WordPress is an online open source web creation tool written in PHP and SQL, but putting it in simple terms for beginners, it is the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system in existence today, in fact, WordPress powers 31% of the internet today.
If you are new to WordPress, you might be wondering about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, are they the same or different?
WordPress.org and WordPress.com are actually two very different platforms. But often beginners confuse the two which leads them sometimes to choose the wrong platform. This article is here to educate you, so that you can make the right choice today.
WordPress.com is a hosting service that was created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. This in a large way has led to the confusion between WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software. If you don’t want to pay for your own hosting, manage your own web server or pay someone else to handle it for you, WordPress.com is your best bet. This platform is a good choice for people who blog as a hobby and those starting a blog for entertainment, news or other things.
The WordPress.com hosting service comes in 4 plans
- Free – Very limited
- Personal – $48 yearly
- Premium – $96 yearly
- Business – $300 yearly
The benefits of using WordPress.com include
- It’s free for up to 3GB of space. After that you will have to switch to a paid plan to get more space.
- You will not have to worry about updates or backups. WordPress.com will take care of all that.
There are however several limitations of WordPress.com which differentiate it from WordPress.org.
- Your site will display a WordPress.com link when using the free plan. It can be removed by upgrading to personal, premium and Business plans.
- They place ads on all free websites. So your users will see ads, but you don’t make money from it. If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan.
- You are not allowed to sell ads on your website. If your site attracts high traffic, then you can apply for their advertising programs, WordAds where you share revenue with them.
- You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in JetPack features that is pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins.
- You cannot upload custom themes. Free plan users can only install from the limited collection of themes. Premium and business plan users can have a wider choice of themes.
- You are restricted to their stats. You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Business plan users can install Google Analytics.
- They can delete your site at any time if they think it violates their Terms of Service. YES, they have that right and that level of control.
- com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateway.
- You cannot build membership websites with WordPress.com.
The WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited when you are on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To unlock some of the more advanced features, you have to be on the Business plan ($300 per year).
WordPress.org also called the ‘self-hosted’ WordPress is a popular website platform, it is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. This is a software that you can install on your web host to create a website that is 100% yours. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress, because you can host your site.
The benefits of WordPress.org include
- With WordPress.org, you have full control of your website. You have the freedom to do anything you want and customize it as much as you need. It gives you TOTAL control and flexibility for your website
- It is free and easy to use.
- You own your website and all its data.
- You can add free, paid, and custom WordPress plugins/apps to your website.
- You can actually make money from your website by running your own ads without sharing revenue with anyone.
- You can use powerful tools like Google Analytics for custom analytics and tracking.
- You can use self-hosted WordPress to create an online store to sell digital or physical products, accept credit card payments, and deliver/ship the goods directly from your website.
There are actually very few cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org site.
- You will need web hosting. This is where your website files are stored on the internet. At hostit.ng, we have different packages to fit your needs
- You are responsible for updates. You can easily update your WordPress site by clicking on the update button, it’s not too much work.
- You are responsible for backups. Luckily, there are tons of WordPress backup plugins that let you setup automatic backups.
- The cost of a WordPress.org website varies based on what you are trying to build (simple blog, portfolio website, eCommerce store, membership site, etc). There are also other factors to consider such as templates, plugins, etc.You can build your website for as little as $46 per year.
The Better Option?
If you are a personal blogger, and you don’t care about making money from your website, then WordPress.com is your best bet, but if you are operating a business website, that requires eCommerce features or a blogger that wants to make money from your site, then we recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org. It gives you the needed freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want.
For 99% of web users, we recommend that you use WordPress.org.
In our professional opinion, WordPress.org is the better platform by far. That is the platform that every professional blogger, small business owners, and even big brands use.
How do I start a WordPress.org Website?
To start a WordPress.org website, you need a Domain Name and Web Hosting. A domain name is your website’s address, while web hosting is where your website files are stored on the internet. We recommend using hostit.ng to host your website, we offer the best hosting services at affordable prices.
Can I move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Often new users who don’t know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org end up starting with the free WordPress.com service. Once they see the limitations of the platform, they want to switch to WordPress.org.
Yes, you can definitely switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and easily move all of your content, which comes as a free service with any of our hosting packages.
Look at the whole situation this way, WordPress.com is similar to renting a house. You have limited power and control over what you can and cannot do, while WordPress.org is like owning a house, where you have full control, no one can kick you out, and you can do anything that you want.
The confusion created by these similar domains is sometimes frustrating for beginners. We at hostit.ng hope that this article has been very helpful to you, and that you make the decision that is best for your website today.