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If you are new to WordPress, then you might be wondering what is the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
Blogging is a lucrative career for many people to share their ideas, opinions, and knowledge, as well as to earn money online.
At the time of starting to blog, the first question comes in everyone’s mind is that which platform he should choose for the blog or which platform would give him more value between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?
There are many blogging platforms, including Blogger, Wix, Quora, Medium, but people often get confused between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
I have used both platforms and each of them has its pros and cons.
Read this entire article to know which is a better choice for your blog between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org or a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Before moving ahead, let discuss what is WordPress.com and what is WordPress.org.
What is WordPress.Com?
WordPress.com is a commercial website backed by a large company called Automattic, Inc.
It is a freemium blogging platform with quite limited but all essential features that are required to start blogging.
WordPress.com lets you create a beautiful blog to share your thoughts with the world.
It takes care of all basic needs such as domain (a subdomain on WordPress.com), hosting, backup, and security.
The best part is that you need not pay a dime unless you want to upgrade to one of the premium plans and make money from your blog.
Anyone can create a blog with WordPress.com who has a little knowledge of the internet.
For personal use, it’s an excellent platform, and for a professional upgrade, you can pay a small amount to get access to more premium features.
Upgrades include a custom domain, extra storage space (free plan comes with only 3GB storage), e-commerce features, and much more.
It gives many features, and that’s the reason for WordPress displays advertisements on free blogs to generate revenue for it.
What is WordPress.Org?
WordPress.org is the most popular open-source CMS (Content Management System) that powers more than 35% of the web.
You can download WordPress CMS from WordPress.org and upload it to your server or use a one-click WordPress installer, like Softaculous to install WordPress on your hosting.
Please note that WordPress.org does not provide any domain or hosting service and you need to buy these things from a third-party domain registrar and hosting service provider.
Since the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) exists on your server, you are free to choose the resources and customize your site as much as you want.
You have unlimited options for themes and plugins to enhance the functionality of your website.
At the same time, you are also responsible for website backup, security, and managing resources, including domain and web hosting.
The best thing about self-hosted WordPress is the freedom of monetization.
You have better options to manage your blog revenue, and you can make more money with proper strategy.
What is the Difference Between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both platforms are useful for creating beautiful websites/blogs, but they are fundamentally different from each other in many aspects.
The key difference between these two WordPress platforms is web hosting that hosts your website and all your data.
WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform parented by Automattic, Inc. while WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform that needs you to host the WordPress installation on your server.
There are many other distinct features such as customization, backups, security, and maintenance that differentiate WordPress.com from WordPress.org.
Take a look at the comparison table below to find all key differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
|Domain Name||Free subdomain on WordPress.com or you need to purchase a custom domain at a regular price.||Some companies offer free domain names or you can purchase a custom domain at a regular price. You may also get discount coupons.|
|Web Hosting||The free plan includes 3 GB storage or you need to upgrade to one of the premium plans that are starting at ₹200 per month.||You have complete freedom to choose a web hosting service as per your requirements. Free WordPress hosting services are also available.|
|Themes||Dozens of free themes or unlimited custom themes with premium or higher plans.||Unlimited free as well as paid themes for each type of website.|
|Plugins||Free built-in plugins with basic features or you need to upgrade to Business plan or higher to install the third-party plugins.||Unlimited access to free as well as premium WordPress plugins, no matter you’re running a free blog or business website.|
|Design||Limited design customization options.||You have complete control over the design of your site.|
|Management||WordPress.com (Automattic, inc.) takes care of website security, backups, and maintenance.||You’re responsible for website management, including website security, backups, and maintenance.|
|Monetization||Limited monetization options. Moreover, WordPress.com displays ads on free blogs hosted with it.||Full control over website monetization. E.g., ads, affiliate marketing, product selling, and sponsorships.|
Now, you can easily figure out the major differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org such as hosting, site management and maintenance, control over design and customization, and monetization capabilities.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: Which is Appropriate for You?
Both platforms are the best and most appropriate, depending on your blogging needs. They have their pros and cons rather than being one superior to another.
So, let’s discuss which platform fits perfect for whom.
Why Pick WordPress.com?
If you are a beginner who wants to create a blog for the first time without a strong intention of making money, then WordPress.com would be the most appropriate choice for you.
First of all, WordPress.com is super easy to set up a blog, and you can create one within five minutes.
You need not bother about WordPress installation, hosting, and other technical stuff like site’s security, maintenance, and backups.
You’ll get them all for free along with a subdomain on WordPress.com ( like yoursite.WordPress.com).
However, free WordPress.com blog has many limitations, including limited storage, restrictions on themes and plugins usage, and similar.
Choose WordPress.com only if you are fine with the following limitations.
- You won’t get a custom domain and have limited website space. You need to pay for the custom domain as well as more disk space.
- You are not able to make custom design changes. You’ll need to be happy with the limited customization options and what’s already there.
- WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to add your ads on your free blog to earn money. Instead, you have to tolerate ads displayed by WordPress.com that seems annoying.
Paid plans at WordPress.com offer you more freedom and control over your blog.
Still, it’s not as much as available for self-hosted WordPress.org.
So, WordPress.com is better for beginners; especially hobby bloggers who want to explore blogging in their free time.
Why Pick WordPress.org?
If you are serious about your blogging career and want to build a website of your own which is simple, unique, and stands out of the crowd, then using WordPress.org is the right choice for you.
Perform market research or read some reviews from influencers or people whom you trust to find a suitable hosting plan for your blogging needs.
Install WordPress on your server, design your site as per your choice by picking a beautiful theme, and start blogging.
If you are a beginner who fears about coding, then also you can create a self-hosted WordPress site by watching online tutorials.
It will require you around 30 minutes to basic site setup, and after that, it’ll offer you complete freedom over your design, customization, and monetization.
However, you are responsible for taking care of all your setup, security, maintenance, and backup.
Consider, the following points if you want to start a self-hosted WordPress blog.
- You need to register a domain name and pay for web hosting service from a third-party service provider which generally don’t come for free. Although you’ll find many free web hosting services, you should go with the premium web hosting for more reliable operation of your site.
- You have to take care of all and everything. You are responsible for all technical things, including security, backup, maintenance, and updates. It will need you enough time to spend as well as adequate resources (you will get many free products & service, though) to keep your site up and to run. Or, you can hire a freelancer or expert in the respective domain.
Despite all, the complete freedom and full control that WordPress.org offers worth the responsibilities that come by.
Whether you are a beginner or expert who wants to create eye-catching websites or blog, build a strong online presence, or earn money, WordPress.org is definitely a better platform for you.
Reasons for Choosing WordPress.org over WordPress.com?
There are several reasons why I strongly advise you to host your WordPress website on WordPress.org.
1. You are Owner of Your Website/Blog
When you set up a website using free WordPress.com platform, you are just a tenant there and not an owner.
All stuff that WordPress.com provides is actually meant for its benefit. You create content for them, and they earn through displaying ads on your blog.
It’s not fair.
So, choosing a self-hosted blog is the right choice where you have full freedom whatsoever you want to do.
No one will ask you any question or shut off your blog, unlike WordPress.com can do for their free blogs for users breaking their TOS or involving the serious offences or criminal activities.
2. A Wide Range of Themes and Plugins
In free WordPress.com blogs, you have limited options to customize and beautify your blog.
You can’t use custom CSS or deeper modification than it allows.
Thousands of themes and millions of customization options become available when you choose a self-hosted WordPress.
You can install any free or premium theme or plugin to enhance your site’s design, and extend its functionality, speed, and visibility in search engines.
Thanks to the developers and a large community that is constantly working to bring better features every time.
3. Complete Control over Marketing
Whenever you plan to launch a simple blog or an e-commerce site, you need to market yourself somehow to grow the audience list or customer base and revenue.
Marketing of a website can be done in many ways, including the subscription forms, contact form, personal branding, and account creation capabilities.
With a free WordPress.com website, you have extremely limited options available, mostly a small blog subscription via Jetpack or contact form.
Even, you purchase the e-commerce add-ons, they are not up to mark as the self-hosted platform provides.
With a self-hosted WordPress site, you have many options that are available via theme features and plugins like WooCommerce.
Still, there are other platforms like Magneto, PrestaShop, Drupal, Joomla, etc. as the e-commerce solutions, and it’s the point of discussion about which one is better. But, here the self-hosted WordPress has the edge over free WordPress.com.
4. Website Management
WordPress.com offers a free platform for blogging as well as takes care of all basic stuff including security, backups, and maintenance which is better for the people who don’t want to spend on blogging and just want to express their thoughts with the non-profit approach.
You can select the best web hosting service for your self-hosted website.
It can be shared hosting, VPS or dedicated hosting where you can choose how much space you need to your site, how fast your server should respond (site speed is crucial factor for SEO and UX), how you want to handle your communication, and how secure your website will be in terms of hacking or data loss.
An additional benefit of self-hosted WordPress can set up managed hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting provides servers built to take care of your WordPress sites on your behalf; 24/7 security, automatic backups, so nothing is ever lost, securing latest updates of WordPress and your plugins and takes care of maintenance or repairs the problems ever arise if any.
5. SEO Benefits
As I mentioned above, WordPress.com gives you a subdomain for a free site like yoursite.WordPress.com instead of the custom primary domain such as yoursite.com.
Think about when the last time you saw a subdomain ranking on a search engine in SERP for any keyword as opposed to a primary domain?
At least for a competitive keyword, you might not have seen yet.
Am I right?
A self-hosted WordPress website can be fully customized.
It means that you can optimize every single page on your website for search engines as well as the audience. All factors influencing SEO can be managed with maximum efficiency.
6. Make Money on Your Website
99% of people want returns on their efforts that they put in creating a website.
However, free WordPress.com sites need to reach 25,000 page views per month to be eligible to display ads.
Even then, you have limited options for monetization by using the WordPress Ad Control feature, which has few features and allows a little control over the advertisements displayed on your website.
With a self-hosted WordPress, you are free to monetize your website on your terms or use ads in any way you like.
You can place ads from Google AdSense and many other types of text-based, link-based, or display advertising anywhere you like on your site.
This feature can offset the expenses you have spent on the domain+hosting, themes & plugins, and any other resources.
With self-hosted WordPress, you can build a more profitable website and earn a full-time income to make a living from it.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Which is Cheaper?
A blog made hosted on WordPress.com subdomain is completely free while a self-hosted WordPress costs you a few bucks to get started.
You need to purchase a web hosting plan and custom domain to launch your self-hosted WordPress blog.
WordPress.com blogs aren’t free as well.
If you want a fully-featured business website with a custom domain name, more or adequate storage for business needs, customized design, and no advertisements by WordPress .com, it will become more expensive than self-hosted WordPress website.
Let’s take the popular paid plan at WordPress.com Premium which costs you ₹4200 per year. It comes with around 13GB of storage space.
On the other hand, you can pick one of the premium web hosting plans that costs around $80 for domain+hosting.
E.g., for self-hosted WordPress, let’s take Namecheap Steller plan for comparison, which comes with 20GB space and unmetered traffic.
The cost is ₹1238 for the first year purchase, which is the lesser than that of WordPress.com Premium plan.
You also have the freedom to choose another web host, in case you are not happy with your current web hosting service.
Still, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when deciding to choose a self-hosted WordPress website.
Paying For Resources
Almost every marketing products or services such as domain name, web hosting, email services, and third-party marketing tools are generally affordable, but they can help in the growth of your site.
If you are going to host your site, make sure you have the adequate funds for running up your venture, or, have a plan to monetize your blog/website through different ways, including affiliate marketing, selling products and services, or advertising.
Development May Be Needed
Though you can select from many beautiful themes and plugins on a WordPress.org site, customization is almost needed most of the time.
If you are not familiar with design elements or code, then you may consider hiring a developer according to your needs & budget.
In case, you are comfortable with tweaking the code you can DIY or take help from the community or other relevant sources.
Our Pick: WordPress.Org
Starting with WordPress.com is easier than self-hosted WordPress that has a learning curve to become a master.
WordPress.org also requires enough time and resources to spend, but it’s rewarding for your work at the end of the day.
You can create a stunning website that has more flexibility and control over design, customization, and monetization.
With the help custom themes & plugins, you can extend functionalities of your site.
Moreover, you get a custom domain name which helps build a strong online identity or a brand.
Considering these major differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org mentioned here, WordPress.org is a clear WINNER.
Was this article useful and helped you in clearing your doubts?
Do you want to share experience regarding WordPress.org vs WordPress.com?
Feel free to write and let me know any feedback, suggestions, or your experiences in the comment section below.
Great write-up. I never recommend using WordPress.com to my clients, as you don’t actually own your website. WordPress.com has the right to disable your account if they see anything wrong. In that situation, that means the associated site(s) gets turned off. It’s better to own your own domain and purchase your own hosting. It certainly requires more work, but that way there’s never any doubt as to who can do what to the site.