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Toolbox Tuesdays: The Difference Between and

November 7, 2017

As you’ve been looking at building your website, you’ve likely come across both and and now you’re wondering, what’s the difference? The biggest difference between and is who is hosting your site. With, YOU host your site – or you can host it with a third party like BlueHost. With, they host the site for you. There are pros and cons of both options. It really comes down to what you’re trying to do and how much control you want.

Pros to Using

  • You own your domain name. This means your URL will be without anything else. This helps search engines find you and makes your web address easier for others to remember.
  • Lots of flexibility. You can download plugins for additional functionality and customize features, include editing the PHP code behind your site. Basically, you make and it look however you want and have any special features and functions you can dream up.

Cons to Using

  • More money. If you’re on a budget, you may not want to pay for the cost of a domain name and a hosting service.
  • More work. That built-in flexibility does mean more work on the design front. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself and you’re not planning to outsource the work to a firm like Meredith Communications, you may feel a bit overwhelmed.

Pros to Using

  • It’s free! For blogs and other sites, a free site may be the perfect fit. If you stick with the free option, you will have as part of your domain name. You can opt for a premium upgrade that will remove this.
  • Still able to customize. While you can’t build in functionality or download plugins with the same way you can with, you can still customize your site with a huge selection of themes.

Cons to Using

  • You’re stuck with what they give you. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can’t add any other functionality. You’re also locked into using the themes they provide you, rather than being able to upload custom themes.
  • Unless you opt for a premium upgrade, your web address will include as part of it, making it harder to remember and less likely to be noticed by search engines.

For help designing and building a truly custom site, contact Meredith Communications for a free initial consultation.


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