Hi there, I’ve written this article so many times before and still it is exciting to write this in 2016. Not much has changed in the installation process. Probably the only thing that has changed for sure is my experience. I can write more detailed posts now compared to the instruction-based posts I’ve written before.
Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Before we talk about the installation, we’ll get our basics clear! If you’re a beginner with WordPress, you might have plenty of questions. And if I’m not wrong, one of those questions is What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
You can find plenty of answers online and that should clear any doubt you have. But I’ll just explain it in short – WordPress.com is a service whereas WordPress.org is a software package which you can customize the way you want.
If you want a different explanation, here’s one – I assume you know and use Facebook. Facebook is definitely made up of multiple pages of code. Consider that multiple pages of code as a software package. The company hosts the code on their servers (hardware) and provide you the free service. All you do is login, browse, logout, etc. You can also edit your profile, write and post status updates, etc. But you have no control over the Facebook’s source code. Which means you cannot change how Facebook functions!
In this example, Facebook’s service is similar to WordPress.com’s service. And Facebook’s source code or software package (multiple pages of code) is similar to WordPress.org provides.
If Facebook did provide it’s source code and made it “open source”, anyone could create their own social network, modify how it functions, change it’s color scheme and rename it to something entirely different without giving credits to Facebook. Facebook doesn’t give us their source code but WordPress.org does!
The only thing to keep in mind is that you need some hardware/machine/server running 24/7 to run your WordPress.org code. And that’s where the word “self-hosted” comes in handy.
What is a self-hosted blog?
Let’s say you create a simple HTML web page which says “Hello World” and you save it on your desktop as hello.html file. You can open this file in your browser as long as your computer is running. You can also share this file on your network and someone can access it in their browser. But if your computer shuts down, no one will be able to access this file.
To fix this problem, you can host (upload/put) this file on a server (a machine running 24/7). So you basically take the code and host it yourself. That’s what self-hosted code means! And when the code contains your blog, it’s called a self-hosted blog. Note that, you have to pay for server space.
There are companies out there who provide you with online server space (measured in MB, GB, etc). So you rent some server space and put your files in it. Now you need a domain name, which is basically an address pointing to your space.
Once you have a domain pointed to or connected to your server space. You could just share your domain address with your friends and family. Anyone who visits the domain address in their web browser will be pointed to the server space which contains your files. Thus they’ll be able to see your site (the index page of your site).
Choosing between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
If you aren’t able to decide which one to choose, just think about what you need. What are you going to do with your blog? How much control you need?
If you are someone who wants to write stuff but don’t care about theme customization, earning money off of Google AdSense, writing your own code, modifying functions, etc. Then you can go for WordPress.com. For me, one of the best things about WordPress.com is it’s speed compared to other hosts.
But if you’re someone like me who wants to customize the look and feel of the site and add custom functionality then go for WordPress.org.
I run this website on a web-host called Hostgator. So far I’ve tried multiple webhosts and in my honest opinion Hostgator is really the best. If you’re someone who wants to start a self-hosted WordPress blog, feel free to use my referral. It’ll help me to earn some commission 🙂
I’m currently using the Hatchling plan. Single domain with unmetered Bandwidth. Once you purchase the Hatchling plan, Hostgator will guide you through the installation process. And don’t worry, this is a single click install process. Since this entire guide is based on beginner level, I’m not going into the manual installation in this post.
However I’ll soon write something based on manual installation using FTP (file transfer protocol). And I also plan to write a guide to install WordPress code on local host (your own computer instead of the server – for experimental purposes).
I hope this post was useful. Let me know your thoughts on this one. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them in the comments or get in touch @TheCuriousEnggr.