What are the benefits or having a domain, instead of a WordPress.com subdomain?

When we say, “domain” vs a WordPress.com “sub domain”, we mean that a site has a unique domain name that is registered (like a lease not like owning a home).  The domain name will often look like:

http://       YourUniqueDomainName      .com/.me/.co/.biz/.org    etc.

that is different than the free sub domain that WordPress.com will give you as soon as you setup a blog there.  A WordPress.com sub domain name will look like:
http://       YourUniqueSubDomainName   .WordPress     .com

In the second case, WordPress.com OWNS the sub domain, you do not.  They allow you to use it as long as you follow their rules.  These are not tough rules, but they are not your own and in some cases, if you break those rules, WordPress.com will delete your account.  (I am a big fan of WordPress.com.  But it is THEIR system and THEIR rules, you follow them (for free) or leave.)

So the benefits of having your own domain are many.  More than can be written in an FAQ, but there are 2 big ones.

  1. You control your domain, you pay the registration bill, and no one can take it away from you if you keep paying (if you follow the law)
  2. You build a brand around that domain and if you ever need to move your content somewhere else, to any other system, add on to it, add a store or a directory or a learning site or advertise or sell stuff or anything, you can move your existing site to a new provider (away from WordPress.com) and you can keep the same unique domain name.
    1. vs if you keep using a free sub domain name, you cannot keep using that sub domain name if you move away from WordPress.com.  The content on the site is yours, but not the location, the website address.

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