WordPress is a powerful open-source blogging application software. It is a software used to create a website or blog. As I mentioned in my article ‘Introduction to WordPress’ I was keen on creating a blog for myself and so went seeking help from the master of searches – Google. I was torn between two choices. Should I go for WordPress.com or WordPress.org? The following are my finding on the key difference between the two:
1. WordPress.com is a hosting platform that uses the WordPress software and provides blogs to interested bloggers whereas WordPress.org is the website from where the free WordPress software can be downloaded. The WordPress.org software is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need are domain names and web host service.
2. WordPress.com is a readymade source for a blog with a wide choice of themes and plug-ins to improve the user interface whereas WordPress.org lets you add your own themes and plug-ins to your WordPress.com blog so that it stands out from other blogs.
3. WordPress.com plan doesn’t allow you to use AdSense or any other form of advertising unlike the software enabled blog which has been downloaded from WordPress.org.
4. Easy to work on the .com version than using the software downloaded from WordPress.org sites as it requires knowledge about FTP and MySQL database management.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
There are quite a few advantages as well as disadvantages of choosing either WordPress.com or WordPress.org to build your website. Let’s go ahead and discuss them:
What is WordPress.org
WordPress.org is often referred to as the “self-hosted WordPress.” With the WordPress software available on WordPress.org, all you need to do is figure out a domain name and get a web hosting.
Below are the pros and cons of WordPress.org:
Pros of WordPress.org
- WordPress is 100% free for anyone to use.
- You are in full control of your website. You are free to customize your site as per your convenience.
- Plenty of options to install plugins. You can choose anything between free, paid and custom plugins. There are no restrictions to install third-party plugins.
- Same goes for themes. Plenty of themes to choose from and you can use any of them to custom design your website as per your need. Also, you can go for a premium theme or custom themes.
- Run ads on your website and also monetize your site.
- You can link your website to tools like Google Analytics to track your posts and traffic.
- Using the self-hosted version of WordPress, you can create anything between online store to membership sites.
Cons of WordPress.org
- While the WordPress software is free of cost, you still need to get a web hosting. Depending on the hosting providers you use, you need to invest a few dollars each month.
- You have to manually update the WordPress core, themes, and plugins. Updating is not too difficult but it’s a time-consuming job if you have to maintain too many websites. WordPress.org handles a lot of things but not updates.
- Also, you – the WordPress website owner is responsible for taking your website back up.
- You will have to subscribe to an external backup service (like BlogVault) or even security service for your WordPress security. Also, you’ll need to get a security plugin to that handles security.
- The cost of running a WordPress.org website built on WordPress.org depends on what sort of website you are building (simple website or memberships site or online store WordPress sites, among others).
What is WordPress.com
WordPress.com is really a hosting service. And WordPress hosts 5 different hosting plans: Free, Personal, Premium, Business, and VIP.
That said, let’s look at the pros and cons of building a website using this hosting company – WordPress.com.
Pros of WordPress.com
- If you want to write a blog post as a hobby but can’t afford a hosting service, then WordPress.com site is your best bet.
- At WordPress.com, you’ll get free space for up to 3GB after which you’ll have to switch to paid plans.
- Unlike WordPress.org, you don’t have to update manually. WordPress takes care of updating its core.
Cons of WordPress.com
- Compared to WordPress.org, the free WordPress.com comes with a lot of limitations. Here are some of the pros of using WordPress.com.
- WordPress places advertisements throughout your website. What this means is that people coming to your website will see the ads and perhaps even click on them but you won’t make money from them.
- Also, you are not allowed to sell ads on your website. WordPress has it’s very own advertising program called WordAds but you can use it on a website built on WordPress.com.
- You can’t use a plugin of your choice, neither can you use a WordPress theme. In the free WordPress plan, there is a built-in JetPack activated on its own. However, the Business plans allow users to install the plugin from a select few plugins and the VIP plan, allows users to install whatever plugin you want. But the VIP plan is extremely expensive. Although it’s worth mentioning that there is a limited collection of themes to choose from and limited customization options. Business and Premium plan users will have an array of compatible plugins to choose from like Yoast SEO. Moreover, you can use custom CSS in these plans.
- Installation of Google Analytics is impossible in any of the free plans. Only Business Plan users can install Google Analytics and the WordPress.com Business plan is expensive.
- One of the biggest disadvantages is that if users violate WordPress’ Terms of Service, WordPress can delete your website.
- At the end of your website, there is a mandatory WordPress.com link. You can remove it by upgrading to an expensive plan.
- Building eCommerce store or membership sites are difficult with WordPress.com. They don’t offer any integrated payment advanced features.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Which One is Better?
It depends on your intention. If you are a personal blogger and don’t intend to make money out of blogging, then WordPress.com is a good choice. But if you intend to make money out of blogging, then go for WordPress.org. With this, you can create a website in the way you want. It hosts your site but you’ll need to pay for it.
Moving Free WordPress.com Website to WordPress.org
Unable to understand the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, new users sometimes end up signing up for WordPress.com. But after realizing the limitations of the platform, you might be wondering if it’s possible to switch to WordPress.org. You can definitely move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
There are plenty of resources available online that’ll help you migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Or you can hire a web developer to do it for you.
How Do I Start WordPress Blog?
For getting started, go to WordPress.com and Sign Up. After signing up, you’ll be asked to set up your blog. The first step is to Choose a Layout of your convenience. Then choose a theme. There are a couple of free themes to choose from.
Once, you’ve chosen a theme, you’ll be asked to choose custom domain names which basically means the blog address. Say you are creating a personal blog where you want to share lessons you learn while knitting. You can choose a blog name such as “sophiaknits”. And since you are building a blog on WordPress.com, the domain address will look something like sophiaknits.wordpress.com.
If you want to remove the wordpress.com at the end, consider buying the domain. Once you have selected the name, you’ll need to pick a plan. Take some time to consider if you want the paid versions and understand the differences specifically the major difference.
If not, then select “Free.” And that’s it. Your blog is ready. Since you are building the website for WordPress.com, there is no need for you to install WordPress.
Quite simple isn’t it? What do you think, you’ll use to build your website? WordPress.org or WordPress.com.