One of the most common questions I get as a website designer is ‘what is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?’. I have a lot of clients who start on the free wordpress.com platform and are confused as to why I can’t design a custom site for them without switching it over- after all, wordpress is wordpress right? Wrong.
WordPress.org is the home of the free open-source and self-hosted content publishing platform, while WordPress.com is the hosted and commercial version.The difference is like owning or renting your house (or your blog).
Why I recommend WordPress.org over WordPress.com
I recommend you go for an open-source platform like WordPress.org and self-host your blog on your own domain name and your own hosting space.
Then and only then you would have the full flexibility, control and ownership over your blog and your content.You will be the boss and will be able to decide how you want to run your blog.
I love WordPress.org and definitely recommend it for new and more advanced bloggers alike. I run all my website projects on WordPress.org and so do more than 75 million of other bloggers and brands.
WordPress.org must be installed on a web hosting server to work.
I recommend Host Gator for their great service and easy approach
They offer fantastic 24/7 support (their live chat is amazing), unmetered bandwidth, and an easy one-click WordPress install.
In addition, their rates are one of the lowest starting at only $2.78 USD/ month.
Click to get your WordPress.org blog now
It will take you 5 minutes to get your WordPress blog online with the 1-click installation feature.
This comparison between WordPress.com and WordPress.org has all the facts you need to make an informed choice.
- Simple and easy to use with all the basic features and services included for free
- You get your web space and can start your blog within minutes
- All-inclusive so you don’t need to worry about a hosting server, software updates or security maintenance
- You get URL like wordpress.com but there is a paid upgrade to have your own domain name for $18 per year
- You get 3GBs of space for storing your files and images but additional space costs $160 for a year for 100GB
- It has a limited selection of free design themes
- It does not permit uploading of additional design themes and plugins
- You cannot edit HTML, PHP code, or content of a theme which makes it difficult to create something unique in the look and feel
- FTP access to your blog is not included either
- Having access to customize your CSS design costs $30 for a year
- You don’t have full control over monetization of your blog. Adsense, Chitika, TextLinkAds, affiliate links and other external banners are not allowed
- It displays advertisements on your blog unless you buy an Ad-free Upgrade which costs $30 for a year
All in all .com version of WordPress is a nice place for any beginner blogger. It’s a great way to get you introduced to publishing online and an easy free way to get started if blogging or running a site isn’t something you’re positive you’re going to stick with. However, if you have to upgrade to get some of the features- it’s a much better deal to upgrade to wordpress.org.
Depending on your goals, working on hosted platforms (this includes squarespace, wix, wordpress.com, blogger) will eventually lead to issues that will limit the potential and opportunities you have with your blog. You may not worry about these issues in the early days, but on your way to building an online presence, you will outgrow these platforms.
Self-hosting and installing the wordpress.org software:
- You have the complete control, ownership and flexibility over your blog
- You can install any design theme or any of the many plugins
- You can run any advertisements giving you the possibility to profit from your blog
- You can edit the database and change different CSS and PHP files and codes
- You can completely decide the look, feel and functionality of your blog. Being able to edit the code means you can make your website look like whatever your heart desires
- There are no risks in getting your blog shut down because of external decisions
- Your content is yours. You own it. If you post on wordpress.com- they technically own your work.
While choosing your own hosting and installing the software may seem daunting- It is best to get off on the right foot and not need to make drastic changes later on when your blog is more established.
If you’re looking for a flexible blogging or website solution with lots of different design and functionality options, room to grow and expand your blog, self-hosted WordPress.org is the way to go.
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**This post contains affiliate links however all links are products and services I use and truly believe in**