WordPress is the most popular content management system to build a website. It powers over 40% of the web because of its ease of use and the various functionalities it offers. However, most beginners get confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This article explains the differences between the two and the pros and cons of each of them.
Let’s get started…
What are the Differences Between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
WordPress.com is a hosted platform that has free and paid options. You don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting, installing the WordPress content management system, and setting up all the technical requirements with your hosting provider. With WordPress.com, the hosting is taken care of by the company that created WordPress.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is an open-source content management system software that anyone can download and install on their servers. If you use wordpress.org, you’ll have to purchase your own hosting, set up all the technical requirements with your hosting, and install and configure the WordPress content management system on your server. The biggest advantage with this is flexibility. You have access to the source code and can modify it any way you want.
Free or Paid
Hosting on WordPress.com is free (there are some paid options). So, let’s assume you simply want an online journal where you’d share your random thoughts about many issues, and you have no plans to do anything else. Just an online “notepad,” if you will. You could simply get started using WordPress.com’s free option.
Hobbyist or Professional
While, if you’re planning to have a highly impressive author website, perhaps, you’d even like it to have a small “social network” for writers and eCommerce capability, WordPress.org offers you all these options, whereas WordPress.com may not offer you such flexibility.
A Domain or a Subdomain
It’s vital to also stress that with the free option, what you get is a subdomain, not a domain that you own. So, WordPress will always be displayed in “your” domain name. With the paid option, you get to decide what your domain name will be. There’s no WordPress prefix.
Control or Flexibility
One of the hidden costs of the free option (that’s WordPress.com) is that you can’t install premium plugins. It’s theirs, and they get to decide what you can do. If you don’t mind the restrictions, the free option is fine, but if you want to choose everything related to your website, then the paid option (WordPress.org) is a better choice.
Now, let’s explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
What are the Pros and Cons (WordPress.com vs WordPress.org)
As you can probably discern from the previous section, if you intend to have a personal professional-grade website that you have absolute control over, WordPress.com is not an option. Its beauty is that it’s free to get started with it. It’s also simple to use.
You don’t have to know about hosting and the technical stuff that goes into setting up a website. You’d get a web space where you don’t have to bother about updates or backups. Both are automatically handled for you.
So, it’s awesome for its simplicity. But you can’t grow with it. You can’t decide, for example, that you’d like to add a highly powerful premium plugin that converts your website into a social network. You cannot install premium themes or premium plugins that add functionality to your website. You’re restricted to what WordPress.com offers you.
You cannot install Google analytics on the free option. You’re expected to be content with the data they provide you. The site will show a small ad that it’s powered by WordPress, and if you wittingly or unwittingly violate any of their terms, “your” site can be deleted!
WordPress.org, on the other hand, has a bit of a learning curve. You’d have to learn about hosting, how to install WordPress, how to install plugins. You’d have to pay for a domain name and hosting. But, it’s the better choice. In fact, for professionals, you shouldn’t bother with the free WordPress.com option.
As you know, branding is a critical element of whether we earn the respect and the income we deserve. The paid option allows us to decide virtually every aspect of how our online presence would be.
Because of the freedom, WordPress.org offers you can use a variety of monetization strategies to earn a lot of money via the website. For example, you could create a membership section on your site where your readers pay to be part of an exclusive group.
Everything has its pros and cons seems like a cliche. But, it’s true. And, that’s one of the themes we explored in this blog post: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. I want to conclude by saying that if you are a hobbyist, who wants a quick website by spending little to no money on one, and wouldn’t want to worry about hosting, then WordPress.com, Wix, or Squarespace might be suitable options for you. However, if you are a professional with a decent budget and are looking for a professional-grade website, then hiring a techie or a web development company to build your website using WordPress.org might be the best option.