Review: Best Free WordPress Hosting Sites – WordPress.com, Blogetery.com, Blogsome.com and others
I went looking for places to start experimenting with the WordPress platform for free before shelling out for full-on paid WordPress hosting [that still remains my preferred option and I'm looking into a Canadian host for this - details in an upcoming post]. Here are the results of my research into free WordPress hosting services out there on the interweb.
The only hosts that remained after ruling out defunct and ad-driven sites (see note at the end of post): Blogsome.com, WordPress.com and Blogetery.com. Read on to find out how they fare in my rating on a scale of 10.
[5/10] Blogsome – allows file edit and upload up to 1MB, has 27 themes and 10 plugins and an excellent stats view using Analog 5.32 from analog.cx. You can also edit the code using their online editor – very useful for customizing your CSS stylesheet. Blogsome doesn’t have the “Presentation” tab enabled in your blog admin site, which means you cannot play around with widgets. That’s a very big negative in my books.
[7/10] Blogetery – this is a quickly growing blog hosting site and the administrators will quickly adopt user feedback (eg. when you suggest new WordPress themes for them to enable). They already offer well over 100 different themes, which alone is a great benefit. They offer a few plugins, the best of which are Sociable and the Flickr Badge Widget. Unfortunately, they don’t yet have any sort of stats, but soon might. They also don’t have a tag cloud plugin. All in all, this is a great site and the only thing against it is the lack of stats and the fact that you won’t be getting any traffic from their front page, as this site is still a relative unkown (their rank on Alexa is 800,000 versus 2,000 for Blogsome and top 100 for WordPress.com). The only uploads they allow are directly through the post – it’s unclear what the maximum upload capacity is here. Read on for a review and rating of WordPress.com.
[8/10] WordPress.com – This is not to be confused with WordPress.org, the site for the standalone WordPress system you would install on an outside hosting account or your own web server. If you blog about popular topics, they can bring some traffic to your blog through their main page, which is listed in the top 100 most visited sites on Alexa. That’s a pretty big deal as far as I’m concerned. They allow 50 MB of uploads. You can attach a domain name you already own to your free hosting account, which is really cool. They also offer blog stats and feed stats (to see which feed readers your subscribed visitors use to read your posts) right from your admin dashboard. This service has the best plugins including a Tag Cloud for categorizing your posts and Akismet for blocking comment spam. There’s also a Snap Preview plugin for outgoing links and a number of widgets you can put on the sidebar (Box.net, Meebo, Palatial Map Kit, Sonific and Vod:pod). At the moment, they offer 56 themes to choose from for your blog. You can opt to pay them to a) be able to edit your CSS stylesheet and/or b) have more storage space (1GB or 5GB). I think the only complaints I have against them are : my blog wasn’t crawled properly by Google – maybe they are limiting GoogleBot in some way as only the main blog page got included in the index; they don’t have a random flickr plugin for the sidebar – only one that shows the newest photos; they don’t offer my favorite theme, Vistered Little .
Let’s also mention defunct blog hosting sites – as far as I can tell, blogthing.com and wpblogs.net are either inactive or no longer accept new blog registration. Another service I found, letsblogit.net, puts ads on their users’ pages. Yet another site, iblog365.com, does not allow plugins, which hinders your blogging options quite a bit, although they do have a nice choice of themes for your blog.
For now, I keep my Funcouver blog on both WordPress.com and Blogetery.com, but I’d like to soon move it entirely to WordPress.com and then to my own hosting, which I will post about soon. I hope this helped some people out there with their free WordPress hosting needs.
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