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We’ve seen our fair share of misunderstandings regarding the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org as a WordPress blog and a WordPress theme author. This is logical given that both are built on WordPress, employ themes and plugins, and are freely available online. However, there are significant differences between the two, and it is these characteristics that make WordPress.org our preferred WordPress version.
We’ll go through the key differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, as well as provide a handy dandy infographic to assist illustrate our arguments. We’ll also discuss why we prefer and utilize WordPress.org. So, let’s see how WordPress.com and WordPress.org compare!
WordPress.com is a free platform for creating a blog and website using WordPress. The service is akin to Wix or Squarespace and provides many of the same features. It is totally maintained by Automattic (the founders of WordPress) and, most of all, it is one of the most user-friendly blogging systems on the web. All you have to do is sign up for a free account, choose your subdomain (for example, yourwebsite.wordpress.com), select a free theme, and begin adding content.
However, nothing in life is ever completely flawless, therefore there are some advantages and disadvantages to using WordPress.com.
One of the most tempting elements of WordPress.com is that the great majority of users may use it for free. Free accounts come with free hosting, a free subdomain name, pre-installed SSL, free themes, Jetpack essentials (like related posts, site stats, downtime monitoring, brute force protection, and more), basic site customizer options (like a custom logo and background color or image options), and 3GB of free storage space for your content and media.
WordPress.com is not only cheap, but it is also quite easy to use. It’s ready to use the minute you sign up, and it even has a content builder to allow you to create custom pages. So, after you’ve set up your account, you may begin blogging right away. Because the learning curve is so low, practically anybody can start blogging using WordPress.
If you desire more features, it’s just as easy to upgrade to a premium WordPress plan as it is to sign up for a free one. Paid options start at $4 per month and include a custom domain, no WordPress.com adverts, subscriber-only content, and paid newsletters. Certain features, however, are only available if you subscribe to a higher plan level. To utilize WordPress.com premium themes, WordAds, or Google Analytics, for example, you must have a Premium plan ($8/mo) or above.
To remove WordPress branding, add third-party themes or plugins, activate automatic backups, and access your website database, a Business plan ($25/mo) is necessary. Finally, to have e-commerce support and options such as marketing tools, limitless goods, shipping interfaces, and the ability to accept payments, you must have an eCommerce plan, which is currently priced at $45/mo.
While WordPress.com is excellent, there are a few negatives to be aware of. Many of WordPress’ complex features, in particular, are hidden behind their different monthly charges on WordPress.com, and even with their most expensive eCommerce plan, you still can’t utilize every function provided by WordPress.
The first drawback is that regardless of whether you have a free or premium membership, you never have complete control over your website. WordPress.com has complete control over your content because it is hosted and managed on its multisite platform. Similarly, you must adhere to their User Guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, gambling, pornographic content, spam, and other similar activities.
The second major drawback of WordPress.com is that even the most basic monetization option is not free. If you want to eliminate WordPress.com’s default advertising (which helps pay for free accounts) and/or incorporate WordPress’ own “WordAds” network, you must upgrade your subscription.
Similarly, if you want to launch an online store, WordPress.com might not be the greatest choice. E-commerce is not now free. In reality, WordPress.com has not supported e-commerce for many years and it is a relatively new function. You’ll need at least a Business plan (to install third-party plugins like Woo Commerce) or the top-tier eCommerce plan to use your own e-commerce plugin.
Finally, WordPress.com users do not have access to multisite. Because WordPress.com is a big multisite in and of itself, free users obtain free subdomains. As a result, if you wish to create your own website network, WordPress.com is probably not the best option.
WordPress.org shares the same name as WordPress.com and employs the same content management system, but it is a completely separate entity. Instead of leaving everything to Automattic, you have total control over your website.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress that enables you to build your own internet website. And, while it has its benefits and drawbacks, it is our personal favorite sort of WordPress.
To begin, WordPress.org has all of the features of WordPress.com, but on a much bigger scale. In general, no matter what you want to make, you have entire ownership and rights to it. While most hosting companies have basic user agreements, you are free to develop and upload whatever you want as long as you are not breaking any laws.
Because WordPress.org just provides the content management system, you have a plethora of possibilities. Choose a unique domain name for your website. Choose a hosting package from one of the main web hosting providers. Of course, you are free to use any WordPress theme or plugin, free or paid, that you come across on the internet (though we recommend sticking to trusted sites for your downloads).
WordPress.org offers the same simple options and Gutenberg builder as WordPress.com, with the difference that you are not compelled to use the built-in content builder if you do not choose to do so. Simply install the Classic Editor or select one of the many feature-rich page builder plugins available, such as Elementor or WPBakery.
WordPress.org is an excellent choice if you own a small business and want to sell your products or services online. It allows full-fledged e-commerce with the use of free plugins like as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, as well as third-party services such as Shopify and Amazon. You may also just add a PayPal button to your website — no plan “upgrades” are required.
Finally, with WordPress.org, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do with your website. You have the ability to build anything.
- Do you want to create a membership website? Do you offer online classes?
- Do you provide photographs that are royalty-free?
- Do you wish to monetize your WordPress themes?
- Do you wish to raise funds for your charity?
- Could you please share your fantastic videos?
- How about displaying your portfolio?
If it is self-hosted, WordPress can handle whatever you want to create. Often, it is as simple as installing a WordPress plugin.
WordPress.org Dis Advantages:
It’s tough to find defects with something I love and use every day, but there are a few. The first is that despite the fact that WordPress is free, using WordPress.org costs money. Your domain registration and WordPress hosting package will cost at least $65 per year. This assumes you utilize a good hosting company’s shared hosting package and free themes and plugins.
You should invest $200 a year if you want a superb theme like the Total multipurpose theme and solid managed WordPress hosting from a reputable company like Astra, Elegant Themes, Themeum, or Themify. Although I would argue that this is a little price to pay for a completely customized website that can be used for any purpose and that it is a far better value than WordPress.com’s premium plans because you have complete control over your website.
WordPress must also be installed on your server. You are in charge of the preparations. Most hosting companies (such as Bluehost, Hostgator, Hostwinds, or Scala) offer 1-click installation, thus this isn’t a huge issue unless you’re using a specialized cloud or dedicated server that you must handle yourself.
The last drawback is that you are responsible for your website’s security and management. When you utilize WordPress.com, they control everything except your content, which means they handle all core WordPress upgrades and security patches. You are responsible for keeping your WordPress version up to date as well as taking normal WordPress security procedures such as strong passwords and frequent website backups while using WordPress.org.
What Are the Benefits of Using WordPress.org?
Finally, we feel that WordPress.com is best suited for hobbyists, online resumes, and small businesses looking to develop a limited online presence. Anything more than that is best suited to self-hosted WordPress.org.
The main issue now is, why did we choose WordPress.org?
We like having total control over our content, hosting, and money. Our blog is our business, and having complete control over our website has enabled us to build something successful.
We also have the option to grow as we see appropriate. And so we did. We began with a shared hosting plan from Hostinger before upgrading to our own super-fast managed server from Bluehost (and we couldn’t be happier — they’re wonderful!).
WordPress.com does not provide you the choice of choosing a server; all of their plans are hosted on shared servers. As previously said, if you have a blog as a hobby, a shared server is OK, and WordPress.com is most likely suitable for you. Anyone attempting to build a brand or a business, on the other hand, should consider the influence enhanced hosting has on page load times, which WordPress.com currently does not give.
WordPress.com is a valuable stepping stone on the path to establishing a terrific blog, but WordPress.org is the clear winner if you want to build a successful online company or brand.
This lesson should have helped you understand the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The most notable difference is that with WordPress.org, you have complete control over your website, including hosting, themes, plugins, design, and content. That considerable difference is why we use self-hosted WordPress on our Website.