WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org — Which One is Right for You?
The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is subtle, but extremely important. At times it can even be confusing, as many people who aren’t familiar with the platform aren’t even aware that there are two different options when it comes to “WordPress.” They just know it by that name.
So if you’re interested in a WordPress site, but you’re not sure what the difference is between the two options (much less which one is right for you), we’ll point out the major differences.
We’ll also talk a bit about the ideal WordPress.com and WordPress.org candidate.
A few things you can think through out ahead of time:
- Do you want to invest money in your WordPress site?
- Are you interested in a professional, business-type blog or a casual and recreational project?
The answers to these two questions will have a pretty profound effect on which route you choose to take, so try and get your goals nailed down before digging into the difference between your two options.
We’ll start with WordPress.com since that’s the simpler explanation of the two.
In short, it’s the simpler of the two options, both in terms of what you have to pay and what you need to do from a technical standpoint — essentially, nothing.
WordPress.com provides you with a freely hosted WordPress site which you can use and post on free of charge, without any need to pay a third-party hosting service or buy a domain name. Instead, you’ll be a given a URL in the form of yourblogsname.wordpress.com.
You will however be somewhat limited in terms of the themes, plugins and customization options available to you, with zero creative input when it comes to ad space.
Now it’s true that you can buy your own domain name and redirect the WordPress URL, but there’s no denying that you’re severely limited here when it comes to creative control and the ability (or lack thereof) to customize your site.
You can quickly start to see that the .com version of WordPress is better suited for the casual blogger or someone who just wants a simple and possibly private site.
On the flipside, WordPress.org is downloadable software that’s also free and gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility and near complete control over your WordPress site.
You can edit codes, the customize templates have access to27000+ WordPress plugins, and you can exercise your creative authority over every aspect of your site.
The downside here is that you have to pay for a third party hosting service (which usually runs anywhere from $20 to $65 per month) and you must buy a domain name; there is no yourname.wordpress.com option to to start with.
So you get a lot of customization options, but you’ve got to put up some money up front.
You will also need a reasonable amount of technical prowess. However, the WordPress.org site is well documented and provides easy instructions for setting up your site, and even hosting companies will usually have WordPress-specific instructions. So, there is plenty of assistance available.
After all that, the tradeoff is pretty straightforward — you get all the control in the world, but you have to be comfortable doing the grunt work yourself and paying up front.
Ideal Candidates for .com and .org
Just by seeing some of the pros and cons of each site, you’re probably getting a general idea of what type of person each one is geared towards and hopefully which one is better for you and your goals.
If you’re just looking for a simple, easy to setup and cheap solution for a casual blog or website, WordPress.com is going to be a better option for you. If you decide you want to migrate to the more professional WordPress.org system, it’s always doable and there’s plenty of documentation to help you get it done.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to develop a professional or business focused website and you’ve got the financial or technical capabilities to make that happen, you absolutely want to go with the downloadable platform and use WordPress.org.
There is nothing quite like being in complete control and the customization will benefit you in the long run which is well worth the cost.
What considerations helped you make your selection? Let us know in the comments.