For 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 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 start with it.
There are two ways that you can get access to WordPress, starting at free site on WordPress.com, or starting at the self-hosted website by getting a free WordPress 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.
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.
Before starting a website, cost is the top concern of many users, especially who have less budgets. Though WordPress is 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 doesn’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 for $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 like BlueHost, HostMonster and JustHost.
Flexibility & Limitation
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.
Maintenance & Support
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.
Which One To Go?
Before making the choice, let’s look at the common usages of WordPress.com and WordPress.org in below table.
|No Technical Skill|
|custom domain name|
After the comparison, you may want to go with one of them. However, which one to go is based on your purpose. If you are building a website to make money, for your brands, services, products or something else, no matter how small it is, you need to create a self-hosted WordPress site. Because you need full flexibility and customizability to add plugins, extend extra functionality and customize website design. Maybe you don’t need it right now, but you may expand it in the future.
By contrast, if you just want to try blogging, don’t need much storage, custom domain name or don’t mind the ads, you can go to WordPress.com.