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WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (12 Differences)

When I started to make my hands dirty with WordPress, I was often confused with WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. I was attracted to WordPress due to following reasons:

  • Ease of use
  • Extensibility
  • Strong community user base

But as a novice user, I was confused which version of WordPress is better suit my needs. As I go through the journey of WordPress I have learnt many Pros and Cons of both versions of WordPress.

Today, I am going to mention all my experiences with both versions of WordPress. Which will help you to select right platform for your needs.

Having said that, let’s take a look at the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

#1 Cost : 

WordPress.com (Free) :  

The basic WordPress.com package is completely free. If you want to use a custom domain name including advanced features such as installing plugins, upload custom themes then you have to pay for that.

Below is a snapshot of price comparison from WordPress.com.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org - Cost

WordPress.org (Monthly Fee): 

Here you will self-host your WordPress site so that you need to pay a few bucks per month to the web hosting company. Also, you are required to pay domain registration fee annually.

#2 Software Download & Installation : 

WordPress.com (No) : 

Here you are neither allowed to download software nor install it manually rather it will be pre configured for you. If you do not want to mess up with installation process and easy going then you can select WordPress.com rather than WordPress.org. 

Here your blog will hosted under WordPress.com so that just focus on creating wonderful content, and WordPress.com will handle the rest.

WordPress.org (Yes): 

Basically WordPress.org is self-hosted. If you are a guy who like customization rather than pre bundled software then your choice should be WordPress.org.

You can download the software as well as install it manually on your server but now a days most of the web hosting company providing software to install WordPress, which will save your time.

It would be another reason for you to select WordPress.org in comparison to WordPress.com.

#3 Control : 

WordPress.com (No) : 

While using WordPress.com you will gradually figure out lot of restrictions they will put on you. You are abide to accept their terms of service (TOS) , if they think  you violates  their terms of service then they could terminate your blog.

WordPress.org (Full): 

While using a self-hosted WordPress blog as of mine, you are your own boss. There is no need to adhere to any terms of service (TOS). You have full control over your site. Files, database & domain. You will be able to edit or change all of your files, codes and data.

#4 Storage : 

WordPress.com (Limited) : 

3GB of storage free excluding videos. If you want more storage then you need to pay for it else you are locked with your limited storage.

WordPress.org (Unlimited): 

Depends on your hosting company and subscription. Mostly you will get handsome deal if you are going to use WordPress.org with 30 GB to 100 GB storage including unlimited bandwidth.

#5 Theme Support : 

WordPress.com (Limited) : 

You can only use the free themes that exist in the WordPress theme showcase. You are not allowed to modify the CSS or other codes within a theme.

If you wish to use premium themes from their showcase then you need to have “Premium or Business plan” subscription.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org - Theme Support

WordPress.org (Unlimited): 

Allows you to install free or commercial themes. You can customize or modify the CSS or other code to fit your needs and can also build your own theme if you have good solid knowledge in PHP, SQL, HTM5, CSS.

#6 Plugins Support : 

WordPress.com (Not allowed) : 

You are not allowed to upload any free, paid or custom plugins. Instead, there are a lot of built-in plugin-like features.

However, if you are adamant to use plugins then you need to upgrade business plan which will cost around  ₹1050 per month.

WordPress.org (All plugins allowed): 

You can upload any free, paid or custom plugin that you want. This allows you to maximize WordPress’s potential as a content management system (CMS).

#7 FTP Access : 

WordPress.com (No) :  There is no FTP access to your files due to security reasons.

WordPress.org (Yes):  You can use FTP to add or edit your existing files from your FTP client like Filezilla.

Also Read: How to use FileZilla FTP client to connect a web server

#8 Monetization : 

WordPress.com (Limited ) : 

You are not allowed to sell ads on your blog. User with high traffic websites (25,000 monthly pages views) can apply for advertising with revenue sharing.

Premium and business plan user automatically get access to the WordAds (WordPress own ads network) program right away.

WordPress.org (Freedom): 

You are free to use any ad service and display as many as ads you want on your website. You have total control over your ads because of your self-hosted platform. Most importantly, you get to keep 100% of what you earn from your blog.

#9 Maintenance : 

WordPress.com (Automated) : 

You do not have to worry about anything. Automatic (company behind WordPress) staff take care of all site maintenance including updates, backups, optimization and more.

WordPress.org (Manual): 

You are responsible for keeping your site update, keeping regular backups, having spam control options, and most importantly keeping your site optimized.

#10 Branding : 

WordPress.com (Pay to remove WordPress branding) : 

WordPress.com user are forced to display “Powered by” link on their website on top of having ads displayed on your website that you do not make money from them.

Business plan user can remove powered by link by paying ₹1050 per month.

WordPress.org (Freedom) : 

With WordPress.org, you do not have to display any “Powered by” links. You can choose to do so if you want to, but it’s entirely your choice. Additionally full domain support allows you to create your own brand.

#11 SEO : 

WordPress.com (Limited SEO Control) : 

With WordPress.com you do not have much control over your SEO since you are not allowed to install third party plugins but business plan user can install third party SEO plugins to maximize their SEO by paying ₹1050 per month.

WordPress.org (Full SEO Control) : 

You can install the best third party SEO plugins available at the market which maximize your SEO potential and rank higher in Google search results.

#12 Analytics : 

WordPress.com (Limited) : 

WordPress.com comes with built-in stats but it is not more powerful hence you will get stuck with limited analytics of your website, however with business plan you can install third party analytics plugins such as Site Kit by Google but for this you need to pay ₹1050 per month.

WordPress.org (Full Control) : 

You can install  Site Kit by Google and other powerful third party analytics to get all insights that you need.

Also Read: How to set up Google Site Kit on WordPress

Conclusion : 

I personally think that WordPress.com is most suitable for those people who are planning to create a blog and do not want to monetize it. But if you are going to create a website or blog for yourself or your business, then you should definitely go with the self-hosted option i.e WordPress.org.

I want to know from my readers which platform are you currently using and why? Are you planning to switch your platform? Please drop your thoughts under comment section.

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Sunil Pradhan

Hi there 👋 My name is Sunil and I'm a front-end developer who loves to help others by simplifying web-dev related topics.

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Sunil Pradhan

Hi there 👋 My name is Sunil and I'm a front-end developer who loves to help others by simplifying web-dev related topics.