Wondering about the differences between WordPress.org or .com? Not sure which one is right for you? When I started blogging, I had the same questions. Let me help you out! In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What sets WordPress.org or .com apart?
- How to choose the best platform for you?
- Which one offers better security?
And there’s even more to discover! Let’s jump in and help make your blogging journey a breeze.
What Is WordPress?
‘WordPress‘ is a service that allows you to build your website using WordPress software (also known as a content management system or CMS for short).
It’s a free software tool to create and manage your one-of-a-kind website.
The best part?
You do not need technical skills, coding skills, or downloading software because it runs online.
Why Use WordPress?
That is an excellent question, and I have an equally great answer for you!
WordPress stands as the ultimate mothership of all blogging platforms. With its massive reach, it reigns as the world’s largest publishing platform, empowering over 43% of all websites!
But that’s not all – some of the most prominent name brands rely on WordPress too. Think of industry giants like CNN, Disney, Etsy, Spotify, Microsoft, and iconic personalities like The Rolling Stones and Vogue!
The Key Difference Between WordPress.org vs .com
Right off the bat, the two terms may seem similar, but one crucial word differentiates the two platforms, Hosting.
Encountering the terms WordPress.com and WordPress.org prompts a crucial question: Who serves as the hosting provider?
- WordPress.com is a managed host or a self-hosted WordPress website.
- WordPress.org, you choose your hosting provider for your WordPress site (e.g., Bluehost, HostGator, SiteGround, etc.).
They are your hosting provider if you set up your website through WordPress.com.
If you choose to set up your website through WordPress.org, you must pick a hosting provider that manages WordPress websites.
► For the top 3 WordPress web hosts (recommended by WordPress themselves), click here.
Speaking of hosting, what does that mean?
Website hosting is a secure place to store your website online for the world to see.
Imagine your website host as the sturdy foundation or protective outer shell of your house, whether it’s made of brick, vinyl, or stucco. Just like the furniture and decor within your home, your host contains a vital space where you store all your valuable data—content, images, videos, and code. It’s the heart of your online abode, ensuring everything stays safe and accessible to your visitors.
Both platforms, WordPress.com and WordPress.org allow you to build and customize your one-of-a-kind website. It’s the hosting that genuinely differentiates the two platforms.
Next, let’s touch on the key differences to know about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
What Is WordPress.com?
As mentioned earlier, WordPress.com is a hosting provider that manages your blog or website. You build your website using WordPress software.
You may install WordPress.com for free if you are a registered user.
This is an excellent tool for new bloggers starting out who want to create a free website.
► If you’d like to know how to start a blog free using WordPress.com, click here.
Here are the perks…
- No software to download
- Free hosting (premium hosting and security are included)
- Free blog or website
- A free domain name (e.g., www.yourdomain.wordpress.com)
- Free pre-installed beautiful themes to choose from
- The option to add share buttons to your content to share across your social media channels
- Free storage of up to 3GB of space
- WordPress.com handles updates and backups (you don’t need to worry about this)
Here are the limitations…
- You are limited to how you are allowed to monetize your blog (you can not sell ads on your website)
- You do not own your free WordPress.com branded subdomain (e.g., www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com)
- Sometimes ads are placed on free websites, and you do not make any money
- You can’t upload plugins
- You can’t upload custom themes
- You can’t install powerful tracking platforms like Google Analytics (you are limited to using WordPress.com stats only)
- Your website may be deleted at any time if WordPress.com thinks you violate its terms of service
- You can not sell products or make a storefront with WooCommerce
When using the free version of WordPress.com, it’s like ‘renting’ your website, you do not own your website, but you always own your content. If you want to ‘own’ your website, consider WordPress.org or upgrade to WordPress.com Business Pro.
What Is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress or the ‘Real WordPress’) is the software you use to create your beautiful one-of-a-kind website. If you’ve heard of WordPress, you’ve most likely heard about WordPress.org.
You have complete ownership of free software installed on your chosen web host. You may also download WordPress.org and install it yourself. Again, it’s 100% free to use.
The costs that come into play are with your hosting provider to ensure a reliable, secure, high-performing successful website. Like our previous ‘house’ analogy, you wouldn’t build your house without a foundation, nor should you build a website without a host behind you.
Remember that you’re the primary person to bring together the software, hosting, and installation process.
There are hosting providers that easily install WordPress.org for you, like the following WordPress-recommended web hosts:
Here are the perks…
- You own your website and all its data
- You may add customizable plugins that are free or paid
- Customize the design any way you want through free or premium themes
- You can monetize your site by running your own ads (you won’t have to share the revenue)
- Use powerful tracking tools like Google Analytics
- Create a storefront
Here are the limitations…
- Backups to your website are your responsibility
- Updates are your responsibility
- You will need to install WordPress.org (as mentioned, some hosting companies take care of this for you)
- You will need website hosting
WordPress.org is an excellent option for blog owners who want complete control, ownership, and flexibility in building their websites from the ground up. You control the overall functionality and tools on your website.
How To Know Your Website Is Secure
If your website URL shows up like this: https://www.yourwebsite.com, you know it’s secure. This is because of the ‘https’ in front of your website’s URL.
This is known as an SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layers Certificate), a bit of code injected into your web server to secure online communications to your website. It is essential for protecting your website and your user experience.
In the example below, I searched the website ‘Intensive Therapy for Kids’ via Google Chrome, and the URL shows this website is secure. Google will display a lock icon for secure websites.
And if it’s not secure, it will show up like this. Google will let you know if the site you are browsing is not secure.
Your hosting provider should automatically have this type of security (an SSL Certificate) for you to add to your site.
For WordPress.com website users…
WordPress.com automatically has a WordPress SSL certificate to save you the time and expense of doing it yourself.
For WordPress.org website users…
Check with your hosting provider to see if they handle this for you, or search their help documents to set up your SSL Certificate yourself.
Now if your web host does not have an SSL Certificate in place (and they should)…
You must use a Certificate Authority (CA) company to verify your website’s legit. The price for an SSL certificate may vary from $10 per year to hundreds, depending on which CA you use and the type of SSL certificate you need. Again, check with your hosting provider, as most already have an SSL Certificate.
If you’re wondering if WordPress.com or WordPress.org is more secure, it boils down to your hosting provider and how they handle the SSL Certificate process for you. 🙂
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Similarities
Now that you know what differentiates WordPress.com and WordPress.org, let’s cover a few things they have in common:
- WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, started both
- Based on your hosting plan, both platforms allow plugins and theme customization
- You may move your ‘house’ to other hosting providers
- You may move your WordPress.com website to WordPress.org (and vice versa)
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: The Ultimate Dilemma – Which Platform Is Right For You?
Honestly, the version you choose comes down to your needs, skills, and the type of functionality you want your site to have.
Remember to think of it this way when comparing WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org, you are comparing hosting packages and the services provided by your hosting provider.
When it comes down to it, you are looking at WordPress.com vs. hundreds of other hosting providers (e.g., Bluehost, HostGator, Dreamhost, SiteGround, and the list goes on).
Does BlueHost use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Bluehost primarily supports and is optimized for WordPress.org installations. Bluehost is a popular web hosting provider that offers hosting services tailored to WordPress websites. It provides easy one-click installations for WordPress.org software, allowing you to create a self-hosted WordPress website with complete control over your themes, plugins, and customizations.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is a separate platform that offers hosting and website-building services directly on their platform. WordPress.com takes care of your hosting, security, and maintenance, but it has some limitations compared to self-hosted WordPress.org websites.
In summary, if you’re using Bluehost, you’re likely working with WordPress.org, which gives you the flexibility and control to build and customize your website as you see fit.
What are the disadvantages of WordPress.com?
WordPress.com offers convenience for beginners and those who don’t want to manage technical aspects. Still, limitations might hinder more experienced users and businesses seeking greater control and customization.
Some common limitations include customization, plugin support, monetization, domain restrictions, no custom themes (with a free plan), subscription costs for a paid plan, lack of complete control, and limited e-commerce functionality.
Which hosting is best for WordPress?
The “best” hosting for WordPress depends on your specific needs, budget, technical expertise, and the type of website you’re planning to create. Here are a few popular hosting options often considered among the best for WordPress: Bluehost, SiteGround, WP Engine, HostGator, and DreamHost.
When choosing the right WordPress host for you, consider the following things like loading times, customer support, scalability, security, ease of use, and budget.
Ultimately, the best hosting for WordPress will depend on your individual requirements and preferences. It’s a good idea to research each option, read user reviews, and consider your long-term goals before deciding.
To Wrap It Up
Since you need website hosting no matter which platform you use, do your due diligence.
Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind when finding the best web host for your blog:
- Data security
- Great reputation
- A variety of plans to choose from
- 24/7 customer support
- Server reliability, loading speed, and uptime guarantees (this is especially important once your website traffic starts to grow)
No matter who you choose, WordPress.org vs .com will be the right decision based on your needs and goals!
Do you have any other tips to add about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Let me know in the comments below. Your input means a lot and helps other fellow bloggers who read this post!
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About The Author
Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. I only recommend deals or items I love because you might like them too! With my affiliate relationships, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks so much for supporting Mono Mono Twins!