WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What is the Difference?

Beginners most of the time are confused about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and end up picking the wrong one for their needs. These two are not the same even though they have quite a number of similarities. WordPress is quite popular; powering over 42% of the entire websites on the internet. But despite…

Beginners most of the time are confused about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and end up picking the wrong one for their needs. These two are not the same even though they have quite a number of similarities. WordPress is quite popular; powering over 42% of the entire websites on the internet. But despite its popularity, many new users struggle with choosing the right one for their needs because they do not know the difference between the two.

This article aims to clearly outline the pros and cons of each, to make it easier to know the distinction between the two and help you pick whichever satisfies your needs best. We will address WordPress.com first, then WordPress.org next. Afterward, we will wrap it up and answer some questions that might be on your mind. Read on till the end!

WordPress.com

 WordPress.com is a hosting service that is created by Automattic. This company was created by the co-founder of WordPress and because of this, it is often confused by users as the as with the WordPress.org software. 

Before looking at the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress.com, it is important to get familiar with the pricing plans of its hosting services.

  • Free – extremely limited
  • Personal – $48 per year
  • Premium – $96 per year
  • Business – $300 per year
  • Ecommerce – $540 per year
  • VIP – starting at $5000 per month

Advantages of WordPress.com

What users do not know is that the free version is most suitable for bloggers who blog as a hobby and do not aim to make money off blogging or for those who want to start a family blog. If you want more than this, you will have to pay for better versions. Now let’s dive into its benefits.

  • The free version gets you 3GB of space. If you want more storage spaces, you will have to switch to a paid plan. The personal plan gets you 13GB of storage space and the business plan gets you 200GB of storage space.
  • You don’t have to worry about buying your domain name and hosting services because WordPress has taken care of this already. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about backups, updates, and security.

Disadvantages of WordPress.com

The limitations of this version of WordPress are more than its advantages.

  • If you plan to make money through ads and affiliate marketing on WordPress.com then this isn’t the type of website you want. It severely limits ways to monetize your site, except if you run a high-traffic site which makes you eligible to apply for WordAds, their advertising platform, where they pay you part of the revenue generated from the ads placed on your site. Meanwhile, premium and business plan users can use WordAds right away.
  • They place ads on all free websites making your users forced to see these ads and you make zero money from it. Only when you upgrade to a paid plan are you able to dispose of these ads
  • You can’t upload custom themes as a free plan user; you can only use the limited custom themes available.  Premium and business plan users can use a wider range of selection of premium themes.
  • You aren’t allowed to upload plugins. The free plan users get the in-built pre-activated Jetpack features. Business plan users have a selection of plugins available for them to choose from while the VIP plan lets you install plugins with a $5000 per month fee.
  • These Websites come with a WordPress.com branded subdomain (https://yourwebsite.wordpress.com). You are only allowed to get a custom domain name if you get a paid plan (https://www.yourwebsite.com)
  • Your site can get deleted at any time if they think your site violates any of their terms of service.
  • You cannot install any other tracking platform because you are restricted to their stats. However, business plan users can install Google Analytics.
  • If you plan to start an eCommerce business this might not be the best option for you because WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features until you switch to the eCommerce plan.
  • You are not allowed to build membership websites.
  • Your site will permanently display a powered by wordpress.com link until you switch to a business plan.

WordPress.com is quite limiting while you are on the free, personal, or premium plan. You would have to upgrade to the business plan or VIP plan to unlock advanced features.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org, also referred to as Self-Hosted WordPress, is an open-source software that is free for everyone to use. All you need to do is buy your domain name and web hosting and you are good to go. Hosting companies like BlueHost make it easy to host your site and offer more freedom. You are allowed full control of your website and are free to customize it as you wish.

Advantages of WordPress.org

  • The WordPress software is free, open-source, and easy to use.
  • As far as you are not doing something illegal, you own your website and all its data. Your site will not be turned off because you flouted any terms of service. 
  • You can add any paid, free, or customized plugins/apps to your website.
  • You can monetize your website by running ads without sharing the revenue with anyone.
  • You can also customize your website anyhow you want with any free or premium WordPress theme that you want. You can create your custom designs or modify anything that you want.
  • You can install Google Analytics or any other powerful tool for tracking and analytics.
  • You can create membership sites and sell memberships for special content and courses, and build an online community for your website.
  • You can run an eCommerce business with self-hosted WordPress. You can create an online store to sell any product of your choice (physical or digital), accept payments, and deliver or ship the goods also.

Disadvantages of WordPress.org

  • You will need web hosting; this is where website files are stored on the internet. And as your website grows and gets more traffic the web hosting plan costs will increase. The good thing is that by then you would be making enough money to cover the costs of web hosting services.
  • You will be responsible for your backups. There are numerous WordPress backup plugins available for you to set up available backups.
  • You will have to be responsible for updates which is not much work. All you have to do is click on an update button.

Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org does not have a fixed amount of money you would spend on building your website. It all depends on what type of website you are trying to build; ecommerce store, membership site, simple blog, etc. You might also have to spend money on things like premium plugins and templates, it all depends on your choice whether to build a low-budget website or not. Self-hosted WordPress gives you much more freedom than WordPress.com and that’s a fact!

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org/Self-Hosted WordPress

Deciding which WordPress is better all depends on your need and preference. If you want to make money through your website as a blogger, self-hosted WordPress is the better choice because it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. Besides, when compared to the amount of money you would spend on a business or VIP plan on WordPress.com to access these features, a self-hosted WordPress website is a cheaper option.

If you are confused about which one is better for ecommerce, be informed that WordPress.org is the better option. All you need to do is to choose from many WordPress ecommerce, membership, and LMS plugins available. The ecommerce plan on WordPress.com is limited in features and expensive if you are just starting a business and it still limits you to follow their terms of service. 

Can you monetize a free WordPress.com website? The answer is not really. Only with the exception that you have a high website traffic daily which qualifies you to join the WordAds program and share in your ad revenue with WordPress. You can also add a few affiliate links. With WordPress.org, you have full control over CMS (content management system) so you have numerous monetization options for your website.

Are you wondering if it is possible to shift from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? Yes, it is. After using the former for a while most users realize that the latter is a better option to suit their needs. It is possible to switch and move most of your content along too. 

Summary 

To summarize, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are both very good platforms to help you achieve your dreams. One platform offers freedom more than the other; you have to build everything from scratch. This is not as hard as it sounds and with a good guide on how to start up your website with WordPress.org, even a beginner without any knowledge of coding should be able to do this. It is also a cheaper option for the ability to access its wonderful features. It is recommended by us at the Dik3n Team for you. WordPress.com is perfect for you if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with hosting, third-party tools, and custom website functionality. All you must do is sign up and get to own your own space instantly. And if you want to access plenty of features, subscribe to one of the more expensive plans.

Leave a Reply