If you’re looking to start a blog, then you must’ve already heard about WordPress.
And you’ve probably seen it with two different extensions: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
You would expect a brand’s .org and .com to be quite similar. But in WordPress’s case, they are not – WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different things.
So, what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
If you’re confused about it, keep reading.
In this post, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about both WordPress.com and WordPress.org so you can move forward with choosing the best place to start your blog at.
Here we go.
What is WordPress and how does it work?
Simply put, WordPress is the easiest way to create a blog or website. It’s also the most popular and powerful website and blogging CMS (Content Management System), powering 31.0% of all the websites on the internet.
With WordPress, it’s easy to manage your blog and content without being a developer. This makes it perfect for beginner bloggers who don’t know many things about coding.
How does WordPress work?
As I’ve said in the beginning, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are completely different and offers you different services. You’ll also find them referred to as WordPress hosted (.com) and self-hosted (.org).
WordPress.com works as a hosted service, while WordPress.org is downloaded for self-hosted installation. I’ll cover this in detail in the following chapters.
Who uses WordPress?
WordPress is used by both individuals and big businesses. It’s a website and blog builder that covers the needs of anyone wanting to build an online presence.
In fact, this blog is powered by WordPress. As are most of the sites you visit on a daily basis, big and small.
Some examples of the most popular websites and blogs created with WordPress are TechCrunch, Flickr, and The New York Times.
What is WordPress used for?
WordPress is used to create a website or a blog. And it’s perfect for both beginners and experts as it’s easy to use even if you’re not tech savvy and there are not many limitations on the blog you can create if you’re prolific in code.
With WordPress, you can create more than a blog. In fact, you can build any kind of website you wish like:
- Business websites
- eCommerce websites
- Social networks
Advantages of using WordPress for blogging
Now that we covered what is WordPress and how it works I’ll give you the best reasons why you should use WordPress to create your blog.
⭐️ It’s free
Even if you have to invest some money in hosting for the WordPress.org, you don’t have to pay for the WordPress software itself.
⭐️ It’s easy to install
The thought of installing the WordPress software on your web hosting service might scare you off at first as a beginner blogger. But most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation. So no technical skills needed.
⭐️ You get lots of features
The free WordPress library contains over 50,000 free plugins and 5,000 free themes. Plus, a huge library of premium options. With so many choices, you have the opportunity of designing your blog as you wish.
⭐️ You can easily learn
Because WordPress is so popular, there are plenty of resources online where you can learn more about how to customize your blog. And there are also active communities where you can ask for solutions if you should get stuck on a certain problem.
⭐️ It’s great for SEO
To build a successful blog, focusing on SEO is crucial. WordPress makes SEO easier by automatically generating title tags and meta descriptions for your posts. This will help your posts get indexed and boosted in rankings. Moreover, on WordPress, you can find a lot of SEO plugins, free and premium.
⭐️ You are in total control of your blog
Because WordPress.org is open source, you’re not limited to what you can do with it. Other website builders and blogging platforms that are non-open source have lots of limitations like the blog hosting, the plugins you can use, or that you can’t fully change the code. And most importantly, with other website builders, you might not have full ownership of your files.
⭐️ It’s perfect for blogging
You can easily run your blog as a one-man show. But as your blog grows, there’s a chance you’ll bring other contributors to your blog. In WordPress, you can make someone a contributor and he won’t have any access to make changes to your blog and publish the posts. But he can leave his blog posts there, ready for you to review and publish. This makes collaborations easier. There are also other roles you can assign to other people like author, editor, SEO editor, and each of them comes with a certain level of power over the blog.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
So what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? In fact, there are more differences that need to be noted.
WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not the same thing.
The main difference between the two of them is that WordPress.org is a software you install on your hosting service and you can do whatever you want with it. While WordPress.com is a free hosted blog solution which comes with lots of limitation.
I’ll go through both of them in detail so you get a better understanding of the two options you have for your blog. So let’s go over the pros and cons of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
To create a WordPress.com blog, all you have to do is register for an account and log in. Your blog will be ready to use right away as there’s no installation required.
With a WordPress.com blog, you get free blog hosting and it’s the main reason why beginner bloggers chose this option.
But in reality, WordPress.com is a for-profit service, meaning that with the free plan you don’t have much flexibility. Think of it as a service which gives you a glimpse of what you can build so you upgrade to a paid plan for more features.
Here are the pros and cons of choosing WordPress.com for your blog.
✅ Pros of a WordPress.com blog
- You don’t have to pay for hosting. On the WordPress.com platform, you get free WordPress hosting.
- You don’t have to manage a web server and backup your blog.
- It’s easy to set up. You don’t need to install a software to use it, you just log in on the platform.
But as with everything free, it also comes with limitations.
❌ Cons of a WordPress.com blog
- You’ll get a subdomain, not a domain. So you’ll end up with an address like myblog.wordpress.com. You can use a custom domain only if you upgrade to the Personal plan.
- The themes and plugins library is limited. Meaning you’ll end up a blog looking the same as a lot of others.
- You can’t upload custom blog themes or plugins.
- Basic design customization. So you don’t have much control over the theme you choose to use.
- WordPress will display ads on your blog. And you’ll not get paid for it.
- You can’t make money with your blog by using affiliate links or ads.
- Premium and Business users can use the WordAds advertising program to make money with their blog, but they have to **share the revenue with WordPress.
- With the free WordPress blog, you’ll have “powered by WordPress” displayed on your blog.
- You can’t modify the code behind your blog.
- You get only 3GB storage space for your content and images. For more space, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
- If you want more freedom to customize your blog, you have to pay for premium upgrades.
- You can’t use tools like Google Analytics to track the traffic on your blog.
- There are some Terms of Service you must follow. And if they think you violated them, they are free to delete your blog.
✴️ WordPress.com Pricing
If you want more freedom, like registering for the free WordPress hosting with a custom domain, you can opt for one the WordPress.com plans.
WordPress Personal Plan: $4/month
- You get to choose a free custom domain name
- Remove WordPress.com Ads
- 6GB storage space
WordPress Premium Plan: $8/month
- Personal Plan features +
- Monetize your blog through the WordAds program
- Get access to premium themes
- Advanced design customization
- Get PayPal button for your shop
- 13GB storage space
WordPress Business Plan: $25/month
- Premium Plan features +
- Unlimited storage space
- SEO tools
As you can see, the free WordPress.com solution is not exactly free when you consider having your own blog custom domain and designing your blog in more detail.
To better understand the difference, let’s take a look at where WordPress.org is standing in terms of features and pricing for a better WordPress.org vs WordPress.com comparison.
WordPress.org is an open source software you install on your web host. It’s also referred to as self-hosted WordPress blog. What does this mean?
It means the software is completely free of charge and limitations and you own the blog you create through this software 100%.
To create a self-hosted WordPress blog, you need to first purchase a domain name and a web hosting service. I’ll talk about their pricing in a minute.
Let’s get over the pros and cons of choosing the self-hosted WordPress.org to start your blog.
✅ Pros of a WordPress.org blog
- The WordPress.org software is completely free to use by anyone.
- You are in total control. WordPress holds no right to shut down your blog or to remove your blog data.
- WordPress shows no ads or branding on your blog.
- You can monetize your blog however you like. You’re free to use any advertising program and as many affiliates as you wish. Also, nobody will take a cut from your revenue.
- You have access to thousands of themes. And you can also upload your own custom themes or make any changes you like.
- You can make use of the huge plugins library. There are both free and paid options and you can upload your own plugins.
- You can use tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel so you make informed decisions to grow your blog.
- To make money blogging, you can create a membership site for courses and premium content.
- You can also easily set up a shop to sell your own digital products and make more money with your blog.
- You can customize and do just anything with your self-hosted WordPress blog.
❌ Cons of a WordPress.org blog
- You need to host your own blog and get a blog domain name.
- The WordPress.org software must be set up with your hosting provider. But you can pick a blog hosting service that offers one-click WordPress installation.
- You must change the DNS. But this can be skipped if you purchase the domain from the hosting provider.
- You must back up your data. Which can be done through plugins and tools.
- You’ll have a bit of learning to do at first, but there are tons of great resources online. Some of the best are WPbeginner and the WP101 blog.
✴️ WordPress.org pricing
WordPress.org itself is completely free to use. But you do need to get a blog hosting service and a domain name.
There are lots of affordable hosting providers to start your self-hosted blog with.
The prices range between $3-30/month in the first year. As your blog grows, you’ll need more features, hence a bigger hosting plan with higher investments. But when your blog will be bigger, it’ll also make you enough money to further invest in its development.
As for the domain costs, the range is between $1-$15/year. The price depends on the provider and the extension you choose (.com, .net, .site). But many web hosting providers offer you a free domain bundled with the hosting plan.
We wrote a guide about choosing a blog hosting service and compared the best affordable blog hosting providers for beginner bloggers. Take a look to find out where you should host your blog.
Which WordPress to use – WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for blogging
Now that you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and know they stand for two different things, you’re ready to make a well-informed decision for your blog.
WordPress.org is almost always the better choice.
The only reason why you should use the free WordPress hosting at WordPress.com vs WordPress.com is if you want to blog solely out of passion without any intent to make money blogging.
As you’ve seen above, WordPress.com is not entirely free. Not if you want a custom domain and ads revenue. And the price you have to pay for a premium or business plan is higher than most of the blog hosting services suited for beginners just starting out.
Also, with the free WordPress.com blog, you lose the best of WordPress – being able to customize your site.
WordPress.org might seem scary because you have to install the software and manage your blog. But you can get a web host that offers one-click WordPress installation and you can ask for support if you get stuck on something.
So WordPress.org is the right choice if you:
- Want to start a blog that you can freely monetize as you wish
- Create a custom design for your blog
- Be able to use a wide variety of plugins
- Be in total control and ownership of your blog
- Consider selling digital products on your blog
- Overall, build a successful blog
Here are the most common questions people ask about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. I answered them briefly for a quick response.
Do I need hosting for WordPress?
To use the WordPress.org software you need to register with a web hosting provider and get a domain. With the WordPress.com, the hosting is handled by WordPress and you only need to register for an account.
Do you have to pay for WordPress?
With WordPress.com, you can create a free blog but your blog’s address will be in the myblog.wordpress.com form. If you want to have your own custom domain you have to upgrade to a paid plan.
The WordPress.org software is free for anybody to use but you need to have your own blog hosting and domain.
Does WordPress provide hosting?
If you create a blog with WordPress.com, the hosting is provided by WordPress. For the WordPress.org software, you need to have your own hosting.
Are WordPress.com and WordPress.org the same?
Not at all. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different things. To see the differences between them and the pros and cons of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org look through our comparison above.
Which WordPress is free?
This is a tricky question. WordPress.org is completely free for anybody to use but you need to pay for your own hosting service and domain. With WordPress.com you can start a free blog right away but you’ll have lots of limitation and might need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Is WordPress a software?
If we’re talking about WordPress.org then the answer is yes. It is a software that you have to install to your web hosting service and it will work as a CMS (content management service). WordPress.com is a platform based website which works on WordPress.org. But you don’t have to download or install the software.
Is WordPress a platform?
WordPress.com is a platform while WrodPress.org is a software.
Which WordPress should I use?
In most cases, the answer is the self-hosted WordPress.org as it offers flexibility and freedom to grow a blog and a business. If your goal is to make money blogging, then WordPress.org is your to-go place. But if you’re not sure, see our comparisons between using WordPress.org vs WordPress.com above.
Can I use my own domain with WordPress?
For WordPress.com, you must upgrade to the Personal plan ($4/month) to be able to get WordPress hosting with a custom domain.
Can I move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Yes. You can export all your posts and comments from your WordPress.com blog with an export tool. Then you import the file on your self-hosted WordPress.org blog. You’ll need to create redirects for the WordPress.com posts so your visitors end up on your new blog. This is easily handled of with the Site Redirect service from WordPress.com that costs $13/year.
So, is WordPress the best place to start your blog?
There’s a simple word – YES.
And after you went through all the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, I hope you’re aiming to use the WordPress.org with your own hosting service.
- You’re in total control of your blog
- You get plenty of themes to chose from so you can make your blog look amazing and professional
- There are thousands of plugins that’ll make SEO, e-mails collecting and improving the readers experience easy
- You can easily add a shop, create a membership site, or offer freebies when you’ll be ready to monetize your blog
- It’s easy to use regarding on your technical skills
For more tips on starting a blog, take a look through our guide: