Since their initial inception, there has been confusion about the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, a situation that is easy to understand - after all, they have almost identical names.
What is the difference between the two? Which one should you use?
We will discuss this in more depth later in the article, starting with a look at the main differences.
- WordPress.org: commonly referred to as self-hosted WordPress, open source WordPress software that anyone can download and use, for which you need to purchase a domain name and web hosting and have full control of all the content of the site.
- WordPress.com: A platform-as-a-service implementation based on the WordPress software, WordPress.com hosts your site and handles everything, but at the expense of some flexibility.
Recent changes made to WordPress.com have blurred the differences between the two, but that remains their core difference.
Before introducing the features, let's take a quick look at the two entities.
- WordPress.org is open source software managed by the non-profit WordPress Foundation.
- WordPress.com is a for-profit business owned by Automattic that hosts your WordPress website.
Both are separate entities, but the unofficial line can be blurred, as Matt Mullenweg is the founder of both the WordPress Foundation and Automattic. The result is that the two entities maintain a strong connection.
1. Create website
Now, creating a website with both WordPress.org and WordPress.com is easy, that said, the process with WordPress.com is probably even easier.
Create a website with WordPress.org
To create a website with WordPress.org, you need to perform several steps, but since self-hosted WordPress is becoming more and more popular, this approach is still perfect for beginners. Basically, you need to get yourself.
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting (Web Hosting)
Then, you can install the WordPress software on the web host of your choice. It has evolved to the point that almost all web hosts offer a one-click installation feature, which makes the process very easy. Most WordPress dedicated hosts even have WordPress pre-installed so that you don't have to do anything.
There are some fixed costs for creating a WordPress.org website.
- Hosted hosting: $3-$10/month, but performance-oriented WordPress dedicated hosting may exceed $100.
- Domain names: .com domains cost about $10/year, but some hosting providers offer free domain names for life.
When you first start creating a website, it usually costs no more than $50 per year.
Create a website with WordPress.com
With WordPress.com, creating a new website is as easy as creating a new account - no domain names and hosting to deal with, the whole process takes just a few minutes.
The cost to create a website ranges from completely free to $24.92/month. With the free plan, your website.
- Use a subdomain of WordPress.com, e.g. 10besty.wordpress.com.
- Display WordPress.com ads
- Limited storage space
If you use a paid package, then you can use your own domain name and remove the ads, but the site will still be subject to some restrictions (more on this later).
WordPress has a vibrant community of third-party themes and plugins that allow you to make incredible changes to your website. With WordPress.org, you are free to install any theme and plugin you need, but WordPress.com does not allow you to install themes and plugins on most plans.
WordPress.org installation of third-party extensions
With WordPress.org, you can install any theme and plugin on your own website, and with tens of thousands of options, you have full control over everything that happens on your website, just like our Top 10 reviews.
WordPress.com installation of third-party extensions
Basically, most WordPress.com users are unable to install any extensions.
As of August 2017, the $300/year commercial plan allows you to install third-party themes and plugins, but users of all other plans (both free and paid) are not so lucky. This is one of the main drawbacks of WordPress.com, they sacrifice flexibility for ease of use.
If you're just a casual blogger, this trade-off may help. But if you want a site that is truly your own and want to have 100% control, then WordPress.org is more attainable.
Since most WordPress.com plans are closed ecosystems, by default, websites created with WordPress.com are more secure. That said, WordPress.org can be very secure as long as you implement the right WordPress security measures.
How WordPress.org handles security issues
WordPress.org is just as secure as WordPress.com, except that the security is your responsibility to implement. The process is not complicated; the hosting provider can help you with part of it, and a security plugin (such as Wordfence Security) takes care of the rest.
How WordPress.com handles security issues
With WordPress.com, it is very difficult for your site to be attacked even for some strange reason because the system is in a locked state.
Besides the limited flexibility, the other major disadvantage of WordPress.com is that you will have a hard time making money from the site.
On the other hand, WordPress.org has no restrictions, you can profit by any method you like, and there are even plenty of useful advertising plugins to help you do so!
WordPress.com's money-making restrictions
Business plan only
Business plan only
Business plan only
Member links are allowed, but not for sites that provide traffic primarily for member links
Allow sponsored content, but not sites that are overwhelmingly sponsored content
Basically, unless you are willing to pay $300/month for a business plan, you will be limited a lot in terms of making money from your website. Also, even if you purchase a business plan, you will be limited by other rules of WordPress.com.
Finally, self-hosted WordPress.org is the best choice for most websites, with great flexibility in terms of installing extensions, modifying features, and making money online.
Neither is complicated, although you'll need to pay more attention to issues like updates and security. That said, WordPress.com certainly has its place, and if you just want a casual hobby site, or don't mind sacrificing flexibility for ease of use, then WordPress.com is a good choice.
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The only question is, which side are you going to pick?
Let me know in the comments.