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What’s the Difference Between WordPress.org & WordPress.com

Wajid Hussain Jan 30, 2017
wordpress-com-vs-wordpress-org

So you are planning to build a new website? And you have chosen WordPress as your website platform!

Congrats you have made a wise decision, because of its versatility and ease of use!!

WordPress powers up 25% of the internet, pretty big figure. Isn’t it?!!

If you are new to WordPress.org then you probably don’t know anything about it and WordPress.com, and probably you are about to change your mind…. But wait!! This article is here to help you out!!

There are two types of hosting for WordPress, WordPress.org which is Self-Hosted and WordPress.com that is free to use. Now you know about these two hosting but still the question is which one to use because hosting is the main ingredient of a perfect website recipe.

We are going to explore these two flavors of “WordPress” and will compare the pros and cons of them.

  • The differences between them:
  • Compare their:

             -Costs

             -Freedoms and limitations

             -Maintenance and the development

  • Which one to go with .org or .com?

From this point on forget and say bye forever to the confusion and welcome to the knowledge about both the platforms. Let’s move on to first stop:

What is WordPress.com?

We are going to give you a brief idea about what is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is the commercial site that was co-created by Mutt Mullenweg and his company called Automatic. He made this platform open source and that means you can use it for free but yes it do have some limitations.

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So the question is if the limitations are there then why would I have to use this free platform??  The answer is, upgrade your site and VOILA!! You can achieve your specific needs by upgrading your site and it will get looked after with top of the line spam-fighting power and automatic security updates.

To use it, all you have to do download it and place it in the public folder of your host, Signup and choose your blog name, then just design your site as you required.

Don’t worry for the installation as it will be managed right on the spot.

What is WordPress.org?

Using WordPress means your website is in your hands completely. (Yes really!!) The only limitation might here would be the resources that your hosting package provides you. WordPress.org is the platform where you can grab your own CMS copy for free, isn’t it good?

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This software owns the responsibility of finding the hosting company to house the WordPress site with your own domain name that will help your visitors to point to it.

It provides you the facility to get involve in the community forum where you can ask any (relevant) question if you get stuck anywhere and also you can use the extensive documentations as well. If you like to get involved and join many other volunteers who contribute to the WordPress core code, mobile apps and translations than this site is good for you to use.

Comparison between WordPress.com & WordPress.org:

To give you the best remedy against your problem, which one’s right for you? Let us compare these two platforms by considering three of things: cost, freedoms and the limitations, and maintenance and development.

Cost:

At this time when we are going to compare cost of WordPress.com and WordPress.org, we have to look at four aspect associated with both of them. They include:  domain name, hosting, storage medium and ad removal.

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If you want a fully featured website with your own domain name then go on with WordPress.org but if you can compromise on domain name and want a free platform then go for WordPress.com.

If cost is the most considerable part of your business plan then download WordPress from WordPress.org is the best option for you. Let’s get in more depth to better understand your choices.

WordPress.com:

No matter what, the hosting of your site on WordPress.com is free, but there are some         limitations. But there is also some good news, they can be removed with upgrades or plans that can be applied to each of your sites.

I have mentioned all the upgrades that you can choose from to have more control over your site on WordPress.com:

*Note that all of them but last two are annual subscriptions:

  • $13 for Site redirect
  • $120 for Unlimited premium themes
  • $5 for Domain registration
  • $13 for Domain mapping
  • $8 per Domain for Domain Privacy
  • $60 for Video Press
  • $30 for Custom design
  • $20 – $290 for Space upgrade
  • $30 for No ads
  • Starting from $20 for Premium theme, one-off fee
  • $129 for Guided transfer, one-off fee

After getting know all the upgrades, it’s important for you to know for a newly registered domain you are working on, you also need the mapping upgrade. After setting up your website if you think that you need several upgrades, than you might be able to save some money if you upgrade to one of the WordPress.com plans, instead.

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The above displayed picture is the current hosting plans at WordPress.com. You can select any of the upgrade package according to your need. But still if you want a site with full fledge features and with your own domain name, unlimited storage for the videos and the images, with no advertising, then WordPress.com can be quite expensive for you to use.

WordPress.org:

If you are working with this platform you can download the copy of free software. But keep in mind that hosting your own WordPress site is not free, so what to do now?

You can easily choose any hosting company. There are thousands of out there who can provide you what you want.  All you have to do is to check out which plan suits best for your need.

You can pay for the hosting as low as around $5 per month if you are using shared hosting packages, depends on your company as many of them offer regular promos.

But if you want hosting that is shared by much fewer people you can go for VPS (Virtual Private Server) and dedicated server packages, obviously you have to pay more if you choose this option.

And yes about domain names, if you want to use generic top level domain name such as .com, .org or .net then the costing will be around $10. There are some more gTLDs which are .rocks, .company, .ceo and many more which are also available from last year and are starting from $10 over $100.

At result of choosing WordPress.org you will have your full control over your site, it doesn’t matter which hosting company you choose.

Freedoms & Limitations:

The site you are building, truly depends on the choice you make while choosing hosting for your site. The freedom and wiggling room from a custom design to tweaking your site’s files or database all depends on your goals and your choices.

WordPress.com

If you are hosting your site with WordPress.com, then there would be limitations too for the folks who are running their businesses on WordPress.com. WordPress.com provides the environment that is ready to use with the maintenance of the software so that you can experience the things with in the secured environment, but in return you have to pay if you are doing any upgrades.

The limitations that are included are:

  • Limited to WordPress.com themes and plugins – you can’t upload your own
  • Limited storage space with limited control of your content
  • You must pay to remove ads
  • No FTP access to your files
  • No use of third party tools such as Google AdSense

WordPress.org

The only limitation using WordPress.org is the amount of the storage you have and the hosting features provided by the hosting company, you have your own server and which means you have the freedom whatever you want to do.

About the themes and plugins you can use any of them free or paid and without ads, and if you wish to add your own just use Google Adsense.

  1. Can use Google Adsense
  2. Add edit or delete files and databases
  3. FTP,shell and cPanel access to the files

You can use this platform without any limitations but it depends on your sense responsibility of maintaining it, unlike WordPress.com.

Development and Maintenance:

If you choose WordPress.com than you don’t have to worry about the maintenance but if you are using WordPress.org, it is truly your responsibility then, for that there are many hosting solutions available to help you out.

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When it comes to the developing, no matter what you use, you don’t have to worry about anything (Thank God!).

The WordPress team works hard to provide the regular updates on the WordPress core code in order to make sure that your site have a solid foundation.

Don’t know anything technical or don’t have time to commit to ongoing maintenance and development??  Then WordPress.com is the best option for you. The more explanations are mentioned below.

WordPress.com:

The WordPress team and community will take care of all the maintenance and development work for you, in short you don’t have to do anything regarding maintenance and development whenever you upgrade or due to problem with your host your site suddenly going down.

You don’t have to keep yourself up-to-date with the WordPress news. And you don’t have to upgrade your site every time a new version of software is released.

WordPress.org:

If you are hosting your own WordPress site that doesn’t mean that you will not face difficulties, in fact you are fully responsible for your own site performance and development.

The responsibilities on you are:

  1. Install and then set up your WordPress site
  2. Configure your server for VPS and dedicated hosting
  3. Regularly update your themes and plugins and WordPress version when new versions roll out
  4. Keep your site secure for your visitors and protecting your site against hackers and spam
  5. Back up your whole site regularly in case it breaks
  6. Resolve problems with your site and server if they happens

If you love WordPress.org because of the flexibility this platform provide but you feel confuse as how to keep your site maintained, then worry not WordPress is a platform that provides you the solution of every problem including this.  Use a WordPress hosting solution which includes Pagely or WP Engine.

Just use this tool and it will look after all the backend maintenance for you, but, you have to pay more in order to sit back and watch the show (Maintenance).

Which one to choose?

At this point you may be have made your decision… Still no?

Let me tell you both are great options for you to choose but select the one by keeping in mind your plans about your sites, what are the skills level that you have and lastly how much time can you give to your site maintenance and designing.

If you are creating a simple blog website, and you don’t want to fuss with the security and the regular maintenance and the customization is not too much, then I would suggest to go for WordPress.com.

But if you are on the other side of the picture, and want a fuller control over the site, the design, the plugins that you are using , the files of the software and database with freedom to do so, and if there is no issue of security and maintenance of your site than WordPress.org will be your best bet.

Also if you are planning to develop an ecommerce site, social media or large business site that the self-hosted, WordPress site can be cheaper for you and offers more flexibility.

If you are planning to grow your site and to increase traffic, then download WordPress.org from WordPress is the best option and also our recommendation for you.

Want to share your experience with WordPress.com and WordPress.org? Let me know in the comments below.

Wajid Hussain

Wajid Hussain

Community Manager at Arpatech
Wajid Hussain has a vast experience in Magento and PHP fields. He is currently a Community Manager at Arpatech. He keeps himself engaged with latest e-commerce and Magento trends and also happens to be an avid football fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @wajidstack or contact him through e-mail wajid.hussain[at]arpatech.com
Wajid Hussain