WordPress.com vs WordPress.org — Is there a difference between the two? Which is better? These are some of the most common questions among new bloggers.
Well, to keep the “WordPress.com vs WordPress.org” battle simple, here are their key differentiators:
- WordPress.org is customizable, WordPress.com is less so.
- WordPress.org is self-hosted, WordPress.com is not.
Let’s take a closer look below.
What are the differences? WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
- You get a full domain on WordPress.org but only a sub-domain on WordPress.com
- WordPress.com has more limitations than WordPress.org
- You own the content on WordPress.org but not on WordPress.com
- People take you more seriously when you’re on WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com
1. You get a full domain on WordPress.org but only a sub-domain on WordPress.com
Sub-domain is a part of larger domain. For example, my site domain name is StartBloggingOnline.com.
If my sub-domain is MyFreeBlog, then my full domain name will be MyFreeBlog.StartBloggingOnline.com. See the difference?
Before I move on, I just want to let you know where else you can start a free blog on a sub-domain (besides WordPress.com):
When you go and sign up on WordPress.com you’ll get a domain name like: YourNewBlog.WordPress.com
When you go with self-hosted WordPress, you’ll have your own domain name like: YourNewBlog.com
On the downside, your blog address will cost you around $10 per year. It’s not much, but still some money.
2. WordPress.com has more limitations than WordPress.org
WordPress.com has around 100 free themes to choose from, WordPress.org (self-hosted) has around 1500 free themes to choose from.
The same goes with plugins and different add-ons. In short, you’ll have some limits which doesn’t allow you to really customize your blog.
You won’t be able to add different plugins and themes that can make your blog look “cool” and unique.
Your blog will also be limited in size. If you go too heavy on posting images and videos, you might need to sign up as their premium customer which costs $99/year.
What’s the downside for avoiding the limits on WordPress? You’ll need to sign up for hosting, which is roughly $3 per month.
3. You own the content on WordPress.org but not on WordPress.com
Yup, you heard it right. You don’t own the content nor the blog you’re posting on. WordPress owns it, thus they can shut it down whenever they want to. Don’t believe me, read this.
That’s the main reason it’s free.
On a self-hosted WordPress, you’ll own your content and you can even sell it as a website/blog without any permissions.
You can place ads and even monetize your blog – you can’t do that on a free WordPress platform.
4. People take you more seriously when you’re on WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com
Don’t get me wrong. WordPress.com is perfect for classroom blogs or blogs that won’t be used more than 2 months.
But when you want to be a serious blogger (individually or for company), you need to have your own domain name and own hosting.
Have a look at this WordPress.com vs WordPress.org infographic I made
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org—What I chose and why
I’ve been using self-hosted WordPress blog for years now. Unfortunately, I started out on a free WordPress platform and later had to move onto self-hosted one.
If you are SERIOUS about blogging, hands-down go with WordPress.org. If you are just starting off, then free services can be an easy decision, but I don’t recommend it. Why?
Whether you’re setting up a website or creating a blog, free platforms are getting more and more strict about rules and allowed content.
They might delete your blog without any warning at all. You don’t have full control over your blog.
They can add random advertisements on your blog that make it look “spammy” and cheap.
Here’s what happened to well known publicity expert, Joan Stewart
Publicity expert Joan Stewart, also known as The Publicity Hound, learned the consequences of not self-hosting.
While her regular blog was self-hosted on WordPress.org, she was using Blogger.com as the archives for her ezine, “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week.”
Blogger hosted the archives.
“One morning, when I tried to get into the archives, I discovered the entire thing was gone,” she said. “My stomach did flip-flops as it became apparent that several years worth of content had disappeared. I contacted Blogger but they never explained what happened. I had forgotten that my web developer backed up the archives weekly, so I lost only a week’s worth of content.“
Her blog is now part of her website, on a self-hosted WordPress.org platform.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org—What’s your choice?
If you are serious about blogging, you want to do it long-term and/or earn some money then go back to homepage and get yourself a self-hosted WordPress blog.
If you have no intentions to blog more than a few months, then follow this tutorial and set up a limited free blog on WordPress.com
FAQ on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
1. Should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org for business?
For business, I definitely advise you to use WordPress.org because you want to portray a professional image to your clients and the general public. WordPress.com is just not going to cut it.
2. Should I use WordPress com or WordPress org for blogs?
It depends on how serious you’re about your blog. If you’re blogging as a hobby with no plans to expand or monetize, WordPress.com might be fine. But if you have more ambitious plans for your blog, then I advise you to use WordPress.org.
3. Which is best, WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
In my opinion, WordPress.org win hands down because of the extent of customization you can do. As outlined above, WordPress.com is rather limiting.
4. Which is free, WordPress com or WordPress.org?
WordPress.com’s basic package is free but its premium package is $99/year. As for WordPress.org, you can download it for free but you’ll need a domain and hosting which costs a few dollars per month.