Are you wondering which platform wins the battle between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? In this post, we’ll take a look at which choice is better for your blog and go over the pros and cons of each.
Picking the right blogging platform from the start will save you the hassle of having to switch later on down the road, which can be really time-consuming and frustrating.
When you start a blog, it’s important to choose the right blogging platform.
If you’re new to blogging, you’ve probably heard about WordPress and you might be considering using the platform for your new blog. If you are, you’re off to a good start!
WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms on the market.
Which WordPress? There are actually 2 different versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It’s easy to get confused on the difference.
Let’s do a comparison of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org so that you can find out which is better for your blog.
In This Guide:
- What Is WordPress?
- WordPress.com VERSUS WordPress.org – What’s The Difference?
- WordPress.com Features
- WordPress.org Features
- WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Pros and Cons
- WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which Should You Choose?
- Starting A Blog With WordPress.org
First though, if you aren’t familiar with WordPress at all, check out this quick introduction.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is the most popular software in the world for creating websites.
In fact, according to WordPress statistics, over 60 million people chose WordPress to power their website or blog—and that number keeps growing every day.
In the past, WordPress was mostly used for creating blogs. But today, you can create any type of website you want using WordPress, including:
- Business websites
- eCommerce sites
- Membership sites
- Social Networking websites
- And more
Plus, with WordPress, you don’t need to know how to code in order to build a website. WordPress is easy to use, even for complete beginners.
Because WordPress is so popular, there’s a lot of famous websites that use WordPress. Chances are, many of the websites or blogs you visit on a regular basis are powered by WordPress.
WordPress is a powerful and flexible website building platform, which is why so many big brands use it to create their websites.
Here’s a short list of websites using WordPress:
- 1. Variety
- 2. Star Wars News
- 3. Snoop Dogg
- 4. Flickr Blog
- 5. Vogue India
Now that you know about the basics of WordPress and that it can be used to create an awesome blog, let’s dive into the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com VERSUS WordPress.org – What’s The Difference?
In this section, I’m going to do a brief overview of WordPress.com and WordPress.org separately so that you can understand the main differences between them.
Let’s get started.
WordPress.com is a website builder and web hosting service, all-in-one. This means that you can sign up for an account and start building your blog right away—no hosting needed.
There are 5 different plans you can sign up for on WordPress.com:
- Free – Very limited
- Personal – $48 per year
- Premium – $96 per year
- Business – $300 per year
- eCommerce – $540 per year
- VIP – Starts at $5000 per month
Choosing WordPress.com will make it easier to start your blog since you don’t have to deal with hosting.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Using WordPress.com also means that you have less freedom because you’re not hosting your own blog. Most importantly, it will make it difficult to monetize your blog
Which brings us to WordPress.org. Let’s take a look at it.
WordPress.org is open-source website software that you can use to create your own blog.
Open-source software is a type of software that gives users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
So, you might be wondering, is WordPress.org free?
WordPress.org is free for anyone to use to build a website or blog. All you need to pay for is a domain name and web hosting.
Since you need to pay for web hosting, this means that you host your own blog. This is commonly known as a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Having a self-hosted WordPress blog gives you more freedom and control over your own site; it’s one of the biggest benefits to choosing a WordPress.org blog.
Now that you know the main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, keep reading to find out the pros and cons of each option.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Pros and Cons
When deciding what platform to use between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for blogging, it’s important to look closely at the pros and cons before making a decision.
Let’s dig deeper into the pros and cons of WordPress.com and WordPress.org so that you can choose which one better suits your blogging needs.
WordPress.com can be a good option for people that want to start a blog for free as a hobby.
Here are some of the pros of WordPress.com:
- Free Plan
WordPress.com offers a free plan which allows you to set up a blog without spending any money at all.
- Easy Set up and Low Maintenance
Starting a blog with WordPress.com is easy because all you have to do is sign up for an account, choose the name and URL of your blog, and start creating your site.
You also don’t have to worry about maintaining your site, WordPress.com handles all of that for you including backups and updates.
While choosing a free WordPress.com site might seem like the best deal, there are actually a lot of limitations you should be aware of.
These limitations, or cons, include:
- No Custom Domain Name
When you create a free WordPress.com blog, you don’t get a custom domain name like www.myblog.com. Instead, you get a subdomain that will look something like www.wordpress.com/myblog.
This makes your blog look unprofessional and the URL can be hard for users to remember as well.
- Can’t Use WordPress Plugins
One of the best things about WordPress is all of the WordPress plugins you can use to make your blog more powerful, and your blogging life simpler. But with a free WordPress.com blog, you can’t use WordPress plugins at all.
You have to upgrade your plan if you want to be able to use WordPress plugins on your blog.
You also can’t use third-party scripts like Google Analytics on a free WordPress.com site.
- Limited Customization Options
There are thousands of stunning WordPress themes for blogs you can use to give your site a professional look in an instant.
But, with the free WordPress.com plan, you can only use a limited number of WordPress themes. This makes it difficult to give your blog the look you want.
- You Can’t Monetize Your Blog
If you want to start a blog to make money online, you can’t do it with a free WordPress.com blog. With the free plan, you can’t place ads on your blog using Google Adsense and you can’t do affiliate marketing either.
Also, with a free WordPress.com blog, ads will be placed on your site by WordPress.com. You don’t get any say in which ads are shown (which means they could be irrelevant and annoying to your readers) and you don’t get any money from them.
- You Don’t Have Control
When you create your blog with WordPress.com, you have to abide by the Terms of Service of WordPress.com. This gives you less control over what you can do with your blog.
Plus, if WordPress.com thinks you’ve violated their Terms of Service, they can delete your blog at any time.
As you can see, there are a lot of downsides to choosing a free WordPress.com plan to start your blog.
While you can upgrade a free WordPress.com plan to a paid plan to access some of the features you’re missing, it’s quite expensive.
Instead, let’s go over how choosing WordPress.org to build your blog will give you all of the features you want, without having to spend a ton of money.
- Free and Easy to Use
WordPress.org is completely free to use. All you have to pay for is a domain name and web hosting, which can cost less than $5 a month!
This is much cheaper than most paid WordPress.com plans.
WordPress.org is also easy to use. And since WordPress is so popular, there are a ton of tutorials online that will help you out if you do get stuck.
Check out some of my helpful WordPress Guides and tutorials:
- How to Start a WordPress Blog
- How to Install a WordPress Plugin
- How to Install Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog
When you start a WordPress.org blog, you can customize your site however you want. You’re able to install any WordPress plugin—and there are thousands to choose from!
In fact, in the official WordPress.org repository, there are currently over 55,000 plugins (free and paid) that you can add to your blog.
Plugins will help you make your blog more powerful and allow you to add extra features to it.
Here are some of the best WordPress plugins for your blog:
- Yoast SEO – Boost your blog’s SEO and increase your ranking in search results.
- OptinMonster – Create opt-in forms to turn site visitors into email subscribers.
- WPForms – Build sleek forms for your blogs like a contact form, survey forms, newsletter forms, and more.
- MonsterInsights – Learn more about your audience and where your traffic is coming from.
And of course, you can customize the look of your blog easily with WordPress.org because you’re able to use any WordPress theme you want. You can also use third party scripts like Google Analytics.
- Self Hosted WordPress
With a self hosted WordPress.org blog, you own your site and your blog content. This means that you have no restrictions; you can build and grow your blog however you want.
And you don’t have to abide by the Terms of Service set by another company or worry about your blog getting deleted (as long as you’re not doing something illegal).
A self hosted WordPress blog gives you full control.
- Monetize Your Blog
Using WordPress.org allows you to monetize your blog. You can use your blog to make money with advertising, affiliate marketing, writing sponsored blog posts, and more. You don’t have to share the revenue with anyone either.
Check out my guide to discover more ways you can monetize your blog.
- Build Any Type of Site You Want
Not only can you monetize your blog, but with WordPress.org you can bring in even more money with the ability to create any type of site you want.
For example, you can easily turn your blog into an eCommerce site to sell products and services on your website using a plugin like WooCommerce.
You can also use a plugin like MemberPress to turn your blog into a membership site. This allows you to charge users a monthly subscription in order to access your awesome content, which is a great way to generate recurring revenue.
There are very few cons of a WordPress.org blog.
- WordPress Hosting is Needed
You can’t start a blog with WordPress.org completely for free, you do need to pay for WordPress hosting. Luckily, there are super affordable WordPress hosting options, which we’ll look at later.
- Site Maintenance
With a self hosted WordPress blog, you’re responsible for maintaining your site.
This includes backups, updates, and security. This isn’t as complicated as it seems though.
Keeping your WordPress site, theme, and plugins updated is as easy as 1-click of a button and there are WordPress plugins for security and backups you can use as well.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which Should You Choose?
So, which is best WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
If you’re still not sure whether you should choose a free WordPress.com plan or WordPress.org to build your blog, check out this table for a quick comparison between the 2 options:
|Custom Domain Name||No||Yes|
|Access to WordPress Plugins/Themes||No||Yes|
|Ability to Monetize Your Blog||No||Yes|
|Full Control Of Your Blog (Self Hosted)||No||Yes|
|Responsibility for Maintenace||No||Yes|
Overall, WordPress.com is a good choice for students or people that want to start a blog for a hobby.
Their limited free plan is fine, as long as you’re not interested in starting a professional blog and making money online.
But, if you want to start a profitable blog business, choose WordPress.org. A self hosted WordPress blog will allow you to create and grow an online business in any way you want.
If you’re ready to create a blog on WordPress.org, keep reading for some tips that will help you get started.
Starting A Blog With WordPress.org
We mentioned earlier that when using WordPress.org to start a blog, you need to pay for a domain name and web hosting.
Starting a self hosted WordPress.org might seem difficult, but it’s actually really simple.
I always recommend creating a self-hosted WordPress blog with Bluehost.
Bluehost is one of the best blog hosting services on the market. Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress.org and it comes with a 1-click WordPress installation.
1-click WordPress installation means that you can sign up with Bluehost, choose your domain name, click the 1 button to install WordPress, and start building your blog right away.
With WordPress.org and Bluehost, you can set up a blog in no time and you don’t have to spend a ton of money either!
And if you already started a blog on WordPress.com, you might be wondering, can I change from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? The answer is yes!
I’ll update this post with information on how to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
And that’s a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed this post on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. Remember that if you want to make money online with your blog, WordPress.org is your best bet.
With WordPress.org, you get more freedom to create a blog on your terms and grow it into a successful business.
For more tips on starting a successful blog business, check out our launching a blog checklist!
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