WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org

September 14, 2017

So, you’ve decided to start your own blog or website and you’re getting ready to launch.

That’s awesome!

The next step is for you to decide which blogging platform is right for you.

Well, here’s a big hint: it’s WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular and most powerful website and blogging platform out there. It’s the one I use to run this blog and the only one I recommend to my friends and clients.

If you’ve done any research about WordPress already, you’ve probably learned that there are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

It’s confusing, I know.

To help you understand and compare the difference between the two versions of WordPress, I put together this handy article, so you can decide which one is right for your new online business.

WordPress.com VS. WordPress.org

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This post contains affiliate links, to find out more information, please read my disclaimer. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a totally free blogging platform.

You don’t need to pay for hosting or a domain name – because your blog will be hosted on WordPress. You don’t need to download or pay for plugins – because you’re not allowed to use them. And you don’t need to worry about customizing or editing your site – because it’s simply not possible.

The free version of WordPress is a quick and hassle-free option to create a basic website. The tradeoff is that your options and functionality are quite limited.

Let’s break down the pros and cons.

Pros of using WordPress.com:

  • It won’t cost you anything.
  • It’s a lot easier to set up than the self-hosted WordPress site.
  • Everything is already taken care of for you, including the setup, security, spam and upgrades.
  • Your posts are automatically backed up.
  • WordPress.com uses hundreds of servers, so it’s unlikely that your blog will go down due to high traffic numbers.

Cons of using WordPress.com:

  • Your domain name isn’t going to look very professional. Instead of having your own domain, it will look something like yourwebsite.wordpress.com.
  • You can’t upload your own custom theme, so you’ll have to use one of the themes available on WordPress.com.
  • There isn’t the option to upload any plugins – which is a huge disadvantage!
  • The code behind your blog can’t be customized in any way. And you’d be surprised how many times you need to add a tiny piece of code – like when you apply for rich pins on Pinterest!
  • WordPress.com has the ability to display their own ads on your site.

Conclusion: WordPress.com is a no-frills blogging platform for people who want to start their own blog, but don’t want to customize it or monetize it.

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is a free blogging platform that requires you to purchase your own domain and hosting plan. The hosting company that I personally recommend is Siteground.

Siteground is one of the fastest and safest hosting companies out there. Plus, their customer service is just steallar. They are an official WordPress partner and their hosting plans start at only $3.49 per month.

Even if you’re currently with a different hosting company, you can sign up for Siteground here and get a quick, painless and totally FREE website transfer.

With WordPress.org, your blog will be on your own server and that means you will have total control over the visual and technical aspects of your site.

If you want the full tutorial on how to start a self-hosted blog on WordPress, check out this in-depth guide. I’ll show you how to get a profitable blog up and running in less than 15 minutes.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of using WordPress.org:

  • You completely own your blog and your content. That’s the most important thing.
  • You can upload your own theme and edit the code if necessary, giving you the chance to customize your site.
  • There are a ton of plugins for you to download, which can further enhance your blog.
  • You can monetize your site through ads, banners and any ways you see fit.

Cons of using WordPress.org:

  • You will need to spend some money on a hosting company. Again, I recommend Siteground.
  • You’re in charge of your blog, which means it’s your responsibility to update and maintain it.
  • It will require more technical knowledge than the free version of WordPress. But there are plenty of free resources online to help you learn.

Conclusion: WordPress.org is a professional blogging platform for people who want to start an online business, have full control over the appearance and monetization options.



WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org: The Bottom Line

Both the free version and self-hosted version of WordPress have their pros and cons.

Think of it this way:

WordPress.com is like renting an apartment. You are extremely limited as to what you can actually customize on your website.

WordPress.org is like buying an apartment, you can do whatever you want with it!

So, if you want to use your blog as an online diary or way of keeping your friends and family in the loop about your life, then WordPress.com might be a good option for you. It’s free and doesn’t involve much effort.

However, if you want to start a blog as online business, then I definitely recommend using WordPress.org and going self-hosted. This will provide you with everything you need to launch and grow a successful blog. Plus, hosting companies like Siteground, will allow you to download WordPress.org for free with just one click.

If you way to start setting up your self-hosted WordPress blog on Bluehost, read this article on how to start a successful blog.

And, if you have any questions about this process or if you can’t decide which version of WordPress is right for you, don’t hesitate to send me an email!

 

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3 Comments

  • Michelle

    Even though you were doing a pro and con list, your article was still entertaining! However, I wonder what’s better Paid WordPress.com (as the platform offers personal up to Business plans) or WordPress.org

    That would be an interesting pro and con list.

    September 14, 2017 at 13:55 Reply
  • Megan Tailford

    This is such a good, straightforward summary of the differences between the two options – Your analogy of buying a flat vs. renting is so accurate! I use WordPress.org, and agree that being able to customise to my heart’s content is such a bonus 🙂

    September 19, 2017 at 11:53 Reply
  • Shirley Corder

    Well written pro and con post. I personally use WordPress.org for two websites, hosted on D9, and I couldn’t be happier. I like to customise just about everything, so this works well for me. Yes, it was a huge learning curve, but it’s been worth the effort. The results of last week’s survey

    September 19, 2017 at 13:40 Reply
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