Hi everyone! I’m back with the second article in the “WordPress For Beginners” serie. In my previous article I mentioned that you have two options for WordPress. Either hosted at WordPress.com, or self-hosted with the software available at WordPress.org.
A few people reached out to me and asked me what the difference is between the two. How they can decide what fits their needs. So in this article I’ll look at WordPress.com vs WordPress.org to help you decide what the better option is for you.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: The Differences
Let’s take a look at where their differ from each other. WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you create a blog on WordPress’s servers. Going this route, you’ll easily and quickly set up a beautiful new blog, and have access to many features like visitor statistics, backups and security.
If you don’t want to let people know that you’re using the free WordPress.com option to host your blog, you can even get a custom domain. That means that you can change the URL of your WordPress blog from, for example ‘yourname.wordpress.com’ to ‘yourname.com’. This option is great for branding your site and helping people to easily remember the URL when you share it.
WordPress.com is free unless you buy any of the additional services offered there, and those costs can run up very quickly.
The alternative is WordPress.org. If you decide to go with WordPress.org, it means that you’ll be selfhosting. You’ll need to purchase your own web hosting and install the software.
This option is more difficult than setting up WordPress.com, but there are plenty of tutorials on youtube and other websites that will help you. Or you can pay a web designer or freelancer to do it for you if you prefer.
WordPress.org, or at least the software, is also free of charge. You will need to purchase hosting and if you decide to go with premium themes, those will have a cost too.
Now why should you go with WordPress.org and do everything yourself, if you can get your own blog in seconds with WordPress.com? Control. If you go with WordPress.com their terms of service will limit what you can do with your blog.
One of the things that could cause a problem is the fact that you are limited in the ways that you can profit from your website if you go with WordPress.com. If you break their terms then you could lose your blog, all your content and all your hard work.
Another reason to not choose WordPress.com for your blog, is when you are using your blog to promote your business. It can look unprofessional to your clients if they know that you’re using a free service like WordPress.com. Especially if you didn’t invest in a custom domain.
If you already have a business website then it’s often easy to add a self-hosted WordPress blog to it, so it’s worth discussing this with your web designer before you go and create a blog at WordPress.com.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is perfect when you’re just getting started. Or if you’re blogging for fun, or even to promote a good cause. Even I have a blog on WordPress.com where I share my family’s homeschool journey. I wanted something quick and easy where family and friends could see what we do every day. It’s not a professional website, and I don’t plan to make money from it. So WordPress.com is perfect for this.
If you start with a WordPress.com blog, you can always switch to a self-hosted WordPress site later on if you need to, so this doesn’t need to be a big decision when starting out.
Self-hosting has many other advantages. Your choice of themes and plugins that you can add to your site is much bigger. And that means that you aren’t so limited in the features you want for your site, from design features like fonts and layouts, to functional features like shopping carts.
Doing it yourself, means that there’s plenty of room for your blog to grow, for example if you’d like to sell advertising or information products in future.
So there you have it, the differences between the two types of WordPress. I hope this will help you decide which way is the one you need for your next site. If you still have questions, feel free to ask them below. Or if you have something to add, I’d love to hear it!