Did you know that WordPress is the absolute leader worldwide for creating websites?
Right now, according to W3Techs surveys, 31.7% of the world’s websites are made with WordPress, the next system, Joomla, follows it very far with 3.1%.
As you can imagine, this overwhelming domain of WordPress is no coincidence and raises the question of what is it about this system that has allowed it to dominate the world of web creation in this overwhelming way.
And more importantly: is WordPress also the most suitable system for you?
That is why, in this post, I want to explain everything you need to know to really understand what WordPress is and if you are interested in using it or not for your website.
In addition, I will give special weight to some very frequent doubts and confusions such as, for example, the famous difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org that, to this day, continues to mess with all WordPress beginners.
What exactly is WordPress?
The simplest definition of WordPress is that it is a software application to create and manage websites (create their content, etc.).
There are many applications of this type, which are also known as CMS (“Content Management System”).
WordPress also has the peculiarity of being a free and open source software project that depends on the WordPress Foundation, a non-profit foundation, chaired by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress.
This means that your code is created and maintained by a community of thousands of volunteer developers (which guarantees its continuity) and that you can have the application completely free.
What is WordPress used for and who is it for?
The reason for using this type of applications (CMS) is very simple: they allow you to create websites and their contents in a visual way, without having to program, in a way similar to how you work in a modern text editor such as Microsoft Word, for example.
This was not always the case. In the early days of the web, web pages had to be encoded in a language called HTML (a kind of programming language), whose operation you can get an idea of here:
Programming in HTML by hand to create content was tedious, inefficient, and limited.
Creating a web page became “rock crushing” and, above all, things with a bit of functionality and logic, such as a simple comment section, for example, required considerable effort and were only available to programmers.
That is why CMS were born: they are web applications that allow the user to create content with a visual interface, in a simple and fast way and without programming knowledge, something that allows practically anyone to handle them.
Then, it is the CMS that generates the HTML “from behind” without the user having to intervene.
In addition, the CMS already have incorporated the typical functionalities that are repeated in almost all the websites, such as the example in the comments section that I mentioned before, contact forms, etc.
What websites can be created with WordPress? – Examples
Everyone knows that WordPress is used a lot for creating personal blogs.
What is much less known is the fact that WordPress allows you to create practically any type of website: not only personal sites and blogs, but also corporate websites, magazines, online stores … Even for digital newspapers, WordPress is a frequent option.
What usually surprises is the number of websites of world-famous brands that are based on WordPress.
In the WordPress Website Showcase of WordPress.org you can find a list of websites of companies that belong to the Fortune 500, which is the list published annually by Fortune magazine with 500 US companies with the highest stock prices.
Here you will find the websites of companies and brands such as Walt Disney, Time Magazine, Sony Music, etc.
I recommend that you take a look at the tag cloud page of the “showcase” because here you will find hundreds of websites, organized by the niche to which they belong.
Also, if you want to create a new website, having a look at the websites of your niche or related niches before is also a very good source of inspiration for yours.
What are WordPress plugins?
Being free and open source software has been one of the essential factors in the success of WordPress.
Another of the great factors has been its architecture that, thanks to the themes and plugins, is extremely flexible, which has allowed WordPress to adjust to practically any need that a user may have.
Let’s start with the plugins: “plugin “is a term widely used to refer to a software component (code) with very specific functionality that is easily added to an existing application to extend it with this new functionality.
This idea is also used, for example, in web browsers where many of them allow you to use plugins that they also call “extensions”, “plugins”, etc.
In the WordPress.org plugin repository you will find more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins to add all kinds of functionalities to the WordPress it comes “out of the box” and it is relatively basic.
In addition, you also have a huge number of payment plugins from different brands.
An example of a very simple and very useful plugin that we use in this same blog is the NextScripts Auto-poster (in its paid version).
This plugin, after the publication of a post or page, automatically spreads it in all those accounts and / or social network groups that we have configured, which saves us a lot of time.
To this are added other very useful functionalities such as, for example, being able to create a publication wheel that is, and periodically republishing the existing content.
Another example of a plugin, in this case, much broader in functionality, would be WooCommerce , the most popular plugin for creating online stores for WordPress and, in general, one of the most popular solutions for creating online stores.
Both plugins are also examples of “freemium” products, which are those products for which the manufacturer creates, along with the commercial paid version, a limited free version that allows you to know the product before buying it.
What are WordPress templates?
WordPress templates (or “themes”) are a very similar concept to plugins, but they are specifically designed for web design, the appearance of WordPress, although many times they also include certain functionality.
The templates work like “pre-made” designs , with their layout style, their fonts, font sizes, their set and color combinations, etc.
The grace of this is that the templates are 100% independent of the content and that allows you to change the design of a WordPress site almost as easily as someone who changes their costume.
It is to choose a new template, activate it, make some minor adjustments (configure the logo, select header images, etc.) and you have already completely changed the design of your site.
The counterpart is that the vast majority of templates, especially free ones, are usually quite limited in terms of customization possibilities.
It is true that all templates can be customized with the WordPress CSS editor, which gives a lot of play, but this already requires the help of a web designer or you must acquire some CSS knowledge.
If you already want a “no more” theme, an extremely customizable theme without the need for programming knowledge, today, you will have to go to paid themes with advanced visual editors, such as Divi. Here you can see how you work with them
This type of templates, in a way, precisely because they are 100% open, lose the idea of a template with a predefined design that the user only customizes a little.
This also makes them somewhat more complex to use (you have to learn to use their design tools), but, in exchange, you can create any design with them, to the point of exactly replicating the design of other websites
How are content created in WordPress?
And as a last point in this section, let’s see how the contents of your website are created in WordPress.
What is WordPress.org and how does it work?
If you have read this post carefully so far, perhaps you have been struck by the fact that, sometimes I have talked about WordPress and sometimes “WordPress.org”.
This has to do with the fact that there are two very different ways of creating a WordPress site: with WordPress.org and with WordPress.com.
Let’s start with WordPress.org: this is the site of the open source project, that is, the “headquarters” of the community that develops WordPress and where you as a user can also download the current version of the WordPress application (on the button blue above right):
If you look at the menu on the page above, you will see here are also the access to the repository of themes and free plugins for WordPress.
In addition, you will find a support forum, information on events, information on how to collaborate in the project if you want to participate, etc.
How to install WordPress.org step by step
Now that you know where to get the application, the question is: how to turn this into a website?
Realize that, as with any other application, for this you have to install WordPress on a computer, like when you install programs on your PC or new apps on your mobile.
But since we are talking about a program to create a website visible to the public, we also need a computer connected to the Internet and an IP address linked to a domain name and that this computer is working 24 hours a day.
Although all this could be mounted at home, it does not seem very practical: preparing the computer to be able to install WordPress requires serious technical knowledge and the idea of having a computer connected 24 hours for this is not very attractive either.
And this is where the concept of web hosting comes in (“web hosting “in Urdu, although the English term “hosting” is mostly used).
In a web hosting service (or plain hosting) you can rent a computer from a computer farm (called “data centers”) already prepared for all this where you would only have to install WordPress (which is very easy for anyone, like you’ll see).
It would be something like renting a home (your computer) in a building (the data center). Now you will also understand why the term “accommodation” is used in this…
It is important to know that this type of installation does not speak of computers, but of “servers”, a very powerful type of computer specially designed for these environments.
What’s more, 99.9% of people just need to rent a “piece” from a server. This “piece” is perfectly isolated from other clients and you as a user will have the feeling as if it were a machine for you alone.
Returning to our simile, it would be renting a single room with your private and shared space inside the house, which is known as shared hosting and, thanks to the power of current servers, allows you to have dozens of websites on the same server.
This has been a real revolution because it has allowed everyone to create a professional-level website (which is what WordPress allows) at very low prices (around € 5 / month there are already good hosting).
And if you have questions, you can ask them in the comments on this post.
How to use WordPress.org in Urdu
WordPress is of English origin. But luckily, it is translated into many languages.
In our case, Urdu speakers, I recommend going to the WordPress.org site in Urdu, that is, es.wordpress.org instead of wordpress.org (the US headquarters that is in English).
Thus, using WordPress in Urdu is no more mystery than downloading the application from its Urdu headquarters and installing it.
From there, everything is automatic, updates will be made automatically with the Urdu version, just like when installing themes and plugins, their Urdu versions will also be used automatically.
Of course, although most of the plugins and themes are also translated into Urdu, there is a not insignificant part of them that are not.
The specific menus within WordPress for these themes and untranslated plugins will be in English, although the rest of the interface is in Urdu.
What is WordPress.com and how does it work?
Now that I have explained what hosting is, it will be much easier for you to understand what is the other way to create a website with WordPress, WordPress.com, and why it exists.
WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, in light of the success of WordPress, also ended up creating the software company Automattic with the idea of offering WordPress-based services and other related applications.
Its most important service is WordPress.com, a service that allows you to create a WordPress site without having to contract a hosting or install the WordPress application yourself.
Here, servers are also necessary, but the difference is that they already put them, you do not have to worry about hiring a hosting.
You simply have to create a user account at WordPress.com, just like you would do in other “cloud” services such as Gmail, for example.
The advantage of this concept is that it simplifies the user the technical part of WordPress: the initial process of creating the blog is easier and maintenance is also somewhat simplified.
But it has the counterpart with the limitations of WordPress.com compared to its own installation of WordPress in a hosting, especially in the cheapest plans.
As you can see in the image above, you have from a very limited free plan to a very complete “Business” plan.
The idea is to adapt these plans to different user needs, although they themselves come to recognize that after you go a little “seriously” with your blog, it will be necessary to use one of the payment plans.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Key differences to choose from
Now you will understand that one of the great doubts of people is what to choose for their website is:
WordPress.com or WordPress.org with your own hosting?
That question does not make sense to answer it without talking about the differences between the WordPress.com plans, so we first talk about the options you have at WordPress.com and then return to the comparison with WordPress.org:
The key differences between WordPress.com plans
In my opinion, the essential points of the plans to take into account are the following:
This plan has the obvious advantage of being free, along with how simple and immediate it is to open an account at WordPress.com and have the blog created and working within 5 minutes.
However, it also has serious drawbacks: you cannot use your own domain name (it will always be of the type “abc.wordpress.com”), you cannot install themes and plugins and Automattic will show ads on your website that you cannot disable.
With this plan you can already use your own domain name, the ads are removed and a support service is added. In addition, the disk space is increased to 6 GB, a pretty good figure.
This plan adds premium templates (about 200 at the moment) to free ones (about 300), the possibility of integrating payments via PayPal and ads with WordAds (an automatic online advertising system, similar to Google’s AdSense) is added.
Another very significant change is that, along with the premium templates, the possibility of advanced customization of the themes via CSS is also added, something very important because it will already allow you to “polish” the look you want for your website a lot.
It should also be noted that here we are already paying about € 100 a year (similar to what a good hosting costs) and we still cannot freely upload themes and plugins.
This plan is, in my opinion, the only one that represents a serious alternative to a WordPress site with its own hosting.
This is so because it allows, finally, to install themes and plugins and integrate Google Analytics.
All of these are tools that, sooner or later, you will want to have at your disposal as soon as your project passes from an initial development phase.
To this we must add that with this option, you have unlimited storage space. This in cases that require a lot of space can be a factor in the decision.
The drawback is that, with € 300 / year, this plan is already substantially more expensive than the previous ones and also that the basic and advanced plans of a good shared hosting.
WordPress.org or WordPress.com which one suits you best?
As you have seen, the plans below the Business Plan are much more limited than WordPress with its own hosting, except for the Business plan, but this is clearly more expensive than an option with hosting.
This can lead you to the conclusion of choosing WordPress.org with hosting, but remember that hosting also has its drawbacks that you have to value in your decision.
So let’s go to the “final battle” between WordPress.com and WordPress.org comparing the 7 criteria, in my opinion, most important in your decision of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org:
1. Difficulty of installation and maintenance
This is where WordPress.com scores high. Its service consists precisely in removing this technical work from the user.
That said, WordPress installation is a 5-10 minute process maximum and maintenance basically automatic.
Therefore, the technical load that a hosting adds, even for non-technical people, is low. If, in addition, you go to a hosting plan with WordPress support , they help you in everything and it will definitely be a service very similar to the one provided by WordPress.com.
The crux of the matter is much more the quality of your hosting, if you choose a good hosting (I especially recommend: Ionos (1&1), SiteGround and BlueHost), you basically forget. If the hosting is bad, it will be a continuous trail of problems.
2. Performance / price ratio
If the only thing that worries you is that you have to pay, it is clear: your option is the free WordPress.com plan.
In terms of pure benefits, in terms of server speed, security, etc. the benefits are going to be very similar between WordPress.com and good hosting.
As for the performance / price ratio at the design and functionality level, if you have carefully read the post, you already know that design and functionality, in WordPress it translates to themes and plugins.
Here, the situation is very simple: hosting will always win because here there is simply no limitation.
Also, the difference with WordPress.com plans other than the Business plan is very high. However, the Business plan does come very close in design possibilities and functionality to WordPress.org with hosting.
But if we talk about benefits / price ratio, with this plan you are paying triple what a good own hosting costs (about € 100 / year).
3. Traffic and storage capacity
This is another clear strong point of WordPress.com, since in the free plan you have 3 GB of storage space, which is increasing progressively reaching unlimited in the Business plan.
Also, there is no traffic limit. WordPress.com boasts of even having some websites with millions of page views a day.
If we go to hosting, the range of offers is very wide and there are hosting with unlimited storage from the most basic plans.
Here, except in the Business plan, as a general rule, the hosting option would win.
On the other hand, there are also hosting that offer unlimited bandwidth (which, in theory, should translate into unlimited traffic) from their basic plans.
But the reality is that practically all hosting put a ceiling on the supported traffic, but arguing on the side of the consumption of CPU resources.
In my personal experience, with the most basic plans of good hosting providers, you can support several thousand visits a day without problems. Here I recommend providers like Ionos (1&1), SiteGround and BlueHost.
Since these are already traffic figures that few people reach, in practice, most people will never have a problem with traffic limits.
The rest will come a time when they will have to level up in their hosting plan.
Now, with the economic performance that a website that has already reached thousands of visits should give, paying € 5 more a month for a better plan should not be a big problem either.
In any case, in the traffic section WordPress.com would win.
4. Security management
At WordPress.com they take care of security in a comprehensive way. You can basically forget about it.
On WordPress.org it depends, on the one hand, on the hosting (the measures that they implement) and / or on your own security management.
Win WordPress.com for making it easier for you.
5. Monetization options
Here WordPress.org clearly wins because the WordPress.com monetization options are very limited in the cheapest plans. They can only be compared to WordPress.org in the Business plan.
You can see the details in the plans themselves and, above all, on the WordPress monetization options page.
As this particular page is only available in English, the link above points to a machine translation with Google Translate. Keep this in mind because of the “Error” that you will find in the translated text.
6. Create or integrate an online store
Perhaps you want to create an online store based on WordPress (with WooCommerce, which is now also from Automattic) or integrate a section with an online store on a WordPress website (a blog, for example).
This at WordPress.org, again, you can do without any problems and no limitations. Instead, in WordPress.com you are going to need the Business plan to be able to do it.
7. Branding and additional functionality
Here I would highlight, above all, three things:
- Being able to have your own email(that is, with “yourdomain”).
- To be able to upload and download files with FTP / SFTP.
- To be able to install complementary applications such as, Prestashop (an alternative to WooCommerce for very popular online stores), phpBB for forums, etc.
When hiring a hosting, even in the basic plans, they usually come including all three things.
The problem is that WordPress.com does not support it the other way around: sent from your email with your own domain. For this, you need to hire a separate service.
Having email with your own domain is an issue that affects your brand image and your branding. So keep this in mind.
Therefore, at this point the WordPress option with its own hosting wins.
Final tips for choosing your WordPress option
Now that we have seen the details of the differences between the different versions of WordPress, I think you will agree that there is no point in talking about a “winner”.
There is no “better” version of WordPress , what there are options that are better or worse adapted to your specific situation and you have to be the one who makes the final decision , with the help of the criteria outlined here.
Now, having said this and generalizing a lot, we can isolate three specific scenarios that are repeated a lot and for them I can give my opinion and advice:
What to choose in the “undecided” phase
If you do not have a clear project in mind and simply fancy a first with the world of blogging or websites in general, have a first experience of creating content and receive some feedback, etc. You don’t even need your own domain.
Therefore, in this case, I would clearly recommend the free WordPress.com plan
What to choose for a personal project without major ambitions
This case is already more complicated. So let’s go by parts:
If you are clear that you want to have your own website, although without greater professional and economic aspirations, but to which you are going to dedicate some time and effort, first of all, I highly recommend acquiring a domain.
The reason is that the image of your project changes a lot, its own domain, together with a correct choice of your theme, they take away that “seedy” impression that many sites suffer and that you will not want for a site to which you are dedicating a good part of free time.
This leads us to choose between WordPress.com payment plans and a WordPress.org site with hosting.
If you are a person who is frightened by the technical aspects, I would recommend the Personal or Premium plan of WordPress.com. Chances are good enough.
If you are not backed down by technical tasks or even like them, for the same money you will have the option of WordPress.org hosting, which, in this case, I would recommend you to definitely get rid of any limitation of the WordPress.com plans that you I have recommended and that could affect your project.
What to choose for a professional project
If your project is already “very serious”, that is, if we are talking, for example, about projects with professional, economic aspirations ( generating income with your website), etc., in my opinion, there are only two good options: the Business plan of WordPress.com or WordPress.org with own hosting.
Remember that, without reaching 100% of the freedom and total flexibility that an installation with its own hosting gives, the Business Plan is very close and is a very interesting alternative to own hosting.
In addition, if you anticipate that your project will reach very high traffic quotas (tens of thousands of visits per day) and space (many tens of Gbytes), the unlimited resources of the WordPress.com Business plan are a very important added value for your case in favor of this option.
If, in addition, you dislike the (few) tasks involved in a WordPress.org site with hosting, I would definitely favor this option.
If not and you do not see major inconvenience in the small additional technical burden of a hosting, I would lean towards WordPress.org , and if it is with a hosting with WordPress support included, even better.
In this way you access 100% of the potential and options of WordPress and, in addition, you will pay half or a third of what the Business plan costs you per year.