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What are the Limitations of WordPress.com

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.

Earning Limitations

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.

Account Suspension

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Reader Interactions

41 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. You can upload pictures to a WordPress.com site but you would want to reach out to their support for any current limitations.

    Admin

  2. So, I’ve read over the info on WordPress.Org and WordPress.Com, on differences between blog sharing companies, and all these comments and I still have questions….on WordPress.com can I upload my own pictures for a Gardening Blog? Are there limits to the number of blogs I post or pictures I upload?

  3. I really think this article needs a bit of an update. WordPress.com has a free tier and multiple paid tiers where many, if not all, of the things you cannot do in the free tier can be done. WordPress.org is the source of the software for self-hosted sites, but for those new to WP, managing hosting and configuration might be more than they are looking for. I use both self-hosted and WordPress.com Business tier and 99% of the time there is no difference except the peace of mind that somebody is optimizing the infrastructure versus doing it myself.

  4. I have signed up to a personal plan at WordPress.org but through my personal account. I have 2 sites now, one that is free and is just used for personal blogging and suits my purposes fine. The other one however which i am currently in the process of setting up is for business purposes. I am starting to get the feeling though that I have been scammed, not intentionally scammed but just certain details omitted at the signup stage like how many pages you can have with a personal website? Currently in my editor it shows all the buttons for pages but I seem to only be able to navigate to Home and Blog in the customising editor but in the site editor I am able to navigate to all the pages i have created?? Its really weird and I have to say I am not very fond of the editor interface, Why couldn’t they just combine the customising editor into the site editor like google does, so much easier and straight forward to understand?

  5. Testing shows automating blog posts also has a limitation, it looked like i hit a terms of service, it removed the subdomain.wordpress.com and I have to say my test was very insightful. Thanks for the blog mate. It’s a hard topic to discuss the complexities of wordpress ownership & the slap on the wrist that is swapping from free version to your own personal hosted solution.

  6. I want a personal record of my travels for friends and family. That’s all. No money, no ads, no paypal or buttons.

    Can I write about and add multiple photos in a single posting?

  7. Is my use of a free wordpress.com blog site limited to a certain number of years or to a limited amount of space used on my site? I would like to continue to indefinitely use the free wordpress option if possible.

  8. Hi ! I already decide wordpress.org but i am a 0 about codes and maintenance is my biggest question. When you talk about maintenance what it is mean.

    • Hi OT,

      It means that you will have to install updates when they are available. You will see a notification in WordPress admin area that updates are available and you just need to click on update to install them. You will also need to setup a backup plugin to automatically backup your WordPress site.

      Admin

  9. I want ask one question, is it fine to offering a page for my own service such as content writer’s page?

  10. One of the things that is never mentioned in using WP.com is that it has excellent security and a very strong fire wall to protect your site/blog from hackers.
    Our site (which publishes global news on human rights issues around the world) actually moved from a very developed WP.org platform back over to WP.com this last year. WP.com was actually the original platform we used over a decade ago. But after we grew to a site that had over 105,000 impressions per day we also started having an ongoing assault of global hackers trying to get into our site. This required more and more security on our end….with more more cost and effort in hiring the right security experts. We also had many more hassles. Along with all of this we had numerous times when our WP.org site went offline due to hackster attempts. WordPress.com is much more safe for any of you wanting this with your site/blog.

      • Hi There – Our past experience is with a great app that is used by many people on WP.org called Bullet Proof Security (we used the Pro version) and we did work closely with Edward Alexander the creater of this program. While this is probably one of the best, it also requires alot of tech (knowlede) based management and troubleshooting when php, .htacess and other actionable code needs tweeking when hackers efforts are present. Going over to WP.com made the process with security a no time, no problem, no effor processt. Thanks again for provinding this forum to discuss this important topic. : )

  11. I have been building web-site for many year and had a look at worldpress.com using a free account and did not think much too it.

    Yes i can upload one picture to be used on the home page but apart from that they don’t let you upload nuffing and all you can do is embed images that are hosted on remote servers by using the editor and switching to HTML view.

    Web-pages are all about pictures and it seems like a waste of time if they won’t provide any space for uploading files even on a free account so i think i will knock it on the head

  12. I feel scammed. When I signed up for wordpress recently and bought my own domain – around $70 in total, nobody told me that there are TWO types of wordpress :
    Wordpress.COM and WordPress.ORG

    You can’t access permalinks, nor add/remove plug-ins on WordPress.COM . Now I need to buy a new domain and pay $70 more in order to do this….

    I feel scammed.

    • This is a very resourceful article that can help many people. Last week I purchased my domain (premium) on wordpress.com and feel scammed because I didn’t realize that I cannot add advertising, plugins, and that I earn through wordads by US based traffic only coming to my page.

      Now I am making my plan to move over to wordpress.org because my whole intention was to build my brand, focus on product reviews, airlines, and hotels that I have used that I trust. I cannot do this with wordpress.com. I have thirty days to claim my refund………

  13. Hello Editorial Staff,

    I know WordPress.org would be ideal for my needs as I would like to have a blog about my craft projects and then be able to sell them, but currently do not have the income to spare to pay for a self-hosted website though Bluehost.

    You said to Widdershins that they can put a paypal button for their book. Can I do the same for multiple items or just one or two till I can switch to a self-hosted website?

    Thank you,
    Amanda

  14. I have been using WordPress.com for over a year now, and just this week, I am having trouble downloading pictures to my blogs? Is there ever a maximum # of blogs/pics I can post before it is full? Please help.

  15. And THAT is the reason I went from WordPress.Com (even though I liked all of those features they do have and it’s technically easier to use) to Blogger.Com because I want to make money on my blog before paying to use a blog.

    Will Word-press ever lighten up on this monetization policy? It seems like they’d be loosing money by blocking monetization and Affiliate links? How am I supposed to learn to use their service and upgrade if I can’t use their service first? It seemed very elitist. Like they didn’t want me on their services?

    So why do they put all these blocks on?

    Darrell Wolfe

  16. I’m interested in creating a website that includes a blog, but is not ‘blog-driven’ . We are an art gallery. Is WordPress.com or is WordPress.org more appropriate. Thanks.

  17. So if I register my domain to own it… Can I bring it with me to WordPress.org? What is the minimum traffic needed to be considered for Wordads?
    Thx

  18. Everything you say about not being able to upload themes is correct, but it makes the situation sound a little more dire than it is. There are still over 200 themes (50 being premium) and they seem to add a couple more every week.

    Many of these themes have very nice visual customisation options, even if you don’t pay for the ‘custom design’ features. If you do pay, you’ll see that they’ve done an excellent job there: Users can create unique colour schemes with a brilliant designer tool, get access to lots of web fonts, and even more through Adobe. The CSS editor is snazzy too, even allowing LESS and Sass to be used.

    Of course, if you want to make functional changes you’ll be out of luck.

    • You are correct, there are 200+ themes on WordPress.com. But there are almost 1700 themes for WordPress.org (in the free WP repository). This is not counting tons of commercial themes that are not listed in the repository.

      Admin

      • I wasn’t challenging your correctness, just the tone:

        > “In any case the theme choice is very limited. Secondly, you can not modify those themes.”

        200 themes isn’t really ‘limited’, and you can modify them. Your thesis for this article is totally correct: WP.com has big limitations. Users should know up-front what they want to accomplish. I was just picking at the fact that you made it sound like there were hardly and themes available and that you couldn’t touch them. (without paying for CSS anyway).

  19. i believe wordpress.com is a great step for whoever wants to take the plunge into the blogging ocean…beginners can analyze and assess themselves if they have what it takes to make their business a professional one…there are many limitations i agree but its great for free blogging! :)

  20. But all this info should have been appearing the step before registration not only from this link.
    Then the customer will know what he wants. For instance I did register but as I am very new to creating a blog or websites I didn’t know all this and I didn’t understand that my domain which I registered by WordPress is now stuck 60 days due to a law that doesn’t allow the user to move the domain to a another webhost. This should some go be appearing before payment .
    Now I can’t install plugins and have to wait 60 days until I remove my domain
    Regards
    Adam

  21. So … I can have an ad for my book – which I have, with links to my publisher … but if I self publish a book, I can’t SELL it FROM my wordpress.com blog … for instance have a paypal ‘buy me’ button for it on my blog … yes? … no? … otherwise?

  22. Yes WordPress is very limited… but for beginners it is very best to start their demo WordPress :-)

  23. At the price, it does not get cheaper for the reliability they offer. It can be a good starting point for many blogger, who want to experiment with a blog, but on a budget. You can always migrate if your blog grows big.

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