Is WordPress Free: A Detailed Guide

By: | Updated: July 24, 2021

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Regarded by many as the most popular CMS (content management system) we have today, WordPress has an impressive number of users worldwide.

If you’re considering its services, the first inquiry you probably thought about was, “Is WordPress free or not?” You can use, modify, and tweak the open-source software to your heart’s content without worrying about the monetary side.

To help you understand how WordPress draws the line between free and paid, we’re tackling all the relevant topics associated with this top CMS.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

If you’re new to the business of WordPress, this question might confuse you, and rightfully so. Before we dive into the free and paid aspect, let’s examine how these two platforms differ from each other.

WordPress.org Features

This site or platform is “The WordPress” that most people are using nowadays. It provides you with free, downloadable software that enables you to customize your website in countless ways.

Many have attested that the software is very user-friendly since you don’t need hard-core skills to pull off amazing results.

  • Maximum Customization

Plugins and apps, whether free or paid, are welcome to be added to your website. If you are not sure yet about the design, WordPress.org offers several free and premium themes.

These themes are also highly customizable, which allows you to deviate from the cookie-cutter templates that may not be appealing to some.

  • Extreme Monetization

Running ads on websites is one of the most reliable means of making money on the internet.

With WordPress.org, you can place as many ads as you can and keep all the revenue to yourself. As such, if you feel that your website will generate a lot of views or interactions, this aspect will undoubtedly gravitate you into using its services.

  • Miscellaneous Benefits

eCommerce is one of the world’s most productive businesses. To fulfill the potential of your online store, WordPress.org offers several tools, such as WooComerce, that will help you.

This service aids you in setting up your digital store, from your catalog up to payment options and delivery. Google Analytics is also free to be utilized on this platform, which is vital if you aim to track and study your website traffic.

WordPress.com Features

WordPress.com is a one-stop “create-your-own-website” hosting service. You don’t need to pay anything to get started. It also doesn’t require you to secure WordPress.org essentials such as domain name and external hosting.

Downloading software is also not necessary because you can start by just doing it directly via the website. Within minutes, you can sign up for an account, and you build your website or blog immediately.

  • Hassle-Free Blogging

If you need an easy-to-use platform to share your passion, hobby, or ideas, WordPress.com fits the bill.

Assuming that you are familiar with Wix or blogger.com, you have a pretty good idea of what this platform is all about. It allows you to have a free 3GB of storage space, which is a lot if your content is dominated by text documents with some low-resolution graphic objects.

  • Money-Saving Aspect

As implied above, there’s no need to pay if you stay within the limits of the allowed space. You can avail of more storage if you need to, but it will require payment.

Which One Is Better?

There is no right or wrong answer because these two platforms cater to different users. You can find many articles on the internet suggesting that WordPress.org is far superior because of its features, and it’s difficult to dispute that statement.

However, not all have the necessary skills, resources, and time to build their website the way they want it to be. That’s where WordPress.com comes in, to accommodate those who want a simple blog to express their thoughts without worrying about coding, design, and money.

Identify your content, and you’ll know which one of these two CMS is for you.

Is WordPress Free?

Focusing on WordPress.org, we highlight each of the expenses you should be aware of if you plan to use it. You may download the program and make all changes to your website for free, as indicated above.

That said, making your page online is a different story because, as expected, you need to subscribe before availing of its services. Below are the most significant expenses you have to prepare for when you plan to use this platform.

Domain Name

Designing and customizing your website theme with WordPress could be fun. That said, registering a domain name for your website is an unskippable step.

If you intend on monetizing your website, choosing a domain name that is consistent with your brand should be highly considered.

A short, catchy name is the best choice because it allows for easy recall for your potential visitors. There are a plethora of domain registrars out there that promise great features.

We highlight a few of these domain service providers that are widely popular due to their impressive track record, reasonable rates, and longevity in the business.

  • GoDaddy.com

One of the best-known domain name vendors, GoDaddy is sometimes referred to by some as the McDonald’s of the hosting business. If you ever typed “domain registrar” on your search engine, it’s most likely the first or the second result listed.

The company even placed ads on Superbowl commercials and YouTube ads, making its online presence more evident than its competitors. With its annual revenue reaching billions in recent years, it’s no surprise that it is the world’s biggest domain registrar.

Millions of companies are using their services from domain name registration to hosting websites. GoDaddy offers plenty of services, from finding the right domain name to exploring new domain extensions.

  • Domain.com

With a name that is straightforward as it gets, Domain.com’s target market is focused mainly on small and medium-sized enterprises. Similar to GoDaddy, it offers an array of services, from domain name registration to brokering premium domains.

With an online presence of about two decades, the company became one of the world’s top domain name registrars. Web hosting is also among its featured services, making itself a one-stop shop for web building essentials.

Being one of the leaders of their industry, Domain.com provides some of the best domain services available. The service is not only limited once the domain name is registered, but you also get a slew of features that will benefit your website.

You can take advantage of add-ons such as email forward, transfer lock, and DNS management. Having these services at your disposal can help your website run more efficiently and grow.

Other web hosting services require you to pay for these additional features, which can quickly add up.

  • Network Solutions

Network Solutions was established in 1979 as a technology consulting firm specializing in programming services in the IBM system. After a few years of operation, they began collaborating with the government on domain names.

Network Solutions is the only contractor to bid on the National Science Foundation’s project, which is a milestone that no other firm could claim. Today, the company provides a comprehensive product suite.

That includes domain name registration, web hosting, web development, SSL certificates, digital marketing, and other related services.

Web Hosting

As you may have guessed from the types of services from those companies we listed above, hosting your website comes at a price. You need to register for a web hosting service if you want to publish your website.

To put it simply, web hosting allows your site to be available online. Choosing a suitable web hosting service provider is easy since the same companies that register domain names also usually offer it.

Typically, you’ll have to pay a subscription that varies depending on how much storage space and bandwidth your site will consume.

Before subscribing to a web hosting service, it’s a good idea to estimate the size of your site and the amount of visitor traffic you anticipate. It is a good practice to be aware of the requirements of your website to be online before selecting the company that will host your content.

Many web hosting services work well with pages created from WordPress.org.  You can check out those three companies we mentioned earlier. Other notable web hosting choices include Bluehost, Hostgator, and Siteground.

Plugins

Plugins are the foundation of your WordPress site. You are crippling the potential of your website if you will not utilize these tools.

They add vital functions to your website, whether you’d like to add contact forms, get better SEO results, speed up your site, set up an online store, and other functionalities.

A plugin can essentially do every necessary feature your website needs. With its importance, you expect that some plugins will require payment or subscription before you can add them.

Listed below are a few of the most useful plugins that you may consider.

  • WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a popular plugin developed by the company that owns WordPress. It provides a user-friendly software solution for e-commerce websites.

There are currently millions of users who have integrated the WooCommerce plugin on their WordPress website. From small to large businesses, it has garnered acclaim for its ability to manage online shops effortlessly.

The best part is that WooCommerce is 100% free to install and use. It doesn’t require a subscription to make full use of its features.

Since it is open-source software, its code is easily accessible to anyone who intends to use or modify it.

  • HubSpot

Just in case you are not aware, HubSpot is a comprehensive inbound marketing software tool that enhances lead generation and conversion rate.

It is used by many to improve their website’s traffic, lead capture, sales conversion, and many other benefits. In short, it is a marketing software platform designed to assist you in reaching your business goals.

The plugin enables your WordPress website forms to sync with your HubSpot CRM automatically. With this feature, you can administer your contacts, divide them into organized lists, and view all their interactions with your website without much hassle.

Many plugin features are available for free, but premium options are available if you need more functionalities, such as custom field mappings and programmable automation.

  • Elementor

Elementor is a user-friendly plugin website builder for WordPress pages. You can toggle most of its features via a drag and drop interface, making it easy even for those who aren’t well-versed in designing websites.

Organizing the content on your website is made simpler, which allows you to edit the elements on your site quickly and efficiently. It is arguably the top website builder plugin for WordPress, with about five million active installs as of early 2021.

Similar to HubSpot, the functionalities of the free version of the Elementor plugin should be more than enough for you to get started.

However, various plans are also offered if you want more features such as Pro Templates, Elementor Expert Profile, VIP Support, and other various add-ons.

  • Smush

Image files could be a factor in the loading speed of your WordPress pages. Optimizing large images with high resolution for faster loading is a popular practice by many website builders.

Using the Smush plugin, you don’t need to manually compress the files as it will automatically do the job.

  • Yoast SEO

Boosting your pages to make them more visible on search engines is the primary purpose of the Yoast SEO plugin.

With the help of this tool, you’ll get templates for titles and meta descriptions. These templates should give you advantages in applying the best practices from SEO.

Yoast SEO also examines the readability of your content so that your content blends well with the SEO keywords. The free version is already a must-have for many, but you may also consider the premium version if you need better site maintenance and additional tools.

Final Thoughts

After enumerating all the factors we have discussed, the question “Is WordPress free?” should be adequately addressed. You can avail of any of their services without costing a single dollar. That said, to unlock the features that made it the top CMS, you need to spare some of your hard-earned money.

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.

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