What’s the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Even though these two names have been established for quite some time, this is still a frequent question.
However, I understand why this confusion can emerge. The platforms are different but the problem is, they share some things in common.
And if you search “WordPress” on Google, the two websites will appear one after the other.
Therefore, you need to look further than that. Here I will tell you everything you need to know about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – What’s the Difference?
Before I compare WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, Let’s take a look at the key differences between these two.
WordPress.org — often called the self-hosted WordPress because its main product is a CMS (Content Management System) and you can get the open source software for free. However, you will need to pay a sum of money when pairing it with a hosting provider and a domain registrar to start building your own website.
WordPress.com — This is a website/blog builder that actually uses the WordPress CMS platform as its base. Unlike the previous one, WordPress.com offers you to host your site on their services. Here’s the pricing scheme:
- Basic — Free (with .wordpress.com subdomain)
- Blogger — $3/month (with .blog domain)
- Personal — $5/month
- Premium — $8/month
- Business — $25/month
- eCommerce — $45/month
The distinction is really simple, isn’t it? Now, I am going to explain it further by showing you the advantages and disadvantages of using either of them.
The main reason why WordPress org is very popular is due to the flexibility that it offers. However, it can be too advanced for some people since they need to understand more about the whole website management subject.
- Totally free — You can download the CMS at literally no cost. All you need is a hosting provider and a registrar.
- Profitable — Once you build your website, it allows you to put ads on it without dividing the revenue with anyone else.
- Extendable — WordPress.org allows you to install plugins out of the box that can add very useful functionalities to your site. You are also allowed to create a membership program and have a fully functioning ecommerce site.
- Powerful — You can integrate with many platforms, such as Google Analytics, AdSense, and many others for website improvement.
- Customizable — There are thousands of themes that you can use to make your page more beautiful.
- Private — You can host your own data and are in full control of what you do with your website.
- Self-managed — You have to manage many aspects of your site by yourself, like backing up and updating your software.
- Technical — There are many features and processes, even the CMS installation, that can be too overwhelming for beginners.
- A bit complicated — Finding a web hosting company and registrar for your site is not easy by any means. Also, there will be additional prices that you have to pay to make a great website.
With everything it provides, WordPress.org proves to be an excellent site management tool that lots of people love. The latest version alone (5.2) has received around 5.5 million downloads, adding to tens of millions from the previous iterations.
Even more, it dominates the CMS competition by owning 60% of the market share up to this day.
Therefore, it is easy for me to recommend this platform even when you’re a beginner. The learning process is quite fast and simple if you really want to do it.
You’ll definitely enjoy its full control, customizability, and resourcefulness that you won’t easily find anywhere else.
WordPress.com is more preferable when choosing a simple process and complete website/blog solution in one place. That being said, some people can find the platform to be limiting for the price.
- All in one — You don’t need to look for another hosting and domain provider as it offers you a comprehensive package right off the bat.
- Automatic — If you’re using WordPress.com service, it will take care of backups and updates.
- Simple — Getting your site or blog ready is really easy. .
- Free — Yes, there is a free option with the default wordpress.com domain.
- Minimalistic — For some users, having a built-in analytical tool and security protection is enough to maintain their site.
- Social — Like social media, you can follow your friends’ blogs and have a dedicated reader page to see their updates in chronological order.
- Pricey — While there is a free alternative, you will have to pay quite a large sum if you want to upgrade your plans. It can reach up to $45/month.
- Average price for quality — For the price you pay, all the hosting features can’t offer great value for the money, compared to other companies. Even the premium package ($8/month) will just give you 13 GB of disk space and no additional tools.
- Limited — The dedicated commerce solution is limited to higher plans only and you can’t set up a membership program with your site.
- Contains ads — WordPress.com displays ads if you opt for the free plan. It can weaken a website’s look for you and the readers.
- Prohibitive — While it allows you to put ads, it’s restricted to only WordAds and eligible just for Business, Premium, and eCommerce plan owners.
While it may seem that WordPress.com is not as powerful as its .org counterpart, it still does have quite a strong fanbase around the world. Recently, it reached 142 million monthly visitors.
It just goes to show that WordPress.com won’t disappoint you in terms of audience. Obviously, you can grow your blog bigger even in a simple and “less-advanced” environment.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which Should You Use
Looking at their pros and cons, WordPress.org and WordPress.com appeal to different site owners. Let’s see where you fall in these categories.
Who Should Use WordPress.org
Do you like to take matters into your own hands? Well, WordPress.org is the best choice for you. It fits users that need more freedom and extendability with their sites. The highly scalable platform will allow for big websites that have profit-oriented purposes.
Who Should Use WordPress.com
Clearly, people who should use WordPress.com are the ones who need a very straightforward environment in building their websites. Therefore, it will be very suitable for personal or non-commercial use.
Now you can tell WordPress.org and WordPress.com apart, can’t you? If the names get you confused again, just remember that WordPress.org offers a self-hosted Content Management System software, while WordPress.com is a full-fledged hosting service.
And as you learn from this article, they have very different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, people who have to choose between these two need to be careful in making their choice.
As WordPress.org is an extremely extendable platform, it will be great for business owners that need big websites with much higher traffic. On the other hand, personal and non-profit webpages are suitable for WordPress.com since it’s a simple and all-in-one hosting solution.
I hope this article can really help you differentiate between these two websites and decide which one you should go for.