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WordPress.org vs .com

WordPress is by far one of the most popular platforms and content management systems out there, but it can actually mean two different things. As you might have noticed, if you’re thinking of starting a blog or a website, there are two versions available: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. 

In today’s article, we’re looking at the differences between the two so that you can better understand which one addresses your specific needs. 

WordPress.org vs .com

The main difference

WordPress.com is completely free and one of the best options for people looking to build a blog, see whether they can make it successful, and then switch to a personalized domain. The downside, of course, would be that your blog’s address would look something in the lines of “myblog.wordpress.com.” 

You can sign up for a totally free WordPress.com account anytime. On the other hand, WordPress.org addresses the needs of bloggers or business owners who want to build their own website, get a custom domain, and use WordPress as a content management system

But the caveat is that you can get your domain and hosting from another service (Bluehost, SiteGround, HostGator, Namecheap, and more) and install the WordPress CMS on your website without paying WordPress a single cent. 

Price differences

You can use WordPress.com for free for as long as you wish and then upgrade to a paid plan later on. 

WordPress.org can bring you lots of value, instead, even if you get hosting and the domain from the company. For example, a Business plan costs $499 for two years, but you do have to pay $18 per year for your custom domain. 

Setup differences

If you don’t get a custom domain and you stick to the “myblog.wordpress.com” solution, you don’t have to worry about anything. 

The downside, though, is that you also have no way of monetizing your site (other than offering sponsored posts and creating advertorials, for example). But there’s no way you can include Google Ads or any other such services. You don’t have to install the CMS separately as you would when getting hosting and a domain from another service. 

The same goes for WordPress.com. If you got a Business plan, for example, the WordPress customer support team is going to be at your disposal. The plugins are going to update by themselves, provided that you found and installed them directly from WordPress. You’ll have to update the rest by yourself. 

If you want to use WordPress merely as a CMS and you don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to installing it on websites, you can ask the hosting service to help you or use the one-click WordPress installer, if they have it available. 

Plugins 

If you use the free, Personal, or Premium WordPress plan, you are not going to be able to install your own plugins. Only Business and eCommerce plans have this feature. 

To give you a notion of how expensive these two can be, the Business plan can cost around $300 a year, whereas the eCommerce one can cost about $550 a year. That’s more than what most hosting services charge, so you might have to carefully consider your budget. 

Pros and cons

You should choose WordPress.com if you want something that’s easy to set up, customize, and work with. The downside is that you have to pay in order to customize everything (in terms of themes and plugins), and with some plans, you might not have the option of installing what you want.

With WordPress.org, you have to pay for hosting, you have to set it up on your own if you use a different web hosting service, and you have to make sure that you manage your server and website (if you don’t get an expensive plan). As for advantages, WordPress.org is free to download and the sky’s the limit when it comes to customization options. 

Monetization

Free and personal WordPress.com websites can’t be monetized. You have to at least choose a Premium plan in order to display ads on your website. On the other hand, WordPress.org can be used to monetize any website. 

Is self-hosted WordPress better?

Yes and no. It is significantly cheaper, which can be very important for people looking to build several websites. For example, back in the day, when people used to make a lot of money using Amazon Associates, some marketers used to have dozens of websites, so they would have to keep the costs as low as possible.

But if you have just one business and you’re not particularly tech-savvy, there’s always the option of you getting a Business Plan directly from WordPress

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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