If you’re new to web design or blogging, the question of which platform to use can be overwhelming. There are so many different options out there, and each one offers something unique. One of the best (and most customizable) platforms to build your website on is WordPress.
However, did you know there are technically two different kinds of WordPress platforms?
In this article we’ll break down the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org so that you can make an informed decision about which is right for your needs.
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a service that helps you build a website using the WordPress software with managed hosting.
Pros of WordPress.com
- Offers its own hosting so no need to look for an external hosting provider when you sign up
- You aren’t responsible for maintenance or security.
Cons of WordPress.com
- Lose a lot of flexibility of WordPress software in exchange for the simplicity.
- You can’t install your own theme or plugins unless you pay for the Business or ecommerce plans
- Can’t add certain types of code unless you upgrade
- WordPress.com Business Plan is pretty pricey.
- You’re subject to their exact Terms of Service (not a deal breaker, but you’re limited to what type of content your site can have.
What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the WordPress software. You can download a free copy of the software and have free reign on your web design with themes and plugins.
Pros of WordPress.org
- Install your own themes and plugins
- Use any web hosting service (our favorite is SiteGround)
- You can edit literally anything on your site with no arbitrary limitations
- No restrictions on the type of content you share (within governmental law)
Cons of WordPress.org
Responsibility — you have to maintain your site, including backups and security (but they make great plugins for that)
Costs for WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com is a free service that allows you to start blogging without having any technical skills. You can create your blog, get it hosted and use the tools provided by WordPress.com without spending a dime! If you want to build a website on your own domain (e.g., http://yourwebsite.com), then you’ll need to pay for that (~$10/year).
WordPress.org is also a free service however you’ll need to pay for your own domain name (~$10/year) and your hosting service (~$50/year). This doesn’t include any premium plugins so this price could easily go up.
Ease of Setup
WordPress.com is easier to set up and manage.
WordPress.org is more powerful and customizable, but requires more technical knowledge to manage.
One of the great things about WordPress.com is that it’s a hosted platform, so you don’t have to worry about installing and maintaining the software. All you need to do is login and start creating content.
WordPress.org is different because it’s not hosted by Automattic (the company behind WordPress). Instead, it’s self-hosted: You have full control over your site and can customize it however you like!
Customizability (Themes and Plugins)
One of the biggest differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is the ability to customize and create your own themes and plugins.
On WordPress.com, you’re limited to only using themes approved by Automattic (the company that owns WordPress). This means that these themes will never be updated by their creators once they are added to the marketplace. Most of them are designed to look good out of the box with minimal customization required, which is great if you don’t know anything about coding but not so much if you want more control over how your site looks or behaves.
With WordPress.org, the design sky is your limit! There are countless theme options out there to get you started or you can even start designing with a blank canvas.
When selecting your website or blogging platform, there are many things to consider…
If you’re new to web design or blogging, or just want to start with the basics, WordPress.com is a hosted platform. This means that when you sign up for an account, your website will be hosted on WordPress’s servers and they’ll handle all of the technical aspects of running it. You can sign up for a free account if you don’t want any custom domain name or hosting plan.
However, if you have high expectations for your website and want more control over how it looks and performs, then WordPress.org and self-hosting might be better suited to your needs.
Choosing the right website platform is a personal decision and it’s important to do your research before making the switch. WordPress.org offers more flexibility in terms of customization with plugins and themes but can come at a slightly higher cost than WordPress.com which provides basic functionality without requiring any coding skills or knowledge of HTML/CSS. If you are looking for something simple and easy-to-setup then perhaps WordPress.com would be best suited for your needs; however if you want more freedom over how your site looks, feels or operates then moving over to WordPress.org might be worth considering (that’s always our choice!).