WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com is a service that helps you build a website using the WordPress software with managed hosting, while WordPress.org is the source where you can download the software itself, which you can use to build and maintain a website on your own.
The key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.
With WordPress.org, you host your own site (we recommend this). You’ll purchase your own web hosting service and then you’ll install the WordPress software on that hosting.
With WordPress.com, on the other hand, it’s WordPress.com that takes care of all of this for you (easier to start, less freedom). You just register for an account and you can start building. And that’s the major difference.
Nowadays, hosting companies like Bluehost or SiteGround make it almost just as easy to host your own WordPress site as it is to sign up for a WordPress.com account, with the benefits of being cheaper and offering more freedom.
Notably, WordPress.org provides unlimited customization possibilities for its users, which is one of the greatest benefits when using this platform to scale into the digital world.
All plugins, extensions, and themes could be adjusted and coded to tailor the look and functionality of your website. This gives you greater control of your website appearance and the ability to add specific features to suit your business needs.
In addition, please note that keep your plugins and themes updated in order to boost your WordPress site.
The cost of using WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com does allow you to set up a website entirely for free, but there are some big downsides to the free plan at WordPress.com:
- You can only place your site under a subdomain
- You cannot remove WordPress.com’s own ads and branding from your site
- You get limited disk space of 3GB
- You can’t monetize your blog or website
- You can’t install plugins or any themes that aren’t available on the platform by default, which means you’re missing out on one of the best parts of WordPress
If you do want to use your site for a commercial purpose, you will have to pay at least $8 / month on your WordPress.com plan + the cost of a custom domain name usually in the range of $15 / year. In total, this means at least $111 annually to run a site on WordPress.com.
However, we still don’t recommend those cheaper WordPress.com plans because they still don’t let you install themes and plugins.
If you do want to install themes and plugins on WordPress.com, you’ll need at least the Business plan, which will cost you $33 / month if paid monthly or $25 / month if paid annually. That means running a full-featured WordPress site on WordPress.com will cost you $300-$400 per year.
With WordPress.org, on the other hand, you can launch a completely functional website at $35 for the first year and then $50 every year after that.
To make that happen, you first need to pick a web host. We have some suggestions for you here, but if you’re in a hurry, just go with Bluehost. They’re a respected company with tons of options for WordPress. Here’s what’s good about Bluehost’s offering:
- You can get started at $2.75 / month
- You get a free domain name for the first year
- WordPress will be installed for you automatically
- You get access to a WordPress website builder if you want an even simpler experience
From a user’s point of view, Bluehost works similarly to WordPress.com – as in, you sign up, pick a hosting plan, tell them to install WordPress for you, finalize the purchase and you’re good to do.
Plus, what you also get is complete freedom over what you want to do with your site – something that WordPress.com doesn’t give you. Go here to get started with Bluehost and WordPress.org.
If you need some more info before making up your mind, here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and cons
Each version has its own pros and cons. (Although, I personally think the .com version has more cons than pros. But you can decide for yourself!)
When to use WordPress.com
With WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting. What’s more, you also don’t need to worry about basic maintenance or security, which is one of the biggest perks of WordPress.com.
WordPress.com also can be free, though there are paid plans as well.
The free plan limits you to 3GB of data and a subdomain (like mywebsite.wordpress.com). It also includes WordPress.com ads.
Furthermore, you won’t be able to install your own “plugins” or “themes” unless you pay for the expensive business plan. Plugins and themes are one of the most helpful things about the WordPress software because they make it easy to customize your site<, so that’s a pretty big loss. If the thought of changing a domain name server (DNS) or backing up your website data sounds incredibly daunting, WordPress.com may be the way to go to create a basic blog/website. But if you want any kind of flexibility, plan to monetize your site, or want your site to grow in the long run, WordPress.com can be very limiting.
When to use WordPress.org
WordPress.org has to be set up with your hosting provider. In most cases, this is a simple one-click install, and is really easy.
In fact, if you purchase your domain name from your hosting provider, you don’t even have to worry about changing DNS. It will be done for you!