Where To Install WordPress

Learn the difference between the WordPress self-hosted and hosted options and where to install WordPress on your domain.

Decide Where To Install WordPressThis tutorial is part of our WordPress installation step-by-step training module, where we show you how to install a WordPress site or blog with no coding skills required.


If you have already planned your websiteregistered your domain name, set up your webhosting, and configured your nameservers, the next step is to decide where you are going to install your WordPress site or blog.

Where Do I Install WordPress?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make the right strategic decision for your WordPress installation.

Self-Hosted vs Hosted WordPress Site

WordPress offers both a self-hosted and a hosted option to set up a WordPress site or blog.

Self-Hosted WordPress

The self-hosted option allows you to download the full-featured WordPress application for free from WordPress.org and host a WordPress site or blog under your own domain name, with no limitations or conditions.

With the self-hosted version of WordPress:

  • Your website is hosted on your own domain
  • You can install and upload any WordPress plugin you want (free or paid), integrate your site with third-party applications, etc.
  • You can use any theme you like (free or paid)
  • You can fully edit your site
  • You can sell advertising on your site
  • You can set up an e-commerce store, membership site, forum group, etc.
  • You have complete freedom to use and modify your sites.
  • You handle your own site maintenance and security.


To learn more about why the self-hosted version of WordPress is 100% free, see these tutorials:

Hosted WordPress

WordPress will host your blog for free at WordPress.com. There are, however, limitations on what you can and can’t do if you choose to host your blog for free with WordPress.com.

With the free hosted version of WordPress:

  • WordPress.com hosts your website.
  • You get a custom WordPress.com address (e.g. yourusername.wordpress.com).
  • You cannot upload plugins of your choice.
  • You cannot upload or modify themes of your choice.
  • Hosting is free up to a limit (3GB).
  • Ads display on your site.
  • You cannot sell advertising on your site (including Google AdSense).
  • WordPress handles your site’s maintenance and security.
  • WordPress.com offers paid upgrades to access advanced features.

Below is a comparison of both WordPress options …

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

(WordPress.org vs WordPress.com)

If you plan to grow your business online using WordPress, we recommend choosing the self-hosted option. The benefits of choosing the self-hosted option (WordPress.org) outweigh those of hosting a free blog at WordPress.com. You have full control over your web presence with no limitations.

You can overcome the limitations of the free hosting option (WordPress.com) by upgrading to a paid hosted plan, but then why not just start with a WordPress site hosted on your domain name?

Self-Hosted vs Hosted WordPress – What’s Your Digital Business Strategy?

Ultimately, the choice of hosting your site on WordPress.com or using the seof-hosted option (WordPress.org) really depends on your digital business strategy.

You can host your site on WordPress.com but there are limitations to what you can do. WordPress.org gives you complete control of your website without limitations.

The difference between choosing the hosted vs self-hosted WordPress has been described as the difference between having the freedom of owning your own computer (WordPress.org – self-hosted option) and the limitations of using a computer in a controlled environment like a public library (WordPress.com – hosted option).

If all you need is a simple online presence to let people know who you are and what you do, then you may want to consider starting with WordPress.com. You can easily publish content and WordPress itself will look after the maintenance, updates, security, backups, etc. It’s kind of like setting up a business page on Facebook.

If you plan to add features to your site like set up bookings and appointments online, run lead generation campaigns and opt-in forms, etc., then you should consider self-hosted version of WordPress. You will have complete control of your digital processes and no limits to what you can do, but you will be responsible for your site’s maintenance, updates, security, backups, etc.

Useful tip

With WordPress, you can always move to the self-hosted version later (WordPress.org) and easily transfer all your data.

Even if you decide to use the self-hosted WordPress option, we still recommend setting up an account at WordPress.com. As you will see in other tutorials, having a WordPress.com account allows you to integrate additional functions that will help improve your traffic, optimize your site, and analyze your results.

Install WordPress In Root Folder Or Subfolder?

If you’ve chosen the self-hosted option, the next step is to decide where to install WordPress on your domain.

Use the chart below to help you decide …

Where are you planning to install WordPress?

(Where do you plan install WordPress?)


a) To use WordPress as your main website (e.g. www.mydomainname.com), install it in the “root” folder of your domain (i.e. the main directory). This is where people will arrive at when they type your domain name into their web browser.

b) If you have an existing website installed on your domain that you want to keep, you can either keep your existing site with a new WordPress installation, or install WordPress in a subfolder of your domain (also called a ‘subdirectory’), e.g. www.mydomainname.com/blog. You can name your subfolder anything you like.

Note: Typically most WordPress sites are installed either in the domain’s root directory or inside a subfolder of the domain. If, however, for some reason you have been advised to install WordPress in a subdomain (a subdomain looks like this: http://subdomain.domain.com) and want to know more about the difference between using a subdomain vs a subfolder, then see this tutorial: Subdomains, addon domains, and parked domains

c) If you have an existing website that you don’t want to delete or replace with a WordPress site, then your other option is to install WordPress on an entirely different domain, so that both your existing website and your WordPress site/blog show up when people enter their respective domains into their browser, e.g.:

  • www.mydomainname.com – sends visitors to your existing website.
  • www.myotherdomain.com – sends visitors to your WordPress site.

Once you have decided where to install WordPress, the next step is to create a Google Account.

Congratulations! Now you know how to set up webhosting for your WordPress website or blog.

Decide Where To Install WordPress

(Source: Shutterstock)

Click the button below to continue …

Set Up A Google Account

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Why Is WordPress Free? Uncovering Hidden Catches

This article examines some of the key licensing issues governing the free use of WordPress and whether or not there are any hidden catches with using WordPress.

Why Is WordPress Free? Uncovering Hidden Catches

Why Is WordPress Free?

In this article, we look at some of the key licensing issues governing the Free use of WordPress and examine whether or not there really are any “hidden” catches.

WordPress – Is There A Hidden Catch?

As we’ve mentioned in other articles, WordPress is 100% free to download and use. WordPress is a free and open source software, licensed under the GNU General Public License agreement …

GNU General Public License

You can install WordPress on your own domain and do whatever you like with the WordPress code. You can extend or modify WordPress however you choose and use it commercially without licensing fees or restrictions.

We also saw that WordPress is free not just in terms of price, but also in terms of the amount of control you have in using it. For example, you have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose, the freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish, the freedom to redistribute the application, and the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.

So … is there a “hidden” catch to using WordPress?

How can such a powerful software that is currently used to power millions of websites around the world—including thousands of commercial sites—be made so freely available with no hidden catches?

Let’s begin by asking the most obvious question:

Why Don’t The Creators Of WordPress Sell The Software?

As we have already explained, free open source software allows anyone to view the software’s source code and modify it. When the creators of WordPress decided to make their software available as open source software, a community of software developers began to gather around to find ways to improve it.

Because these modifications and improvements can then be freely distributed to others (who can also, in turn, modify, improve and redistribute the software code to others), WordPress itself began to evolve as its own organism.

Basically, no company or individual actually owns WordPress. WordPress is an open source community project that attracts thousands of talented programmers, who then contribute to its development, report bugs, suggest new features and vote on what the next version’s priorities are.

So … if no one actually owns the software, how does anything get done?

Well, there is a core team of WordPress developers that lead the project development, but essentially anyone can get involved in the WordPress community and begin contributing to improving the software. In fact, active participation and contribution are encouraged by the WordPress community, as this leads to the development of a more secure, robust and feature-rich application that then benefits all users. There are WordPress events like “Word Camps” and local meets all around the world, as well forums, user groups and a whole range of other opportunities made available to WordPress users to meet and exchange ideas.

Contrary to most commercial business models, the philosophy behind the Open Source software movement is that software is not like other tangible products. Once created, software can be copied over and over again with very little cost involved.

A great example that illustrates the argument put forward by the Open Source software movement which is often quoted, is that of a car parts manufacturer. Each car part has a cost to manufacture and a factory that makes car parts needs to take this and other costs, plus a reasonable profit margin into account when calculating the viability of continuing the production of its car parts. Making copies of a software program, however, does not follow the same principles as making tangible products as we’ve just described.

If an entire community participates freely in developing the software, and there is no actual cost to reproduce the software, then why should the price of acquiring a copy of the software not reflect this?

Ok … but there are still some costs, right? I mean, who is paying for the servers and domain names used by the WordPress development team, and how can they afford this if everything is free?

Great question! How can the WordPress team afford to keep things going, and who is paying for the technical costs (e.g. hardware and webhosting).

Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder and of the main developers of WordPress, owns a company called Automattic, which provides a number of blogging services, including many “freemium” services, where the basic service is free but restricted, and paid or “premium” options are available to unlock these restrictions …


One of these services is a free blog hosting service at WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which is where you can download the software to use on your own domain – this is called self-hosting).

WordPress.com is a restricted blog hosting service, where people pay to upgrade and unlock features if required. So, the core developers have the means to sustain the costs, by providing related products and services to their community of users.

As you will see below, this is exactly the approach many open source software companies adopt to make money.

How People Make Money With WordPress

Just because something is open source and free, doesn’t mean that it should be treated differently than proprietary technologies or commercial products. The key strategy behind making the software freely available is “branding”. By itself, branding doesn’t generate any money, but if done correctly, it can lead to greater visibility and a rapid growth and domination of market share. This attracts new users, which can then be converted into buyers of related products and services.

The profitable aspect of making money with any open source software, therefore, is by providing products or services built for and by people who use the same open source software.

WordPress has developed a satellite of product and service providers, all based on helping WordPress users get more benefit out of using the software. There are many successful and highly profitable businesses today that provide a range of excellent products and services catered exclusively to the WordPress market.

Some of these products and services include:

  • WordPress Web Development (e.g. WordPress site installation, web design and site management services)
  • WordPress Plugin Development
  • WordPress Theme Development
  • WordPress Web Hosting
  • WordPress Training
  • WordPress Consulting
  • WordPress Support

Many companies and individuals that started out by providing products and services in the above fields have gone on to make sustainable or even multimillion-dollar incomes, and WordPress is still growing considerably.

So … not only can you make money running a successful business built using WordPress, you can also make money running a business that helps other WordPress users. This is no different than other online revolutions, such as internet marketing, online business development, video game, music and app developments.

There are just a few other important points that need to be made regarding WordPress and the implications associated with using the software to develop commercial products and services around it.

WordPress And Copyright – Is WordPress Copyright Free?

To put it quite simply, no.

WordPress is not copyright free. WordPress is licensed under GPL (General Public License), which allows you to use, modify and redistribute the code, but you don’t have copyright to the entire code. You do have copyright over any contributions or modifications you make to the software, but GPL requires that any derivative work you release or distribute should be licensed under GPL as well.

The definition of a derivative work is as follows …

In copyright law, a derivative work is an expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work (the underlying work).

(source: Wikipedia)

This means that while you may have the copyright and the freedom to do anything you like with the code, any work that is a derivative also inherits the GPL license automatically, allowing others the freedom to use, modify, and redistribute your code however they like.

If you need to understand more about GPL and the philosophy behind open source software, see the GNU’s Philosophy.

WordPress And Trademarks

Although WordPress releases its software under GPL, the WordPress Foundation owns a number of registered trademarks, including the words WordPress and the WordPress Logo …

WordPress Logos


Note: If you are thinking of starting a WordPress-related product or service, don’t use the word “WordPress” in your domain as this is against their trademark policy covering the use of domain names.

There are other restrictions associated with the use of WordPress trademarks. Read more about the WordPress Trademark Policy.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of why WordPress is free, and how its development can continue to thrive and remain sustainable as an open source software.

To learn what costs are involved in using a WordPress-powered site, go here:

For more benefits of using WordPress, read the article below:

For useful WordPress statistics, see the tutorial below:


Most of the material used to create this article has been sourced from the official WordPress site at WordPress.org. For more details, see WordPress Philosophy.

WordPress.org Home Page

(WordPress image source: Evan Lorne / Shutterstock.com)



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