What is WordPress?
WordPress is open source software based on PHP and MySQL. It is a free content management system (CMS) with which you can create blogs and websites. You can download the software for free, install, use, and also modify it as is open-source software.
Started as a blogging platform is now widely used for a variety of non-blogging websites, including e-commerce sites. Undoubtedly, Blog is the king of the CMS market today, giving it 36% of the power over all websites online.
So if you want to build a WordPress-based website, you have two options to choose from; WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
It is often confusing as people fail to make clear distinctions between them. So, let’s alienate and discuss each platform first.
What is WordPress.com?
Let’s make it simple. WordPress.com is an online platform where you can start a blog or build a website for FREE. It's mostly a platform like Blogger or Tumblr, where you can create your own blog and publish content.
WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform backed by a company called Automattic. Automattic uses the ‘WordPress software’ to power WordPress.com. It ensures high-quality, spam-free, and secure hosting of your website forever for FREE of cost.
This means that if you choose WordPress.com, you will avoid the hassle of finding a hosting provider. Additionally, it takes care of your website security, maintenance, backup, and software updates.
At WordPress.com, you don’t have to download and install the software, pay for hosting, and domain name. So, free hosted WordPress.com is the easiest platform to build a WordPress-based website. However, there are some limitations.
What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the home to open-source software WordPress. This is where you can download the WordPress software and install it on any web host to create a website. When people say 'WordPress', they often want to say 'WordPress.org' instead of 'WordPress.com'.
It is a self-hosted platform which means that you need to find a hosting company on your own along with a domain name. Website performance, security and the overall content of your website are your responsibilities, they depend largely on the quality of the web host you use.
You will have enough freedom and customization possibilities on this platform. WordPress software is FREE but you need to spend money on the hosting.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org – What’s the difference?
Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org are intended to create WordPress-based websites, but they are fundamentally different.
The important difference between these two blog tastes is between the two hosting or hosting your website. WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform, WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform that allows you to host the WordPress installation on your own server.
Other major differences are compatibility, maintenance and safety.
Take a look at the comparison table below to find all the differences in the points.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.com: The WordPress War
1. Fully hosted platform – Let WordPress.com host your blog for FREE. Website space is limited to 3GB
1. Self-hosted platform – Find a web hosting company yourself and pay for hosting. Website space depends on the type of hosting you buy
2. WordPress.com subdomain – You will get a free subdomain. Your website URL looks like mysite.wordpress.com.
You need to upgrade to the premium plan if you want a custom domain.
2. Custom domain – You need to get a custom domain yourself.
You may need to pay additional money for domain names depending on the hosting provider.
Most of the hosting provider give free domain for first year.
3. Basic Security, Backups, and Maintenance – WordPress.com takes care of them all with some built-in WordPress plugins.
3. Security, Backup and Maintenance - You need to take care of these things. You can enlist the help of WordPress or other third party hosting, security services and you can install any security plugin
4. WordPress.com Themes - You can use any of the more than 100 free themes and 200+ premium themes on WordPress.com. You cannot use custom themes.
4. Unlimited Themes – You can install any custom theme from WordPress.org theme repository or from any other third party WP theme provider like ThemeGrill. WordPress.org Theme Repo has only 3000 free WordPress themes.
5. Design Customization – Design Optimization - You can do basic optimization in the design of your website.
You need to upgrade to a paid version for more customization options.
5. Unlimited Design Customization - You have complete control over the design of your website.
You can set up any theme and customize it to your liking with PHP and CSS.
6. No Advertisement – You cannot add your own ads on your free WordPress.com website but they display ‘WordPress.com ads‘ on your site.
If you don’t want them, you need to upgrade to its premium plan.
The premium plan additionally allows you to add your own ads using WordAds. Ads from third-party ads like Google AdSense, OpenX, and BuySellAds are not allowed.
6. Advertise and monetize – Display as many advertisements you want from any advertising network and earn money.
Having ads from third-party ads like Google AdSense, OpenX, and BuySellAds are perfectly okay.
You won’t be bothered by any default ad like in WordPress.com; nobody else can add any ad without your consent.
From the above table, it’s clear that major differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org are hosting, security and maintenance, design and customization, and monetization capabilities.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Which is appropriate for you?
Rather than one being superior to another platform, WordPress.com and WordPress.org both can be the best/ most appropriate platform for you depending on your need and resourcefulness. They both have pros and cons.
So, let’s discuss which platform fits perfectly for you/whom.
Why pick WordPress.com?
If you are a beginner creating your first website, WordPress.com is perfect for you. First of all, it’s super easy and super fast to set up a website. You do not have to worry about WordPress installation, hosting, security, maintenance and backup. You get them all for free.
Free website on WordPress.com comes with limitations, though. Say ‘YES‘ to WordPress.com, if you are okay with the following limitations:
- You don’t get a custom domain and limited website space.
- You cannot make custom design changes. Be happy with what’s already there.
- It doesn’t allow you to add your own ads and earn money. Instead, you have to tolerate ‘WordPress.com’ ads that are shown by default.
Paid plans at WordPress.com will provide you more freedom and control over your website but not as much as in WordPress.org.
So, WordPress.com is better for beginners, content-focused bloggers, anyone with little time, anyone willing to work less.
Why pick WordPress.org?
If you want to create your own website that is unique and unique from the audience, WordPress.org is the right platform for you. Find a suitable hosting plan, install a blog, choose a beautiful theme and start building.
If you are unaware of WordPress and how the web works, launching the WordPress.org platform through this process may seem daunting, but all of this can take a little longer.
Most importantly, the WordPress.org platform gives you complete freedom, customization opportunities, and monetization options. However, with great freedom comes great responsibility. If you are fine with the following conditions/restrictions, say 'yes' on WordPress.org
- You are ready to buy a hosting and get a domain. It doesn’t come for FREE.
- You are responsible for everything; security, maintenance, backup, and updates. You have enough time and resources to keep your site up and running.
Despite all, full freedom and complete control you get in WordPress.org are worth the responsibilities that come by.
So, WordPress.org is a better platform for anyone willing to create unique websites, and build a strong online identity or earn money, be it, beginners or experts.