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WordPress.com VS WordPress.org – What’s the Difference?

By Sandra Ciminelli – Web Designer/Developer

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org – What’s the Difference?

WordPress is a powerful Content Management System that enables non-coders to take control over their content and manage their own site. If you’re thinking about using WordPress for a business website and you’re struggling to understand the key differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org you’re on the right page. The platforms may have the same name, however, they’re not the same thing. Let’s take a closer look at WordPress and the major differences between the two versions to help you decide which is more suitable for your needs.

What is WordPress?

WordPress started off as a blogger platform but has become one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) around. WordPress was developed in 2003 by a small group of volunteers in the United States as a free and open-source CMS, with a flexible plugin architecture and a plethora of functionality. It is currently used by over 26 million websites worldwide and WordPress is powering over 30% of all websites that are online. WordPress offers users two versions of the popular web design platform: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Both site-building software versions are free and open-source (can be modified and shared) and while they are characteristically the same, there are some major differences between the two.

WordPress.org

Any user can download the open-source files to be used for self-hosted WordPress web design, and can download the software package from WordPress.org to install locally or as part of a hosting package from a web hosting provider.  Most Web hosting providers provide installation software such as Installatron to offer quick WordPress installation on any domain on their servers. Therefore, eliminating the two-step operation of downloading the WordPress core file from WordPress.org and uploading it to the server.

After Installing WordPress On Your Web Hosting Plan

  1. Access thousands of plugins and Install your own themes and plugins.
  2. Add certain codes, make modifications or access the site via FTP.
  3. No limitations to the content or functionality you can add.
  4. Configure and take control of your website.

If you want the WordPress.com business plan it works out as rather expensive. You’re better off registering a domain and purchasing your own web hosting plan and installing your own self-hosted WordPress site.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a site builder and a hosted alternative for bloggers, creatives, and students. This is the more expensive platform that provides a do-it-yourself builder and also provides the tools required to make it happen.  However, it is limited to business owners as the full range of customisation options offered with the WordPress.org self-hosted alternative will not be available.

WordPress.com Vs A Self-Hosted WordPress Website For Business

WordPress.com offers a free option for beginners and do-it-yourselfers to test the waters on a blog post or website creation. However, as a hosted platform it has its limitations for growth-minded business owners looking to have full control over their site. Those needing to add functionality, use premium themes, add certain features, or monetise their blog will discover those limitations rather quickly.  While WordPress.com is a great platform in many ways, below are some reasons why entrepreneurs may not benefit from the free website do-it-yourself platform.

  • You can’t install plugins or themes to customise your site as they’re not available on their platform unless you pay for their expensive business plan.
  • On the free plan, your site is placed under a subdomain (yoursitename/wordpress.com). This site will include wordpress.com ads and their hosting is expensive.
  • Your disk space is limited to 3GB of data.
  • You can’t monetize your blog or website

A self-hosted WordPress Offers More Options and Growth Potential

  • Flexibility – use premium themes, add plugins to enhance functionality for improved design options and customisations. A far better option for online stores and membership sites.
  • Portability – your choice of web hosting provider with the ability to move your site from one web host to another. Plans differ from one web host to another. Most web hosting providers offer the choice of 3 web hosting plans or more. 
  • Scalability – enlarge and enhance your website as your business grows. 

All the above makes WordPress.org the superior choice for serious bloggers and business owners.

[bctt tweet=”To get started with your WordPress.org blog site, you’ll need a WordPress hosting account and a domain name. There are many affordable web hosting providers out there to choose from.” username=”actwebsites”]

In this video, Matt Cutts from Google endorses WordPress as being great for Search Engine Optimisation.

Sources: YouTube – www.youtube.com

Now that you have all the information, I hope that you’re able to see the major differences between the two WordPress options.

Cheers Sandra!

Sandra at ACT Websites Canberra
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I’m Sandra Ciminelli
Canberra based WordPress Web Designer/Developer

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