Lots of people start blogging at WordPress.com. WordPress.com is easy to use, you can get started quickly and it's free.
Other benefits include the built-in community that exposes your blog to millions of potential readers and a technical benefit is that WordPress.com is robust and reliable.
Your blog there will probably never go down. If it goes down, there are some major problems going on and you can rest assured that someone is working on it, double-time.
But then there is WordPress.org the Open Source version. This is the WordPress that you can install on your own server or on a hosting account that you buy from a hosting provider.
Hosting your own WordPress website comes with its own list of benefits. More control, no restrictions, and the ability to do pretty much whatever you want with your blog or website. This is the best choice for many people that want more control than WordPress.com allows.
Practical examples of having more control are
- The ability to run your own ads or ad network.
- The ability to charge for special access to restricted content. Courses, private support, product downloads or sales.
- The ability to customize it and build any functionality you can imagine.
- Building your own photo gallery
- Building your own ecommerce store
- Building your own social media platform
It's awesome to have the WordPress.org website instead of just WordPress.com -- don't get me wrong, I have several WordPress.com blogs too. I use them to support other efforts. I can talk about that later if you're interested.
So what happens if you start out in WordPress.com and then later you want to move to WordPress.org? Moving is relatively easy.
Updated for 2015. I updated the entire post with some new information and finally answered the most asked question. What host do you recommend? I answer is at the end of the document so it doesn't get in your way of the instructions. But if you want to know right away, just scroll down until you see: Webhosting Recommendations.
If you don't have a custom domain already, you'll need to buy one. But if you already have one, you can transfer it over.
Once you have a hosting account and your new domain, then you can move over your WordPress.com blog into your new hosting account and start showing your website under your own domain.
The following video shows you how to do it.
In this video I show you the mechanics of exporting your blog posts from WordPress.com and then importing them into a brand new installation of WordPress.org in a webhosting account (there's that 50/50 link again!)
When I decided to make my recommendations, I made sure that the web hosting companies I send you to have a great track record. I also made sure not only that they would give you the best price possible, but I also made sure they gave you a free domain or a free transfer. You'll also need to obtain a hosting account or hosting service. I recommend one of these two companies:
Inmotion Hosting - Inmotion is awesome. They are reliable and secure and cater to the business owner that needs excellent support and choice of west-coast or east-coast data centers. They are one of my main sponsors as well throughout many of my projects, I count on them to keep my sites up and running.
Use this link for Inmotion: - If you want to go with Inmotion click here.
Update 2021-07-20 - Due to a number of poor decisions by Siteground, I can no longer recommend them in good conscience. It seems that they have placed a much higher priority on their bottom line than in customer satisfaction. I have removed the links to their site. Instead, I recommend GreenGeeks.
Siteground Webhosting - Siteground is also outstanding. A new favorite company for me. I have been working with them for about a year. I recently launched a project with them called Papidaddy dot com --click to visit in case you didn't see it. They have been extremely supportive. They are lightning-fast too. I have had two incidents where I needed help and I sent a quick support request, both times the issue was resolved within minutes. Use this link for Siteground: If you want to go with Siteground click here.