WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: 5 Key Differences You Should Know
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) is the world and has a market share of 42% amongst all CMS’. It powers over 30 million websites and over 36% of all top websites use WordPress.
WP has been around since 2003 and is often considered to be the most complete platform for building websites. Some of its features like SEO compatibility, tight security, and customisation options make it perfect for blogging which is why it’s the go to platform for many bloggers.
But that’s not all.
With thousands of plugins and themes to choose from, WP can easily perform the most complex tasks without breaking a sweat. It can turn into a powerful website or an eCommerce platform and take your business to the next level.
However, before you dive into WP, you should know that there are two versions of it – .org and .com.
5 Key Differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
Both versions belong to their parent company, Automattic, but each have distinct properties that sets them apart from each other.
Here are five key differences:
|Type of platform||100% open source||Not open source|
|Hosting and Domain||You need to purchase hosting and domain separately||Domain and hosting included|
|Monetization||You can monetize it in any way possible||You can only run ads provided by WordPress|
|Ease of Use||Involves a learning curve||Plug and play|
|Pricing||Fixed pricing structure||Pricing depends on hosting plans|
#1 WP.org is open-source while WP.com is not
WordPress.org is an 100% open-source CMS software, which means you can code it any way you like. It is a developer’s paradise because there are literally no restrictions as to what you can do with WP.org.
WordPress.com is a DIY CMS software where you can drag-and-drop elements to create beautiful websites. It is not open-source and hence personalising the website is limited to the built-in features.
#2 Domain and hosting is included in WP.com
When you purchase a WP.com plan, you get domain and hosting for free. This is great for people who don’t want to get caught up in technicalities.
For WP.org, you have to purchase a domain name and hosting from one of the many hosting companies like Kinsta, Bluehost, or Hostinger.
Here’s a list of the best hosting companies of 2022.
#3 You cannot monetise WP.com
One of the biggest reasons why people start blogging is to make money from ads on their website. But what a lot of them don’t know is that on WP.com you cannot run ads from third-party companies. You can only run ads that are compatible with WP and that list is limited.
On WP.org, however, you can run any number of ads and anywhere on your website. There are no restrictions as long as it’s within Google’s rules and regulations. This is a big reason why people who want to monetise their website/blog opt for WP.org.
#4 WP.org is for the tech savvy
WP.org has a slight learning curve. However, you might find it complicated if you have no prior experience running a website. But thanks to YouTube and the enormous developer’s community on Facebook and Reddit, you can become a pro in no time.
WP.com is built for people who are not ready to invest their time in technical knowledge and want to build a website as quickly and easily as possible.
#5 WP.com has fixed pricing structure
The pricing structure for WP.com is straightforward. There are four plans (five, if you count the free version and six, if you count the enterprise solution as well) that range from approximately free to $2,000 every month.
The cost of setting up and running a website on WP.org is all over the place. It depends entirely on the hosting company and prices can range from $3 to $3,000 every month. You can check the link in difference #2 for the best hosting plans and pricing.
Conclusion: Which one should you use?
So, wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
You should use WP.org if you:
- Are a serious blogger who wants to scale their blog
- A company owner who wants a beautiful and responsive website that can handle large traffic
- A developer who likes to design websites
- Want to monetise your blog or use affiliate marketing
- Want to benefit from WordPress SEO
And you should use WP.com if you:
- Are creating a website for the first time
- Don’t have any technical knowledge about websites
- Are confused about hosting and domains
- Are a hobby blogger who wants to explore
John Wilson is a branding and website design expert. He boasts over 10 years of digital marketing experience. He loves to share his expertise and insights on all things digital marketing by keeping this blog up to date.