In a post I wrote last December (What is a web host) I explained what a web host is, what a server is, what a database is, and what a theme is. And I explained that WordPress.com is a platform built on a web host owned by Automattic. It runs on a version of WordPress that is close to but slightly different to the WordPress one can use to built a self-hosted site.
Automattic is unusual among web hosts in that it lets people rent space to run a WordPress site for free. It also charges users if they want certain things over and above the basic package, but essentially it is free to its users.
Most web hosts allow users to build sites on various platforms on their servers. Automattic is slightly unusual in that it only allows one platform, namely WordPress.
Paid Plans On WordPress.com
Back in early 2019, under the title X Reasons To Consider A Business Plan on WordPress.com, I looked at the advantages of upgrading to a paid plan on WordPress.com.
One of the main advantages is that they take care of all the security issues that protect your site from hackers. That is also true with the Free plan, but the paid plans come with more benefits. Even with the cheapest paid plan you can, for example, add a Pay button to your site. And with the business plan you can open a complete store.
Even then there are people who want to host their site on a web host of their choosing, or self-hosted as it is called. I do, as have literally millions of others.
In fact I do both. I have this site on a paid plan here on WordPress.com and also a couple of basic Free sites. And I have several self-hosted sites, including a store.
Choosing A Web Host
Choosing a good web host is important because it doesn’t matter how well you safeguard your site if the web host allows people to hack into it ‘over your head’ as it were.
The business of choosing a web host becomes much more serious if you are opening a store. You have customers paying you money, and you want and need to make sure that the web host you are with has everything in place to protect your site at the server level above your site installation.
I wrote about why we chose the web host we use, and how we researched web hosts. Researching web hosts is not as straightforward as you might think, because it takes a bit of digging to find a reputable review site.