WordPress is the most popular way to build a website. But despite its popularity, there’s one question that many new users still struggle with – what’s the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?
If you search for “WordPress” on Google, the two websites will rank #1 and #2. And if you’re new to WordPress, you might not know which one to use.
This article will explain the key differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org and help you pick the best one for your needs.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
The key difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.
With WordPress.org, you host your own site (we recommend this).
With WordPress.com, on the other hand, it’s WordPress.com that takes care of all of this for you (easier to start, less freedom). And that’s the major difference.
Nowadays, hosting companies like Bluehost or SiteGround are as easy to start with as WordPress.com, cheaper and with more freedom.
The cost of using WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress.com does allow you to set up a website entirely for free, but there are some downsides to this:
- You can only place your site under a subdomain
- You cannot remove WordPress.com’s own ads and branding from your site
- You get limited disk space of 3GB
- You can’t monetize your blog or website
- You can’t install plugins or any themes that aren’t available on the platform by default
If you do want to use your site for a commercial purpose, you will have to pay at least $8 / month on your WordPress.com plan + the cost of a custom domain name usually in the range of $15 / year. In total, this means at least $111 annually to run a site on WordPress.com.
With WordPress.org, on the other hand, you can launch a completely functional website at $35 for the first year and then $50 every year after that.
To make that happen, you first need to pick a web host. We have some suggestions for you here, but if you’re in a hurry, just go with Bluehost. They’re a respected company with tons of options for WordPress. Here’s what’s good about Bluehost’s offering:
- You can get started at $2.75 / month
- You get a free domain name for the first year
- WordPress will be installed for you automatically
From a user’s point of view, Bluehost works similarly to WordPress.com – as in, you sign up, pick a hosting plan, tell them to install WordPress for you, finalize the purchase and you’re good to do.
Plus, what you also get is complete freedom over what you want to do with your site – something that WordPress.com doesn’t give you. Go here to get started with Bluehost and WordPress.org.
If you need some more info before making up your mind, here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and cons
Each version has its own pros and cons. (Although, I personally think the .com version has more cons than pros. But you can decide for yourself!)
When to use WordPress.com
With WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting or maintaining your site. It also can be free, though there are paid plans as well.
The free plan limits you to 3GB of data and a subdomain (like mywebsite.wordpress.com). It also includes WordPress.com ads.
Furthermore, you won’t be able to install your own “plugins” or “themes” unless you pay for the expensive business plan. Plugins and themes are one of the most helpful things about the WordPress software because they make it easy to customize your site, so that’s a pretty big loss.
If the thought of changing a domain name server (DNS) or backing up your website data sounds incredibly daunting, WordPress.com may be the way to go to create a basic blog/website. But if you want any kind of flexibility, plan to monetize your site, or want your site to grow in the long run, WordPress.com can be very limiting.
When to use WordPress.org
WordPress.org has to be set up with your hosting provider. In most cases, this is a simple one-click install, and is really easy.
In fact, if you purchase your domain name from your hosting provider, you don’t even have to worry about changing DNSs. It will be done for you!
Plus, WordPress.org has much better customization options. You’re able to install plugins, use custom website themes, and do just about anything you want with your site.
You can also monetize your website however you want, which is great if you’re planning to make it a business.
If you want full control over your site and the best possible options, go with WordPress.org.
Even though there’s a bit more of a learning curve, in the long run you’ll thank yourself for making this decision.
Ready to get started? As mentioned, we recommend Bluehost as the place to launch your WordPress website. The setup is easy and they help you along the way, too. For more guidance, here’s our 15 minute tutorial to starting a WordPress website.
If you prefer this in video, check this tutorial out:
It’s easy to get lost in details when you are not very familiar with something. Same goes here. If you’re still undecided which platform is the best option for your next website, let’s make things even simpler.
So, is it WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
- WordPress.org is for website owners who want to be independent. That means that you build everything on your own from the ground up. Most importantly, you’re free to install any tools you like and control the overall website functionality. This is the best choice if you want to be completely on your own.
- WordPress.com is good for you if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with hosting, third-party tools, and custom website functionality. You just sign up and get an online space of your own instantly. The downside is that you won’t be able to customize it much unless you go with an expensive plan.
If you ask us, we’d go with WordPress.org. If the setup part is what scares you, we recommend Bluehost, a popular host that will install WordPress for you during checkout. You sign up for a monthly $2.75 and your WordPress site will be ready to use in just a few minutes. We’re always vouching for Bluehost because it’s cheap and basically does all the work for you. Plus, you get a domain name for free.
Have any other questions about WordPress.org vs WordPress.com? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help out!
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