15 Benefits and Limitations of WordPress.com Blogs

By Posted 2007 Updated   BloggingWordPress

Everyone wants to blog and with a host of popular free blog hosting solutions available, WordPress.com is a popular choice. However, everything that comes free has its limitations, and it is better to know the benefits and limitations before starting a WordPress.com blog.

Limitations of WordPress.com Blogs

First I will highlight the major limitations of the WordPress.com Blogs which might make you decide to install the downloadable version (wordpress.org) with your own paid domain name and own web hosting.

1. No Advertising – This means if you wish to make money online from your blog using advertising programs like Google Adsense, Kontera, Chitika or Text link ads, it is not allowed. One discreet link to Amazon per blog is okay. Read more about their advertising policy and how they may occasionally show ads. To earn money by displaying advertising, you need to buy VIP hosting.

2. No Sponsored / paid posts – Another popular option for bloggers is to earn money via paid reviews using services like ReviewMe and PayPerPost. WordPress.com does not allow you to blog paid articles.

3. Limited Theme Customization – You need to select your themes from a preselected number of themes. You cannot hack and edit these themes as per your liking. You can edit and save the CSS as a paid upgrade. Currently you can select from a large number of beautiful themes, but if you want your own unique design, you need to pay.

4. No Plugin Uploads – A major limitation is the inability to upload plugins. WordPress plugins are amazing tweaks developed by the vibrant WordPress community that adds improved functionality to WordPress for free. Plugins can automate lots of stuff and take your blog to a new level. Here are some WordPress plugins I use.

5. No WP Code hacking – If you like editing PHP files in your wordpress installation to create new functionality for your blog or showcase your PHP skills, then it is not possible at WordPress.com. You cannot edit the core wordpress files to suit your needs.

6. Paid Upgrades – If your popular blog grows in site traffic and branding beyond the imposed limitations, you need to buy paid upgrades

# Custom CSS – lets you style the blog or use an existing stylesheet, but does not allow direct theme editing.
# Domain Mapping and Domain Registration to get the wordpress out of your url.
# Space upgrades – to get more space for all your uploads
# Unlimited Private Users who can see your private blog.

You can also get VIP hosting which will let you use your own domain name, host ads and help survive lots of traffic. Check out some notable WordPress bloggers hosted on WordPress.com

7. Violate TOS and Get Deleted – It is essential you read up the terms of service carefully. They will not tolerate copyright infingement, spamming, commercial use, machine generated blog etc. and people can easily report spam blogs and you might wake up to find your blog deleted one fine day!

# the Content is not spam, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);
# the Content is not obscene, libelous or defamatory (more info on what that means), hateful or racially or ethnically objectionable, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party;

Benefits of WordPress.com Blogs

It not all so gloomy… Now for the great part about WordPress.com blogs, which makes it a good option to start your first blog.

8. Its Free – You like blogging. You like to share your thoughts with your readers, so why pay for it. WordPress.com is free, unless you want to implement some more features to meet the growing needs of a popular blog, or better blog branding. You can always pay and buy a domain name (I use Godaddy) and webhosting (see why I recommend Dreamhost) in case you decide to switch (like we moved from Blogger to WordPress).

9. Survive Traffic SpikesGet Slashdotted or Dugg with confidence as they balance your server load and keep your site working inspite of the huge increase in site traffic, whereas a shared hosting site should otherwise crash a server.

10. Spam is No Problem – Fighting comment spam is not an issue as preinstalled Akismet is blocking spam in the background. No need to pile on multiple Antispam plugins.

11. Freedom from WordPress Upgrades – An advantage of hosting here is that they take care of all back end upgrades, bug fixes and security issues. So when a new WordPress version is released, you need not go throught the WordPress upgrade routine everytime, it is done automatically without any FTP skills required.

12. Automatic Backups – They keep backing up your blog automatically and you need perform daily backups of your blog, just in case your server had a hardware failure.

13. Free Support – Need help to fix an issue or require to take blogging to the next level, the WordPress forums have lot of active members to guide and provide support.

14. Preview New WordPress Features – WordPress.com is the testing ground for features to be made available in the downloadable version. So before a lot of wordpress bloggers even get a hint of a new feature, you are probably testing it already.

15. Blogging Simplified – Even a kid can get started blogging on WordPress.com, its that easy. If blogging is your only passion, and you have no idea about what HTML, CSS, PHP, FTP, MySQL is, and you do not want to waste your time backing up, upgrading and worrying about blog security – get a WordPress.com blog today.

Submitted to 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.


15 comments on “15 Benefits and Limitations of WordPress.com Blogs

  1. Shankar Ganesh says:

    Inability towards editing themes is a great shortcoming on WordPress.com blogs.

  2. vijay says:

    Good that I directly switched from blogger to own domain on wordpress. Though there are similar limitations on free blogger platform except advertising ;-)

  3. QuickOnlineTips says:

    The free Google Blogger allows custom template modification and allows advertising too. So thats a big plus for it. But again no plugins and your blog can get deleted any day for violating TOS.

  4. Robert says:

    I think WordPress.com is a good platform not only for “your first blog” but ANY blog that isn’t aimed at earning money.

    My main blog has been up and running for almost two years now. It typically gets 500-800 pageviews per week, and I have never run any advertising on it. I just moved it from a WordPress(.org) platform hosted by a hosting service to a WordPress.com platform, and so far I couldn’t be happier. I may not be able to customize, but honestly the off-the-rack theme that I chose looks 100x better than any of the endless themes I picked and tweaked back when I was self-hosting. I am saving lots of money from not having to pay for hosting, and best of all I don’t have to put up with hosting service shenanigans.

    I think there is such a thing as too many options sometimes, and that was certainly the case when it came to hosting my blog elsewhere. I was spending more time tweaking themes and uploading plugins than I was writing content. For me, some of the limitations you listed are actually beneficial to me and to the actual content on the blog.

  5. Kaiser says:

    Nice point there Robert. I’m now on the verge of migrating to a new host and domain. Good thing I read you comment. My problem is I already established myself using wordpress.com the reason why I’m choosing between .org and .com. I don’t really need to earn money. I just want a place to write hassle free and better if people read it too.

  6. colorite says:

    I am still using Blogger custom domain and recently there is problem in Indexing . From what i have learned from some forums , Google stopped crawling custom domains. Don’t know its true or not!!Though we need some hosting space , WordPress rocks!!

  7. colorite says:

    From my recent experience and after reading few articles , i have a doubt that Google stopped crawling custom domains inner pages . Though we need to pay for hosting , WordPress rocks!!

  8. iwebie says:

    Inability of earning money is bad. People usually blog regularly for money

  9. moni says:

    Robert, thanks. I’m glad I read your point about the benefits of WordPress.com over WordPress.org. I’m putting together a blog for our research project which won’t ever run any ads. I’m trying it out using Digg 3 Column and it looks great. Before I read your comment, I was about to subscribe to web hosting and use the WordPress.org platform. Thanks to you, I will stick to WordPress.com and just buy a domain name. Instead of tweaking with plug-ins and be distracted by all sorts of themes, I will use the time to create content.

  10. Abhineet Shukla says:

    I am using wordpress as a new user and was wondering about its advantages and disadvantages.
    You have summarized the whole thing very efficiently.
    Thanks

  11. Lee says:

    I still prefer blogspot/blogger because I have the freedom to really make money online. It is where I make money most.

  12. Andrew says:

    I love WordPress, but I always recommend the self-hosted solution. You get much more control over the look and functionality this way.

  13. Zion Amal Rafeeq says:

    Thanks a lot . :)
    You really solved my Question of choosing between WordPress and Blogger

  14. Steve johnson says:

    For those reasons (and few more) I ditched wordpress long ago. Now I do my websites with http://cmas.systems.

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