WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress is one of the most popular open source blogging platform in the world. Currently, 40% of all websites on the internet is powered by WordPress. And apart from that, WordPress also has the largest community which actively sharing and contributing.

This is one of the main reasons why WordPress often become the first pick when it comes to the blogging platform. Not to mention, it also can be easily converted into e-commerce solution. However, one's might not realize that there are actually two different WordPress platforms exist.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com is a free blogging service that is owned and hosted online by Automattic Inc. It is founded by Matt C. Mullenweg back in 2005 which is also a co-founder of WordPress software. Besides free plan, WordPress.com also offers several Paid Plans.

WordPress.org or commonly referred as self-hosted WordPress is a free and open source blogging platform. It is created and released by Matt C. Mullenweg and Mike John in May 2003. To use self-hosted WordPress, you need to have a domain name and web hosting.

Since both platforms are using same WordPress software, some of us might find it is confusing to differentiate between both. In this article, I will explain the difference as well as pros and cons on both platforms.

Infographic

Below is the infographic of general comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. I will also share detailed explanation in the further reading.

 WordPress.comWordPress.org
Official LogoWordPress.com vs WordPress.orgWordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Cost* Free.
* Personal - $4/month.
* Premium - $8/month.
* Business - $25/month.
From $3.95/month.
Custom DomainPaid plans only.Tick Mark
Themes CustomizationLimited customization.Tick Mark
Custom ThemesThird-party themes only available on Business plan.Tick Mark
Custom PluginsThird-party plugins only available on Business plan.Tick Mark
MonetizationLimited monetization.Tick Mark
Branding FreedomPaid plans only.Tick Mark
Analytics FeatureBuilt-in only.
Third-party plugins only available on Business plan.
Tick Mark
SEO FeatureLimited control.
Third-party plugins only available on Business plan.
Tick Mark
E-Commerce StoreCross MarkTick Mark
Membership SiteCross MarkTick Mark
Regular MaintenanceTick MarkSelf-maintenance.
Automatic BackupTick MarkSelf-backup.
Official WebsiteWordPress.comWordPress.org

Extensive Comparison

Hosting Plan

WordPress.com comes with a hosting service. You can start blogging immediately after registration. For a free plan, you will have 3gb web storage to save all your images and web pages. Otherwise, you can upgrade to Personal Plan with 6gb for $4/month or Premium Plan with 13gb for $8/month. Or you can upgrade to Business Plan with unlimited storage for only $25/month.

Self-hosted WordPress, on the other hand, will require a hosting plan. You will need to have a domain name and a hosting plan before you can start blogging. Depending on hosting provider and plan, web storage may vary. My hosting provider, Siteground, give 10gb web storage with only $3.95/month including with various features. Please read my Siteground review and 15 reasons to choose it.

Custom Domain

Basically, a domain name is an address to the website. It is used to point to the IP address of the web server you wish to visit. With Free Plan on WordPress.com, you are limited to use their subdomain for your website, for example, http://mydomain.wordpress.com. However, with Paid Plans, you can use a custom domain of your choice.

As for self-hosted WordPress, you are always can use a custom domain like http://www.mydomain.com. It is because custom domain comes together when you purchase a hosting plan.

Custom Themes & Themes Customization

WordPress.com plans come with very limited customization. For instance, on Free and Personal Plan, you only allowed changing the pre-set color schemes, background designs, and font styles. While for Premium and Business Plan, you can have extended customization. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to upload third party themes on Business Plan.

Contrarily, with self-hosted WordPress, you can customize your website without any restriction. All you need is your creativity to make a beautiful looking website. Moreover, you can upload and also have access to thousands of free themes in the WordPress repository and third parties premium themes.

Custom Plugins

In WordPress, plugins are tools you can use to extend your site functionality. Yet in WordPress.com, you can only use third-party plugins on Business Plan.

If you are using self-hosted WordPress, you are free to use any third-party plugins. Moreover, you may also create your own site-custom plugin for your website. Please take a look at how to create site-custom plugin.

Monetization

Advertisements are one of few ways to monetize your website. In WordPress.com, you can monetize your website through their WordAds program on their Premium and Business Plan. In which you will receive sharing revenue for every ad impression on your website.

With self-hosted WordPress, you can sell any space on your website to advertisers. Or register for free on any advertising platform such as Google Adsense or other advertisement media. And the good news is, any revenue you made through advertisement is entirely yours.

Branding Freedom

As WordPress.com Free Plan users, you will have no choice but are forced to display "Powered by" and in addition to their promotion ads. Please note that these ads won't generate any income for your site, instead, it is used to promote their service to your visitors. However, for Paid Plans users, you can remove both "Powered by" and ads completely from your site.

With self-hosted WordPress, you can choose to remove or hide "Powered by" or entirely rebranding it under your own label.

Analytics & SEO Feature

Although Analytics and SEO is not a requirement to create a website, yet it is powerful tools that will help your site in many ways.

For WordPress.com users, their plans come with built-in analytics system. Moreover, it also has no much control over website SEO. But this can be deal by upgrading to Business Plan which allows you to install third-party plugins.

While for self-hosted WordPress, are free to install any Analytics and SEO plugins. This will allow you to get all the insight you need and improve your website SEO.

E-Commerce Store & Membership Site

E-commerce store and membership site is another way to make a profit on the website. But for WordPress.com Free Plan users, it seems there's no way to create neither e-commerce store nor membership site.

As for self-hosted WordPress on the other hand, are able to create both without any issue. There are many plugins in WordPress repository that can help you create E-commerce store and membership site in no time.

Regular Maintenance & Automatic Backup

Regular maintenance and automatic backup are very important for your website. It is to ensure that your website is always safe, updated, and free from any issue.

The good news for WordPress.com users is, you don't have to worry about any single thing. Automattic staffs will take care of everything including backups, updates, website optimization, security and more.

Different from self-hosted WordPress, everything including backups, updates, website optimization, and security are under your own responsibility. Then again, it shouldn't be an issue since there are many plugins exist to help you take care most of the process automatically.

Conclusion

Actually, none of the paid upgrades are required to start a website with WordPress.com. But, depending on your needs, there are a few things that you need to consider. I hope this comparison above will help you to make a better choice.

If you are looking for blogging platform where you don't have to worry anything such as backups, updates, website optimization, or making money. Then, WordPress.com is a good choice especially for a small personal blog or non-profit organization.

But, if you looking for blogging platform where you have absolute control, make lots of profit, or achieve nearly limitless possibilities. Then, self-hosted WordPress is your most perfect choice.

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