Difference Between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

Feature image wordpress.com vs wordpress.org
by Ozpina Digital
08.22.2023

WordPress.com

vs

WordPress.org

wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

WordPress.com

A hosted version of WordPress. This means that WordPress.com hosts your website for you and takes care of all the technical details. You do not need to find a web hosting provider or install WordPress yourself. However, you have less control over your website, as WordPress.com imposes some restrictions on the themes and plugins that you can use.

WordPress.org

The self-hosted version of WordPress. This means that you are responsible for finding a web hosting provider and installing WordPress on your own server. You also have full control over your website, including the design, plugins, and themes.

What is  actually the difference between the two platforms?

In the world of website creation and content management, WordPress stands out as a great platform, with 62.8% of the market share in 2024, empowering millions of websites worldwide. However, a common point of confusion among users is the understanding between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Both platforms share the same core purpose, but they offer distinct approaches and functionalities. In this article, we explain the difference to help you make an informed choice for your website.

At then end, the choice depends on your priorities and technical expertise. WordPress.org gives full creative control, customization options, and the ability to run a diverse range of websites. On the other hand, WordPress.com offers a hassle-free, managed experience, ideal for those seeking simplicity and a lower learning curve.

If you just want to start a blog or make a website the right way, then you can skip this article and head over to our guide How To Create Your WordPress Website (Step by Step)

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links. Consider using these links to take advantage of discounted prices.

 

What is WordPress.org

WordPress-org-image

WordPress.org, is often referred to as “self-hosted WordPress,” it provides users with the a high level of control over their websites. It is an open-source software, which means, it’s free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting (such as SiteGround or AccuWebHosting).

Software Ownership and Hosting:

    • Provides you with the open-source WordPress software that you can freely download and install on your own web hosting server.
    • You have complete ownership of your website’s data, files, and content.
    • This option requires finding and managing your own hosting provider, which can offer greater flexibility in terms of customization and server resources (such as SiteGround or AccuWebHosting). Technically, you can run WP on your local machine, too, but that’s generally done for development and troubleshooting. Fully Managed WordPress Hosting Service continues to offer more free features and guarantees than any website hosting service!

Customization and Flexibility:

    • You have unrestricted access to themes and plugins, enabling you to create a unique website tailored to your exact specifications.
    • You can customize the core code, design, and functionality of your website to match your vision.

Monetization and E-commerce:

      • Allows you to monetize your website without limitations. You can run ads, sell products, and implement various revenue-generating strategies.
      • Popular e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce can transform your site into a full online store.

Learning Curve and Technical Expertise:

        • Setting up and managing a WordPress.org site demands a moderate level of technical proficiency.
        • Users need to handle WordPress installation, updates, security measures, backups, and other technical aspects on their own or through their chosen hosting provider. Luckily most popular WordPress hosting companies (such as SiteGround or AccuWebHosting) offer 1-click WordPress installation options.

What is WordPress.com

WordPress-com-image

WordPress.com, Managed Convenience, offers a more managed approach to website creation, ideal for those seeking simplicity and ease of use.

Hosted Platform:

    • WordPress.com is a hosting platform where you can create and manage a website without the need to find external hosting.
    • They offer various plans, including free and paid options, each with different levels of customization, including some built-in features.

Simplicity and User-Friendly:

      • WordPress.com provides a user-friendly interface suitable for beginners and those who want to get started quickly.

The platform takes care of updates, backups, and security, reducing the technical burden on the user.

Limited Customization and Plugins:

        • While you can choose from a range of pre-designed themes, customization options are limited compared to WordPress.org.
        • pPlaces ads on all free websites. Your users see those ads, and you don’t make money from it. If you don’t want users to see ads, then you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
        • Access to third-party plugins is restricted, limiting the extensibility of your site. You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in features pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins (have to pay for it). WordPress.com VIP program lets you install plugins, and it starts (have to pay for it).
        • You cannot upload custom themes. Free plan users can only install from the limited free themes collection. Premium and business plan users can select premium themes. There are limited customization options for the free version.

Monetization Restrictions:

          • The ability to monetize your site through ads or e-commerce depends on the plan you choose. Free plans may have restrictions on monetization.

This hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To unlock some of the more advanced features, you have to be on higher paid plan.

Comparing the two versions of WordPress

FeatureWordPress.orgWordPress.com
CostFree to download, but you need to pay for web hosting and domain nameFree for basic plan, paid plans start at $5 per month
ControlYou have full control over your websiteYou have less control over your website
FeaturesAccess to all themes and pluginsLimited selection of themes and plugins
MonetizationYou can use any monetization methodYou can use some monetization methods, but there are restrictions
SecurityYou are responsible for securityWordPress.com takes care of security

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