WordPress is the easiest to use and popular CMS platform to build a website. You might know there are two different platforms of WordPress is available, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Even those who know that they are two different platforms but are not aware of the differences between them. In this article, we will compare WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, their key differences and the pros, and cons of each.
We’ll take things much more in-depth later in the post. But let’s start with the basics.
The Basics of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org:
- WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress and is the actual open-source WordPress platform that anyone can download and use. You have to purchase your own domain name, web hosting to get the full control over everything.
- WordPress.com is known as the “website as a service” implementation built on the WordPress.org platform. WordPress.com hosts your site and handles everything for you with some expense.
Let’s explore some of the major differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org a little bit further.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Infographic
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pricing
When you’re going to choose a platform, first of all, you’ll start your decision by thinking about your budget. While both WordPress.com and WordPress.org comes with the option to add expenses, like premium services and support.
WordPress.com allows you to build your website for free. You can place your site under a subdomain, rather than paying for your own domain. Additionally, you can’t remove the WordPress.com ads from your business website. This makes it much harder to grow your business.
Additionally, the .com service only gives you a limited disk space of 3GB. You won’t be able to use this platform to convert a blog or website. Additionally, you can install any premium plugins or themes that aren’t included with this blogging platform.
If you decide that you do want to run a commercial website with the .com platform, you’ll need to either switch to the .org solution or pay for a premium plan. On average, the cost is around $111/year to run a commercial WordPress.com site.
On the other hand, If you want to launch your website/online store through WordPress.org, you can launch it for much less. Unlike the free WordPress.com option, WordPress.org comes with choosing a hosting plan from a hosting provider. You can avail hosting for as low as $2.95/month from Bluehost or $2.75/month from HostGator. There are also different hosting providers out there for your WordPress.org website. You can select the hosting plan that appeals most to you.
The main advantage is that when you pay for hosting for your own domain, you’ll often get access to a free domain name for the first year or so too. This can also keep the price of running your online store very low. Many hosting providers are installing WordPress on your behalf.
Price comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress indicated WordPress.org is the winner.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: How to Create Website
The most important thing to note about WordPress.org vs WordPress.com is that both tools make it very easy to create your own website. As long as you choose a basic business plan and you know what you want to do with your site, you can set up your online site and running it quite easily.
With WordPress.com, creating a new website is very simple like creating an account. No need to move around with hosting or domains:
Within a few minutes, you can choose the subdomain for your website.
With WordPress.org, it isn’t quite as simple as just creating an account. But, because of self-hosted WordPress, the process is still pretty beginner-friendly nowadays.
Basically, you’ll need to get your own:
- A Domain name and
- Web host
Then, you can install the self-hosted WordPress.org platform on your own host. You can also include SEO plugins like Yoast, and Google Analytics to track your web performance.
At a glance, creating a website with WordPress.com though easier but customization is not easier.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Flexibility
Although you don’t have to worry about things like WordPress installation and CSS with your WordPress.com website but there is a significant drawback. Your free WordPress.com website will not allow you to customize the appearance or performance of your website in the same way as WordPress.org. You’ll have to go with the free themes and tools that are already available. The amount of flexibility you’ll have in terms of design and customization will totally depend on the plan you choose.
The free plans from WordPress.com come with access to 150+ themes. Alternatively, with Premium and Business plans, you can access all free themes and more than 200 premium themes. With all those options, you will be able to find a custom design that works for your website.
You will not be able to install plugins unless you’re on the Business or eCommerce plans. Only if you upgrade to the higher-paid plans then you can access the pre-approved plugins available on WordPress.
If you look at the WordPress.org, you will find a huge variety of additional customization options. First, you can choose from more than 7,500 free themes found in the official WordPress.org directory to build and customize your site. You can also install any other free or premium themes.
WordPress.org is more flexible when it comes to plugins and add-ons too. You will get eCommerce plugin like WooCommerce, dropshipping tools, you can install anything that you want to like.
By default, you’ll get access to 50,000+ plugins that you can access. Additionally, you can also install thousands of other plugins from around the web.
Flexibility comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress indicated WordPress.org is the winner.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Security
With WordPress.com, you just don’t need to think about security. Because the system is fully secured, you don’t have the authority to make your site vulnerable.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is just as secure as WordPress.com. But…as an Administrator you’re responsible for implementing that security.
It’s not very difficult – your hosting provider can help you and WordPress security plugins can do most of the rest for you.
Security comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress indicated it is tie.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and Cons
- Free to use for maximum 3GB of storage space
- Easy to use and quick for building a blogging website
- Excellent range of themes
- Good customer support and security options
- Regular backups or updates
- The Jetpack plugin can help you access additional functionality
- WordPress.com places its own ads on your website.
- You can’t convert your content or sell anything unless you upgrade to a high-paid premium plan.
- It is not possible to install your own plugins or themes.
- You have very few customization options.
- You’ll need to use a WordPress subdomain, rather than your own domain name.
- You can’t run any membership websites.
- Free and easy to use platform
- You can easily customize your design and website performance as needed
- You can monetize your blog or website or online store by running your own ads
- It is free to run an eCommerce store or membership site
- Many powerful tools are available to track your site’s performance
- You can choose your own domain name
- You have more options to choose themes and plugins
- You’ll have to find and pay for your own web hosting and domain name.
- You will be responsible for installing your preferred themes and plugins.
- You’ll responsible for all of your own backups and security.
Which Option Should You Choose?
In the end, self-hosted WordPress.org is the best option for most websites. Its flexibility when it comes to installing extensions and changing functionality makes it superior to WordPress.com. If you have a site with WordPress.com, you can easily migrate to WordPress.org.
But, you will have to pay more attention to updates and security. With that being said, WordPress.com definitely can be used. If you just want a blog site and/or don’t mind about sacrificing flexibility in return for ease of use, WordPress.com is still a solid option.
Additionally, the Business plan of WordPress.com is blending the traditional line between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.