What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org ?

Many web professionals old and new, have always had their share of doubts when it came to WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. Though they may have some points in common there are many differences between the two that can be leveraged in order to make the most out of them. Hence, for any web pro who is serious about leveraging WordPress as a tool to build a website or publish content, it becomes imperative to know the difference between the two. This article seeks to lay emphasis on what is WordPress.com and WordPress.org, what their pros and cons are, what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and when can they best be deployed.

What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is an open source platform which is free for one and all. Since it is a free software, you can download and install the same on your own web server. With WordPress.org, you can host your own website or blog. Hence it is also referred by many as ‘self-hosted’ WordPress.

What are the benefits of WordPress.org?
Apart from the fact that it is free to download, WordPress.org has quite a few interesting benefits. Let us look at some of the benefits, shall we?

  1. With WordPress.org, you have total control over your website. Which means you will not be bothered with ‘take this content’ down notifications unless you violate internet rights.
  2. You can monetize the website by running the ads of your choice, without splitting the revenue.
  3. There is no restriction in terms of downloading a theme for your website. Same is the case in terms of plugins.
  4. Since the website is hosted on your own web server, you can make changes to the directory of the web files as you want.
  5. You can customize the website as you want and change its design, that too without incurring any costs.

What are the disadvantages of WordPress.org?

  1. You may require some prior technical knowledge. A sound understanding of HTML will be good to have but not a must.
  2. Since the website is self-hosted you are responsible for everything right from security updates, backup and support for the website. In addition to this, with WordPress.org, you are not a part of the WordPress network directly i.e as opposed to WordPress.org, WordPress.com makes their users a part of a large community where they explain ways of updating WordPress, provide information for resolving conflicts etc. Hence, promoting the website and marketing the same can be a daunting task.

What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a WordPress hosting service created by WordPress for its customers. If you avail their hosting service, your website will be hosted on their servers. In short, WordPress.com takes care of all your hosting needs.

What are the advantages of WordPress.com?
WordPress.com basically takes away your worries when it comes to hosting requirements. But along with this major advantage, come many other advantages. Let’s see them one by one:

  1. WordPress.com does not require much investment in terms of time from the user’s point of view. Its setup time is considerably less.
  2. The overall management of the website is minimal since hosting providers take care of all the services right from file uploads etc. Which means you do not need to access the FTP account or even add domain through a control panel or conduct any such tasks.
  3. You need not have any technical know-how i.e you don’t need to code or know a coding language etc.
  4. Since it is a paid service, WordPress.com provides email and chat support to customers. In addition to this, since you are a part of the WordPress community, it can send traffic to your website by featuring your website on its marketplace portal.

What are the disadvantages of WordPress.com?

  1. WordPress.com allows access to a limited number of themes and templates for their website (only 165).
  2. You do not entirely own the content on WordPress.com i.e, WordPress.com has the right to shut it down. You do not have the right to sell the website or blog without permissions.
  3. The free plan of WordPress.com will provide you with a subdomain i.e your website will read as www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com and not www.yourwebsite.com.

The major point of difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com is that with the former you download the software whereas with the latter you are provided with an end-to-end hosting service for WordPress. However, it is only by pitting WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, against certain parameters will know which one is a better choice.

Difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Based on some crucial parameters, we have explained WordPress.com vs .org.

Parameter WordPress.org WordPress.com
Control WordPress.org gives you complete control over the content as well as the hosting aspects of the website. WordPress.com the entire control of the website is in the hands of the hosting service. However, you can control which files have to be uploaded by telling your service provider.
Theme and Plugin support Here, you can avail an unlimited number of themes and plugins.You can also avail third party plugins if necessary. The access to the number of themes and plugins is limited. However, you can purchase themes and plugins with customized plans which could cost you dear.
Maintenance Since the control of the website lies with the user, maintenance of the website is also in the hands of the user. However, this maintenance is not a tall order. The maintenance of the website completely lies in the hands of the hosting provider i.e WordPress.com.
Monetization Users can freely monetize through the WordPress.org since the platform allows one to create their own monetization models. WordPress.com enforces stringent policies when it comes to monetization i.e. users need to have a certain amount of traffic on the website to use WordPress’ own monetizing model.
Analytics With WordPress.org, your analytics end can grow more powerful by integrating your website with Google analytics or other powerful tools like KissMetrics, MixPanel etc. One can avail Google analytics by integrating the plugin with the website only if they avail WordPress.com’s business plans. Else, the analytics come straight from WordPress.
Expense The expense could be higher with WordPress.org since hosting charges, design charges incurred can go well out of control. The expenses in case of WordPress.com can be mitigated since monthly hosting charges are limited.
SEO With WordPress.org, you can install unlimited SEO features. With WordPress.com, you can add a limited number of third-party plugins for SEO.

 

In closing, we would like to add that WordPress.com and WordPress.org have their own peculiarities. For instance, WordPress.com’s free plans can be best used when you want to have your own free blog. Whereas, with WordPress.org, you can grow your own website as you want by adding more products, services or ads to monetize from. We hope that you have understood the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is crystal clear. In case you have any doubts or queries, feel free to leave your comments below.

Sagar Kulkarni

Sagar Kulkarni

Digital enthusiast and movie buff