Iíve seen many people wondering whatís the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. So, if youíre reading this, we assume youíve got the same question in your mind. Youíre probably confused which one to choose.
Iíll be trying to answer your question and help you to choose the right one through this article.
First of all, we need to know what actually WordPress is.
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL.
Letís have a look at WordPress.com and WordPress.org and discuss the proís and conís of each.
Essentially, WordPress works the same in either format. It is a content management tool that runs almost 30% of the entire internet. And today we are going to compare the details between the .com and the .org version of WordPress. Having chosen WordPress means that you are going to have a stable and functional blog (and website).
The basic differences between the .com and the .org versions of WordPress are discussed below.
You can get a free blog at WordPress.com. You donít need to pay for hosting or a domain. WordPress.com doesnít allow (Recently allowed) you to use plugins (and this is the biggest drawback of .com version) so, you donít need to pay for them. In the .com version, you are not allowed to edit the back end either. In short, you get the power of WordPress without the ability to customize it.
The easiness of using but the limitation in options and functionality is basically the trade-off.
Itís free (paid version is available, but you better use the .org version if you want to get better off.).
Setting it up is much easier than the self-hosted WordPress option. So, you can do it yourself and can save the cost of having a professional do it for you.
Everything is taken care of: setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
Hundreds of servers are supporting your blog so, itís highly unlikely to go down due to traffic.
Your posts are automatically backed up.
Though they do provide 100+ themes, but you cannot go beyond since customizing isnít allowed. So, the chance of getting a more professional, unique look and feel is minimum.
You canít customize the PHP code either. As a result, the flexibility of customizing your site is limited.
Using custom third-party themes/templates is one of the best benefits of using WordPress, but you canít use them at .com version.
You canít upload plugins (the biggest drawback!)
Long story short:
WordPress.com is a good choice if you want to blog personally and keep as a personal journal and donít want to customize your blog and have access to the advanced features. It is mainly for the people who want to blog, but donít want to edit the blog, have access to advanced features, or monetize it. But if you want to make money from your website, this .com version may not be as useful as the .org version.
WordPress.org is where you can download free software (or the blogging platform) to install on your own site. You donít get a free server like .com users get. The server is your own. You can customize your website using plugins and edit the theme as well (it isnít very hard). Basically, you have the full control over your theme and have the ability to control and access every advanced feature through plugins.
When it comes to making money through your website, you may want to customize your theme as you want and the facilities are given in the .org version.
You can customize your website by uploading themes which gives your website a more professional and unique look.
Uploading plugins are allowed which gives your site more functionality.
Full Control over the code. If youíre technically minded or like to outsource advanced website features.
You can do whatever you want on your site because of owning it.
Needs money to host the website
Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run.
Need to be updated and secure.
Long story short:
WordPress.org is suitable for the people who want full control over their website which includes customizing, uploading plugins, editing the code and using custom third-party themes/templates.
Though there are costs associated with website hosting, outsourcing design, and customization, etc. the barriers to entry with an online business are extremely low compared to a traditional offline business.
So, if you are looking to use a personal blog just as a diary or as a personal journal, the no cost/low tech .com version is suitable for you.
However, if you want to have full access to your website, use your website commercially and make money from it, then the .org version is highly recommended for you.