Last updated - November 10, 2023
With WordPress powering 43% of all websites on the internet, it is the most popular way to create a website. What differentiates WordPress.com from WordPress.org is a question that many new users still have, despite the platform’s widespread use.
Well, if you think you are the only one struggling with this dilemma, you are wrong. A majority of WordPress users have this confusion. The good news is we are here to put an end to this dilemma by explaining in detail about WordPress.org and WordPress.com, the differences between the two websites, and which one you should choose based on your requirement, in this comprehensive article.
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a hosted blogging platform that assists you in utilizing the WordPress software to create a website, whilst WordPress.org is the self-hosted alternative that you can use to create and manage websites on your own.
A hosted blogging service for profit called WordPress.com was introduced in 2005. The service is based on the free and open-source WordPress framework, with some extra plugins and customizations added on top. Consequently, both platforms’ internal operations are remarkably similar. The fully featured hosted alternative WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all hosting-related issues for its users.
What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is a self-hosted content management system (CMS), meaning you’ll need to download the program, set it up on your computer, and choose a hosting company on your own. Due to the limitless customizing options it offers, it is also regarded as the more sophisticated version of the two.
WordPress.org gives the user additional flexibility and you can pretty much accomplish anything with WordPress.org. You desire to develop an online store. Want to build a top-notch blog? You may use WordPress to launch any kind of website.
What is a Host?
In a gross oversimplification, a host is a business that has access to particular computer types known as “servers” and particular software that links them to the Internet. They charge individuals for space on these servers so they can host other people’s websites and make them accessible online.
To further explain this in layman’s terms let us consider the following analogy. Think of this idea as renting a piece of land to erect a structure on. Although you pay for the space where a structure might be placed, the building may be moved if you so want.
The concept of “free” hosting is a myth. Similar to how “free land” is not actually a thing. It comes at a price for someone. Those server computers need to be owned and maintained by someone. However, a lot of businesses offer free server space with restrictions or requirements. This is a tactic used in business.
Why Two Versions of WordPress? A Contextual Background!
WordPress.org is an open source content management software. In other words, it is software that anyone can use to create a website without having to manually write it. It may be downloaded for free. WordPress is developed, backed, and maintained by the community as a whole, not by a single firm, since the term “open source” refers to the fact that the software’s source code is publicly available and free for anyone to use.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, noted that many users were stating, “I really love WordPress, but I don’t want to bother with keeping my WordPress site updated myself, or worry about backups or security,” a few years after WordPress first appeared on the scene. I wish someone else could handle everything so I could just concentrate on blogging.
In order to satisfy this need, Matt established WordPress.com, a managed shared hosting service that makes use of WordPress and takes care of all user updates, backups, and security. WordPress.com, as opposed to WordPress itself, is a business with staff members whose responsibility it is to create, support, and manage the WordPress.com platform.
Myths About WordPress
Before we could get into the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org here are a few myths you should know so that you can use WordPress to its full potential.
You Cannot Move a Whole Site from WordPress to Other Hosts
You can move the full site as-is if you have a WordPress.com plan with a plugin-enabled feature that enables you to install unique themes and plugins. Using a house mover to transfer your entire structure from one piece of property to another would be analogous to this.
Just how the level seamlessnes of moving a house varies depending upon the complexity of the building structure, migrating a website is also either easy or difficult based on the complexity of the website.
Your Domain is Your Website
If you have a custom domain, that is the URL that leads to your website rather than the actual website. There are a few comparisons that are useful in this situation. Consider your custom domain as a Post Office Box number, to stick with the analogy of the house. Many times, even if you relocate across the street, you can continue to use the same Box number as your mailing address if you so choose. With a website, you can change the location of the site’s files while keeping the address’s unique custom domain.
There is a Huge Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Actually, no. In reality, there may not be as many distinctions as you may anticipate. Unless your site requires a few specific, developer-level features or is going to be heavily customized with complex code customizations, the differences between a WordPress.com site and WordPress.org usually have more to do with the host’s fees and services than they do with the software’s functionality.
WordPress.org is Cheaper than WordPress.com
Maybe occasionally. However, everything is dependent on what you require. It’s also conceivable that your comparisons aren’t accurate. Not all hosts and hosting services are made alike, the degree of assistance might differ significantly from one host to the next, and your level of expertise is a factor to consider when comparing hosts. Direct comparisons can be challenging, but we have some suggestions to assist you in weighing price vs. features.
You Don’t Have Full Control of Your Website on WordPress.com
Depending on the plan you have, you have varying degrees of technical control over the elements of your WordPress.com website, but as was already mentioned, you always retain ownership of your content. The Tools menu on any WordPress.com plan also allows you to export your material at any moment.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
- You can host your own website using WordPress.org, which is something we suggest. The WordPress software will then be installed on your own site hosting account, which you will have purchased.
As opposed to WordPress.com, which handles everything for you (making it simpler to get started but limiting your independence), WordPress.com handles everything for you. All you need to do to get started is create an account. The main distinction lies in that.
- WordPress.com offers a number of options, each with a distinct pricing and set of features. WordPress.com does let you create a website completely for free, but there are some serious drawbacks to the free plan there.
Plans and costs for WordPress.org are more directly correlated with the hosting provider you choose. You could establish a brand-new, fully working website with no restrictions using WordPress.org for around the same amount of money as the really basic WordPress.com website.
- You won’t need to bother about acquiring hosting if you use WordPress.com. Additionally, you don’t have to be concerned about routine maintenance or security. One of the main benefits of using WordPress.com is this.
You must set up a WordPress.org site with a hosting company of your choice. Because of this, it is also frequently referred to as self-hosted WordPress. Most of the time, this is a straightforward one-click installation that is quite simple.
- For website owners that want to self-host WordPress and be more independent, such as SEO users and ecommerce stores / online retailers, visit WordPress.org. Using WordPress.org requires you to construct everything from the ground up. Most importantly, you have complete control over the tools you install and how the website functions as a whole. This is the best option if you want to be totally independent with a little assistance from your preferred WordPress hosting platform.
If you don’t want to mess around with hosting, third-party tools, and manually adding customized website functionality, WordPress.com is a decent option. After registering, you instantly get access to your own online space. On the negative side, unless you choose an expensive plan, you won’t be able to modify it very much. For newcomers, bloggers, those developing their own websites, small businesses, and forums, it might be the ideal choice.
Which One Should You Choose?
As you can see, each of WordPress.org and WordPress.com has advantages and disadvantages of their own. Therefore, it is unclear which website builder is superior. Your business’s needs and budget will determine everything. Here are some pointers that will help you choose between the two.
- If you want an all-in-one solution but are a little less tech-savvy, WordPress.com is a good platform to use. It’s excellent for personal blogging websites and even a terrific choice for eCommerce websites without a lot of in-house technical capabilities.
- WordPress.org is the best option if you want complete flexibility and control over your website. To really take use of this platform’s customizability, though, you’ll either need to know how to code or have a staff of WordPress specialists. The more potent choice is without a doubt WordPress.org.
- A substantial selection of premium and free themes with complete responsiveness and cross-platform compatibility are available on WordPress.org. More than 9,000 themes are currently available in the WordPress.org marketplace, giving users a wide range of choices.
- Depending on the package you select on WordPress.com, you’ll have direct access to a certain number of theme choices. You can choose from more than 150 free themes if you choose the Free or Personal subscription. The same free themes and more than 200 paid themes will be available to you if you upgrade to the paid, Business, or eCommerce plan, though.
You can go through the above parameters thoroughly and analyze to see which one fits you the best. Before you could into the analysis part, it is highly recommend for you to first chart out your business requirements so that your analysis can be narrowed down to draw better conclusions.
For new users, misunderstanding may result from the similarities of the two domain names, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the differences between the two website builders listed above.
The choice of the path that is best for you personally depends on so much more. And in the end, everything mainly revolves about you. You’re going to need more assistance the less tech-savvy you are. So, be sure to choose a course of action that will best serve your needs and position you for success.