WordPress.com Review

Company Overview, Pricing, and Features

Artem Minaev
Updated: December 19th, 2020
5 min read
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WordPress.com logo WordPress.com

Introduction

If you spent some amount of time on the internet in the last decade then you’ve probably heard the name WordPress. Launched in 2005, WordPress.com (which should not be confused with similar WordPress.org) is a popular freemium blog hosting service that is used by some heavyweight names like BBC, Reuters, and Sony. There are over 50 million users on this platform, or at least that many people tried to use it. It’s hard to say how many people are actively using this platform, but it’s definitely a popular choice. But is it all hype?

Main features

Creating a profile

First things first, you will need to think of your blog name, a.k.a. a domain that will automatically get a free “.wordpress.com” extension (that means a blog name will look like this username.wordpress.com). After that, you will need to provide email, password, and a username (your username will automatically be the part of your blog name as shown above). You have an option to search for a custom domain name, which for some reason did not work fully for us. While it gave options for some domains, for others it did not respond at all, which either means it works when it wants to or some domains were already taken. If that is the case, it would be nice to get a “not available” message.

Once you pick a custom domain, you will automatically see its pricing next to it. However, you can proceed with free .wordpress.com version (which we recommend you to do to test the system first). After you pick the design theme for your blog, the only thing left is to choose your plan. You can either go free or pay, but every paid plan offers a two-week free trial. You will need to provide your credit card information, but don’t worry, everything is handled professionally.

User friendliness and the dashboard

The homepage is divided into five sections, but that isn’t very obvious at first. In the header, you will find two icons on the left, and three on the right. In order, they are – My Site, Reader, New Post, Profile, and Notifications.

  • On “My Site”, you will get a quick access to all essentials for the smooth operation of your blog. Some of the options will take you directly to the dashboard, named WP Admin (we’ll revisit that section later). For now, you need to know that the dashboard is the center of the blog administration. It provides access to stats, posts and pages, themes and menus, users setting, account management, and more.
  • The “Reader” is where you manage your subscriptions for other blogs. You can see what is on your list(s), who is recommended, you can search by tags, or you can find your friends from social networks. You can also track comments you made and posts you like.
  • The “Posts” section has every basic function that an editor should have. From formatting tools to tags and categories to the publishing schedule, and more, you are covered. For those that are more adventurous, you can edit your post in HTML.
  • The “Profile” section is self-explanatory, and you can manage your account settings, billings, security and other things related to your account. Notifications are also literal and help you manage all of your comments, follows, and likes.
  • The “Notifications” section is where you will find all the stats, here you can see who did what on your blog. Stuff will be happening on your blog, you will be blogging, commenting, and following a lot. And you will be able to watch the numbers from in this section.

If you mean serious business when it comes to blogging, you will most definitely want to use the WP Admin panel, which is basically a fully fleshed dashboard. You will get everything you have on your homepage, but with more professional and more advanced options. Media library? Check! Polls and feedback? Check! Widgets? Check! Mobile apps? Check! Importing and exporting? Check! You get the picture. While the dashboard will have a learning curve, it will most definitely play like a fine instrument once you get the hang of it. Just bear in mind the free plan has some limitations, although it is fairly powerful.

Themes and tools

When it comes to design themes, they are numerous (over 300) and there are some good ones. While you can search them by categories, popularity, and date of publishing, you will probably search them by free or premium (paid) category. There is no discrimination between these two types when it comes to design and there is a wide pricing range when it comes to premium ones. If you browse through the library, you can see prices going from $18 up to $175, but most of them will be in the $60-80 range.

No matter which theme you pick, you will be able to customize it to an extent, depending on the design and the plan you pick. However, the drawback is that you cannot upload your own themes. There are many widgets and menus that you can add and adding them to your blog is only a few clicks away.

Storage room, reliability, and uptime

When it comes to reliability and uptime, WordPress.com means serious business. It is constantly in the top, if not on the top place, no matter what plan you’ve chosen. However, your storage room will depend on it. The free plan gives you 3GB of space, Premium 13GB and Business is unlimited. While this may seem like OK deal when it comes to Free plan, bare in mind that in this multimedia-heavy world, 3GB is merely a cookie crumb, and if you need a multimedia blog, you should either look elsewhere or upgrade your plan.

Help and support

Depending on your plan, you will get various levels of help and support. While the Free plan only gives you a community support, essentially their articles knowledge base, which is huge and very helpful. There are also official forums where you will probably find someone who already shares your problem and potentially has already solved it. However, with Premium plan you will get direct email support and Business plan will get you live chat support. While this may seem like an extra, if your blog is your business, it is crucial to fix any problems in the fastest time possible.

Advanced features

Hosting and pricing options

WordPress.com is essentially a free blogging provider, but it has some limitations. The free plan gives you a blog that is enough for amateurs. You will be restricted with – .wordpress.com domain, only 3GB of space, and it may show some ads. If you need a blog for professional or commercial reasons, you would want to remove those limitations. A premium plan costs $99/year and it will remove ads, give you 13 GB of space, and a custom domain, among other things. A business plan costs $299/year and it will give you unlimited space, e-commerce, and other advanced things. Depending on your needs, a free plan may seem too limited, but keep in mind that if you need a personal blog, you will get a nice one.

Content management

Content management is easy, but it depends on your plan. This review was done with the premium plan, but there are variations within. While there are no major flaws with any option, the more you pay, the more you can get. Basics like spam filtering, comment moderating or metadata handling are available in all options, but customizable themes, CSS editor, or Google Analytics are available only in paid plans. It is nitpicking, but when you mean serious business, nitpicking is what will prevail in your decision. Having said that, content management on WordPress.com is quite nice, even on the free plan.

HTML and CSS knowledge

HTML and CSS knowledge are not necessary for having a WordPress.com blog. Everything is functional without it, but if you want to take things to the next level, you can. In its paid plans, you can tinker through code, and it is done in a nice and developer- friendly way. It presents and gives the best of both worlds, no matter if you are amateur or professional. However, if you want total control over your site, perhaps you should look into WordPress.org.

Promotion and monetization

Search engines love WordPress and WordPress loves search engines. There are dozens of widgets that you can use and everything is SEO friendly. However, bear in mind that the more you pay, the more you can access to. A free plan may not be enough for you if you need an online shop, but a business plan will give you all you need. The negative side of WordPress.com is that you cannot use third party advertisement solutions.

Pros

  • highly customizable
  • hundreds of beautiful (free) designs
  • dozens of widgets
  • excellent all-in-one solution

Cons

  • some confusion for domain names during set-up
  • in comparison, Free plan is quite limiting
  • the moderate learning curve

Conclusion

When it comes to WordPress.com, there are very few things that aren’t in favor of this blogging provider. It has been around for quite some time and its community is big. Handling it is easy for everyone no matter how educated in blog hosting they are. Unlike its fraternal twin WordPress.org, this is a hosted service, so you don’t have to worry about downloading and installing a software. However, when it comes to hosted solutions, you don’t always have a 100% control over your blog. If you want to own your content and perhaps cut down some costs, along with a custom domain (that you don’t get in free WordPress.com plan), perhaps you should look into WordPress.org or other providers.

5 comments on “WordPress.com Review”

  1. Bryan W

    Ive had a website for two years now with them that I didn’t do anything with since I set it up. It basically just cost me 18 bucks a year for the last couple years.

    After the last year went by and I still didn’t do anything with it I decided I wanted to cancel it and I just happened to remember on the same day they were going to charge me for the next year. So I go to my domains and i find the one I want to cancel, and I try to find the option to cancel it, and there is no option. Only a button that says payment method or option or something like that. And I click on that and it takes me to a page that talks about my payment plan, how much I’m paying, when it renews on etc. I can’t find any way to manually cancel my plan. All I see is an option to click on that says “contact support to cancel and get refund.” I saw that I had 48 hours after renewal to cancel my plan and get refunded. So I contact support and tell them exactly what I want. This was two weeks ago. They never contacted me back. They charged me the 18 bucks for the year and never refunded me or even contacted me back, nor did they cancel my domain. I went back a couple weeks ago, right after the 48 hour refund period expired, and only after it was too late to cancel and get the refund, only then, and immediately after, as if by magic was there the option to manually cancel my domain. Only after it was too late to stop them from taking my money or get it back, could I cancel it by myself. And if you try to contact them before, these WEASLES will be nowhere to be found. im pretty sure any idiot should be able to tell what they Are doing here. I want to know if anyone else has also experienced this with them. Needless to say I won’t be using them for anything ever again. They are crooks who weasle their way out out of their end of the deal, hide away instead of keeping their promises… And don’t expect you to notice and expect you to still want to use their service DO NOT USE THEM
    They should be taken off the internet!!!

  2. Amon

    Beware that WordPress has a 30-day cancellation policy.
    If you wish to cancel your subscription you must notify them at least 30 days in advance or they will automatically renew you and charge your credit card.
    Don’t learn this the hard way.

  3. Patrick T Michael

    I am a complete newbie at blogging so thought WordPress.com would be what I need as it is said my many people to be the best. However, I need a simple personal blog which WordPress is definitely not. Anybody like myself that is just looking for a simple blog to reach out to people of similar interests should avoid WordPress. I haven’t figured out which to use yet but I wasted $38.95 on WordPress when what I want will probably be free or just a few dollars.

  4. Susan

    I don’t actually use wordpress, I use weebly. However I had to contact wordpress following the death of a close family member. I submitted a death certificate and 2 forms of photographic id but they were rude and insensitive about needing a further legal document to gain password access to the site, even though all I asked for was a page containing sensitive information to be removed. Eventually they said their policy was to make the whole site private (not one page) and they did this. But they were rude and upsetting. This was weeks after losing a family member to suicide by hanging. I can’t believe these people are called ‘happiness engineers’. I am disgusted and I would never use them for own personal or business needs.

  5. Nik L

    WordPress.com is an embarrassment. In terms of cost, they are x5 more expensive, in terms of customization they offer nil, in terms of customer service, it’s extremely slow. In terms of fancy designs, sure plenty, but that’s how they real you in by making you pay enormous sums upfront for cheap, low-scale, poorly supported, zero customized web design. You’re better designing your own. The WordPress software platform itself is ingenious and great but wordpress.com should not be in business and the fact that they pay people to write positive reviews is sure news that they are more than likely, nothing but maunders and thieves in the wasteland of the Internet.

    In summary:

    A horrible service
    They get you by the balls with pretty designs but zero versatility, even preventing you from uploading simple HTML files
    They watermark their shit all over your website, good luck running a business of any respectable sort
    They prevent even simple Paypal buttons

    If you want a simple blog and want to pay x10 to x15 more than you would with cheaper providers, go for WordPress.com. But if you don’t want to be ripped off, please stay away from these half-ass

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