WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – What’s the difference?

So you’re ready to launch your website and you know you want to use WordPress, but you’re stuck. Do you use WordPress.com or WordPress.org? What exactly is the difference between the two? (There’s way more than you probably think!) Is one better than the other? These are all questions that I’ll answer within the post and the included infographic. I hope that I help you with the decision of what platform you want to use for your website!

WordPress.com – What is it?

WordPress.com does all the behind the scenes work for you. It has its own hosting, its own site backups, and site maintenance. All you have to do is register an account, choose what you want your site to be named, choose a theme for what you want your site to look like, start creating content and publish away.

Now that all sounds fine and dandy, right? But actually, all these benefits do come at a price, especially if you are only using the Free Plan on WordPress.com. Here’s what you’ll be limited to:

  • All Free Plan WordPress.com site addresses have .wordpress.com tagged onto it. So, for example, your site address would be YOURSITENAME.wordpress.com. If you want to use your own domain (YOURSITENAME.com) it’ll cost you $18 a year.
  • Storage space is limited to only 3GB of storage, so you can’t upload very many pictures or videos.
  • There is no ability to upload themes of your choice. This leaves you limited to only the themes on WordPress.com. 
  • You won’t be able to upload plugins so you’ll be limited to a small range of plugins that come with WordPress.com. 
  • WordPress.com will show ads on your site and you aren’t able to run your own ads until you qualify to do so by your site averaging 25,000 page views a month.

If you are wanting to use a WordPress.com here there are different price plans that range from $35 – $300 a year. Do keep in mind that the cheaper the plan, the less control and customization you get with it. 

WordPress.org – What is it?

WordPress.org does come with a learning curve, but once you get past it you get the benefit of freedom and customization. WordPress.org is easily the best option if you aren’t afraid of using a little elbow grease to get your website started. Here are a few things to keep in mind about WordPress.org:

  • You’ll have full control of your site, but it will take a little work to get it up and going.
  • You can upload any theme you want and brand your site to just the way that fits your taste.
  • You can upload any plugin you want, they will help with the usage and functionality of your site.
  • You aren’t restricted to what ads you can run on your site. You can choose what ads you want on your site and when you want them on your site.

A good thing to keep in mind about WordPress.org is that now you’re in charge of the way that your site runs unlike with WordPress.com. You’ll have to take some time to learn how to maintain your site, update themes and plugins, keep your site secure from hackers, deal with spam, backup your site regularly, and other technical things.

If this all seems too daunting for you, don’t fear because there are a TON of free resources online to help you learn WordPress to do what you need to and even possibly become an expert at it. If that is still too much for you then you can hire a professional that will do it all for you.

Which one for you?

No matter what way you look at it both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have their pros and cons. A good way to think about it is that WordPress.com is like renting a house where you are limited to what you can do with your website and WordPress.org is like owning a house where you have no limitation to what you want to do with your website.

If you want a just a simple personal blog with no intention of wanting to run ads, generate an income, or bother with your site’s maintenance then WordPress.com is for you.

If you want a website for a blog where you do want to generate an income or a website for a small business and have full control over the design and functionality then WordPress.org is for you.