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WordPress.com VS WordPress.org - Which Should You Choose

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org – Which Should You Choose

WordPress.com VS WordPress.orgFor customers new to the world of WordPress, many of them get confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. So, what’s the difference? In brief, WordPress.com is a fully hosted website which allows users to focus on the content, but it handles the rest for them. On the other hand, WordPress.org is a community where users can get a free WordPress application to install on their own servers.

WordPress is an awesome blogging tool and a powerful content management system developed by and for people. Thousands of persons coming from all over the world plunge into its development. And it also serves millions of websites from personal blogs, individual websites to portals and business websites. At present, it is popular for powering more than 60 million websites worldwide, and approximately 25% new websites of the world starting with it.

There are two ways that you can get access to WordPress, starting at free site on WordPress.com. Or, you can start at the self-hosted website by getting a free software on WordPress.org and installing it on a web server. Therefore, before starting, you should clarify the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Here, we come out this comparison of WordPress.com VS WordPress.org to help you guys have a better understanding for them and pick up the right choice easily.

Rating WordPress.com WordPress.org
Hosting Full-Hosted Self-Hosted
Domain Name yourdomain.wordpress.com www.yourdomain.com
WordPress Software No Yes
Cost 2 of 5 4 of 5
Monetization 2 of 5 5 of 5
Themes & Plugins 3 of 5 5 of 5
Ease of Use 5 of 5 4 of 5
Maintenance 5 of 5 3 of 5


WordPress.com is a commercial website built with WordPress core. It allows users to freely host their websites on it with some limitations, or they can pay extra money to upgrade. It handles the setup of the WordPress software, and manages and maintains the web servers so that users just need to pay attention to their website content. On the other hand, users cannot access to the servers and don’t have full control of their websites.


WordPress.org is the official community of the open source software WordPress. It is the place where you can download a free WordPress software, find WordPress news, gain thousands of free themes and plugins, and get documentation or forums support. In addition, it is also the place to go if you want to involve to the development of WordPress, including the core, UI, themes, plugins, meta, mobile, support, and more.

Cost – Both Have Optional Choices

Before starting a website, cost is the top concern of many users, especially who have less budgets. Though WordPress is the completely free open source software, you cannot have a WordPress site really for free.

WordPress.com can be less expensive if you use a subdomain of wordpress.com and choose their free themes which don’t allow many modifications. However, if you want to have a custom website with your own domain name, larger than 3 GB storage and no ads, you need to pay extra money.

  • Custom domain name – $13 per year
  • Large storage – $19.9 per year for 10 GB and $200 per year for 200 GB
  • No Ads – $30 per year

If you want to have a self-hosted WordPress site, you can purchase a web hosting and install WordPress on it. For this, you need to pay $10/yr averagely for a domain name and $7/mo normally for a hosting account. However, if going with BlueHost WordPress hosting, you can cost $2.95/mo to get an account along with a free domain name, $100 Google AdWords credits, $50 Facebook Ad credits and $50 Twitter Ad credits.

So, by comparison, if you want to have a full-featured website with you own domain name, unlimited storage and no forced advertising, WordPress.com can be quite expensive. For using the application from WordPress.org, you’d better choose an affordable host.

Flexibility & Limitation – WordPress.org Wins

For beginners, the flexibility and limitation of both WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not very obvious. However, for users who want to run business websites or make money from their sites, there are some differences that should be taken into consideration.

There are many limitations on WordPress.com.

  • Limited themes. There are only 208 themes available on WordPress.com, and one third is charged. As well, WordPress.com doesn’t allow you upload a custom theme from local computer.
  • No custom plugins. WordPress.com integrates many plugin features into the platform but doesn’t support any third party plugin.
  • The storage space is limited under 3 GB. If you use more than these, you need to pay for it.
  • WordPress.com doesn’t allow videos.
  • No FTP access to your files.
  • WordPress.com puts ads on your websites unless you pay $30 to remove it.
  • You cannot use any custom analytics software because WordPress.com doesn’t allow any custom code.
  • It can delete your site at any time if it judges that your site violates the Terms of Service.

If you get a WordPress installation from WordPress.org to create a self-hosted WordPress site, you can get full flexibility without any limitations.

  • You can use any free or commercial themes to beautify and customize your website.
  • You can use any free or commercial plugins to extend the website functionality, or even you can create a custom plugin for your own site.
  • You can add and edit your website files through FTP client.
  • You can freely change the WordPress and server settings for better performance.
  • You have full control of your website, no forced ads, or you can make money from ads.
  • You can custom analytics and track your website.

Blog Ownership – Self-hosted WordPress Is Significantly Better

The biggest difference of .com and .org might lie in who is the real master of the website. Actually, WordPress.com is developed for those who do not want to spare much energy or time on updating their website, nor do they want to manage the backups of the content and security issues.

That is to say, if you build a site on WordPress.com, the team of WordPress.com is responsible for all the work related to hosting, security, updating and backups. But at the same time, you need to know that the team can shut down your site even without notice because you do not have the ownership of the site.

However, if you build a WordPress blog from scratch by downloading the software from WordPress.org and installing it on your own domain name and hosting service, you can get complete control over the site, develop it, change the look and feel, and even close it. You can do nearly whatever you want as you own it yourself.

Maintenance & Support – WordPress.org Wins

On WordPress.com, the maintenance are all handled by WordPress.com, you don’t need to do anything. You don’t need to worry about the server downtime and security, and the company will do everything for users. Even some accidents happen, you have no control to fix it. You also don’t need to take care of the new plugins or themes as WordPress.com doesn’t support. As well, the plugin incompatibility is never occurred. If you need helps about some issues, you can get answers from the online support center.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, you need to handle everything by yourself, from setup to configurations. You take responsibility for all of your website, content, appearance, performance, uptime, security, etc. That also means you can do everything you want on your website, manage your server, access to your root files, design your website look, add some ads, customize your plugins, apps, widgets and more. As well, if you have any questions, you can communicate with experienced users or experts on WordPress.org forum.

WordPress.org WordPress.com
Flexibility yes No
Customizability yes No
No Technical Skill No Yes
custom domain name yes No
Multisite Compability yes No
Social Network yes No
Sell Products/Services Yes No

Installation – WordPress.com Wins

Since WordPress.com is fully hosted, there is no need for you to download the WordPress software. To start with WordPress.com and have access to all the resources there, you just need to register an account and login.

WordPress.org is just a WordPress community. To make a website, you need to download the WordPress software on the official site and install it on your web server. But actually, Installing WordPress is extremely easy. Many excellent web hosting providers can provide you with 1-click installation of WordPress so you are able to get a site ready in a few minutes, even if you know little about coding stuff.

Monetization & Tracking – WordPress.org Wins

If you run a small sized blog on WordPress.com, you can hardly make money with your blog by serving ads. The platform has restrictions that you cannot sell ads until you get stable page views of 25,000 on a monthly basis. When you have gone beyond the number, you can try the Ad control feature which is free, but you will have to share the ad revenue with WordPress.com team in the ratio of 50/50 percent. How unreasonable it is!

In terms of tracking and statistics, WordPress.com offers their own analytics which you can use for basic understanding of your traffic. But as you are not allowed to add custom codes to your site, you cannot use third-party analytics software to conduct in-depth analyses.

The situation is completely different when you build a blog with WordPress.org. Since you have full control, you can place ads on your blog as you want, and make use of third-party analytics software like Google Analytics to track visits, conversion rate and many other things. The freedom is yours.

Conclusion: WordPress.com Or WordPress.org?

As you have learned most of the pros and cons of WordPress.com and WordPress.org, now it is easier for you to make a decision. Generally, if you are a blogger who does not want to spend any time and energy on update, backup and security, and simply want to focus on the content, then go with WordPress.com.

However, if you are a professional blogger who wants to showcase your items elegantly, a business dealer who intends to start a business site, or anyone who needs to have full control over the website, then WordPress.org is absolutely the perfect choice.

After all, WordPress.org edges over WordPress.com in the following respects obviously.

  • Theme support – You can use any commercial or custom themes, along with customizing and modifying the settings the way you like. This is not allowed with WordPress.com.
  • Plugin support – You can download and install any paid and free plugins, using them the way you need. With WordPress.com, you can only use the built-in plugin options.
  • Monetization – With WordPress.org, you can set up the independent website so as to monetize your site freely. The latter one, however, does not allow you to do so.
  • Branding establishment – WordPress.org allows you to remove the link of “Powered by WordPress”. In this case, you can get the branding freedom and establish your brand image easily. The free WordPress.com users, however, must showcase that link along with the ads that they cannot make money from.
  • SEO features – There are a lot of SEO plugins you can find from WordPress.org and other third parties. Thus, you can optimize your site for SEO from any aspects. With the free WordPress.org option, however, you can only get the very limited SEO control.
  • Google Analytics – For the website tracking, you can install and make use of Google Analytics to get the insights of your site in-depth. WordPress.com does not allow you to use it. And its default stats are of the limited analytics.
  • E-Commerce support – The WordPress script allows you to set up an online store selling anything you like. With WordPress.com, however, they will recommend you to use WordPress.org instead.

In the case that what you need is to start a new self-hosted WordPress blog, you may consider the perfect hosting packages from the companies below.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.