WordPress.org v.s WordPress.com: What’s your go For?

Posted 02/23/2021 in  Wordpress

Aseel Ashraf

By  Aseel Ashraf

Making decisions is never easy and you can only imagine how hard it could get when things get confusing and the fine line between similarities and differences is somewhat blurred. A lot of internet users are often unaware of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

  • This leads us to the next big question, how do they differ from one another?


It is the open-source WordPress software, and by default, it is what the majority of people know and work with. It’s also sometimes referred to as the self-hosted WordPress version. This is due to the fact that you’re responsible for finding not only your domain name but also your hosting service as well.

Some of the main features that distinguish it from WordPress.com include the following:

  • You can basically use all sorts of themes out there, without worrying about a thing. You can even customize and modify them however you like till the overall visuals of the website are according to your own liking.

  • No restrictions over the plugins you’re planning to install or even get rid of.  This gives you the chance to take full advantage of each and every plugin out there that could be of use to serve your purpose.
  • While you get to create the website for free, that is not the case for your domain name registration and your hosting services. As you’ll be required to pay for both features and the higher the traffic of your website the higher the cost you’ll have to pay for your chosen hosting services.

  • Monetization can be such a hit or a miss if done the wrong way, with .org as your top-level domain (TLD) you get full control over which ads to sell, what ad services to choose, and most importantly all your earnings are 100% yours!

  • You get to level-up your SEO performance by installing any plugin that contributes to that without worrying about its eligibility. You also get to use what’s known as third-party tools like Google Analytics for example to help analyze your website data in a more convenient way.

  • For e-commerce stores, the payment can be done through various methods with no limitation to a specific one. This can be huge as it’s the most crucial part of the customer’s experience on online store websites.

  • Being self-hosted means that you’re the one responsible for keeping up with your website’s updates, data back-ups, and other maintenance-related issues that may occur. However, most hosting services usually take care of this part for you so you don’t need to worry that much about it and you can always install back-up plugins that help keep your data safe.

So depending on the type of website you’re building, your options for the aforementioned features are going to be different. But it’s fair to say that if you choose WordPress.org you can build any website regardless of its type or purpose. Even for a beginner, it’s not that impossible, all they have to do is maybe follow a simple guide to manage through the basics of setting it up, and the rest they can get the hang of easily through practice.


2. WordPress.com

The confusion is usually attributed to the fact that the owner of WordPress - Matt Mullenweg - is also the founder of WordPress and Automattic. However, WordPress.org is a hosting service that doesn't require external hosting services, unlike WordPress.org

Some of the main features that distinguish it from WordPress.org include the following:

  • Unlike what’s presented for the theme options on WordPress.org, this one doesn’t give you that wide range of options to choose from. Your options are more limited therefore more restricting by nature as you’re not allowed to either customize or upload custom themes unless you’re on a premium or a business plan that gives you those extra features. Even so the paid theme features still fall short in comparison with what WordPress.org offers.

  • No plugins in sight, yup that’s right. You’re not given any access to download any sort of plugin, paid or free; instead, all you get is built-in plugins that come with the package you sign up for. Unless you’re a user of the business plan, you can install paid third-party-plugins.

  • For the free plan you only get 3 GB for storage space, on top of that, ads are going to be displayed on your website without granting you any profit or money from showing them. As for domains you don’t get a custom one instead you’re offered a subdomain that has WordPress.com in it.

  • Monetization is not the best, as you’re forced to show ads without getting sales. As for websites with high traffic (25,000 pageviews monthly), they can apply for advertising but the revenue will be shared so you don’t get 100% profit in your pockets.

  • SEO is not at its best for free users since they’re not allowed to install any third-party plugins that enhance the performance of the website. Only business plan users are given the freedom to install third-party plugins.

  • For free users, they can only manage with the analytics provided by their plan to analyze the stats. They can’t take advantage of third-party tools like Google Analytics unless they’re - again- on the business plan.

  • Definitely not the best option for anyone who is looking to create an online store, and it’s recommended that for this goal specifically, it’s better if you switch to a self-hosted website to get better control over things.

  • When it comes to backups, updates, optimization, and other maintenance-related problems everything is taken care of by Automattic so you can rest assured.

In short, WordPress.com is no doubt easy to use. All you have to do is literally create an account similar to how you create one for other social media platforms. But in return, you’ll have to know that you most probably are going to be compromising on the flexibility of customization and other features.

If you’re only getting started and a professional or a business goal is not the purpose of why you’re creating your website, then WordPress.com is a very convenient option and you get the basic experience you need for free with no hassle.

But if your website is more professional or if you’re looking to create an e-commerce website then WordPress.org is indeed a better option. As it enables you to have more freedom and access to tools, plugins, and customization options.