Limitations with WordPress.com

WordPress.com provides some great functionality, but for security and performance reasons, they have had to disable a number of features on the WordPress software provided through the service. While these limitations are not fatal, they can be annoying if not kept in mind during the content development process. Thankfully, there are workarounds.


50MB upload limit

WordPress.com limits the space available for uploads to 50MB. They would really like it if you just paid for an “upgrade” to access more drive space – it’s not expensive, but there are other options.

  • pay WordPress.com $20US per year to get 1GB of upload space
  • use separate file upload services, including (but not limited to):
    • DivShare.com (all file types)
    • OurMedia.org (all media file types)
    • Flickr.com (free or subscription-based – photos and images only)
    • YouTube.com (free, video only, up to 10 minutes in length)
    • Google Video (free, video only, any length)

No Custom CSS

You aren’t able to modify the CSS to change things like fonts, colours, or images used by the theme. This is generally not an issue, but if that level of customizability becomes necessary, a WordPress.com upgrade is available which allows custom CSS for $15US per year.


Limited filetypes allowed for uploading

For security reasons, WordPress.com only allows uploading of files using the following extensions (and there is no workaround, except for using an alternate file hosting service for those files).

  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .png
  • .gif
  • .pdf
  • .doc
  • .ppt

Limited media embedding

WordPress.com will remove the object and embed HTML elements from content, meaning you can’t just paste a media service’s “embed this” code to place a video or other piece of media within a page or blog post on WordPress.com. Both YouTube and Google Video are supported via a custom embed format, as well as some other services via VodPod.


No Custom Themes

Users are not allowed to edit their themes, nor may they add a new custom theme to the service. There is no workaround, while using the WordPress.com service.


No Custom Modules

See above. No workaround.


Portability

Even if you get started using WordPress.com and outgrow its limitations, it’s not the end of the world. Your website is completely portable! WordPress offers an export/import function, meaning you can pack up your stuff, move to your own server, and import it there. There’s no lock-in, aside from the URL used to access the site.

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