Choose your WordPress flavour

Many of us know WordPress as the free blogging platform. But did you also know that it is a software that can be used to create full-featured websites, including, but not limited to, blogs? In other words, at you can set up a blog for free; but at you may download the whole WordPress package and use it to set up your very own website — a blog, a gallery, a business site, a school site, a personal homepage or just about anything else. vs

A free blog allows you to run a blog as a subdomain — for example, You­rSite.wordpr­ No technical kno­wledge, no set-up, no main­tenance ha­ssles. Every­thing that you need is accessible via the Dashboard. You may choose the look of your site from a selection of available themes (385 at the time of writing) and to some extent customise it. Features like social media integration, com­ments, polls, user stats and more are included. You get 3 gb of space for your content. Everything is free, but don’t be surprised to see ads on your blog.

On the other hand, you can download the WordPress (WP) package at and “get your hands dirty”. For this, first, you will need your own domain name and a web hosting account that buys you server space. Next, you will need to install WP on your web server. And voila! — you’re now free to use the thousands of free WP themes and plugins to make your site look and behave exactly how you want it. Heck, if you’re technically inclined, you can even build your own theme, write your own plugins, and even tinker with the WP code itself to sculpt your website.

In sum, if you don’t mind the limited options, don’t want to spend anything and would rather worry about producing blog posts than engineering what your site looks like, a free is what you need. On the other hand, if you need full a more complex site, want full control, and are willing to pay for domain and hosting, go with the WordPress content management system.

Free or paid?

The WordPress package itself is free to download, install, use and tinker with. However, in order to run your website on it, you have recurring costs in the form of a domain name (about Rs 500 a year) and hosting (Rs 1,500 upwards annually).

Basic familiarity with HTML and PHP will help you work with WP, but it is not essential. There is comprehensive documentation at that will guide you through the installation, and also help you customise and manage your site. Not to mention the support forums on where you can count on the support of other WP users and developers.

There are thousands of free (and premium) themes available to give your site its desired look. Similarly, all kinds of plugins can be added to your WP site to make it behave exactly how you want it to — for instance, you can add extra functionality like a forum, photo galleries, a specialised contact form, user stats, SEO packs, mobile features… in fact, just about anything you can think of.

If you prefer the hassle-free option of a blog but would still like to use your own domain name ( instead of, it is possible to purchase a premium upgrade. At $99 a year, it is a bit expensive, but you get advanced customisation, no ads and other features.

WordPress is a wonderfully customisable and extensible platform. Go to to see the magic that it can do.

(The author is a personal tech writer)

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