Many times, apprentices don’t understand the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com which can steer them to the wrong platform for their needs. Below we will help to explain the main differences between the two platforms to help with your success. The best way to accomplish this is to review each platform separately.
WordPress.com is a hosting service which was created by co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. This is confusing to most people because it is easy to confuse WordPress.com with the ever popular WordPress.org software.
WordPress.com hosting service has 5 plans: (as of the date of this article)
- Free-Very limited.
- Personal-$48 per year.
- Premium-$96 per year.
- Business-$300 per year.
- Ecommerce-$540 per year.
- VIP-starting at $1,700 per month.
- Good choice for starting a family blog or a hobby.
- You get up to 3GB of space free (over 3GB is a paid plan).
- You are not responsible for updates; they are provided by WordPress.com.
- You are not responsible for backups; they are provided by WordPress.com.
- com will place random ads on your free website(s) in which you will not make money from any of those ads. If you don’t want your users to see the ads then you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.
- You are not allowed to sell ads on your website, you will not be able to scale your website to make money from the ads at the free level.
- You cannot upload plugins at the free level.
- You cannot upload custom themes at the free level.
- Only the Business plan will allow you to install Google Analytics, the other plans are restricted to WordPress.com stats.
- The free plan comes with a WordPress.com branded domain (https://websitename.wordpress.com), should you want to have their name removed from your domain name then you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.
- Your website can be deleted at any time should WordPress.com deem it violates their terms of service.
- com does not offer eCommerce features or payment gateways unless you switch to the eCommerce plan.
- com does not offer a way to build a membership website.
- Unless you upgrade to the Business plan, your website will display a “powered by WordPress.com” link.
This is a very popular website platform this is open-sourced and totally free for anyone to use. You will need a domain name and web hosting; this is also implied as a self-hosted WordPress.
- You have inclusive power of your website and are free to do whatever you want to customize it as you see fit.
- The WordPress software is free, open-source and easy to use.
- You have full ownership to your website and all of its content. Your site cannot be shut down should someone feel it doesn’t comply with their terms or services (as long as you are not engaging in illegal practices).
- You can add free, paid and custom WordPress plugins and themes to your website or blog.
- You can run your own ads and keep all of the revenue without having to share it.
- You can control tools like Google Analytics for tracking etc.
- You can create an online store to sell digital or physical products, as well as ship directly from your website all while collecting payment via credit card etc.
- You can create a membership site and sell memberships for exceptional content, courses, etc.
- You can build an online community around your website.
- You will need a domain name (which has a cost).
- You will need web hosting (which has a cost).
- You are accountable for backups (however there are WordPress back up plugins that let you do this automatically).
WordPress.com has its place, if you want a casual hobby site and/or do not mind sacrificing flexibility in return for ease of use, then WordPress.com is a solid option.
WordPress.org has the flexibility when it comes to installing extensions, changing functionality and choosing monetization methods making it superior to WordPress.com.
In the end, WordPress.org self-hosted is the best option for serious websites.
Basically, don’t panic if you set your site up in WordPress.com because it can easily be moved from there to WordPress.org.