Blogging is a lucrative career nowadays attracting many people to start sharing their ideas, opinions, knowledge, etc. as well as earning money online. Due to the rise in internet users, many blogs getting live on the web every day.
When starting as a rookie, the first question comes in everyone’s mind is that which platform should he/she should choose for the blog? Which one would give him more value: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
There are many other platforms like Blogger, Wix, Quora, Medium, etc. But people mostly get confused between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org while starting a blog/website.
I have used these both blogging platforms, and I must say both are awesome, though they both have the pros and cons. So, I want you to help in deciding which one is better according to your need and is it safe to pick self-hosted WordPress over WordPress.com.
In this post, I’m going to cover every point thoroughly so that you can figure out the significant differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org and further choose the best one for your blog/website.
So, stay tuned.
Difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
What is WordPress.Com?
WordPress.com is a commercial website backed by a large company called Automattic, Inc. It is a free platform with quite limited but all essential features to start blogging.
Moreover, it lets you create a beautiful blog to share your thoughts. It takes care of all your basic needs like domain (subdomain on WordPress.com), hosting, backup, and security, etc. And you need not pay a dime unless you want to move further on a professional level and want to make money from your blog.
Anyone can create a blog with WordPress who have a little knowledge of the internet. For personal use, it’s an excellent platform, and for a professional upgrade, you can pay a small amount to get access to more premium features. Upgrades contain the custom domain, extra storage space (free plan comes with only 3GB storage), e-commerce features, etc.
It gives many features, and that’s the reason for WordPress displays advertisements on free blogs to generate revenue for it.
Still, it’s not up to the mark of self-hosted WordPress, though it has large features to start a blog.
What is WordPress.Org?
WordPress.org is a home of an open-source CMS (Content Management System) which is generally called as self-hosted WordPress. You can either download WordPress CMS and upload to your server or now, most of the web hosts offer one-click WordPress installer, like Softaculous, etc.
WordPress.org does not provide any domain or hosting service that you need to buy from a third-party domain registrar and hosting service provider
Since the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) exists on your server, you are free to choose the resources and customize your site as much as you want. You have unlimited options for themes & plugins to enhance the functionality of your website. But same time, you are also responsible for backup, security, and managing resources, including domain and web hosting.
The best thing about self-hosted WordPress is freedom of monetization. You have better options to manage your blog revenue, and that is definitely more than WordPress.com if you plan proper strategy.
WordPress.Com vs. WordPress.Org – What’s the Difference?
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both are very useful for creating beautiful WordPress-based websites/blogs, but they are fundamentally different from each other in many aspects.
The key difference between these two WordPress platforms is web hosting that hosts your website & all your data.
WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform parented by Automattic, Inc. while WordPress.org is self-hosted platform needs you to host the WordPress installation on your server.
There are many other distinct features like customization, security, maintenance, etc. differentiate WordPress.com from self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org.
Take a look at the infographic below to find out all the key differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.
Now, you can easily figure out the major differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org that include features like hosting, managing security and maintenance related work, control over design and customization, and monetization capabilities, etc.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: Which is Appropriate for You?
Both platforms are the best and most appropriate, depending on your blogging needs. They have their pros and cons rather than being one superior to another.
So, let’s discuss which platform fits perfect for whom.
Why Pick WordPress.com?
Suppose, you are a newbie creating your website/blog for the first time, WordPress.com would be the most appropriate choice for you if you are not intended to make money.
First of all, WordPress.com is super easy to set up a blog, and you can create one within five minutes. You need not bother about WordPress installation, hosting, and other technical stuff like site’s security, maintenance, and backup, etc. You’ll get them all for free along with a subdomain on WordPress.com ( like yoursite.WordPress.com).
Free website on WordPress.com has a lot of limitations, though, including limited data storage, themes & plugins support. Start with WordPress.com, if you are fine with the following limitations.
- You won’t get a custom domain and have limited website space. There is a need to pay for the custom domain as well as more disk space.
- You are not able to make custom design changes. You’ll need to be happy with the limited customization options and what’s already there. WordPress.com only has around 150 templates, but it’s okay as service is free.
- WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to add your ads on your free blog to earn money. Instead, you have to tolerate ads displayed by WordPress.com that seems annoying.
Paid plans at WordPress.com offer you more freedom and control over your blog. Still, it’s not as much as available for self-hosted WordPress.org.
So, WordPress.com is better for beginners; especially content focused bloggers who want to explore blogging or willing to work for a little time only.
Why Pick WordPress.org?
If you are serious about your blogging career and want to build a website of your own which is simple, but unique, and stands out of the crowd, then using WordPress.org is the right choice for you.
So, research the market well and read some reviews from influencers or people whom you trust to find a suitable hosting plan for your blogging needs. Install WordPress on your server, design your site as per your choice by picking a beautiful theme either free or premium, and start blogging.
If you are a layman who fears about coding or similar work, need not continue here with that. You can easily create your website by DIY with a little to no time just by watching online tutorials.
Still, it will require you around the half-hour to basic site setup, and after that, it’ll offer you complete freedom over your design, customization, and monetization.
However, you are responsible for taking care of all your setup, security, maintenance, and backup, etc.
Consider, the following points if you want to start a self-hosted WordPress blog.
- You need to register a domain name and pay for web hosting service from a third-party service provider which generally don’t come for free. There are many free web hosting services, though, you should go with premium service for more reliable operation of your site.
- You have to take care of all and everything. You are responsible for all technical operations, including security, backup, maintenance, and updates. It will need you enough time to spend as well as adequate resources (you will get many free products & service, though) to keep your site up and to run. Or, you can hire a freelancer or expert in the respective domain.
Despite all, the complete freedom and full control that WordPress.org offers worth the responsibilities that come by.
So, WordPress.org is definitely a better platform for anyone, be it, beginners or experts who want to create unique websites/blog, and build a strong online presence or earn money.
Why WordPress.org over WordPress.com?
There are several reasons why I strongly advise you to host your WordPress website on WordPress.org.
- You are Owner of Your Website/Blog
When you set up a website using free WordPress.com platform, you are just a tenant there and not an owner. All stuff that WordPress provides is actually meant for their sake. You create content for them, and they earn through displaying ads on your blog.
It’s not fair.
So, choosing a self-hosted blog is the right choice where you have full freedom whatsoever you want to do. No one will ask you any question or shut off your blog, unlike WordPress.com can do for their free blogs for users breaking their TOS or involving the serious offenses or criminal activity related to blogs.
- A Wide Range of Themes and Plugins
In free WordPress.com blogs, you have limited options to customize and beautify your blog. You can’t use custom CSS or deeper modification than it allows.
But, you have thousands of themes and millions of customization options available when you choose a self-hosted WordPress.
You can install any free or premium theme or plugin to extend your site’s design, functionality, speed, and visibility in search engines.
Thanks to the developers and a large community that is constantly working to bring better features every time.
- Complete Control over Marketing
Whenever you plan to launch a simple blog or an e-commerce site, you need to market yourself somehow to grow the audience list or customer base and revenue.
Marketing of a website can be done in many ways, including the subscription forms, contact form, personal branding, and account creation capabilities.
With a free WordPress.com website, you have extremely limited options available, mostly a small blog subscription via Jetpack or contact form. Even, you purchase the e-commerce add-ons, they are not up to mark as the self-hosted platform provides.
With a self-hosted WordPress site, you have many options that are available via theme features and plugins like WooCommerce.
Still, there are other platforms like Magneto, PrestaShop, Drupal, Joomla, etc. as the e-commerce solutions, and it’s the point of discussion about which one is better. But, here the self-hosted WordPress has the edge over free WordPress.com.
- Website Management
WordPress.com offers a free platform for blogging as well as takes care of all basic stuff including security, backups, and maintenance which is better for the people who don’t want to spend on blogging and just want to express their thoughts with the non-profit approach.
But, by hosting your WordPress site yourself, you can select the best web host for your website. It can be shared, VPS or dedicated hosting where you can choose how much space you need to your site, how fast your server should respond (Site speed is crucial factor for SEO and Google penalize slow loading sites where the half of the all people also leave if a site does not load within 3 seconds ), how you want to handle your communication, and how secure your website will be in terms of hacking or data loss, etc.
An additional benefit of self-hosted WordPress can set up managed hosting. Managed WordPress hosting provides servers built to take care of your WordPress sites on your behalf; 24/7 security, automatic backups, so nothing is ever lost, securing latest updates of WordPress and your plugins and takes care of maintenance or repairs the problems ever arise if any.
- SEO Benefits
As I mentioned above, WordPress.com gives you a subdomain for a free site like yoursite.WordPress.com rather than a main or custom primary domain such as yoursite.com.
Think about when the last time you saw a subdomain ranking on a search engine in SERP for any keyword as opposed to a primary domain? At least for a competitive keyword, you might not have seen yet. Am I right?
It’s observed that the subdomains and free website platforms do not perform well as the custom primary domains. It is rare when a subdomain out-ranks a primary domain website, though, WordPress.com network does drive traffic to a free site and gives exposure to your site.
On another hand, a self-hosted WordPress website can be fully customized. It means you can optimize every single page on your website for search engines as well as the audience. All factors influencing SEO can be managed with maximum efficiency.
- Make Money on Your Website
99% of people want returns on their efforts that they put in creating a website. But, free WordPress.com sites do not allow you to run an advertising campaign on your websites until you have reached 25,000 page views per month.
Even then, you have limited options for monetization by using the WordPress Ad Control feature, which has few features and allows a little control over the advertisements displayed on your website.
With a self-hosted WordPress, you are free to monetize your website on your terms or use ads in any way you like. You can place ads from Google AdSense and many other types of text-based, link-based, or display advertising anywhere you like on your site.
This feature can offset the expenses you have spent on the domain+hosting, themes & plugins, and any other resources. With self-hosted WordPress, you can build a more profitable website and earn a full-time income to make a living from it.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: Which is Cheaper?
A basic website or blog which has made with a subdomain on WordPress.com is completely free while self-hosted WordPress costs you a few bucks to start any website. You need to purchase a web hosting plan and custom domain to launch your website.
But, it’s for the very basic use. If you want a fully-featured business website with a custom domain name, more or adequate storage for business needs, customized design, and no advertisements by WordPress .com, it will become more expensive than self-hosted WordPress website.
Take an example.
Let’s take the popular paid plan at WordPress.com Premium which costs you $99 for the first year (Normally $108 per year). It comes with around 13GB of storage space.
On another hand, you can pick one from the list of multiple web hosting plans from different hosting service providers that range from low to high price. You will amaze if I say some web hosts have free hosting (but I don’t use them).
For self-hosted WordPress, let’s take SiteGround’s GrowBig plan for comparison, which comes with 20GB space and unmetered traffic. And, the cost is $95.4 for the first purchase, which is the lesser than that of WordPress.com Premium plan. You also have the freedom to choose another web host, in case you are not happy with the service of your current one.
Still, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when deciding to choose a self-hosted WordPress website.
- Paying For Resources
A domain name, web hosting, email services, third-party marketing tools, etc. all services are generally very affordable, but keep in mind that they can add up to the growth of your site.
If you are going to self-host your site, make sure you have the adequate funds for running up your venture, or, have a plan to monetize your blog/website through different ways like affiliate marketing, selling products & services, or through advertising, etc.
- Development May Be Needed
Though you can select from many beautiful themes and plugins on a WordPress.org site, customization is almost needed most of the time. If you don’t know coding like PHP, HTML or CSS, etc. or not familiar with design elements, you may consider hiring a developer according to your needs & budget.
In case, you are comfortable with tweaking the code you can DIY or take help from the community or other relevant sources.
Our Pick: WordPress.Org
Starting with WordPress.com is easier than self-hosted WordPress that has a learning curve to become a master. WordPress.org also requires enough time and resources to spend, but it’s rewarding for your work at the end of the day.
You can create a stunning website that has more flexibility and control over design, customization & monetization, etc. With the help custom themes & plugins, you can extend functionalities of your site.
Moreover, you get a custom domain name which helps build a strong online identity or a brand.
Considering these major differences between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org mentioned here, WordPress.org is a clear WINNER.
Was this article useful and helped you in clearing your doubts? Or, do you want to say any of your experience on WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org?
Feel free to write and let me know any feedback, suggestions, or your experiences below in comment section.
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