Attempting to know the distinction between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org and which one is a greater place in your web site?
Regardless of sharing the identical identify, these are two totally different instruments with totally different strengths and weaknesses in terms of making a web site.
So — how are you going to choose?
Effectively, that’s what I’m right here to assist with in this submit!
I’ll clarify the fundamental distinction between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org so that you just perceive what’s taking place.
Then, I’ll spotlight some significant variations between the 2 and allow you to choose the best possibility in your wants.
Earlier than we go deeper into the comparability, let’s first see how every instrument works and the fundamental variations between the 2.
Let’s begin with WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is the house of the non-profit, open-source WordPress content material administration system. Anybody can go to WordPress.org, obtain the open-source software program totally free, and use it to create a web site by putting in it on their very own website hosting. Because of this you’ll additionally see WordPress.org known as “self-hosted WordPress”. Self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.org are the very same factor.
The WordPress.org software program is maintained by an enormous group of contributors. If in case you have the abilities, you may even turn out to be a contributor your self to take part in the open-source challenge.
WordPress.com is one particular method of utilizing the WordPress.org software program from a for-profit firm known as Automattic. It presents a simplified approach to create a web site powered by the WordPress.org software program, however on the expense of some flexibility. In a method, WordPress.com acts like a internet hosting service, although it builds its personal customized expertise that’s totally different from different hosts. It presents a free plan for easy blogs or web sites and paid plans for individuals who want extra flexibility.
WordPress.com is much like a premium kind of WordPress internet hosting known as “managed WordPress internet hosting“, which can make extra sense as you proceed studying this submit.
One other method to consider it’s like this:
All WordPress.com websites use the WordPress.org software program, however not all websites that use the WordPress.org software program are constructed on WordPress.com. In reality, most websites that use the WordPress.org software program are not on WordPress.com. Right here’s a “fancy” diagram (to not scale):
When most individuals say “WordPress”, they imply the open-source WordPress.org software program.
Equally, once you see stats like “WordPress powers 42% of all web sites on the Web“, it refers to all websites utilizing the open-source WordPress.org software program, not solely WordPress.com websites.
The Philosophical Distinction between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
I’ll get into some extra nitty-gritty variations under, however I might sum up the fundamental thought as follows:
- WordPress.org emphasizes flexibility and self-ownership/management, on the expense of some simplicity.
- WordPress.com emphasizes simplicity, on the expense of some flexibility and self-ownership/management.
This doesn’t imply that WordPress.org isn’t easy (it’s nonetheless fairly simple to make use of) or that WordPress.com isn’t versatile (it’s nonetheless versatile sufficient for lots of people).
It simply signifies that the first emphases of those two platforms lean in these instructions. You’ll see how this distinction performs out in significant methods additional on in this submit.
Why Do They Have the Identical Title? That’s Complicated!
In case you’re confused by the truth that WordPress.org and WordPress.com have the identical identify, you’re positively not alone.
This has been a longstanding supply of confusion for a lot of WordPress newbies, and it’s one thing that lots of people want had been modified.
To know why they share the identify, we first have to cowl a fast historical past of the WordPress challenge.
The open-source WordPress challenge (WordPress.org) was launched again in 2003 by two co-founders, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little.
The open-source software program is free by its nature, so there wasn’t a approach to instantly monetize it.
To create an possibility for monetization, Matt Mullenweg launched Automattic and WordPress.com in 2005. As a result of Matt was a founding father of each initiatives (and due to the best way that the WordPress trademark is about up), he was in a position to make use of “WordPress” in each names.
Regardless of that, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are 100% separate initiatives. However as a result of the identical individuals are concerned in each, there’s a variety of overlap, therefore the confusion.
The way to Create a Website with WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
Subsequent, let’s take a look at the fundamental course of of making a web site with WordPress.org and WordPress.com, as this can allow you to higher perceive the high-level variations.
Creating a web site with WordPress.org is a bit more advanced as a result of it’s essential to arrange the WordPress software program by yourself internet hosting.
First, you’ll select a website hosting service — we collected the quickest choices right here. Then, you’ll want to put in the WordPress software program on that internet hosting.
Whereas this may sound technical, it’s actually not. As a result of WordPress is so in style, most net hosts supply beginner-friendly instruments to put in WordPress.
For instance, to put in WordPress on Kinsta website hosting (our overview), it’s essential to fill out a easy kind like this:
From there, you may handle all the pieces associated to your web site out of your WordPress dashboard:
From the dashboard, you may select a theme to regulate your web site’s design, set up plugins so as to add new options, and create content material utilizing the submit editor:
Mainly, you actually don’t want any particular technical data to make a web site with WordPress.org.
Creating a web site with WordPress.com is tremendous easy — you head to WordPress.com and register for an account. By following the straightforward setup wizard, you may have a working web site inside minutes.
First, you’ll select a reputation:
Then, you may choose a design:
When you launch your web site, you may handle it from a easy dashboard.
The dashboard is largely the identical as WordPress.org, nevertheless it does embody modifications in just a few areas. You’ll additionally get a pleasant getting began information that will help you configure necessary fundamentals:
So whereas WordPress.org remains to be one thing a non-technical individual can deal with, WordPress.com is undoubtedly easier as a result of it’s as simple as registering for an account.
Pricing is hard to check between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org as a result of there are a variety of variables.
Nevertheless, in basic, WordPress.org presents a less expensive approach to entry the complete flexibility of the WordPress software program.
Why is it tough to check? Effectively, WordPress.com has mounted costs, whereas the fee to run a WordPress.org web site is determined by the internet hosting that you just select.
Low-cost WordPress internet hosting for low-traffic websites can price as little as ~$5 per thirty days, whereas premium internet hosting can simply run $30+ per thirty days.
Right here’s how that compares to WordPress.com’s pricing. The picture under exhibits the month-to-month costs at WordPress.com — you’ll additionally get a reduction in the event you pay yearly:
Along with these paid plans, WordPress.com additionally presents a restricted free plan (although it doesn’t make this apparent).
One crucial distinction to know in terms of pricing is the distinction between WordPress.com’s free or low cost plans and its Enterprise and eCommerce plans.
These plans are radically totally different. In reality, I’d say they’re nearly like fully totally different providers.
The free plan, Private plan, and Premium plan are all very restricted. You do not get entry to the complete flexibility of the WordPress.org software program as a result of you may’t set up your personal WordPress extensions.
However, the Enterprise and eCommerce plans are so much nearer to WordPress.org in phrases of flexibility. However the draw back is that they’re dearer. You’ll pay a minimal of $30 per thirty days, when you may run a easy WordPress.org web site on $5 per thirty days internet hosting.
Extra on this under.
Now that you’ve got some background, let’s speak about a few of the significant variations that you just’ll encounter between utilizing WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. These are the variations that ought to form your resolution.
1. Third-Social gathering Extensions (WordPress Themes and Plugins)
WordPress themes and plugins are the most effective issues about utilizing WordPress:
- Themes – these management how your web site appears. I at all times name them a web site’s “clothes”.
- Plugins – these add new options to your web site. They are often small options akin to a contact kind or large options akin to a full-service eCommerce retailer, on-line programs, a visible drag-and-drop web page builder, and extra.
With the self-hosted WordPress.org software program, you may at all times set up any theme or plugin, irrespective of the place it comes from.
With WordPress.com, you’ll not be allowed to put in your personal plugins and themes except you’re on the dearer plans.
On the free and low cost plans, you can not set up WordPress plugins or themes, which implies you’re just about restricted to primary running a blog or easy portfolio websites. This can be a big restriction because it’s not likely “WordPress” in the event you can’t set up plugins and themes (a minimum of in my opinion).
Nevertheless, in the event you pay for WordPress.com’s pricier Enterprise or eCommerce plans, it is possible for you to to put in customized themes and plugins, which will get you just about equal to the flexibleness of self-hosted WordPress.
I say “just about equal” as a result of there are nonetheless just a few points, akin to WordPress.com’s banned plugins record and the truth that some plugins aren’t appropriate with WordPress.com’s dashboard (particularly plugins that have an effect on media/the Media Library, as a result of WordPress.com makes use of a customized Media Library interface).
If you wish to monetize your web site, there are some necessary limitations with WordPress.com that it’s essential to perceive.
With WordPress.org, there are zero limits on the way you earn cash out of your web site. You can use affiliate hyperlinks as a lot as you need, show advertisements, promote sponsored posts, and extra.
That’s not the case with WordPress.com, although the restrictions differ relying on which WordPress.com plan you’ve gotten. For instance, on the free or Private plan, you can not show advertisements. You have to improve to a minimum of the Premium plan to have the ability to earn advert income out of your web site.
By way of different in style monetization methods akin to affiliate hyperlinks and sponsored posts, WordPress.com does permit them — however with some caveats.
For instance, with affiliate hyperlinks, WordPress.com says that “We…don’t permit websites that exist primarily to drive visitors to affiliate hyperlinks.”
So together with some affiliate hyperlinks in your in any other case distinctive content material is ok. However constructing a web site particularly to monetize with affiliate hyperlinks isn’t allowed. The identical thought applies to sponsored content material.
You can view all of the WordPress.com restrictions right here.
Mainly, in case your objective is to earn cash out of your web site, particularly with affiliate internet marketing, you in all probability need to go together with WordPress.org simply to keep away from any points or ambiguities.
3. Safety and Upkeep
One large benefit of WordPress.com is that it significantly simplifies the method of making and managing a WordPress web site. I already touched on this a bit above once I talked about how one can create a web site with each platforms, however this simplicity doesn’t cease when you’ve launched your web site.
With WordPress.com, the WordPress.com crew will even deal with sustaining, updating, and securing your web site in order that it retains functioning. You mainly by no means want to consider these points — you may give attention to creating content material and rising your web site.
Nevertheless, with WordPress.org, you will be answerable for primary safety and upkeep since you’re self-hosting the software program by yourself net server.
Is it a giant deal? Probably not – it’s one thing most non-technical customers can deal with. Nevertheless, it’s undoubtedly some additional accountability in comparison with utilizing WordPress.com.
If you wish to simplify issues with self-hosted WordPress, you should utilize a kind of internet hosting known as managed WordPress internet hosting or pay for a WordPress upkeep service — however you’ll have to pay additional for them, which negates a few of the price financial savings of utilizing WordPress.org.
4. Platform Possession
That is one which received’t have an effect on all websites, nevertheless it may have an effect on you in the event you worth self-ownership and management.
With WordPress.com, you don’t have full self-determination as a result of it’s essential to abide by the WordPress.com phrases of service (ToS). In case you don’t comply with the ToS, WordPress.com can droop your web site.
For instance, in November 2020, WordPress.com suspended a web site known as The Conservative Treehouse for ToS violations.
I’m not making an attempt to debate the morality of WordPress.com making most of these decisions. I’m simply saying that WordPress.com does have the facility to make most of these decisions as a result of it’s their platform.
With WordPress.org, you management the platform, so nobody can simply flip off your web site. In case you’re the kind of one that places a price on having 100% management over your platform, you need to go together with WordPress.org.
5. No Entry to Internet hosting Configuration or Superior Tech
This one received’t have any impact on most informal customers, however I’m nonetheless placing it right here as a result of it could be one thing extra superior customers will care about, and it additionally may have an effect on your alternative in the event you’re planning to rent a developer sooner or later.
Typically, WordPress.com provides you a lot much less entry to your underlying internet hosting/configuration than you’d get with self-hosted WordPress.org. That is the trade-off for WordPress.com being so easy in terms of setup, upkeep, and safety.
With the WordPress.com Enterprise or eCommerce plans, you can connect with your web site by way of SFTP and entry your database by way of phpMyAdmin (you may’t on the cheaper plans, although). However there are nonetheless another limitations superior customers may care about.
WordPress.com does not help the next:
- Staging websites.
- SSH entry.
- wp-cli (WordPress command-line interface).
- Internet hosting atmosphere customizations — e.g. putting in a sure bundle in your net server.
- A number of databases — you may’t create extra databases for different instruments you may need to use.
With WordPress.org, you will get entry to all the pieces above, so long as you select an excellent WordPress internet hosting supplier.
Now, for crucial query: which strategy must you use to launch a WordPress web site?
Typically, I feel that most folks shall be higher off with WordPress.org/self-hosted WordPress. Nevertheless, I don’t suppose all folks will, and there are positively some those who shall be higher off with WordPress.com.
So, let’s speak about when you need to use every platform.
When You Should Use WordPress.com
I feel there are two fundamental causes to contemplate WordPress.com.
The primary could be in the event you’re a blogger making a easy interest weblog that you haven’t any plans to monetize or develop into one thing critical. In that case, I feel the WordPress.com free plan is a superb alternative. I wouldn’t advocate it to anybody else as a result of it’s so restricted. However for this particular use case, it’s nice.
The second motive could be in the event you’re prepared to pay a slight premium and sacrifice slightly flexibility in trade for having to by no means take into consideration the technical particulars of your web site, akin to safety, upkeep, and so forth. In that case, the WordPress.com Marketing strategy generally is a great spot to host a WordPress web site.
I feel non-technical customers can deal with self-hosted WordPress.org, but when the thought of getting to click on an replace button or take into consideration safety finest practices sounds horrible to you, then the WordPress.com Marketing strategy is a stable various that may get you nearly all of the flexibleness of the self-hosted WordPress.org software program in a very hands-off bundle — it simply may cost slightly additional.
When You Should Use WordPress.org
Mainly, I feel that in the event you don’t fall into the conditions that I outlined above, you need to in all probability use WordPress.org.
WordPress.org isn’t fairly so simple as WordPress.com, nevertheless it’s nonetheless positively one thing non-technical customers can deal with.
In trade for placing up with a barely larger studying curve, you get the next advantages:
- Flexibility – you get to unlock the complete flexibility of the WordPress software program. You can set up all of the plugins, monetize your web site nonetheless you need, create no matter content material you need, and so forth.
- Management – you management your personal web site, which is necessary in the event you’re rising a critical enterprise.
- Worth – for a lot of websites (particularly these with low visitors), WordPress.org shall be cheaper than WordPress.com for full-featured WordPress (e.g. having the ability to set up themes/plugins). As a substitute of paying $30 per thirty days for the WordPress.com Marketing strategy, most websites shall be completely tremendous with WordPress.org internet hosting that prices round $10 per thirty days.
If you wish to get began with self-hosted WordPress, select a internet hosting firm from our record of the quickest WordPress internet hosting suppliers and launch your web site right now.
Can You Change from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Sure! In case you begin out on WordPress.com however determine that you just need to change to self-hosted WordPress.org, you may migrate your web site and its content material in the long run. It is going to take some work in your half, nevertheless it’s not too painful or technical.
With that being mentioned, there could be some prices. For instance, in the event you use a WordPress.com subdomain and need to redirect it to your new self-hosted area, you’ll have to pay a recurring $13/yr payment.
In case you already use a customized area identify, you received’t have to pay the additional payment. This solely applies to redirecting WordPress.com subdomains.
In my view, WordPress is one of the best ways to make a web site. And the truth that 42%+ of all of the web sites on the Web use WordPress signifies that a variety of different folks agree with me.
Whether or not you utilize WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress.org, you’ll nonetheless be capable to profit from WordPress.
Select the strategy that works finest in your wants and price range, and you may be assured that your web site shall be arrange for achievement.
Nonetheless have any questions on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Tell us in the feedback!