If you’re thinking about starting a blog or an e-commerce site, most people will advise you to use WordPress to create your site. But that presents an important question – should you use Worpress.org or WordPress.com?
Most people don’t even realize that they are two different platforms. However, although they are similar, there are some striking differences that every site owner should take into account before signing up.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at WordPress.org and WordPress.com to see what each platform can do, what the pros and cons of each platform are, and what types of sites each platform is suited to.
And we’ll find the definitive answer to the question – WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com, which is better?
- Pros and Cons at a Glance
- What Is WordPress Org
- Pros of WordPress.org
- Cons of WordPress.org
- Who Is WordPress.org Best for
- What Is WordPress.com
- Pros of WordPress.com
- Cons of WordPress.com
- Who Is WordPress.com Best for
- Commonly Asked Questions
- Which Is Better
Let’s begun the journey.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Pros and Cons at a Glance
Before we take an in-depth look at each platform, here is the TL;DR version of the pros and cons for each platform.
|Thousands of themes and plugins to choose from||Paid hosting required|
|Good for monetization||Maintenance required|
|Gives more control to the site owner||More complicated to use than WordPress.com|
|Easy to use||Limited access to themes and plugins|
|Free option available||Limited monetization options|
|Limited creation and customization options|
What Is WordPress.org
WordPress.org is the world’s most popular content management platform. WordPress sites make up around 40% of the internet, and the majority of these are powered by WordPress.org.
If you hear someone talking about WordPress, it’s more than likely that they are referring to WordPress.org, as it’s the superior choice for most businesses.
WordPress.org is completely free to use, but you will need to pay for a domain name and hosting from a hosting provider of your choice. You can also pay for premium plugins and themes, although there is a range of free options available.
WordPress.org is seen as the gold standard of content management systems, and there are many reasons why. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using WordPress.org
Pros of Worpress.org
Now we know more about what WordPress.org is, let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of using it.
You Have Complete Control
With WordPress.org you have control over just about every aspect of your site. You can choose who hosts it, what theme to use, what adaptations to make, and more.
WordPress.org is completely open-sourced so you can make it work for your business and needs.
Plugins, Themes, and More Plugins!
With the right combination of plugins, you can create any type of site, from an E-commerce conversion machine to an informative and stylish SEO blog.
You can also choose between a wide selection of free and premium themes to get your site looking and working exactly how you want it to. And, when you’ve chosen a theme, you can modify it how you like.
It’s Great for Monetizing Your Content
With WordPress.org, monetization options really are endless. You have full control over which ad programs you use for your site, and you can use a range of different plugins to create your own ads and landing pages for different monetization channels.
It’s Perfect for E-commerce Stores
Although there are other options available, all of the top e-commerce plugins are supported by WordPress.org
Cons of WordPress.org
Although WordPress.org is our top pick when it comes to content management systems, there are a few cons that are worth noting. Here they are:
WordPress.org Sites Require Some Maintenance
One of the great things about WordPress.org is that the power is in your hands. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.
Mainly, the responsibility of updating your site and ensuring that it is backed up. To keep your site in tip-top shape, you need to make sure that all of your plugins are up-to-date.
Luckily, this is much easier than it used to be since WordPress.org recently added the option for users to auto-update their themes and plugins. All you have to do now is ensure that you’ve enabled the auto-update function for each plugin.
Also, you’ll need to keep your site backed up too. Again though, this is quite easily done. All you have to do is install an automatic backup plugin like UpdraftPlus.
Related Reading: Best WordPress Backup Plugins
It’s Not Super Intuitive to Use
Although WordPress.org is a widely used platform, it isn’t all that user-friendly for beginners. If you’re completely new to using WordPress.org, you may need to commit a few hours to learn the ropes.
Thankfully though, there are tons of online resources to help you to get started. You can find tons of resources on WordPress’s support center as well as on blogs like this one.
WordPress.org is so popular that there really is a wealth of information at your fingertips, and you can usually find the answer to your question with a quick Google search.
You Have to Pay for Hosting
Unlike the free version of WordPress.com, WordPress.org does not have hosting included. That means you will have to pay for a hosting provider.
Who Is WordPress.org Best for?
E-commerce sites, subscription sites, business blogs – you name it. With the right theme and plugins, a WordPress.org site can work for just about any purpose.
What Is WordPress.com
This means that the platform can be used to build a website, but there are quite a lot of limitations to what you can do. With WordPress.com, you have the option of 5 different plans.
1 Free plan, and 4 paid plans that afford you varying degrees of flexibility.
The pricing plans are shown below
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits and pitfalls of using WordPress.com to power your website.
Pros of WorPress.com
It’s Easy to Use and Setup
In a lot of ways, WordPress.com is a lot simpler to use than WordPress.org. If you’re completely new to building websites, then organizing your hosting and laying the foundational work for your site can be a challenge.
With WordPress.com all of this is done for you so you can simply choose a theme and get started with created content in a few clicks. This is a huge bonus if you don’t have the time or knowledge to install a bunch of plugins or figure out hosting.
You Don’t Need to Worry About Updates and Other Management Tasks
As we mentioned earlier, WordPress.com is a managed hosting service. This means that they manage all of the maintenance for your sites such as updates and backups.
Again this is useful if you’re not particularly tech-savvy or you don’t really know your way around the WordPress.org platform.
There Is a Fully Free Version Available
If you’re looking to create a site that is completely free, WordPress.com is your only option. You can use up to 3GB of space for free, and your hosting and domain name are included.
Of course, there are downsides to this, such as the fact that your domain name will include. wordPress.com or that WordPress will auto-apply ads to your site (and you won’t earn anything from it).
But if you literally don’t have any money to spend on your website, then you can still get one up and running using WordPress.com.
Cons of WordPress.com
Now let’s take a looks at some of the major downsides of choosing WordPress.com to power your website.
It’s Extremely Limited
Limited really is the best word to describe WordPress.com, as you are limited in just about every way possible with this platform.
For example, if you’re on the free plan you can’t install plugins, you can’t use custom themes, you can only use WordPress’s own statistics generator (and not Google Analytics), and well, the list goes on.
If you do choose to upgrade to one of the more expensive packages, you are able to access some extra features like plugins and premium themes, but there is nowhere near as much flexibility as there is with WordPress.org.
It’s Hard to Monetize
Monetization is extremely tricky with WordPress.com, especially if you are using the free plan. Ads are unavailable for free plan users. Although WordPress will add ads to your site, you won’t see any of the revenue.
If you upgrade, then you immediately get access to WordAds, WordPress’s answer to Google Ads. However, you’re still only entitled to a percentage of the revenue.
Monetization is limited mainly to affiliate links and monetizing via e-commerce is completely unavailable unless you upgrade to the E-commerce plan.
Upgrading to a More Flexible Plan Is Expensive
If you want to elevate your site to more than just an informational page, you’re going to need to pay for one of the premium plans. However, the plans available aren’t exactly good value.
For example, if you paid for hosting and a few premium plugins to build an e-commerce site, you’d probably pay around $200-300 per year with WordPress.org.
However, to upgrade to WordPress.com’s e-commerce plan, you’re looking at a cost of $540 a year. That’s almost double what you’d pay for your baseline costs on WordPress.org, and you’d still be extremely limited in what you could do on your site.
Who Is WordPress.com Best for?
WordPress.com is best for people that want to blog as a hobby and aren’t interested in making money from their blog. It’s also suitable for people that want to create a simplistic website completely for free.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Commonly Asked Questions
Can I Switch From WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Yes! It’s quite common for people to want to switch their site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org as they scale up and begin to realize the limitations of Worpress.com.
Thankfully, it’s not too much hassle to switch from .com to .org. All you need to do is choose a hosting provider and get started.
WordPress has created an extensive resource on the subject, so you can just follow along step-by-step.
Is WordPress.com Good for E-commerce Sites?
The honest answer – no. If you’re delving into the world of e-commerce, we highly suggest you go with a WordPress.org site.
With WordPress.org you can install dedicated e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce that will help to optimize your site for sales.
Although WordPress.com does have a premium E-commerce package, it’s a little limited and comes with a hefty price tag.
Can I Run Ads on a WordPress.com Site?
No. On a free WordPress.com site, you can’t run ads. If you upgrade to premium, you can run ads through WordAds, which is WordPress’s own ad program.
Once you’re all signed up to the program WordPress will automatically feature ads on your site, and you’ll get paid a percentage of the revenue.
However, if you have a WordPress.org site, you can utilize other ad programs such as AdSense as well as WordAds.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: Which Is Better?
Well, in my opinion, WordPress.org is the best choice for most types of blogs. It’s versatile and scalable thanks to plug-ins and themes.
However, if you’re new to WordPress, then WordPress.com is a solid, free option for blogging beginners that just want to have a go without investing any money.
If you’re keen to learn more about using WordPress, whether you have a .com or .org site, take a look around the rest of our blog. We have tons of resources that can help you with everything from choosing a theme to increasing your traffic.
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