WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Which one to Choose for your Site?

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We all know how WordPress has become the go-to platform for bloggers and publishers across the world. Over 39% of the websites on the internet are powered by WordPress. The CMS offers a plethora of options in terms of themes, plugins and functionalities, which make it a desirable option for publishing and marketing content; add to it the user-friendly attribute of WordPress.

If you’re someone planning to start a blog/website on WordPress, you’ll get two very different options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Even those who know they are different platforms aren’t often aware of the differences between them. The result-they end up choosing the wrong platform.

Without an in-depth understanding, you can’t have the solution that adequately addresses your needs. But, doing your research can be overwhelming. Don’t fret, we have simplified the task for you. Below, we have discussed both the WordPress options to help you choose the right one. So, let’s dive straight in.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is what many people call ‘the real WordPress’-a platform where you get to enjoy all the benefits of WordPress. WordPress.org is open-source and free for anyone to download and use. But doesn’t mean WordPress.org is all free. You need to buy a suitable domain name and a web hosting plan to use it. For this reason, many refer to WordPress.org as self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress.com

WordPress is an all-in-one platform to build your website. It comes with a hosting service included, so you don’t need to buy any domain name or web hosting. It’s absolutely free to start with; you just need to sign up and start building your blog right away. That said, premium plans are available for those wanting access to advanced WordPress features.

WordPress.com offers 5 different service plans (1 free+4 paid): free, personal, premium, business and e-commerce.

(If you need a super-detailed comparison of these plans, visit this page on WordPress.)

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Comparison

Let’s draw a step-by-step comparison of the two platforms to help you better understand the difference.

1) Cost

WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers both free and paid plans.

The basic plan is absolutely free. It comes with 3 GB of space, with decent options for customization. You can build a site on WordPress’s sub-domain. (yoursite.wordpress.com).

The paid plans come in the range of ₹160/month-₹1152/month, each with its set of features and benefits.

·         Free: 3 GB, free of cost

·         Personal: 6 GB at ₹160/month

·         Premium: 13 GB at ₹280/month

·         Business: 200 GB at ₹640/month

·         E-Commerce: 200 GB at ₹1152/month

WordPress.org

WordPress.org software is 100% free to download. But, if you want to make your website available to the public (which you, of course, do), you’ll need to buy a domain name and a web hosting plan.

In short:

WordPress.com: ₹160/month for personal plan=₹1920/year. Domain name and hosting included, so no need to buy separately.

WordPress.org: Free Software + Paid Hosting plan with domain name included= ₹200/month=2400/year.

So, you see if you just need a plain website/blog with a WordPress sub-domain and limited customization options, WordPress.com is cheaper.

On the contrary, if you need a premium plan with wide range of features, WordPress.org is cheaper.

2) Installation

WordPress.com

With WordPress.com the installation is straightforward. When you open WordPress.com, you see a button ‘Start your Website’.

 

 

Clicking on the button takes you through a series of steps you need to follow to configure your new site/blog. You just need to fill in your email, a name for your site and choose a design from a collection of pre-designed themes. Within minutes, you’ll have a website that you can start with right away.

WordPress.org

With WordPress.org, the installation process isn’t as simple. 

Here, you don’t go to the WordPress for starting the site. Remember, WordPress.org is self-hosted. So, you’ll need to sign up for WordPress hosting in India first. Most likely, your plan will have a domain name included.

Depending upon you host, you will either get a one-click installer or Softaculous, an installer for cPanel.

In case of a one-click installer, things are pretty similar to WordPress.com. You have to fill a couple of forms and voila-you are good to go. With Softaculous, the process is a bit time-consuming.

3. Themes

WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers hundreds of themes depending on the plan chosen. While free and Personal plans offer access to 150+ free themes, all the higher-tier plans let you access 200+ paid themes, in addition to the free themes.

WordPress.org

The number of free and paid themes on WordPress.org run in thousands. You get access to over 7500+ free themes on WordPress.org directory. You can install any other free theme you get on the internet-there are thousands of such themes.

Premium themes on WordPress.org also run in thousands. So, all in all, you have access to thousands and thousands of online themes.

4. Plugins

WordPress.com

Free, Personal and Premium plans have no plugins. Only with Business and E-commerce plans, you get to install plugins. Both the plans offer access to over 50,000+ plugins.

WordPress.org

You can always install a plugin on WordPress.org regardless of the hosting plan you choose. In addition to 50,000+ plugins (that you also get with higher-tier plans on WordPress.com) you can install thousands of free and paid plugins from around the internet.

5. Customization

WordPress.com

WordPress.com restricts you in terms of customization. The options available for customization are a fraction of what you get on WordPress.org.

WordPress.org

We all know WordPress.org is an open-source platform. So, you have complete control of your site. You are free to do what you want and customize it to the extent needed. You can install the theme of choice, configure plugins and even write custom-code for your site.

6. Support

WordPress.com

While free plan comes with absolutely no support, all the higher-tier plans offer email and live chat support.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org offers no support on its own. Whatever support is offered comes from your WordPress hosting provider. Premium WordPress hosting providers such as Go4hosting offer 24*7 support. If you host is specialized in delivering WordPress, you will have access to qualified WordPress professionals.

7. Security

WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers basic security and backup options right from the beginning. Here, you rely on WordPress.com’s internal security mechanism to secure your site. This means all your software updates and maintenance are take care of by WordPress.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is also pretty secure and doesn’t make it easy for the hackers to break-in. So, the security features are adequate if you are running a personal project on WordPress. If, however, you feel the need to beef up its security, you can install security plugins like Wordfence.

Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org requires you to manage your backups on your own. Plugins like UpdraftPlus and BackupBuddy come in handy here. Same goes for updates-you have to update your site semi-annually. If a software update is available, you’ll receive a reminder on your WordPress dashboard. The update can be installed in a click.

8. Monetization

WordPress.com

As far as the monetization is concerned, free and personal sites cannot be monetized at all. If you want to make money from your WordPress site, choose Premium or higher plans.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org has no limitations on monetization. You can make money through any of the ways you want- affiliate marketing, Pay-Per-Click, e-commerce and so on. The open-source nature of WordPress.org plays a big role here.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Summary

In case you don’t want to read the full blog (which is quite understandable considering the amount of content on the web!), you can go through the table that summarizes the comparison:

Feature

WordPress.com

WordPress.org

Cost

Free Plan available; Premium plans range from ₹160/month-₹1152/month

Plans starting from ₹200/month

Installation

Straightforward

Installation through One-click Installer or Softaculous.

Themes

Free and Personal plans: 150+ free themes;

Higher-Tier Plans: Free themes + over 200 paid themes.

7500+ free themes+ thousands of paid themes on WordPress.org and outside.

Plugins

Free, Personal & Premium plans: No Plugins. Business and E-commerce plans: 50,000+ Plugins.

50,000+ plugins on WordPress + access to free & paid plugins on web.

Customization

Limited Customization

 

Fully Customizable

 

Support

Free Plan: No Support

Paid Plans: Email & Live Chat Support.

Support comes from WordPress hosting provider.

Security

Software updates and maintenance handled by WordPress.

Backups and updates handled by you.

Monetization

Only in Premium or higher plans.

Endless options.

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