I blogged briefly about the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org in this article here, but I thought I would delve into it in a little more detail in case there are still some people on the fence when it comes to what blogging platform they should be using.
WordPress.org is for self-hosted WordPress installations with no limits, whereas wordPress.com is a free-but-limited hosted platform that is perfect for getting you up and running quickly, especially if you have zero technical prowess.
Basically, WordPress.org is where “WordPress” the software is freely available to the public, along with the thousands of free and premium plugins that can be installed separately.
WordPress.org is great for the “do-it-yourself” style of site owner, who is brave enough to take on the challenges of launching on a self-hosted platform. If you run into trouble, there are many support forums and how-to resources that can be found all over the web to help you out.
With the WP Codex, you will find everything you need to get the WordPress software rolling on your own domain. Most web hosts have super simple “one click” WordPress installation scripts, so it’s relatively easy out of the box.
Plus, you won’t need to pay to remove third-party ads. With no restrictions, you can modify the core PHP, add jQuery elements, use any theme you like, and/or install any Plugin you want.
You will need a web host, however, and hosting is not free.
Web hosting costs vary, but for a typical small to medium-sized site, $7-15/month is about the range for “decent” WordPress hosting.
WordPress.com is different in a couple of ways. Installation is a snap, and the web hosting is provided, and the hosting is free.. however you will have to deal with ads.
Aside from quality hosting services, you’ll also get baked-in spam protection, automatic backups, automatic updates, proven security, and some WordPress.com themes, plugins, and services not found elsewhere.
The biggest things going against wordpress.com are that you cannot modify the PHP source code and you don’t have access to the enormous plugins library that is available on wordpress.org.
There are plugins available on WordPress.com, these represent a fraction of the tens of thousands available on WordPress.org.
Finally, while you can choose among hundreds of pre-made wordpress themes, you can’t upload your own, and you have extremely limited customization opportunities.
Also, your domain name will sound unprofessional, as it will appear i.e.
Although you can buy your own domain name, then map it to the WordPress.com system. (You’re going to have to pay for this, but you’d also have to pay with self-hosted WordPress.)
If you can’t stand the ads, you can also pay to have those removed for a yearly fee.
Links advertising WordPress.com and themes cannot be removed and extra storage carries a yearly fee.
To top it off, premium WordPress.com Themes carry a price tag as well, typically from $45-$100 each. These themes can’t be transferred off WordPress.com if you choose to go self-hosted later on, so you should keep that in mind when you’re shopping around.
Which Is Best For Me
Cost should not be the only deciding factor when you are making your decision. Whether you go with .com or .org, eventually you’re going to have to pay, however, it should be noted that self-hosted tends to be slightly more expensive.
Instead, you should focus your decision on which option will match with your longterm goals. If you are just hoping to blog on a small scale, the wordpress.com is a great and inexpensive option. However, if you want a blog that you may want to take to the next level, it may be a wise investment to go with a self-hosted site right off the bat so you don’t have to deal with migrating your data later on.
I hope that this little rundown has been helpful to you if you were stuck between hosting on .com vs. .org. It can be frustrating if you don’t know what the key pros and cons are.
So what are you waiting for!!? You’ve got a blog to get started!