If you want to start a blog, then WordPress.com offers a hassle free solution to get started. We are often asked by our users how they can get started with blogging. We usually respond with the question, “What do you want to do with your blog?”. A lot of people just want to share their personal thoughts, ramblings, photos and such. For that purpose, WordPress.com offers a free, easy to use, secure and stable platform for you to blog on. However, if you want to do more with your blog such as make money, build a membership community, among other things, then there are some inherent limitations.
In this article, we will help you understand what are the limitations of WordPress.com, so you can determine if WordPress.com is the solution for you.
You can not run Google Adsense or other advertising programs to serve ads on your WordPress.com blog. You can not write paid posts, sell links, review products, etc. WordPress.com terms of service restrict you from using your free blog for any commercial activity on your own. However, you can apply for WordPress.com’s advertising program which is called WordAds. This program is currently available to WordPress.com blogs that match certain traffic and quality requirements. Once you are approved for WordAds program, you will be sharing your advertising revenue with WordPress.com.
Note: If you have a book, then you can have an ad for that on your WordPress.com blog. They just don’t allow ads for products or services that you do not own.
You Can not Upload Plugins
The real power of WordPress comes from the freedom to customize and extend the core functionality. You can not extend the functionality of WordPress.com by uploading plugins. You are given a comprehensive but still a limited set of features. A lot of people who migrate from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress.org do so just to take advantage of certain features that come with these amazing plugins.
You Can not Upload Themes
You can only use themes currently available to WordPress.com users. Some of these themes are free and others come with a one time fee. In any case the theme choice is very limited. Secondly, you can not modify those themes. For an additional $30, you can add custom CSS and fonts to your theme but that is it. You cannot modify theme features or theme functionality. If you want to use one of the powerful eCommerce themes, or one of the many commercial themes that is not available to WordPress.com users, then you are out of luck. If you want to have a completely custom built theme for you, then you are also out of luck.
WordPress.com is very strict in protecting their services from abuse. They suspend blogs suspected of activities prohibited in their terms of service. Visitors can also report a blog. WordPress.com allows suspended blogs to export their posts for a limited time. Also WordPress.com may not even notify or ask a blog owner to remove content. This means that usually there is no warning for the blog owner. Once a blog is suspended the WordPress.com subdomain will be held and will not be released for anyone else to use.
Not a Development Platform
WordPress has become a powerful content management system in itself. It is no more just a blog publishing platform. With WordPress.com, you are only getting a free blog service and not the actual powerful CMS features that are becoming the main reason of WordPress’ popularity. To make it easier for you to understand is that lets suppose that you start with a basic blog and then want to offer online courses, sell digital downloads, or add a forum, or even an online store. It is not possible to do all this on your free WordPress.com blog.
Our recommendation is that first you need to realize what you want to do with your blog, make a plan and then choose. If you just need to express yourself then WordPress.com is an easy and wonderful option for you. But if you want to build on to your website and do more with your blog then consider WordPress.org. We offer a free WordPress blog setup service where we can help you get started.
If you are one of the users who want to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, then we highly recommend that you follow our guide.