WordPress.com is where you go to use WordPress that is completely hosted for you. You don’t have to worry about anything but building your site. There is a free plan to get started with, and paid plans that offer more features. The Business plan is particularly interesting, and my guess is that most people don’t fully understand everything that it unlocks for you, so let’s dig into that.
You get straight up SFTP access to your site.
Here’s me using Transmit to pop right into one of my sites over SFTP.
What this means is that you can do local WordPress development like you normally would, then use real deployment tools to kick your work out to production (which is your WordPress.com site). That’s what I do with Buddy. (Here a screencast demonstrating the workflow.)
That means real control.
I can upload and use whatever plugins I want. I can upload and use whatever themes I want. The database too — I get literal direct MySQL access.
I can even manage what PHP version the site uses. That’s not something I’d normally even need to do, but that’s just how much access there is.
A big jump in storage.
200 GB. You’ll probably never get anywhere near that limit, unless you are uploading video, and if you are, now you’ve got the space to do it.
Backups you’ll probably actually use.
You don’t have to worry about anything nasty happening on WordPress.com, like your server being hacked and losing all your data or anything. So in that sense, WordPress.com is handling your backups for you. But with the Business plan, you’ll see a backup log right in your dashboard:
That’s a backup of your theme, data, assets… everything. You can download it anytime you like.
The clutch feature? You can restore things to any point in time with the click of a button.
Powered by a global CDN
Not every site on WordPress.com is upgraded to the global CDN. Yours will be if it’s on the Business plan. That means speed, and speed is important for every reason, including SEO. And speaking of SEO tools, those are unlocked for you on the Business plan as well.
Some of the best themes unlock at the Premium/Business plan level.
You can buy them one-off, but you don’t have to if you’re on the Business plan because it opens the door for more playing around. This Aquene theme is pretty stylish with a high-end design:
It’s only $300/year.
(Or $33/month billed monthly.)
So it’s not ultra-budget hosting, but the price tag is a lot less if you consider all the things we covered here and how much they cost if you were to cobble something together yourself. And we didn’t even talk about support, which is baked right into the plan.
Hosting, backups, monitoring, performance, security, plugins, themes, and support — toss in a free year or domain registration, and that’s a lot of website for $300.
They have less expensive plans as well. But the Business plan is the level where serious control, speed, and security kick in.
Coupon code CSSTRICKS gets you 15% off the $300/year Business Plan. Valid until the end of February 2021.