Are you trying to build your next project in WordPress but came up with two different options – WordPress.org and WordPress.com and now you are confused about which one to choose? Although both WordPress.org and WordPress.com sound alike with the only difference being .org & .com in their name, they are completely different platforms and serve different purposes.
Choosing the right platform is very crucial for your online success. In this comprehensive guide, we are going to discuss the differences between these two platforms and help you choose the right platform for your next web project.
Whenever someone speaks about developing a website in WordPress, they are normally referring to WordPress.org. It is a self-hosted platform which means you’ll need to download a copy of the WordPress CMS file from WordPress.org and host it on your web host. It is an ideal choice if you are looking for more flexibility in your website. You’ll be owning 100% of your website.
Benefits of using WordPress.org
Here are some key benefits of choosing WordPress.org to build your web projects.
- WordPress is 100% open-source and very easy to set up. It is freely available via the WordPress.org website. The open-source community maintains its routine updates and you have access to all its updates free of cost.
- You have 100% ownership of your website and data hosted using WordPress. None can turn down your website or have access to your website data unless you are using it for some unethical reasons.
- You have the ability to add paid or free or even your custom themes and plugins and customize the website however you want.
- You can run ads in your self hosted WordPress Website and make money from those ads.
- You can run an online business and sell digital/physical products and earn money.
- You can run a social networking website by integrating some cool membership plugins into your website.
Cons of using WordPress.org
There are very few disadvantages of using self-hosted WordPress.org site
- You will need to pay a certain amount for hosting your website. Normally the hosting costs you between $3 – $6 per month. But this cost might vary depending upon your website traffic and the type of web host you’ll be choosing.
- You need to manually update and maintain the self-hosted WordPress.org site. WordPress.org routinely releases minor updates which is like once a month followed by a major update release once a year. These updates might sometimes break WordPress theme & plugin functionality which is very unlikely but if it does you will need to manually fix the issue or wait the theme/plugin developer to release the patch.
- You’ll need to manage your backups for your website. However, it is not much of a hassle because there are tons of plugins that help you achieve this task.
With great authority comes responsibility and this is very true for the self-hosted WordPress.org. You will have great flexibility in shaping your website however you want but with the responsibility to maintain it like routinely backup, updating themes, plugins and WordPress etc.
The cost for running up a self-hosted WordPress.org site varies depending upon the type of your project. You may run a simple blog website with around $40 a year.
WordPress.org is popular amongst web publishers. I would like to recommend you to use the same for some serious projects due to the aforementioned benefits.
WordPress.com is another platform that uses software from WordPress.org as a Content Management System (CMS) at its base. But it is a paid service, where you need not worry about hosting or maintaining updates. They are taken care of by WordPress.com.
WordPress.com has a free service too, which has some serious limitations. Like you won’t be able to use your domain name on your website. You will be assigned a WordPress.com subdomain like youname.wordpress.com. This is not ideal if you are looking to establish some serious online business.
Their paid service may cost you from $60 – $5000 yearly. Compared to WordPress.org, It seems a little costly and you also lose a ton of flexibility options. But if the tasks like backing up your site and updating your site on a routine basis seem a hassle to you, This plan might be an option for you.
Let’s briefly list of some of the pros & cons of using WordPress.com
Benefits of WordPress.com
- You don’t need to worry about hosting and updating your WordPress site as it will be maintained by WordPress.com. This might save your time with the mumbo jumbo of setting your website live and making it publicly available.
- You don’t need to set up a backup system for your website. This will too be taken care of by WordPress.com. They will routinely backup your website under the hood.
- Can be a quick learning platform for beginners. All you need to do is, set up an account, and you are provided access to one of the most popular web publishing tools out there. You don’t need to worry about installing the software manually, It will be already set up for you.
Cons of WordPress.com
- In a free plan, you won’t be able to use your domain name. You’ll be provided only subdomains like for example yourname.wordpress.com.
- You won’t be able to install themes and plugins for your website. This I think is a major drawback with WordPress.com. Theme and Plugins are the main building blocks to uniquely create your site. With this drawback, you will lose the ability to define a unique personality to your website and brand.
- WordPress.com provides only limited SEO optimizing features which will directly hamper ranking your page on Google and other Search Engines. This is not good especially if you are looking to compete with your business competitors.
- Your website data is not directly under your control and the website can go down without any notice.
- You won’t be able to use Google Analytics freely on your site. Analytics will help you analyze your site visitors and take proper decisions to increase engagement in your website.
- You cannot run ads and monetize using the Free plans of the WordPress.com website.
Now to answer the question that you have been waiting for – which one is a better choice. It depends on how you want to establish your website. If you are a beginner I would personally recommend you to familiarize yourself with WordPress.com because it is easy to set up, all you need is an account for signup. The interface of WordPress.com and WordPress.org are almost identical. I would recommend you to use a free plan for this.
Later as you get the feel of using WordPress Interface you may switch to WordPress.org. This Self-hosted WordPress.org can be an ideal choice for building a very successful online business in the long run.
If you are looking for saving your time with a selection of web hosts, and don’t want to dig your nose into backing up your website, You may go with WordPress.com. But I don’t think these tasks are much of a hassle. If you are like me who want to take authority in hand and want full flexibility with website customization go with self-hosted WordPress.org.