If you are a newbie to WordPress Platform and are confused about Whats the Difference between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com, then you are in right place.
Well both are completely different platforms and there are major differences between them. Often people who are new in the field of blogging and decides to go for WordPress, they get confused between these two terms and which one to choose. In my How to Start a Blog in WordPress Tutorial, many of our users easily setup their new blogs following this guide. Amongst those users many asked us about the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org in detail.
Although I already mentioned in my Blog Set Up Tutorial, the key differences between these two platforms but still i decided to provide a complete comparison between WordPress.org and WordPress.com to clear all your doubts.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com Comparison
One of the biggest difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is – Who’s hosting your Blog/Website.
On WordPress.org, you host your own blog (Self Hosted Platform). At here, you can find the Free WordPress Software that you can install and use on your web server.
While on WordPress.com, the hosting is free and you don’t have to manage a web server or pay for your hosting charges. But there are many drawbacks of using this platform.
Choosing a right platform is very important for your online success, for this reason we have a made a complete comparison to list the differences between these two platforms and help you choose the right one.
If you just want to start a new blog in proper way, then you can skip this article and head over to blog set up guide here:
- How to Start a Blog in WordPress (step by step tutorial)
Now lets do a complete comparison between WordPress.org and WordPress.com by taking a took at each platform individually.
This platform is what i call “The Real WordPress”, is the popular website platform which most people use to get their blog/website started.
It is open source and 100% free for anyone to use and is fully customizable. All you need is a domain name for your new blog/website and a good web hosting. This is the reason that this platform is also referred to as Self Hosted WordPress.
Below are briefly mentioned pros and cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
With WordPress.org, you get full control of your website. You are free to customize anything on your blog/website. You get a full domain of your own choice on WordPress.org and People take you more seriously when you’re on WordPress.org. Here are some of the benefits of choosing WordPress.org, and the reason why it is the go-to choice.
- This platform is free and extremely easy to use. However you will need a domain and hosting which will cost you a few bucks per month. However, these are generally quite affordable. For example, with Bluehost you can start a WordPress site for as little as $2.75/month. This also includes a domain name free of cost which usually costs about $10/year.
- You completely own your website and all its data. Your website will never be turned off just because someone decides that it is against their terms and conditions.
- You can use free as well as paid WordPress Plugins, Themes to add functionality and look of your website. There are around more than 5000+ themes and 15000+ plugins available free of cost on this platform.
- With WordPress.org you can even customize or modify the existing themes to design your website. Thus you can have a premium look of your choice for your blog/website.
- The major advantage of WordPress.org is you can make money from your website/blog by running advertisements of any ad network without sharing revenue with anyone.
- You can use powerful tools like Google Analytics and Webmasters for custom analytics and tracking.
- WordPress lets you create an online e-commerce store to sell your products, accept online payments, and ship the goods directly from your website.
- You can also create membership sites using this platform and sell memberships for premium content and courses.
As I really mentioned above that this self hosted platform is most preferred platform across the world so there are only few cons of this platform which are listed below
- You will need to spend just few bucks for your domain and hosting. But the advantage lies in the fact that you will have full control of your all resources and many other pros which are already mentioned above. Initially, the cost is just as low as $2.75 per month including free domain for 1 year. However as your website grows and brings in more users, the web hosting costs will increase depending on how much resources your website consumes.
- As this platform is self hosted, So you are responsible for updates. But you can easily update your WordPress site by simply clicking on the update button (1-click), so it’s not too much work.
- You are responsible for backups. Thankfully, there are tons of WordPress backup plugins that let you setup automatic backups. So you need not to worry about this thing also.
So in my terms, there are no cons attached with WordPress.org because of its flexibility and ease of use. The real cost of WordPress.org website depends on what you are trying to build (simple blog, portfolio website, eCommerce store, membership site, etc). There are also additional factors like free themes vs premium themes, free plugins vs premium plugins, third party tools etc. However these are optional expenses.
But on a low budget, you can build your website for as little as $2.75 per month using Bluehost Hosting Platform. Over 92% of all blogs on Internet are running WordPress, including this one. So for 99% of users, my suggestion is always to use WordPress.org. See my guide on How to Start a Blog in WordPress under 20 Minutes.
Note: Even though a self-hosted WordPress blog is referred as “WordPress.org” but you are not limited to .org at the end of your domain name. You can still use .com or any other extension like .net, .in, .co etc just like I did for StudentSutra.com
Now it’s time to discuss about WordPress.com platform. It offers a hosting service created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Because of the same founder, people often confuse WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software. This platform often limit your income potential due to various limitations.
One main drawback of using this platform is that you will only get a sub-domain for your blog. For example When you go and sign up on WordPress.com you’ll get a domain name like: MyNewBlog.WordPress.com, where “MyNewBlog” is the name of your website.
As you can see on WordPress.com your URL will look like MyNewBlog.WordPress.com whereas on WordPress.org you can use your own domain name like MyNewBlog.com.
The WordPress.com hosting service offers 5 plans:
- Free – Very limited.
- Personal – $36 per year
- Premium – $99 per year
- Business – $299 per year
- VIP WordPress– starting at $5000 per month
If you’re not interested in paying for your own hosting, managing your own web server then you’ll probably want to use WordPress.com. It’s basic plan is free and easy to set up. The other pros of using WordPress.com are given below:-
- It’s basic plan is free for up to 3GB of space. Afterwards you will need to switch to a paid plan for more space and resources.
- You need not to worry about updates or backups. WordPress.com will take care of that.
There are many drawbacks of using WordPress.com which differentiate it from WordPress.org. Here are some of the major cons of using WordPress.com
- They can place their own ads on all free websites. So the users visiting your website will see ads, but you don’t make money from it. If you want to avoid their ads, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan (starting from $36 per year).
- You don’t have permission to sell ads on your website. If your blog/website is getting a good amount of traffic (More than 25000 page views per month), then only you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them. Only Premium and Business plan users can use WordAds.
- Offers very limited themes. There are only around 200 different free and paid themes.
- You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in JetPack features pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins which usually costs around $299 / year. WordPress.com VIP Plan lets you install plugins, but it starts from $5000 per month.
- Custom theme option not available. So you don’t get a premium look for your blog/website. Free plan users can only install themes from the limited free themes collection. There are limited customization options for the free version. Premium and Business plan users can use custom CSS.
- You are just limited to their stats. You cannot use tools like Google Analytics or install any other third party tracking platform. Only Business plan users can install Google Analytics.
- They can remove your website at anytime if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
- Your website will display a link of Powered by WordPress.com. It doesn’t looks professional and people don’t take your business seriously. This link can only be removed by upgrading to the Business plan.
- WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features, payment gateways and membership websites.
As you can clearly see, the WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited and suffers from various drawbacks when compared with WordPress.org hosting platform. To get access to more features, you have to be on the Business plan ($299 per year) or on the WordPress VIP plan ($5000 per month) which are too expensive as compared with WordPress.org
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (FAQs)
1. Should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org for Blogging or Starting a Business?
If you want to do blogging just as a hobby, and you don’t care about making money from your website, then go with the free WordPress.com.
If you want t run a business or be a professional blogger and wants to make money from your site, I definitely advise you to use WordPress.org because you want to portray a professional image to your clients and the general public. Every professional blogger, small business owner, and even big name brands likes Disney, Sony, Tech Crunch uses this platform.
2. Which is best – WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
In my opinion, WordPress.org wins this race because of the extent of customization you can do. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want.
WordPress.com suffers from various limitations as compared to WordPress.org. So in short it is the best hosting platform due to tons of features it offers.
4. Which is free – WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
WordPress.com’s basic package is free but has certain limitations which I already mentioned above while the premium package starts from $99/year. As for WordPress.org, you can download it for free. The only thing you’ll need a domain and hosting which costs a few dollars per month (less than $40/year). (You can use my discount link)
Now as your doubts are clear, you can follow this simple guide to set your first blog in WordPress.