If you are new to the world of WordPress you may have noticed a commonly confusing aspect of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It is likely you have wondered what exactly the difference between the two are and which one is better for you to use. Here I will break it down into easy to understand terms so you can truly decide for yourself whether your next steps will take you to WordPress.org or WordPress.com.
WordPress.org and WordPress.com are often confused as one in the same. This is far from what they actually are. I will explain the difference between the two as well as cover the basic pros and cons of each by comparing their maintenance and development, freedoms and limitations, and most importantly, their costs.
WordPress is an open source blogging software. This software currently powers 22 percent of the web. It is a community driven project. WordPress.org is the location you go to in order to download these WordPress installation files. You can also search and download free plugins and themes. WordPress.org contains news, documentation, and community support forums. This is the place you would go in order to contribute the core code, mobile apps, and accessibility of WordPress.
WordPress.com is a commercially oriented site. This website is a place you can go to host a free site with a few limitations or take on the expense of a yearly fee that will remove these restrictions. This website runs on the WordPress software that is available through WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is a hosted service, this means that the worry of searching for a web host, and downloading and installing software, is all taken care of for you. The service offered through WordPress.com does all that hard work for you, letting you focus on more important details like website content.
Listen to the Latest Episodes Right Now.
When considering which to use between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, three common factors come into play; cost, freedom and limitation, and maintenance and development.
The most important thing to understand is that while WordPress is a free open source software that hosting your own WordPress does cost. WordPress.org requires you to both host and purchase a domain to run your WordPress on. Many people chose popular web host such as GoDaddy and Bluehost. These web hosts are relatively cheap, costing about 10 dollars per year for each domain.
With the initial site in place, it is time to consider themes and plugins. WordPress.org offers many free themes but they typically lack advanced features and functionality that are best for online stores and business sites. Most of these customers choose from various premium theme stores such as Elegant Themes, Woo Themes, and Themeforest that all offer more themes than you could ever need.
WordPress.com does offer several different plan and upgrades options for their users. These include a basic plan that is completely free for the customer. The basic plan comes with a free blog, the WordPress.com address added after your unique URL, simple customization options, 3 GB of storage capacity, and community support. The basic plan does not include any premium themes, eCommerce, video storage, and of course, will show ads on your blog.
The next option in WordPress.com is the Premium plan. This plan costs users 99 dollars a year and includes a free blog, a custom domain without the WordPress.com tagging along in your address bar, advanced customization options, 13 GB of storage space, as well as space to store dozens of videos, and direct email support. The premium plan does not include premium themes, eCommerce, or advertising on your blog.
The last of WordPress.com’s plan options is the Business plan. This plan will cost you 299 dollars a year. For this fine price you have your free blog, custom domain name, advanced customization, as well as over 50 premium themes, eCommerce, unlimited video storage, as well as unlimited space storage, no advertising on your blog, and live chat support services.
There are minimal options to tweak some of these plans with, what is most easily understood as, an add-on feature to the lower plan. WordPress.com offers several upgrades that will give you some additional features without the massive expense of increasing to a higher plan option. You may choose to purchase a custom design for 30 dollars per blog per year, VideoPress for 60 dollars per blog per year, site redirect for 13 dollars per blog per year, premium themes for a 20 dollar fee or a 120 dollar per year expense for unlimited themes, or even a guided transfer to a self-hosted WordPress.org site at 129 dollars per blog.
WordPress.com’s free Basic plan is the most inexpensive option to go for if you don’t particularly care to have a custom domain name and using the free themes with no option to modify them. If you prefer a site that has all the features, your own domain name, no advertising, and unlimited storage doing this through WordPress.com can break your pocketbook. In this case, based of finances alone, it may be the most affordable option to download WordPress through WordPress.org.
Setting up a site with WordPress with your own server gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. You will be able to use any free or premium plugin, have access to all the themes (free or premium), add and edit files, tweak WordPress files and server setting in order to improve your sites performance. You will have full control of your sites content with absolutely no advertising.
Unlike WordPress.org, WordPress.com comes with many limitations. The people being WordPress.com are operating a business that provides users the convenience of WordPress without the hassle of maintenance. In return for their hard work and amazing service, the user must pay for upgrades that they desire from simply activating a different theme to removing advertising.