WordPress powers 39.6% of all websites on the Internet. And it holds a 64.1% market share of CMS-built sites. Despite its popularity, many aren’t aware that there are actually two very different WordPress platforms that go by the same name: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is a content management system (CMS) that offers users unlimited flexibility and customisation. WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a blogging platform that is limited in its functionality and personalisation options.
You’d be surprised how different these two platforms are despite their similar names. Read on to see how WordPress.com vs WordPress.org compare.
Hosting and Maintenance
When it comes to hosting and maintenance, WordPress.com and WordPress.org take two very different approaches.
WordPress.com is on a hosted platform. This means that you don’t have to worry about backups, updates, or security. However, it also comes with some major downsides.
For one thing, with a free WordPress.com site, you have no customisation of the domain. It will be yourwebsite.wordpress.com unless you update to a paid plan.
Additionally, this means that your site is owned by WordPress, not by you. If you violate their terms of service, they can delete your site at any time. There are other drawbacks to this, which we will discuss later.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is self-hosted. Self-hosting means that you find your own hosting provider. This means that you own your site and its content.
Of course, there are trade-offs that come with self-hosting. For one thing, you have to do a bit more work to get your site online. But with this comes much more freedom for customisation and scalability.
Security is also up to you, but it is often included in the pricing of hosting plans. Since WordPress is such a popular CMS platform, you can get website hosting set up with a provider like UpTime for just a few dollars a month.
Another important consideration when deciding between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is the cost. Both can technically be used for free, but realistically you will still have to spend a bit to get your site up and running.
WordPress.org is free, open-source software. There is no cost to use it, but you still need to consider associated costs such as:
- Website Hosting
- Premium Plugins and Themes
With WordPress.com, you don’t have to deal with those fees. However, if you want more than 3GB of space and your own personalised domain (without WordPress branding), you’ll have to pay for a plan. The pricing plans are:
- Blogger: $3/month
- Personal: $5/month
- Premium: $8/month
- Business: $25/month
- eCommerce: $45/month
Each tier comes with additional functionality and personalisation, much of which is available automatically with a WordPress.org website.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
A major reason for the popularity of WordPress is the variety of custom plugins and themes available to users. A WordPress plugin can add functionality or features to your site.
However, depending on your decision between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, you may not have access to all of the available tools to customise your site and add functionality.
With WordPress.org, you are able to add any free, paid, or custom plugins or apps. You can also choose any free or premium WordPress theme you’d like and modify the design any way you choose with custom code.
WordPress.com comes with built-in plugins that a typical blog would need. However, to access all of the available plugins or premium themes, you have to pay for a business plan or above.
In addition to adding functionality to your site, plugins offer two very important features for anyone hoping to bring in a lot of traffic: analytics and SEO.
Google Analytics is great for tracking the number of visitors, bounce rates, time spent on a page, and conversion rates for your site. You can install Google Analytics immediately on WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, you have to upgrade to a higher plan to install the plugin.
WordPress SEO is also very important for your website if you want to bring in organic traffic from Google search results. With a WordPress.com site, you have limited access to SEO tools unless you upgrade to a business plan or higher. WordPress.org plugins are available right away, and you also have much more control over the SEO of your site.
Many people make money from blogging, and the options for doing so depend on whether you choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
As mentioned above, a WordPress.com site is owned by WordPress, not by you. This means that the options to monetise your site are incredibly limited.
First of all, you can’t sell your own ads or use affiliate advertising on a WordPress.com site. And with the free plan, WordPress places its own ads on your site, which your visitors will see but you won’t make any money from.
If you have enough visitors, you can apply for WordAds. This allows you to make money from ads, but the revenue is shared with WordPress.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, allows you to make money by running ads on your site without sharing the revenue with anyone.
Some people also opt to monetise their websites with an eCommerce site or membership. WordPress.org allows you to create an online store by installing a plugin. You can accept payments for digital or physical products all from your website.
With WordPress.com, you can only have an eCommerce store if you sign up for the eCommerce plan, which is $45 a month. And if you want to use custom eCommerce tools outside of those provided by WordPress.com, you’ll have to pay extra to install the plugins.
Finally, WordPress.org allows you to create a membership site. You can offer access to premium content, courses, or community in exchange for a monthly fee. This isn’t an option on WordPress.com.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
There is a lot to consider when deciding between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. And while you can get a WordPress.com website up and running with little technical skill, that is where the benefits end.
WordPress.org offers much more customisation than its .com counterpart, making it the best option for most website owners.
Boocoo offers custom WordPress websites designed to fit your needs. Check out our previous work and contact us to see how we can build the perfect site for you.