Years ago when WordPress team just released wordpress.com, it was an invite-only registration when it was still in beta. I’ve been invited by a friend of mine who lives in Bandung. My username contained only 3 letters, the time when WP team didn’t even restrict us to have at least 4 letters. Back then, I already had a self-hosted blog and I installed wordpress from wordpress.org.
(Notice that wordpress.com and wordpress.org are different. You can sign up for free weblog on wordpress.com, but wordpress.org is slightly a different beast: you download WordPress CMS, and then you install and set it up manually on your own webhost and domain name. While you also can upgrade your WP.com plan to have your own domain name, you don’t have to manually install wordpress. I hope this is not confusing for new bloggers).
When WP.com was just released, I thought,”finally! Now people don’t have to own their own host and domain name in order to use WordPress!” I thought that wp.com should make our blogging journey free of headache. Free of backing up database MySQL, free of manually upgrade WP version, free of worry.
But, just like another free blogs, WordPress team started adding ads on free blogs. I do understand this, and then they also added premium themes. I have to admit that when we only had free themes, I was not really fond of them. It seemed like the themes were made by (pardon) lazy webdesigners who thought they didn’t even get paid. Ok, to be fair, premium themes are needed. Years later, although I have had several self-hosted weblogs and domain names, I started a new blogs on wp.com. A free one. Well….I don’t only have one or two free blogs on wp.com. But a bunch. Each of it had a different purpose, and yes I had free plans because I knew I wasn’t sure whether I’d still continue with each of those. A year ago, I upgraded my free plan to Blogger plan. I got to choose a domain name. I thought that I’d then be able to edit my chosen theme freely. But I had to purchase a premium plan to activate CSS customization (the Blogger plan only allows basic design customization). The premium plan itself only allows us to have maximum 13GB storage space. Want to have unlimited storage space? Pay at least 25 euro per month.
Blogger plan with free theme? I wish I could be happy to use it out of the box, but there were always a few things I wished to change, like: the font-size was too big, or the link color was ugly, etc. Yes, I could purchase one of the premium themes individually, but without being able to edit the CSS, I see no point of purchasing it.
Akismet was a free anti-spam plugin. Now, not anymore. I’m willing to pay 5 Euro per month, but they don’t accept paypal.
The cheapest plan is the Personal plan, which costs 39 Euro per year. My conclusion to all these is that upgrading plans on wp.com, including Akismet and Jetpack is more expensive than buying your own host and domain name elsewhere and install wordpress from wordpress.org. Right now, channelXYZ is my own host and domain name, I use one of the Jetpack’s free themes, I can fully customize the CSS and I don’t get ads everywhere on my blog. How much do I pay for all of these per month? Not yet 10 Euro 🙂