WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – pros and cons of both platforms

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WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – pros and cons of both platforms

Guide to help you choose between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org - differences, pros and cons.

Many clients have come to us with WordPress.com blogs wanting us to do custom design work for them. While it is possible to do some customization, we are so limited in what we can do with the layouts we have chosen to work only with self-hosted, WordPress.org websites, and blogs. Today we will help you answer which WordPress is better for you by showing the pros and cons of using both WordPress options.


Let’s start from the very basics and answer the significant question:

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (also called CMS) that will power your site or blog and let you manage everything without the need to learn any coding language. There are other systems available; however, WordPress is currently the most popular one next to Blogger

If you would like to know the difference between those two, make sure to read our Blogger vs. WordPress post.

For your website or blog to be visible on the internet, you need:

  • a hosting,
  • CMS,
  • a domain name (optional). 

I would compare it to building a house. Hosting is your plot (or your piece of the internet in this case), CMS (like WordPress) is your house you will build on the parcel you bought, and the domain is an address to help people find you.

WordPress itself is free! Web hosting is the thing you need to pay for.

If you would learn how to buy a hosting, set up a domain, and WordPress for $2,95 a month check our guide on how to start a blog or website.


Why should you choose WordPress?

WordPress offers you almost unlimited options for growing your site. Because of that, you can use it both for a simple blog or huge shop with the forum and advanced website. Our site is built on WordPress too!

You should remember that ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ and the more your site can do, the more you need to do to keep it safe and working properly. Because of that WordPress can be a little bit scary for beginners.

How can I know which WordPress it is?

The general rule of a thumb is that if someone is telling you about WordPress, he means the self-hosted WordPress, also known as wordpress.org. Getting a WordPress is easy, and we have covered it in our 4 step guide on how to start a blog.

Pros and Cons of Self-hosted WordPress

Below I will list a few essential pros and cons of having a WordPress.

Pros

  • Complete control over your site
  • You can use any Theme you want
  • All plugins are available
  • Complete control over coding
  • Freedom with Adsense and other ads

Cons

  • There are monthly (or yearly) hosting costs ($2,95 a month with our link)
  • You are responsible for spam control
  • You have to do your own back-ups and upgrades

WordPress.com – what is it?

WordPress.com is just a version of self-hosted WordPress. The main difference is that you do not need to buy hosting for it. WordPress.com is a company that sells you access to WordPress installed on their hostings (it is a huge simplification but explains how it works). It means that you no longer need to worry about your hosting safety or pay for it, but instead, you may need to pay WordPress.com for some additional features.

Getting WordPress.com is free; however, with the free plan, you are very limited with options. To get possibilities similar to self-hosted WordPress you need to pay from $5 to $59. There is even a vip package for $1700 a month!

Pros and Cons of WordPress.com

To help you decide which WordPress is better for you here are a few pros and cons of WordPress.com so you can make your own conclusions.

PROS

  • Free and easy to set up
  • upgrades, spam and security are all taken care of for you
  • back-ups are done automatically
  • Info is hosted on WordPress.com servers, so you are much less likely ever to have your site crash or go down

CONS

  • Tons of generic themes are available, but you cannot use a custom theme like a Designer Blogs theme
  • You need to pay to use plugins
  • Require a premium package to use ads
  • You do not have access to your WordPress files
  • For larger sites, it is more expensive than self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

In my mind, I find WordPress.com to be very similar to Blogger. You have a nice, simple, budget-friendly setup. But if you are a serious blogger and want to own your content and have complete control of your design, self-hosted is going to be the route you want to go.

For help getting a self-hosted WordPress.org blog set up, you can follow this step-by-step tutorial for instructions.

And for those of you who are visual like me, here is an eays to pin image with breakdown:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org - differences, pros and cons.

For step-by-step instructions on how to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org check our guide below.

How to Move Your Blog from WordPress.com to a Self-Hosted Domain

Which WordPress is better?

I will never recommend WordPress.com simple because I think that it will be more expensive for you if you are creating a website or think seriously about blogging. In other words, self-hosted WordPress should be cheaper in the long run.

If you are a beginner and want only to blog and do not care about all those technical stuff the choose Blogger. It is completely free and easy to use. Moreover, it is very beginner friendly.

I would recommend WordPress.com only if you are thinking about starting a WordPress blog and would like to see how it works before buying a hosting. However, with the current prices (only $2,95 per month for hosting plans), it may be better just to buy a hosting and start working on creating a proper site from the very beginning.


Finally, I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever had a WordPress.com blog? Maybe you are still using it? Have you ever consider changing the platform?