A self-hosted WordPress blog has a number of advantages over freely hosted blogs. With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you have complete control over your code, so you can implement any theme, modify it entirely, or create your own. You can add any plugin you want, and then hack the code. The application’s code is completely open, allowing you total access to modify, tweak, or explore what you want.
WordPress also has a large community of enthusiastic bloggers who help each other in forums, create and share themes and plugins, and help move the software forward with new features and better design. With such freedom, what you can do with a WordPress blog can be a bit overwhelming. The WordPress Codex (the wiki manual for WordPress) has hundreds of pages and can be daunting in scope.
The intent of this WordPress Quick Start Guide is to get you up and running with WordPress and give you a brief overview of the most important concepts and techniques. It covers the most common setup tasks you need to technically launch, configure, and manage your blog. It then lays down some concepts for more advanced theme modification.
Note: WordPress.org differs from WordPress.com in a fundamental way. WordPress.org provides WordPress software that you can download and install on the server space you rent from a web host. In contrast, WordPress.com provides free hosting for your WordPress.com blog, but restricts the themes and plugins you can implement. With WordPress.com, you have to pay extra to modify your stylesheet, and you can’t display ads or manipulate any of the code. (For more information on the difference, see WordPress.com Versus WordPress.org. Everything in this guide relates to self-hosted WordPress blogs.