Arment Dietrich or

By: Arment Dietrich | April 11, 2010 | 

Wordpress logoGuest blogged by Nick Harrison

This is actually a question I get asked constantly, and WordPress doesn’t communicate it very well to a new blogger. The difference boils down to control versus limitations. That control, however, means more cost and more work. is a free hosting solution. When you go on and create a blog account, you are able to access their software that is already installed and create your very own blog. You have different blog themes to choose from and almost anyone is able to create a blog using their very simple user interface. Literally, within minutes, you can be online with your very own blog at

Now for the bad part of You are limited. As in, you cannot install your own plug-ins or change anything. You are under complete WordPress control. You can’t change or have someone change any of the coding either. You are in a box limited to that WordPress theme environment and a list of widgets. You are powerless like the people in Matrix controlled by machines who think you are just a battery. is a do-it-yourself platform. How it works is you get your own hosting account (about $10 per month – i.e. GoDaddy, Verio, Blue Host) and purchase a domain name (about $10 per year) and install the WordPress software on their server. It sounds complicated, but it is very easy and WordPress has plenty of documentation on how to do it.

By installing WordPresson a server yourself, you are privy to the true power of WordPress,, which is a full-fledged CMS (content management system), meaning you can even build an entire Web site using it. But for the newbie blogger, it means you can use any theme you want and download any plug-in you want. You have complete control.

Because the WordPress software is independently hosted on your own account, if WordPress went out of business tomorrow, your site would still work fine. You can have your own newsletters, Tweetmeme buttons, and any plug-in that is out there; most are very easy to install, which you can do by clicking a few buttons.

You can always start with and move your way to a self-hosted solution such as All of your content and comments are easily transferable. But if you haven’t yet chosen a platform, go ahead and start with

  • One thing to look out for with is that there isn’t any support for hooking in your analytics tool (e.g. Omniture, Google Analytics) as they don’t allow inserting JS tags to the HTML. If you wish to track clicks across your web site, social, email newsletters and your blog, you should go with

    • You are so right!! I have just found out about!! Yes where have I been – don’t answer that. I am making the move this week….and adding all the tracking features etc.


  • I have been using for a few months now and think I’m ready to make the move! I may contact you when I make the big move.

  • bettina

    Thanks … there are always ‘new bloggers’ who are learning to balance the control versus limitations.

  • Branca

    This is really great. Thank you for simplifying it.

  • Great overview! is a good way to start, determine if serious (usually a couple of months), then migrate to .org. My path a couple of years ago was -> Blogger -> And, I’ll make this my home for awhile 🙂

  • Very good, now I know the difference

  • V.

    Made the error of going with .com initially and it was pretty difficult to figure out how to convert to a hosted site and to .org a few months later as I understood the .com limitations better. Great post to help readers and blog-interested folks understand the limitations of going with .com

  • Gini Dietrich

    I didn’t realize how much I was missing by not being on If you’ve not already started a blog, just start there. First go to (it’s what I use) and register a URL. Then go to and create an account. From there, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

  • This is great information. I am in the process of switching over to WordPress and am glad to know the real difference between .com & .org to save me some valuable time! Thanks

  • 3 months ago i switched from to there are many themes which you can choose from in many different places.. from there i love the control of my own site.. i set my wife up on the .com side but after helping her with .com, now i want to get her on .org as well!

  • another big difference is being able to have your own domain name on your .org account.

  • Thank you everyone for the fantastic comments. I was glad I was able to help some people. Fantastic questions on Twitter as well.

    The most important thing by far is the domain name. How it is hosted and what you switch around are things you can do whenever, but your domain name is EVERYTHING. Which brings me to your comment Collentine. You absolutely can have your own domain name with A lot of people do not know that.

  • Thank you very much for this informative post. It explains a lot of things that I have been wondering about on my blog at I think that it is time for me to make a change. Great info. Thanks again!

  • Good stuff Gina. We used this comparison chart to help us decide:

    Ended up going with Blogger for the time being – it just was too quick & easy to get going to say no at this point.

  • BroVic

    Thanks for the super post. Please tell me, how ‘social’ is You know, in you can ‘Follow’ blogs and really build community. Does that work in the latter? I’ve seen a few cool WordPress blogs I wanted to ‘Follow’, but realized they were not on the same platform, and the only way to keep tabs on them was RSS (which I find cumbersome).

    • @BroVic You can follow them via email. You just need a WordPress account (that’s what you use to comment, too) and then it’ll automatically sign you up when you favorite a blog.