Which is right for you?
WordPress, an open source project started back in 2003, has grown to the go-to blogging tool for millions of users, ranging in expertise from amateur writers to Fortune 500 companies.
Open Source software means hundreds of people around the world – not a static group of designers – are constantly working to improve WordPress’ code and features. And because WordPress was created with the world community in mind, the software is free to use without a licensing fee. In short, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using WordPress for your blog.
All this WordPress.com versus WordPress.org business can leave you scratching your head. Here’s the essential differences you should know before getting set up (or making the switch):
WordPress.com blogs are hosted and managed by Automattic. This means your blog address will be yourcompanyname.wordpress.com, and the WordPress team takes care of setups, upgrades, spam, backups and security. Your blog is hosted on hundreds of servers – as opposed to your company’s single server – so high traffic is no problem and site delays are less likely. WordPress tags connect you to like-minded bloggers, and gives your blog the potential for increased traffic. If you’re tech savvy, or have a design-oriented career, you might find WordPress.com limiting, because you can’t run a custom theme, upload plugins or hack the blog’s code without paying a hefty VIP Support fee.
WordPress.org might be a better fit for bloggers who want the freedom to create their own code or upload custom themes and plugins. With WordPress.org, you can download WordPress’ free software, but you’ll need to install it on a web host, like BlueHost or GoDaddy.com. This costs money – as little as $10 a month for low traffic sites, or thousands of dollars for high volume sites. Be forewarned that you – or your trusted developer – can make or break the site through mismanagement, and your company is responsible for stopping spam, running backups and upgrading the software manually. WordPress.org also providers users with community mailing lists, community support forums and free themes/plugins.
And, if you haven’t heard yet, WordPress 3.2 Beta 1 is now available for download. If your company still uses Internet Explorer 6, know that this new version won’t support your (old) browser. And if you STILL need more convincing, Microsoft, who created IE6 more than 10 years ago, is the front-runner advocate against their outdated web browser.