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What can you do with wordpress.com

As of late August, wordpress.com is still under beta testing and a few invites have been handed out to people inviting them to test drive the new site. When it gets up and running, it will be very exciting. But for now, what can you do, or not do, with your WordPress.com site?

Basically, almost anything you want. There are some limitations. Let’s start with the “things you can do” list.

What can you do with wordpress.com?

The wordpress.com site is run by the amazing WordPress MU designed to be run on a single site with multiple users blogging on their own individual site. While it can be used to set up multiple blogs on an individual’s site, it is really designed for the corporate company or host server to manage hundreds, even thousands of WordPress sites. It is powered by WordPress 1.6 alpha, which means it is still under development.

With wordpress.com you can set up a working blog within seconds. No more dealing with setting up the database and running install – all that work is done for you. You just sign in with your user name and password.

To set it up, go into Users and Options and set up your user profile with the Blog site name and your author and contact information. Then switch easily to the Presentation panel to choose from the various Themes. Then click WRITE and write your first post wordpress 1.6 upload paneland you are now officially a blogger.

You can write about anything you want, though some people are choosing to write about WordPress, since it is in the URL, but you can write about any topic.

You can upload images, though you are limited, right now, to a total of 15 megabytes. That’s plenty for thumbnails and low resolution images to get you started. When you upload the image, you get a choice to resize the saved image as it is or with two different “thumbnail” sizes or a custom size. When you upload the file, the link to the file is provided to copy and paste into your post.

WordPress 1.6 manage panelYou can easily set up categories and post now or set the posts to publish in the future, just as you can with the traditional WordPress. In fact, a lot of what you can do is similar to what you can do with WordPress 1.5, just with a slightly different looking interface, but nothing that is dramatically different. For the most part, WordPress users are going to really love the new interface and adapt quite easily. It’s cleaner and, in many ways, easier to use.

WordPress 1.6 WYSIWYG write post dynamic editorThe new WYSIWYG HTML editor is available which basically allows you to see a semi-formatted view of what you are writing. You can see the font styles and the images, but currently, they reflect a simple HTML layout rather than your Theme. Some Theme CSS styles may be incorporated in the future, I hope.

You can choose from the WYSIWYG Dynamic Editing screen or choose the HTML version which is what WordPress users are more accustomed to. With the Dynamic Editing, you can see the image in the editing window when you add it. You can click on it and move it around or change the properties. When you add the image, you are given the option of adding its positioning on the page, which is a very nice addition. Links look like links and headings look like headings.

The Post Preview is still there and it currently is the same view as the traditional WordPress version, keeping to a simple non-styled layout with the images so you can read through easily to look for grammar and spelling errors.

There are some very sweet new features that will be awesome once they are finalized, and so there is much to look forward to in the new version, but for now, let’s focus on what you can, and can’t, do on wordpress.com.

The focus for WordPress has always been to concentrate the user on the content, not the code underneath, and this is what the new version does. It keeps your eye on the prize, the writing and images, so you can blog to your heart’s content and start putting your new WordPress site to the test.

What can you NOT do with wordpress.com?

Until WordPress 1.6 becomes more stable, then there will be few limits to what you can do. As with any early software version under development, bugs are found and fixed as part of the testing and development. So not all of the functions and features you may be accustomed to using in WordPress will be available.

And because wordpress.com is still a test site for WordPress MU, there are limits on what you can do, too.

It begins with a 15 megabyte limit on images. The File Upload panel keeps a running total of the amount of hard drive storage space you have left. Since the images associated with the WordPress Theme are not part of that total, this is the limit for the files you add to the site. Images exceeding 300K will not be permitted. Since typical website images run less than 60K for fast loading, then this isn’t a problem. If you are determined to have a photoblog on wordpress.com, the free blog site will not be enough for you. For everyone else, it’s plenty.

You are limited to only a few tested Themes, the ones found at WordPress Extend Themes. Once you have chosen a Theme, you can’t tweak it or change it. That might be available in the future, but for now, you pick the Theme and live with the design. They are top quality designs, and some are award winners from the recent Theme contests, but it’s annoying to want to change just one little thing and you can’t. I’d sure just like the ability to change the header image.

Currently, the blogroll is totally set by wordpress.com and while you can add to it, the Links Manager panel is still undergoing development and editing and deleting on the Links list is still under construction.

As the underlying programming code continues development, the pages change from day to day with the new versions. One day there were two quicktag rows of buttons, one for HTML and one for Dynamic Editing, and the next there were none.

This is part of the “fun” of watching the program develop. There are all kinds of surprises, some good and some annoying, during the process. Still, from the look of things, this is going to be awesome.

So, what can and can’t you do with your wordpress.com site? Anything you want and tomorrow, you might be able to do even more.

UPDATE: wordpress.com users got a bonus recently. The 15 megs of server storage space has been increased to 25 megs. That’s not a lot for a full blown photoblog, but it is more than plenty for just about everything else. Also, all usage of javascript, CSS, and some HTML tags within the post area have been disabled. This is only for wordpress.com sites. If you are using a WordPressMU driven site, the hosts may allow the use of javascript, CSS, and all or some HTML tags. It’s up to the host. The reason given is that javascript and some tags open the site up to security risks which may be outside the control of the host server, which carries some responsiblity for what you do on your blog, as well as for the other bloggers on the site. WordPressMU is about multiple users using one core program, not multiple versions of the program.


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37 Comments

  1. Posted August 23, 2005 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for a remarkably informative post. I’ve heard some things about wordpress.com and piecing together the fragments I had some idea but your post is probably the best I’ve come across.

    I hope the work on wordpress.com will enable WP1.6 to be multi-user as standard.

  2. Posted August 23, 2005 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Great post, very informative. I’m excited!

  3. Posted August 23, 2005 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    My main question is — what will you be able to do with wordpress.com that you can’t do with blogger.com? Why would someone choose wordpress.com over blogger.com?

    (I’m curious, not trying to sound snotty.)

  4. Posted August 23, 2005 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Great article. Most detailed so far. Thanks for getting us WP geeks all worked up!

  5. Posted August 23, 2005 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ve not used blogger, so tell us what cool features you like with blogger and then I’ll tell you how it compares with wordpress.com. Healthy competition in blogging tools only benefits the users, so if one is better than the other – just wait for the upgrade. ;-)

  6. Posted August 24, 2005 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    what will you be able to do with wordpress.com that you can’t do with blogger.com? Why would someone choose wordpress.com over blogger.com?

    because wordpress is better! I guess you’re using wordpress too and yet can you compare it to blogger and you also can imagine how it is on wordpress.com

    I’m just glad that i can blog on my own host.

  7. Posted August 24, 2005 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    It does sound a bit better than Blogger. However, my favorite part of WordPress is that I can tweak anything I want, however I want. This seems like a good way to provide a middle ground between Blogger’s limited functionality and WordPress’ powerful flexibility that really requires a good bit of skill to tweak to the maximum.

  8. Posted August 24, 2005 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much Lorell for an outstanding overview of this up-and-coming service. I know our business blogging students will be thrilled with an option that is based on the robust structure of WordPress, while requiring no database creation/management.

    Keep up the great work!

  9. Posted August 27, 2005 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the article. Now I know more about wordpress.com. All I need now is a wordpress account :)

  10. Posted September 19, 2005 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Lorelle, now I know why certain things are happening. Good gear.

  11. Posted October 3, 2005 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I still cant see where it says how much space for photos i have left…i havent uploaded any yet, but i thought i could still see my limit is 25 mb, help?

  12. Posted October 3, 2005 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    The developers are playing around with the new Image Upload feature found now in the Write Post Panel. Some days it lists the remaining storage space, and other days it’s gone. I expect it will be back soon as they continue to develop this feature. Stay tuned.

  13. educationforministry
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    How do I add my google adsense links to my new wordpress.com blog?

  14. Posted October 6, 2005 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    As far as I have been able to figure out, you can’t. Besides, wordpress.com is free. Get your own domain with your free full version of WordPress and advertise everything to the world.

  15. Posted October 10, 2005 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    the world’s a better place with another blog opportunity ô¿ô

  16. Posted October 12, 2005 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle,
    Thanks for the very informative post. I had applied for the wordpress.com account. But I have yet to get an invite. I am eagerly waiting for someone to send me an invite so I could transfer my blog here.

    At present I blog on Blogger.com account which has a few limitations. And I like wordpress more.

    Ravi

    linuxhelp.blogspot.com

  17. Posted October 27, 2005 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The only time i’ve used wordpress is through wordpress.com

    I was allowed a blog due to my “beta testing” of the browser flock.

    I haven’t quite found a focus with my blog yet though.

    Heh.

  18. Posted November 11, 2005 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    regarding the themes – what theme is scoble at http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/ using ?

  19. Posted November 13, 2005 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for Scoble, Matt customized his wordpress.com theme per request. I feel it is VERY unfair to everyone else, but then the traffic and attention he brings in might justify such special consideration.

    Other WordPressMU driven sites offer many different Themes to choose from. And the hosts are going bonkers as most of these WordPress Themes weren’t designed with WordPressMU in mind, so they are fixing themes as fast as they can. It is very time consuming.

    WordPress.com is the core alpha test site for WordPressMU and so to keep the testing environment “controlled”, they’ve limited the Theme choices to just what has been fairly thoroughly tested. This means bug reports are about the program and not CSS or Theme related for the most part.

  20. Posted November 16, 2005 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Lorelle: I have a side-question. I really like the formatting you have for yr technorati & site search tags. How did you create that?

    Someone at the WP forum recommended Ultimate tags & I installed it (I see you’re using it too–here or at yr wordpress.org blog?). But I’m having trouble figuring out how to get it to produce the external (Delicious/Technorati) tags.

    Also, I’d like the Tech. tags to display separately fr. the site search tags (as you’ve done). If you have any suggestions, I’d be interested to hear.

  21. Posted November 17, 2005 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I have no formatting for my tags. They are simply in a paragraph code since I can’t do any styles in wordpress.com. It matches the content text of the whole Theme which can be found in the style sheet. I just bolded the titles. Nothing special.

    I am not using any plugins with this site as wordpress.com doesn’t allow any plugins other than the few they have installed for spam and such. I do this manually and explain it in this post on A Tagging Bookmarklet for wordpress.com users. If you are using the full version of WordPress, then I highly recommend The Ultimate Tag Warrior WordPress Plugin.

    Thanks for asking.

  22. Posted January 6, 2006 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I have no formatting for my tags. They are simply in a paragraph code since I can’t do any styles in wordpress.com. It matches the content text of the whole Theme which can be found in the style sheet. I just bolded the titles. Nothing special.

  23. Posted January 20, 2006 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    My main question is — what will you be able to do with wordpress.com that you can’t do with blogger.com? Why would someone choose wordpress.com over blogger.com?

  24. Posted January 20, 2006 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of people who have answered that question all over the net, but it seems to sum up to the following, though always debatable:

    1. Distinctive choices in Themes (layout/design) so no uniform “blogger” look.

    2. WordPress power, support, and community.

    3. Friendly interface.

    4. Easy comment handling.

    5. Top notch comment spam controls and prevention.

    6. Why not?

    A lot of people compared Typepad to WordPress.com during the first release, but I think that Blogger is just as much of a competitor as Typepad. So you have choices. Try them and see which one works for you.

  25. Julian Rodriguez
    Posted February 18, 2006 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    you can’t use iframes, so you can’t put google videos or castpost or whatever goes on iframes or flash.

    the way i see it, blogger is much more customizable than wordpress.com accounts, and it allows a lot more html editing and tweaking…. still, i like wordpress, i just don’t find wordpress.com too comfortable for the moment.

  26. Posted February 18, 2006 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Reality is that if you want to tweak, get the free full version of WordPress. There are many hosting services which offer it preinstalled ready to go, and you can also get your own hosted site and install the free full version and tweak it to infinity.

    But if you like what WordPress.com has to offer, you have to understand that it is still a test site for WordPressMU, and you should know that you can now use Google Videos and You Tube Videos. According to this WordPress.com Support Forum post, all you have to do is enter in the static URL of the MP3 podcast, which is probably off-site. Have you tried uploading an MP3 file with the image upload? And there are places where you can store files online (off WordPress.com) for free or little money, like podcasts, and just include a link to the file in your WordPress.com blog.

    As the security around and within WordPressMu is developed, it will become easier to add these features without risking everyone in the WordPress.com community. Remember, you are just one of almost 100,000 people blogging on one server and one WordPressMU software program all out of one database. Boggles the mind.

  27. Posted September 21, 2006 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing these posts with us. Much appreciated …
    KL

  28. Posted December 5, 2006 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    hi, this is a really useful read especially for newbies. thanks for writing this one.

  29. Posted December 31, 2006 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, WordPressMu is VERY easy to use but some of the new plugins for wordpress 2.0 dont work with it:(

  30. Posted January 6, 2007 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    It\’s Incredible about the power of Internet and blog. wordpress Blogs never ceases to amaze me. People write with such energy and passion. I really enjoyed visiting your site. Good blog and I intend to visit again!.

  31. Posted May 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle thanks for all the great info and I look forward to learning more from you,
    I really love WordPress and thankfull for such a wonderfull Tool.

  32. Diane
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Will I ever understand how this all works. Initially it was a web page, but now it’s blogging and even picture blogging and social networking. At least there are plenty of places to find information re WordPress.com and how to use it.

  33. Posted October 8, 2008 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    @ Diane:

    Sorry the evolution of the web is confusing. It’s actually pretty easy. You want to share your thoughts with the world, you choose which option is the right one for you and start sharing.

    You want to start a business, you have to learn how business works in today’s environment and economy. Then it’s a matter of catch-up for those in business for a while. :D But you can do it.

  34. doad
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    @Martin : scoble at http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/ is using THESIS wordpress theme.

  35. mosshead
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Well, I first signed up in may, and it is now October, I desperately want to find a reasonably priced and user friendly way to show my art on the net. I have noted above the restrictions on space for anyone wanting to use a lot of images, but maybe thats been improved? Having been chronically ill for a long time, I don’t have a lot of spare energy,but there is something about this whole project, that makes me feel I am going down the right road, it’s just going to to take me a lot longer than most if not all of you guys! Even the people describing themselves as new seem to be pretty well up on the lingo already, I keep finding myself spending ages whether to press or not to press. I hope I will find patience here as well as help and knowledge, that certainly is the case with Lorelles work here, so thanks! and good luck to all.

  36. Mz.Diva
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    THX FOR UR HELP

  37. Felica
    Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    I have been training a class and now we are considering this particular subject matter over the following few days.
    I’ll be directing my college pupil to check out your posting permanently info I have already been meaning to publish something such as this on my internet site and you’ve got provided me a concept.


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