If you’re new to WordPress, you might be wondering about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms.
Often beginners confuse WordPress.com and WordPress.org, which leads them to choose the wrong blogging platform for their blog.
WordPress is the household that powers over a third of the internet.
Since choosing the right platform is crucial for your online success, we have created a comprehensive comparison of free WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (self-hosted version).
If you just want to start a blog or make a website the RIGHT way, then you can skip this article and head over to our guides here:
Having said that, let’s dive in and take a look at the differences between self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
The one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all of the hostings for you. You don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server.
With WordPress.org, You host your own blog or website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted content management system (CMS), which means you’ll need to download the software onto your computer and source your own web hosting
WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform which means you’ll need to source your own hosting. Don’t be put off by this – it’s actually very easy to do. Once you sign up for a hosting plan, Providers like Bluehost then enable you to download WordPress.org with just one click. It is open-source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting.
Below are the pros and cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org to build your website or blog.
With WordPress.org, you host your own site (we recommend this). You are free to do anything you want and customize it as much as you need. Here are some of the benefits of using WordPress.org:
There are a very few cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org site. Here are some of the disadvantages of using WordPress.org:
The real cost of WordPress.org website varies based on what you are trying to build (portfolio website, simple blog, eCommerce store, membership site). There are also other factors like free plugins vs premium plugins, free templates vs premium templates.
Our recommendation is always to use WordPress.org. See our guide on how to start a website.
With WordPress.com, on the other hand, it’s WordPress.com that takes care of all of this for you (easier to start, less freedom).
WordPress.com is a blogging platform. It uses the same WordPress software as WordPress.org, but is hosted for you and operates more as a website builder.
Everything you need to create a blog is built-in to WordPress.com, although you can install extra plugins to help make your site more advanced.
This platform is a good choice for hobby bloggers and those starting a blog for their family.
The WordPress.com hosting service has 5 plans:
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of WordPress.com.
Here are some of the benefits of using WordPress.com:
There are several limitations of free WordPress.com which differentiate it from WordPress.org. Here are some of the disadvantages of using WordPress.com:
WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To unlock some of the more advanced features, you have to be on the Business plan ($300 per year) or on the VIP plan ($5000 per month).
Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions regarding WordPress.com vs WordPress.org below:
While there’s no definitive answer to this question (it really depends on your needs), WordPress.org is the bigger and more powerful platform. You can install premium themes and plugins, have complete creative control, and perhaps most importantly, actually own your own website.
While you can get several advanced features with the WordPress.com Business plan ($300 / year), you can make that money go much further on a self-hosted WordPress site which costs $46 per year.
The best way to think about the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org it is like renting a house vs. owning a house.
WordPress.com is similar to renting a house. You have limited power and control over what you can and cannot do. You can’t do anything that you want.
WordPress.org is like owning a house. Where you have full control, no one can kick you out, and you can do anything that you want.
WordPress.com does not allow you to run ads on free WordPress.com websites. If you run a high traffic website, then you can join their own WordAds program and share your ad revenue with WordPress.com.
Simple display ads and affiliate marketing can be done more easily and effectively on WordPress.com
Basically, you have very limited options to monetize content on your WordPress.com website.
Yes! First, you’ll need to find a hosting provider for WordPress.org. Then, you can simply export your WordPress.com site under settings, and import it to your new website through an importer plugin. This is recommended if you feel like you’ve outgrown WordPress.com, or want more creative control.
WordPress.com also offers an eCommerce plan starting at $540 per year which is a hefty amount if you are just getting started. It is still limited in terms of features and you’ll have to follow WordPress.com’s terms of services for your eCommerce store.
WordPress.org offers the easiest way to build an eCommerce website. You can use WooCommerce to build your store or choose from many other WordPress eCommerce and membership plugins.
See our guide on how to start an online store without a high budget.
To start a self-hosted WordPress website, you need a domain name and WordPress hosting.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet such as google.com, aimworldgroup.com. Web hosting is where your website files are stored on the internet.
We recommend using Bluehost for hosting your website because they are one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. They’re also an official WordPress.org recommended hosting provider. Last but not least, they’re offering our users a free domain + 60% off on hosting.
For step by step instructions, you can check out our free guide on how to make a website.
Firstly, it’s definitely preferable to go for a provider that offers WordPress-specific hosting. After that, things like one-click installs and automated updates for WordPress software and plugins should be top priorities. Then you have more general things, such as uptime, SSL security, and bandwidth.
You Should Use WordPress.com If…
You’re slightly less tech-savvy and want an all-in-one solution. It’s perfect for personal blogging sites, and you don’t care about making money from your website and can even be a great option for small businesses who may need a bit of help, but ultimately want control over their own website.
You Should Use WordPress.org If…
You know how to code (not a must) or have the budget to employ a web developer. You can build any site imaginable – nothing is off-limits. You’ll also own your own website, so there’s no risk of it being taken down. There’s no doubting WordPress.org is the more powerful and advanced option.
If you are a business or a blogger that wants to make money from your site, then we recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want.
Our hope is that you found this article helpful in understanding the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
We wish you all the best with your website and hope that you chose the right platform: WordPress.org.
If so, you may want to follow our guide on Proven Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to increase your blog traffic.
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