WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org is a source of heated debate and confusion for too many. This is not surprising because the two share the same name and are based on the same software.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) because it provides the most popular way through which developers create websites.
WordPress is the engine that powers more than 31 percent of websites worldwide and therefore a powerful Web Content Management (WCM) tool. The tool is the most beginner-friendly of them all. I would also say it is the most talked about in blogs.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Google Search
When I perform a Google search for “wordpress”, I get wordpress.org and wordpress.com as the first and second in search results.
What does this mean? It means WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org can be a little confusing for the beginner.
I will use this article to take out the confusion between the two. I will then answer this question between WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org – which is the best for blogging?
.Org Vs .Com
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org debate also centers on features that make them different. Before I start looking at the main features of both WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I will point out the extraordinarily simple, yet extremely fundamental difference between the two.
Looking at their extensions, .org stands for “organization” while .com stands for “commercial”.
I am saying that there is free software because of this reason, get your free software from the .org. Additionally, we have a commercial software service, the free software service is available from the .com.
What more? The software is completely free and you can download it from the WordPress.org. On the other hand, the software service is free or paid, from the WordPress.com.
This means while you can use WordPress.com for free, you cannot do the same with WordPress.org. Both of them are free. I will show how WordPress.org cannot be used freely.
Is that confusing? It will become clear as you keep me company here.
WordPress.com And Automattic
Matt Mullenweg and Automattic are the ones behind the creation of WordPress.com. Matt is also the founder and owner of Automattic and WordPress software.
WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com goes a notch higher than this as Automattic is one of the main contributors to the WordPress (read WordPress.org) project.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Ownership
WordPress.com is not the software but a software service. It does not even own the software because it is just a hosting service for WordPress-powered free and paid websites.
The service is comparable to others such as Blogger, Medium or even Tumblr. The Automattic Company provides powerful servers that users host their websites.
If you are looking for a website hosting service, you can get it from WordPress.com. I call this “hosted service” because it runs on the Automattic servers.
All that you get is a user account and a service plan. You can choose a free or paid plan depending on your needs.
What you get is an already created website where you only create an account.
You need an account for example if you want to configure your “site” or “blog”. WordPress is, therefore, the engine that powers these sites and this is the same with “self-hosted’ version that I will discuss shortly.
Because WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org touches on the issue of hosting, I am going to look at that.
For you to create and run a website on WordPress.com, you do not need to set up or download anything.
You do not need this because you already have a “website as a service’ where you just sign up, create a profile, a blog or a website depending on your needs.
The company is for-profit and as such, it offers limited features for those not intending to go the “true” commercial way. For WordPress.org on the other hand, you need to download the software as I will show you in this article.
When I create the most basic account with WordPress.com, I will get something like mysite.wordpress.com that will serve as my blog.
I will enjoy it instantaneously because wordPress.com has already laid out the platform. From there, I can upgrade to the paid plans if I need more flexibility.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org debate also centers on the features that both provide. Let me now show you the features that WordPress.com provides for you to enjoy.
By using the free plan for WordPress.com, you will get the following for your use;
- A sub-domain of the wordpress.com such as mysite.wordpress.com.
- A hosted, secure and well-maintained website service for your use.
- Adverts and branding on your site provided by WordPress.com that you do not have control of; neither gets any benefits from.
- Limited web storage gives you a space of 3 GB.
- You will get no ability to monetize your site/blog, so you have no chances of getting any revenue.
- Access to powerful WordPress features that can be upgraded with payment.
- Configuration and customization tools for your website development.
Upon payment (upgrading), you will get more flexibility and features that include the following;
- Your own domain name where you can remove the .wordpress.com extension to something like mysite.com.
- Remove WordPress-served advertisements and create your own stream of revenue.
- Ability to install WordPress extensions and themes. You need to subscribe to the Business Plan for this flexibility.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Simplicity & Flexibility
I will now show to determine the best on WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org. As I have already demonstrated that WordPress.com is good for those looking for simplicity rather than flexibility.
You have to make do with what is offered to you as opposed to what you really dream for.
The good thing is that creating your blog or website with WordPress.com is like joining Facebook, it is very easy.
For example, you can create an account (site or blog) in seconds. You can also post your first article and have it live in minutes.
Monetization Limitations for WordPress.com
WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com debate also touches on monetization issue. Unless you subscribe to the business plan, you have monetization limitations. These include the following;
- You can only have Google AdSense, BuySellAds and eCommerce stores only when using the Business Plan.
- No affiliate links because your site cannot be primarily for the links.
- No sponsored content either because sponsored content cannot be your “main” content.
- The Business Plan limited by what WordPress.com defines as ‘too many’ sponsored content or affiliate links. So you are also powerless here.
These limitations are powerful reasons why most people prefer other WordPress alternatives. I will discuss this below;
WordPress.org offers the WordPress software for your site. To approach WordPres.com Vs WordPress.org issue on the software side, the following are important.
The WordPress.org software as I have demonstrated is managed by a not-for-profit organization called WordPress Foundation.
The software is free and open-source and therefore available to all. It is not owned by any company so anyone can “own” it.
It is maintained by volunteer developers from around the world and so you can also become a contributor.
For these reasons, you can just go to the wordpress.org and download the software to use on your site.
You can configure this software and make it your own. This is because it has many extensions, plugins, and themes for you to take advantage of.
Other Content Management Software
But mark my words, WordPress offers more flexibility and ease-of-use. However, for experienced developers, any CMSs is just as fine.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Operating System
What makes your computer function for your use? WordPress powers your website like what Microsoft Windows or Mac OS powers your PC. For your PC to function, you need to install an operating software like MS Windows. The same case applies to your website because it needs a CMS like WordPress to function.
WordPress.com (by Automattic Company) has its own servers to host the sites. You need a server in order to download and install your WordPress(.com) software on it.
This is the main difference between using WordPress.com and downloading your own self-hosted WordPress software for your website.
When people talk about WordPress, they commonly refer to the WordPress software you download from WordPress.org and use on your site.
Steps On How to Use WordPress Software (WordPress.org)
In order to use WordPress, you need to have several things in place before you start. The steps to take include the following;
- Look for a suitable web hosting company in order to host your site.
- Decide your domain name, for example, yoursite.com and reserve it.
- Pay for the domain name and web hosting services in order to have their ownership, access, and use.
- Go to WordPress.org to download the software for your site and for free.
- Go to the web hosting customer section to log in and access your website dashboard. How to access the dashboard on the server side is different with different hosts.
- Upload the software (WordPress) on your web host servers to make it available for your site.
- Login to your website backend and configure your installation.
What You Get with WordPress.org (WordPress Self-Hosted Installation)
Your self-hosted WordPress installation gives you the following;
- Your own website which you can use for any purpose you wish.
- A platform which you can use a source of revenue.
- Increased flexibility for your site. For example, you can add extensions, plugins and change themes as you wish.
- Complete control of content, branding, and security of your website.
- Ability to choose your hosting service providers and change them at wish to suit your tastes and needs.
- Set and follow your own terms and conditions. For example, you can even put your site offline for maintenance.
- Pay for only what you need as opposed to choosing from a pre-determined payment plan on WordPress.com.
- Decide and pay for your website size and space as you need.
- Ability to register users as opposed to followers.
- You can have as many sites as you wish from a single WordPress installation through the use of WordPress Multisite feature.
- Improve your site’s SEO by performing your own SEO practices and tricks.
- Increased credibility because people will tend to trust your website more when it is self-hosted with a unique domain name.
- No hidden charges and therefore no rude surprises when you want a certain feature.
- Control of your own profits by setting your own advertisement charges etc. You only run the adverts that you want.
- Ability to be a competitor for WordPress.com. You can hide some content behind a paywall and grant this access after the user pays. Additionally, you can allow users to create sub-sites on your website and use many more revenue-generating tactics.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Price
Another thing that brings confusion to the WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com is that both of them are flaunted as free. They are not as free.
It is good to realize that there are costs and charges associated with both of them. The cost depends on the one that you choose. This is because they are different for different reasons.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org in terms of service payments. For WordPress.org, you have the flexibility to choose from among many service providers. You will need to pay for the following;
- Web hosting. We have different prices for their hosting plans. You can pay charges of $3 to $8 per month. We have even cheaper ones but there are instances that you can pay even more than $100 per month. For example, if you are looking for hosting services that include performance-oriented hosting services for WordPress.
- Domain name. You can decide/create on your own. Check its availability against your domain (the name can be available on a .net extension but you want a .com one). However, after confirming its availability, you have to pay to own it. This is where the cost comes in. Expect anywhere starting from $8 per year.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org: Security
With WordPress.com, you do not need to worry about security. This is a closed platform and therefore more secure by default.
It is extremely difficult to expose your site to security vulnerabilities with WordPress.com. However, with the right security measures, WordPress.org is just as fine.
When I am using WordPress.com the host is responsible for the security of my site. But I am mostly responsible for the security of my WordPress.org site.
If you ask me, this is not a big deal.
This is because WordPress security plugins are there to help you beef up security for your site. Your web hosting provider is also responsible for some part of this security.
So I would say that taking care of my self-hosted site’s security has never been a problem.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org – Which is best for Blogging?
For purposes of blogging, the two options offer different features. I use WordPress.com for a blog that serves only my limited needs.
However, if you I am looking for the best option for a personal or business blog, WordPress.org is the new black.
I will use the following reasons to persuade you to go for a self-hosted blog;
- Monetization. WordPress.org me a chance to reap from the handwork I put to my blog. I can post adverts, sponsored content and affiliate links without any ado. The money goes to my pockets. On the other hand, with WordPress.com, the revenue is collected by WordPress.com and spent “on my behalf”.
- Flexibility. I can create exciting designs and interfaces for my site. For example, I can use different new themes and plugins as they get available. I can also create some on my own and use it on my site. What more? I use codes to tweak the theme to my preferences.
- Support. Despite the fact that I am mostly on my own, there many places where I can get support when I get stuck. For example, there are support forums, internet resources such as WordPress blogs and reviews. Others include documentation such as WordPress Codex and many others. There are also freelance WordPress developers and experts that offer affordable WordPress help. This is what I am offering you here for free!
- Price. I find it generally cheaper to operate a professional WordPress.org (self-hosted) compared to WordPress.com (hosted) site. This is because my when my blog will grow and require additional resources I will have started paying to get revenue.
- Updates. WordPress is updated regularly and therefore fixes bugs and vulnerabilities automatically. Besides this, we have a host of powerful security plugins for use.
- In terms of SEO, we have plugins such as Yoast SEO and JetPack (both by WordPress) that you can use. With Jetpack, your self-hosted site functions like one on WordPress.com but with all the benefits accrued by using WordPress.org. This means that I can use my self-hosted site to access powerful WordPress.com features. This is by linking the two via the available plugins.
WordPress.com Vs WordPress.org is a hot debate. This is because both WordPress.com and WordPress.org give you access to the most popular CMS in the world – WordPress. They both come with their different advantages and disadvantages.
However, the advantages for WordPress.org far outweigh those of WordPress.com. For the best blogging experience, WordPress.org is the option for you.
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