If you are looking to start a blog, I highly recommend WordPress, if you are willing and able to pay for hosting and host it yourself.
I like WordPress. I really do. I use it here on coltondrg.com (if it wasn’t already obvious) and I think it is a really good price of software. WordPress.com is not really WordPress though, it is WordPress’ bastard child that has a serious lack of features.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Automattic or any of their other services! Jetpack for WordPress is amazing and Gravatar is the best thing to happen for profile images since the dawn of the internet. I just don’t like WordPress.com as a blogging/website service.
Why all this discord? What is wrong with WordPress.com? Well, let’s start with the fact that you can’t use your own domain. What? Are you serious? I can’t use my own preregistered domain? Well, technically you can, but you have to either pay WordPress.com $13 a year to let you use it, or register it with them for anywhere from $13-$25 a year depending on the TLD. No transfers allowed. This is just stupid. I want to register my domain at GoDaddy and then use a DNS record to point it at WordPress.com servers. This is something you should allow for free! It wouldn’t cost them anything either! I just don’t get why this is a feature they charge for! This is is basic functionality. Even a piece of shit like Tumblr has it! Tumblr!
WordPress.com also lacks any form of expandability, and low-level personalization. There is no plugin support whatsoever. Plugin support is one of the things that makes WordPress amazing, the fact that it would be excluded from a WordPress showcase service such as WordPress.com absolutely baffles me! Why would you drop this functionality? Because money. If WordPress.com supported plugins, there would be no need for people to spend their hard-earned money on the service to unlock the extra features, because you would be able to simply install a plugin to add support for such things. I do not think this justifies ripping a HUGE part of WordPress out of the service though.
Another thing that is missing is custom theme support. You cannot install custom themes, you cannot edit the code of the themes you are given, and even some of the themes that come pre-installed require you to pay for them. Themes are another one of those things that makes WordPress great, and you just ripped them out, once again reducing WordPress.com down to Tumblr levels of awful.
I understand that Automattic needs to charge for something to keep the service running, and they are a company, so they need to make a profit, but I think the limitations put in place on WordPress.com are ridiculous. Google Blogger offers more features and basic functionality for free. You could pay for WordPress.com Premium and unlock several features that make it slightly better, but that’s not even a viable option, because WordPress.com Premium will run you approximately $100 a year. You can get Linux economy web hosting from GoDaddy for $7 per month, which gives you one website and 100 GB of storage, you can then install WordPress on that server, and expand it however you want. You can modify it, you can tweak it, you can dig into the code and rebuild the whole damn thing if you want. If you factor in $7 per month plus $15 per year for a domain, it comes to about $100 per year. WordPress.com Premium gets you a domain, 10 GB of storage, “custom design” which from what I can tell means you are allowed to tweak themes in a very limited manner, and VideoPress, which is essentially a WordPress video hosting system. You get ten times as much storage and way more flexibility and expandability for the same price. The only thing that is even remotely “better” on WordPress.com is VideoPress, which is completely useless because you can very easily host your videos on YouTube for free and embed them on your WordPress blog. Essentially, for about the same price, with your own hosting, you can run plugins, custom themes, and basically do whatever you want. I am just using GoDaddy as an example, I’m positive you could find another decent host that will easily host you a powerful WordPress install for even less. Which will you take? Hm? I thought so.
Okay, let’s be honest, WordPress.com actually does have some cool features that are not present in your own WordPress instance. This would be something to consider if it mattered, but it doesn’t because you can add all of these features, and in some cases even more, in about ten seconds by installing the Jetpack plugin on your WordPress server. Plus, you are able to add any feature you can think of by just installing other plugins. At the end of every post on my blog, you will find a “Shortlink for this post” which gives you a custom drgo.ga shortlink for that particular post that you can share with your friends. This is all done by plugins, and is simply not possible on WordPress.com. WordPress.com does offer their own shortlink service, WP.me, which is cool and all, but it is so much more awesome to host your very own link shortener using YOURLS (Your Own URL Shortener) and use plugins to make it integrate with WordPress. If you don’t want to do that, WP.me isn’t even an exclusive service! It is made available for free to your own hosted WordPress through Jetpack if you choose to opt in, and using other plugins you can use goo.gl, bit.ly, or just about any other public link shortener under the sun. This is just one example of something plugins can do, they can also do tons of other awesome stuff that I can’t even get into because it would make this post too damn long.
Actually, the post is already too damn long, so I’m gonna go ahead and wrap it up. Overall, WordPress.com is a nice gesture, but it is inferior to WordPress in every way, and some basic functionality is missing or charged for, and that doesn’t make sense to me. So that’s my WordPress.com rant. I’ll see you next time something pisses me off.