WordPress.org VS WordPress.com

Choosing the right platform is critical to the success of your online creations. What people may not be aware of is that WordPress.org and WordPress.com are completely different entities – they’re separate platforms.

Wordpress.org VS WordPress.com

As a result, you may now be unclear which one is right for you. Luckily, we’ve created a guide that compares the two and aims to give you the information you need to make a positive choice.

We’ll kick off by looking at WordPress.org!

WordPress.org

Wordpress.org

Some people often refer to this platform as the “real” or “classic” WordPress. It’s open-source and free to use – you just need to get yourself a domain name and web hosting. It perhaps comes as no surprise then that some call it the self-hosting WordPress.

If you’re looking to build your website or blog using this platform, there are a number of pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros:

Pros

  • The control is yours – you decide what happens and why, so your site won’t be terminated because someone else breaches the terms of use
  • Easy to use, free and open source. In fact, nearly half of the web is from a WordPress platform
  • You can choose to add free or paid plug-ins and apps
  • You can modify and customize the design. Add your own free or paid themes!
  • Utilize Google Analytics and tracking
  • Run ads on your website and make money without losing any to third parties
  • Make more money by adding your own online store and choose which payment methods to accept
  • Add a member site and sell premium/paid content for even more revenue!

Cons

  • You need to correctly install WordPress and ensure you keep up with updates
  • You need to keep an eye on back-ups
  • You need web hosting and as your web-traffic rises, so do the costs
  • In reality, the costs of running this platform will depend solely on what you’re looking to build like a basic site, an eCommerce store, a merchandise store etc.
  • Very basic sites can cost very little so you should be able to build what you’re hoping to build using this platform. It’s highly recommended.

WordPress.com

Wordpress

There’s a very good reason why some people confuse the two platforms. WordPress.com was made by a company called Automattic and that is led by the co-founder of WordPress – so you can see where the confusion may come from.

This platform offers pricing plans based on what a person might be looking to build. There are 6 in total which include

  1. Free
  2. Personal
  3. Premium
  4. Business
  5. eCommerce
  6. VIP

While this may already seem enticing to you, let’s take a look at their pros and cons, starting with the pros.

Pros

  • You don’t need to worry about back-ups or updates or anything like that. WordPress deals with it all for you!
  • It’s one of the most popular choices for bloggers
  • 3GB and below of space is free

Cons

  • Restrictions!
  • Ads are all over your site and you can do nothing about them unless you pay for it. Additionally, you don’t make any money out of the ads that are present
  • Themes for customization cannot be uploaded so you’re severely restricted for the look of your website, unless you pay for premium service
  • Plug-ins cannot be uploaded unless you go for the VIP package and that is very costly
  • Unless you go for the business plan, you cannot use Google Analytics, so any tracking has to be done via WordPress
  • Your site can be terminated at anytime with little warning if you have somehow violated their terms of service
  • Without switching to the eCommerce plan, you cannot add payment gateways which is hugely detrimental
  • Membership sites cannot be built whatsoever
  • The footer of your site says “powered by WordPress” which takes away your “ownership” of the site
  • The subdomain display is really off-putting for visitors and looks awful, i.e. www.mywebsite.wordpress.com

To put it bluntly, without upgrading to their VIP package, you are severely restricted with what you can do or not do.

So, Which One Is Better? WordPress.Com Or WordPress.Org?

In reality, it depends on what you’re looking to do. Overall, WordPress.org has the edge, but if you’re looking to create a basic and free personal blog, then WordPress.com is totally fine for you.

However, anybody looking to make some money would be looking at using the self-hosted WordPress.org.

Not only does it allow you far more freedom, but it’s much more flexible and gives you the opportunity to make money online your way. You’re in no danger of being “switched off” for breaching terms and conditions and you can make the site look the way you want it to.

This applies to any sort of money-making effort. From business bloggers to large corporations!

Look at WordPress.Com’s business plan and the price does not compare when it comes to the self-hosted WordPress.org. It’s in fact difficult to see what you can get for the price.

So overall – WordPress.org takes the gold.

What About eCommerce?

Again, WordPress.org takes the gold with this. You can build a store using WooCommerce or any choice of LMS plugins you want.

WordPress.com does have an eCommerce plan but it is quite costly and you’re still restricted to their decisions, including their terms of service. Without warning, your eCommerce store could simply vanish – costing you the opportunity to make some money.

Is Monetization Possible On Free WordPress.com?

Not for free. WordPress.com does not allow you to run your choice of ads but you can decide to join their WordAds scheme which allows you to share the ad revenue. You’d need high traffic though and it may incur a fee.

Because you have zero control over the CMS of WordPress.com, the opportunity to make money is limited.

Perhaps the only other way to do it is by using affiliated links to sites like Amazon.

Is It Possible To Move From WordPress.com To WordPress.org?

It’s certainly possible! If you’re unsure how to do it, you may need to use a blog setup service. It’s not overly complicated but there will be things you will need to continue, so ensure you have all the right criteria before you begin.

We’d also say this – ask yourself why you’re moving. It’s common for people to be confused over the WordPress platforms and once they’ve understood the restrictions, they want to shift over.

However, some people want to move because they think it will benefit them. Don’t misunderstand, we do believe that self-hosted WordPress.org is much better for most people, but it may be more effort than it’s worth for someone who wants to use a free blog.

Why Use WordPress Anyway?

Why Use WordPress Anyway?

The main reason is the name. There’s a reason that so many people use WordPress (both platforms) – and that’s because its name holds weight.

Rightly so when it comes to WordPress.org. There are few platforms out there that offer the same things for the same price and it’s ideal for the majority of people looking to build a website or blog.

Can A Dummy Use WordPress.org? Is There Any Help Available?

Yes, absolutely. The best thing about WordPress.org is that it’s open source software. This means anyone can access the code and learn from it.

There are plenty of resources available online that can help you through the process of starting off on the platform if that’s what you were worried about.

However, as previously mentioned – before using a platform, question why you want to use that specific platform and weigh up your options.

How Much Money Can You Make From WordAds?

This will depend on the traffic of your site. However, you’re likely to make less money than if you were using WordPress.org and had full control over your ads and revenue.

How Important Are SEO Features?

SEO features are important to the success of a website, but they won’t do everything. You’ll need to make sure you’re getting everything right too.

Additionally, you should know that Google has been changing how they rank websites and this is something you’ll need to keep an eye on.

When it comes to choosing between one of these platforms, WordPress.com offers limited SEO features whereas WordPress.org offers unlimited SEO features. You can upgrade with WordPress.com but that’s even extra costs.
So, if you are concerned about SEO features, consider your options!

Do I Need To Know HTML Or CSS Before Using WordPress.org?

No, not at all. WordPress.org uses a drag and drop editor which makes it very easy to create content.

You don’t need any previous knowledge of HTML or CSS to get started.

What About Plugins?

You don’t need to know about Plugins to use WordPress.org. However, we’ll tell you a bit about them.

Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress.org. They can add new features to your website such as social media integration, contact forms, etc.

Sometimes, they can really change the way your website looks and even the traffic it receives. Sport websites for example might benefit from having a live-score or table plug-in which gets people to access your site simply for things like that.

Basic traffic, but it’s effective.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the battle of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com, the former wins hands down. The self-hosted platform offers more for a fraction of the cost and it’s much more tailored to you.

Matthew Jacobs
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