What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

wordpress.com or wordpress.org

When you hear WordPress, you probably have strong associations with blogs, websites and WooCommerce-based online stores. But have you known there are actually two WordPresses? One is hiding under WordPress.com url, the second one is available on WordPress.org. What is actual difference?

WordPress.com is a SaaS

SaaS – Software as a Service. That’s what WordPress.com is. It’s alternative for Blogger from Google. You create an account, get a domain and basically your online place is all set up. The main problem with SaaS is the real cost of using it. Although basic features are available for free, it’s getting harder when you want to customize your website in more advanced way. Suddenly it comes out, that you have to pay for using plugins and templates, your own domain and you don’t have any influence on your website’s speed or advanced SEO.

As a result, you end up upgrading your subscription into higher packages and start paying much more than you would pay using WordPress.org (which I’ll describe a bit later, stay with me). Even if you’re not creating that website alone and hiring a freelancer or a company to do it for you. In long-term, WordPress.com is expensive solution and even in its highest packages available, pretty limited in many ways.

WordPress.org is self-hosted

This means that you need to buy your own hosting and domain in order to run WordPress.org website. This type of WordPress is just a software you download, upload on your server, install it using quick and easy creator and then start using. The difference is, you’re free to install any templates and plugins, edit all the files that exist on your server and you’re not paying anything more for this (maybe only for plugins licenses if they don’t share free versions or if that free versions don’t offer exactly what you need).

Of course, if you don’t have knowledge at all in creating websites, installing by yourself this system can be problematic. However, it’s all about some Googling and reading few articles or watching YouTube videos – it’s easy enough that you can do it in less than 15 minutes. Hiring a freelancer or a company increases the costs of investment but even when you do one-time-payment for this service, the only bonding subscription is your domain and hosting which is much less than WordPress.com subscription in the highest available option (that still doesn’t give you the same freedom).

Cost comparison

Yearly price (highest plan)275 euro0
Hosting price (highest plan)0 (included)100 euro
Domain price10 euro (or 0 if included)10 euro
Plugins installationavailable in highest plan (only from WordPress library)0 euro (included – any type of plugins)
Templates installationavailable (but only from WordPress library)0 euro (included – any type of template)
Total285 euro110 euro

Which solution is the best?

If you want to create professional image of your business or personal brand, I’d recommend only using self-hosted WordPress. It’s safer for you, you have the power of managing all the files and content that appears on your website and are not dependent on any other service (except hosting provider that should anyway have 99,9% service availability). Long-term thinking, it’s not worth your time to start with WordPress.com and then eventually migrate – it’s double cost, double waste of time and double work. You can easily redirect that resources to something that will help you grow your business, like marketing or creating social media content.

You don’t feel like making your website alone?

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For over 10 years, she has been helping companies build their online presence and create a credible brand on the Internet. She is the author of training courses and webinars on WordPress, online marketing, and building a visual brand identity.

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