WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: A Candid Face-off!
Are you in a dilemma and can’t choose between self-hosted WordPress and free WordPress.com? The struggle can be real when you want to launch your dream website! Our goal with this write-up is to help you get out of this “WordPress.org vs WordPress.com” predicament, as we show you the true sides of both.
Choosing a perfect platform for building a website or blog can be tiring and calls for research. There are many options to choose from the list of accessible Content Management Systems (CMSes). WordPress is one of them. Acc. to Wikipedia –
“WordPress is reportedly the most popular website management or blogging system in use on the Web, supporting more than 60 million websites”.
Things can get complicated when you have to choose between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org. Yes. You heard it right! WordPress.org and WordPress.com together –
“powers more than 25% of the internet — with interests ranging from the news shaping our world to personal stories that shape our own families and lives”. (Source)
There are two ways you can create your WordPress website. Both of them have their own set of pros and cons. Before scrutinizing the ins and outs of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com difference, let’s quickly –
Ponder over these key points
- What kind of WordPress website/blog do you want to create? For instance – a Personal blog or a Business website?
- What is the end-goal of creating your WordPress website or blog? Selling products or Monetisation?
- Are you setting up your WordPress website with the sole motive of earning money through monetization techniques?
- Do you want full control over your own WordPress themes and plugins? Source code, database etc. How much are you willing to spend on your WordPress website?
- How much are you willing to spend on your WordPress website?
After you get answers to all these questions, it will become way easier to easier to compare and contrast the WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com difference!
Let’s suppose you are a beginner trying to reach your social circle by creating an awesome blog or you are a small business just trying to reach your target audience, without investing a dime, then WordPress.com may be a good option for you!
Maybe, you are a big business with wide audience reach and heavy traffic wanting to launch a full-fledged website with a unique theme!
More so, you can be a web designer looking to create beautiful websites for your clients professionally, which will require creating multiple websites!
All these factors determine which way to go for?
Your motive of owning a website will help you decide where to invest your invaluable time and money.
Here’s a brief Comparison Chart on WordPress.org vs WordPress.com difference
|Theme Customisation||Unlimited possibilities of customizing themes (PHP, CSS, HTML code modification).||Unlimited Premium themes from WordPress theme repository only in paid plans.|
|Scalability||Unlimited. Use free, paid or custom plugins.||Limited. Built-in plugins option only.|
|Monetization||No limit on monetization possibilities as the WordPress self-hosted website belongs to you.||Allowed to monetize website in the Premium plan at $8.25 per month.|
|Maintenance||Backup, Update and Security to be handled by oneself||Regular updates and security backups by WordPress.com|
|Personalisation||Custom domains possible as per choice.||Subdomain in free plan and custom domain in paid plans|
|SEO||Any SEO plugins can be used with this self-hosted website like Yoast SEO.||SEO Tools feature available in the Business Plan at $24.92 per month.|
|Traffic||No extra audience reach with self-hosted WordPress.||Extra traffic to blog/website if featured on “Blog of the Day” section.|
What should you know about Self-Hosted WordPress?
Now, let’s get straightforward with talking in detail about the WordPress.org vs WordPress.com difference; starting with the self-hosted WordPress.org.
Is WordPress.org free? It is a powerful Content Management System which is famous for it’s One Click 5-minute Installation and that too, for FREE.
Self-hosted “ WordPress is completely customizable and can be used for almost anything”. (WordPress.org)
Most of the people looking to build up websites are often enticed by the tags “Free” and “Unlimited”. While you can download and install WordPress.org for FREE, you have to look beyond what is not told! There are no hidden costs, of course. If you value your time (and money), you can see it as your ultimate hidden costs.
WordPress.org requires a hosting service to get your website seen by the world. You will have to pay to a web hosting service provider to get your self-hosted WordPress website online. Most of the best web hosting for WordPress service have pre-installed WordPress. This is the key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
What WordPress.org has to offer?
1. Freedom to use customized themes
Self-hosted WordPress allows the web designer or any user to choose from as many themes as available on the web – whether free, paid or customized! No doubt, there are free themes available. However, those designed using theme builder software TemplateToaster are a cut above the rest being high-on-performance and aesthetically strong. Flexibility in design option gives you the superpower of adding a personal touch to your WordPress themes – Made by you, only for your website!
2. Endless custom plugins
WordPress self-hosted gives the user/designer, a freedom to upload and take benefit from any number of free, paid and custom plugins available for use. Plugins are tiny but they make a huge difference! They add desired functionalities to your site, can make your site more optimized and user-friendly. However, with so many plugins available by so many authors today, it takes research to find the best one for your site and what works best for your WordPress self-hosted website.
3. Personalized domain name
As discussed, creating a website with WordPress.org is only possible when you pay to a web hosting service provider. It is, by all means, a major difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. You can use your custom domain name when you create a website using WordPress self-hosted. You don’t have to settle with a free subdomain (.WordPress.com). You know well, how important is it to have a custom domain name to build your virtual identity or brand reputation.
“ A unique and custom domain name establishes your brand’s identity”.
4. Self-liability for maintenance
The responsibility for keeping your website updated and regular backup of your self-hosted WordPress.org website falls on your shoulders (or your web hosting service provider’s, if you have hired one). It is your task to keep SPAM under control and what’s more important is that you have to keep up with the site’s security at all costs.
While updating is considered good for your website, it may become a reason that can create hindrance in the functionality of the website! How? Each update comes with some new functions which may not be compatible with the existing plugins on your site and thus, plugins may not work efficiently or as expected. It implies that you will need to replace the old plugins. Don’t forget to backup your self-hosted WordPress website.
5. High monetization potential
The decision to monetize your blog/website is completely in your hands. If you have a website created with WordPress.org hosting service, you can leverage the traffic of your website/blog to earn money by placing ad. links and affiliate banners on your website. This is a bonus as you can’t place ads in your WordPress.com website without upgrading to a higher plan! Make sure to place relevant ad banners and links onto your website so that the whole thing doesn’t look out of the place. This should be done strategically so as to earn high commissions on sales and this stands out as a crucial point of difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
With your own website, you always have the option to install custom plugins to enhance the performance and reach of your website. The Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most downloaded plugins by WordPress users. It takes care of the technical optimization by helping to choose a focus keyword, thus helping you to write better content. It also has some extensions like Yoast News SEO, Yoast Video SEO, and Yoast Local SEO. Choosing an SEO-friendly theme for your website is quite crucial to reap maximum benefits from SEO point of view.
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”
Choose actionable SEO strategies and implement them in a wise way.
Everything you need to know about WordPress.com
On WordPress.com sites, every day, over 1 million new articles and over 2 million comments are published. Some notable clients include CNN, CBS, BBC, Reuters, Sony, Fortune, and Volkswagen. Wikipedia
The main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that WordPress.com is a fully-hosted version of WordPress, unlike self-hosted WordPress.org. One can publish the content online on this publishing platform. Creating websites on WordPress.com is completely free as long as you do not want to add some extra functionalities to your website. But, the truth is that you will definitely need to do this at some point in time and you will need to upgrade to a higher plan to make your website fully optimized. With higher plans, come the best benefits!
Set up your website with WordPress.com in 5 simple steps:
Creating a website or a blog on WordPress.com is quick and easy. Just sign up with WordPress.com, register your domain and get started in minutes in just 5 steps. The domain name by default is actually a sub-domain. It means you don’t get a site address without the sub-domain “.wordpress.com”. You get free hosting and support by WordPress.com and you don’t need to worry about hosting costs with web-hosting services.
Creating a blog is easy and you can share your stories, photos and creative ideas with your friends and followers after you set up your blog. A few years back, WordPress was considered as a blogging platform but now, the possibilities are limitless! Creating a portfolio is possible with “Create a Portfolio” option to visually showcase your creative projects. Setting up an Online Store has got easier with a few simple steps and you can sell your products and start receiving payments in no time!
This is possible with self-hosted WordPress of course but you can focus on your work without caring about maintenance and hosting budget if you set up your store with free WordPress.com. This aspect helps to pitch the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org more distinctly. You can choose from the beautiful limited theme options available to you and get started There is a theme to suit every taste!
After you choose the theme, you enter keywords and the website will generate your site’s address as suggestions. You can enter your site’s name yourself too! In this very step, WordPress.com will start displaying its premium side! You will be directed to Step-4 which asks about the plan you want to upgrade to or settle with the free features. Added features in every higher plan will add to the cost too.
WordPress.com comes in 4 flavors: Free, Personal, Premium and Business plans. While you get Jetpack essential features in the Free plan too, but you miss out on other costly yet stunning features offered in paid plans!
What all WordPress.com has to offer?
1. Hundreds of themes in the Free plan
With WordPress.com free plan, a beginner can easily create a blog or website without paying a dime. What you get in the Free plan is WordPress.com sub-domain, Jetpack essential features, community support, hundreds of free themes, basic design customization and 3GB Storage space. With this plan being free of cost, people who want to start out with not-so-serious or fun blogging will be the best. You can’t customize the themes in any of the plans, though, you get unlimited Premium Themes in higher plans. No doubt, you get what you pay for. With the free plan, comes basic features. You can’t upload custom themes to your WordPress.com website and can’t choose from the plethora of stunning themes available outside WordPress repository. Limited freedom to choose a theme is a drawback as we notice in the brief comparison chart of WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com difference above!
2. Pre-installed Essential plugins
These plugins add extra functionality to the already existing features of any website. Fortunately, most of the best performing plugins are included automatically into WordPress.com websites. Some of them are:
- WordPress.com stats (WordPress version of Google Analytics)
- Essential SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Advanced galleries (tiled, mosaic, slideshows, and more)
- Form builder (contact forms)
- Social Media (add social media buttons to your posts and pages)
3. Easy and (free) sub-domain registration
Undoubtedly, you can register custom domains on WordPress.com and get hosting service from WordPress.com itself. Registering a domain on WordPress.com is really simple. You can even map your domain easily if you already own a domain name, but that will incur an extra cost as you will need to upgrade to a higher plan. Getting a custom domain is also possible with up gradation of the plan.
4. Power-packed maintenance
You, as a designer/user of free WordPress.com website, do not need to think of maintenance of your website. As the website is hosted by WordPress.com, you don’t need to worry about security and repair issues of the website. Along with this, backup issues are handled by WordPress.com. This is a plus when you just want to focus on your work and do not have time to look after the maintenance issues of your website.
5. Monetization in paid plans
Another striking difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that the website created in WordPress.com is low on the monetization possibilities, at least in its free plan and personal plan. You have to upgrade to the Premium plan to monetize your website or blog if your website is not a self-hosted WordPress website. You can’t place ads and affiliate links at all and even more, there will be WordPress.com Ads. on your website! Forget about commissions but you can create beautiful Gallery of your artwork to display it to the world. It is great for artists and designers who are on the lookout for creating their portfolios(with no monetization goals!). It would be a plus for you (as an artist) if you get featured by WordPress for that extra exposure!
In WordPress.com Terms of Service, it is mentioned –
“Automattic reserves the right to display advertisements on your blog unless you have purchased an Ad-free Upgrade or a VIP Service account.”
6. “SEO tools” in paid plan
With SEO Tools feature in the Business Plan, priced at $24.92 per month, you get tools for your website to enhance your site’s content for better results in Search Engines and Social Media. Optimizing your website is a crucial decision to reach more target audience. Creating a website or blog on WordPress.com comes with a bonus that your website can get featured in the “Blog of the day” section by WordPress itself. This will generate extra traffic to your blog which you normally wouldn’t get if you are not a part of the network which is as huge as WordPress!
Which way to go?
Now that you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org we suggest you tread carefully before investing your hard-earned money and precious time. With WordPress.org or what we call self-hosted WordPress, you have full control over themes and plugins. You can easily modify the themes using our theme design software to suit your needs for your very own website – Your virtual address in the web world!
Best Drag and Drop interface to Design stunning WordPress Themes
With WordPress.com website, you get all the features in upgraded paid plans except installing your own beautifully created custom themes. If you are happy using Premium WordPress themes, go for it! Not just us, it seems like WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, has something to say about the difference between self-hosted WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Mark his words –
“With a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, you can do anything you want. Knock down walls. Redecorate it any way you want. But you’re responsible for the upkeep as well. (i.e. security update, backups, feature upgrades)
Whereas with WordPress.com everything is done for you. But you lose some control. Can’t have a yard. Can’t tear down walls, etc”.
It’s in your hands to either rent your website or own it.