So, you’re looking to use the most popular blogging platform out there, WordPress. But now the question is: what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
The answer is simple.
Both versions of WordPress give you the much-loved WordPress dashboard you can use to blog. Both let you choose themes to change the design of your blog with ease. However, there are some key differences that set them apart.
Simply put, WordPress.com is more limited than WordPress.org. There are fewer themes to choose from, you can’t use external plugins, and you have to pay to get important features. If you want things like a personal domain, which all blogs should have, you will have to pay.
The main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that the .org version is self-hosted and the .com version provides free hosting for you. While the “free” version may seem attractive at first, there are many drawbacks such as:
- Less control over your blog.
- Ads shown on your blog.
- Less customization options.
- Have to pay to upgrade.
As with all the “free” blog sites, there are downsides. If you want more than a limited blog you will have to pay to upgrade.
Starting a blog with the self-hosted WordPress.org gives you the full functionality of WordPress. Setting up hosting is simple and generally only costs a few dollars a month. To see how you can set up a hosted WordPress site in 5 simple steps, visit this tutorial on starting a blog.
Let’s look at the main differences of WordPress.com versus WordPress.org and which one is best for making a blog.
Self-Hosting vs Free Hosting
First, it is helpful to have an understanding of hosting and the different options available.
To keep it simple, hosting a website means making it available for others on the internet. A website is stored on a server that connects to the internet. Whenever someone visits that site, the server delivers it to that visitor.
What is Self-Hosting?
Self-hosting doesn’t mean hosting your website by yourself. While this is possible (generally not recommended), it is not what we mean.
What we are talking about is using a hosting company to host your website for you. The hosting company has the expensive, powerful equipment and fast internet connection needed to deliver your website.
Setting up hosting takes only a little time and is easy to do.
What is Free Hosting?
With a free blogging site, you use their domain and add your name to it. On WordPress.com, it looks like this:
Having your own personalized domain is important for establishing a brand for your site. With WordPress.com and other blogging sites you can pay to get a personalized domain, but with self-hosting it is already done.
Now that you have an understanding of hosting, let’s look at the different versions of WordPress.
WordPress.com is the free hosting version of WordPress. It lets you set up a blog for free using the WordPress platform and using their domain name.
At first, setting up a free blog can seem attractive. WordPress.com gives you many themes you can choose from, creates backups of your site, and is free at the basic level.
However, getting anything other than a limited site is going to cost you.
With WordPress.com and many free blogging sites, there are disadvantages. Here are some of the big ones:
- You don’t have control over your site. They can shut it down whenever they want.
- Your domain isn’t personal.
- They show ads on your site
- The space is limited. You have to pay to get more.
- Limited design options and features.
However, if you just want a casual blog for a short period of time, having a basic free blog could be suitable for you.
But if you want to create a serious, long term blog, self-hosting is the way to go.
With WordPress.org, you can take advantage of the full benefits that come with WordPress.
Self-hosting gives you full control over your site. You are the boss and can choose whether or not no have ads on your site.
With WordPress.org you have these advantages:
- Full control over your site.
- Full access to thousands of themes.
- Ability to use external WordPress plugins and tools to enhance your site
- Can show ads to make money. Choose if ads are shown or not.
- More customization options.
The only thing you have to do is get hosting with a hosting company. Many hosting companies allow you to set up WordPress easily with one-click installs. They make it easy for their users to install WordPress and start blogging.
Choosing The Best Version
By this point, you should have a good idea of which version will suit your blog best.
If you are looking to have full control over your site, then WordPress.org is for you. If you are looking to blog casually and don’t want to put much time in you can consider the free WordPress.com.
Investing in a self-hosted blog will give you more control and functionality in the long run. Also, if you eventually want to make money from your blog this option gives you the most control.
To make it even simpler here is a chart outlining the main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Setting Up WordPress.org
To demonstrate how easy setting installing WordPress on a self-hosted blog can be, here is a brief walk-through of the process. For the complete tutorial, visit this page on starting a blog.
This tutorial walks through the process using Bluehost.
Installing WordPress takes little time and is as simple as a few clicks.
Inside your hosting control panel will be an option to “install WordPress.”
Next, you will click “install.”
Then you can select your domain that you chose (you get one free with a Bluehost account) to install WordPress on.
Next, fill in your desired username and password and hit install.
WordPress will now quickly install and you will be notified once it’s done.
With a few clicks, the full WordPress.org is now installed and ready to go. For the full tutorial, visit this step-by-step guide on how to make a blog.
Hopefully, you now know what the difference is between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. If you are looking to create a blog with the most control and options, WordPress.org is the best choice.
If you can deal with not having full control, having ads shown on your blog, and having a non-personalized domain name, the free WordPress.com will be enough. This is often good enough for blogs that are temporary or for casual blogging.
But for serious blogs, we feel WordPress.org is the best choice. In the long run, setting up self-hosting gives you much more options to create a blog.
Set up your blog with the best WordPress version and you won’t have to waste your time transferring it in the future.
What are your experiences with WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?