WordPress is the best blogging platform hands down. A couple of years ago people had doubt about it, but nowadays there is no doubt. But for folks who are getting started with blogging, choosing the right WordPress version may be a bit complicated. WordPress comes in four versions:
- WordPress.com (hosted by WordPress)
- WordPress Self-Host (you can host it yourself)
- WordPress Mu (you can host multiple blogs with it).
- WordPress VIP
WordPress.com version of WordPress is the same version that you get from WordPress.org, but it is hosted on WordPress.com. The domain that you get will be a WordPress domain, and there will be restrictions. For instance, you will have to pay to edit the CSS and you can’t change things and move files around as easily as you could with self-hosted WordPress.
The self-host version of WordPress can be downloaded and installed on your server. You can get a web hosting service from DreamHost or GoDaddy, and put the files on your account, and install it in less than 5 minutes. This is the best option to choose if you want to have more control over your blog and avoid paying premium fees to WordPress.
WordPress Mu is similar to the previous version, but allows folks to sign up and create their own blogs on your server. This is very useful if you want to create blog networks. The challenge with WordPress Mu is server resources. If you own your super server, then you can use WordPress Mu to create killer communities, but a normal hosting plan can make WordPress Mu slow and painful for your bloggers.
WordPress realized a while back that there may be a need for VIP hosting for folks who decide to stay with WordPress.com. The WordPress VIP is not open to everyone, and you’ve got to be a celebrity in the blogging world or someone like Anderson Cooper to get your hands on the service. But if you are lucky enough to get accepted to this program, you get promoted in the blog of the day part of WordPress.com, and WordPress does promote you on their publishers blog as well. Obviously, you will have to abide by requirements set by WordPress folks, but the traffic that you get with VIP promotions could be monumental.
I personally recommend going with a self-hosted version of WordPress right from the start. If you feel intimated by the whole process of getting your own hosting account and installing things, you can try WordPress.com, but at the end of the day, if you want to be a superstar blogger, you should definitely host your blog yourself. The next step for superstars is getting a couple of servers and moving away from shared hosting, but that is way down the line (when you have a real business going with your blog).