thanks for your response. WordPress.com is even more restricted than I thought – it’s a bit late for me now but hopefully this will help someone else to decide which platform to use before they make their decision! I prefer the simplicity of wordpress to blogger really, it’s just the backoffice I’m used to, but if I could at some point I’d like to look at switching to self-hosted and jazzing up the site, it just seems like a pretty big and daunting step at the minute!

  2. I never used WordPress.com per se, but I used another similar blog platform called Over-Blog. It was not *that bad* at first because the main point for me was to save the development time. I could make a decent layout (it was before the all-responsive era) and for a while, it worked well.
    But after a few years, the limitation just annoyed me. It didn’t work really well with some Google services that I wanted to use. I really wanted to change the layout and couldn’t in the extend I wanted. And there was this stupid plan that you have to pay if you want to use your own domain name.
    So I just migrated everything to a self-hosted WP blog. I have to say I’m not a fan of WP. It got so big that it sometimes extremely hard to change small things since everything is hidden somewhere in a function you’ve to find yourself (and it certainly is not intuitive). I also find not to easy to add your own code. Basically you need to learn quite a bit about WP before you can change the most trivial thing.
    Anyway, I’m getting carried away :p

    The one thing I liked about being in a hosted platform though was the listing in their “catalog”. I got a lot of traffic from their “last posted in X category” page.

  3. Ooohhh wp.com was so frustrating. We couldn’t do ANYTHING special on our site. It was a good starting and learning point don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t something you want to stay on for long. The no javascript got in our way all the time. We had to just link to giveaways and meme link ups and that looked so tacky.

  4. Hate Blogger. Hate, hate, hate it. It’s so unconnected from everything, and it just functions weirdly to me. I’d rather WordPress.com than anything else. I think blogs on self-hosted are usually needless, and Blogger is the devil. I love WordPress.com.

    Sierra recently posted: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    1. I don’t like Blogger much either, but if I had to choose between Blogger and WordPress.com, I’d personally pick Blogger because it has fewer restrictions. At least you can make your own layout and use JavaScript! But I guess that’s mostly because I am a designer/developer and I value being able to make my own things (like layouts). 🙂

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