Did you know that there are two different kinds of WordPress websites? Often it is difficult to tell them apart, but there are some major differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It’s important you know the differences before you start your own website, and it could save you some headaches and even some cash down the road. So, how do you know which to use to build your website? Let’s dive in and learn the differences between the two.
WordPress is a great free open source tool to build a website, but which one is the best for you to use; WordPress.com or WordPress.org? Both sites are owned by the same company but serve two very different purposes. WordPress.com is generally for general bloggers that are looking to start blogging without a need to make any money from it at the start. Whereas, WordPress.org is more of an open source tool used by businesses that blog for revenue, sell products, sell a service, or develop themselves. Comparing the two is like comparing the difference between renting your home vs. owning your home.
A Deeper Look at WordPress.com
Let’s first take a deeper look at WordPress.com. On the surface this platform is very user friendly. You can literally have a website built and hosted by WordPress.com within about 10 minutes. If that interest you, head over to my other tutorial on how to start a website in 10 minutes. But before you race to build your favorite new site on your pets, make sure you know what you are signing up for.
WordPress.com offers a free version of up to 3GB of storage. It allows you to buy a custom domain name or use the free WordPress branded domain, “yourusername/wordpress.com”. It gives you free email and chat support, worry free maintenance, and backups of your site. You do have access to some theme templates but they are limited. WordPress.com has also introduce an integration with Jetpack. Which is a free pre-installed plugin that gives you better management between your blog sites and some built in analytic tools to keep an eye on your websites traffic. But, that is really where the free version ends. To get any additional features like more custom themes, installing custom plugins, selling products, and getting a share of the revenue in ad space, you have to sign up for a yearly subscription to one of their three tier plans which ranges between $48 to $300. See full details below.
A Word of Caution
While it may seem beneficial to have an all in one system that never needs to be updated, many users don’t like to be confined in a box for their business. At any time if WordPress.com feels you are in violation to their practices in the community they can shut down your site with no questions ask. That is why many elects to use WordPress.org as the better alternative.
A Deeper Look at WordPress.org
WordPress.org gives the user all the freedom they need for growing a business online with minimal upfront costs. You might be thinking, hey you just told me I can get a business subscription with WordPress.com, why would I ever want to switch? The answer is simple, customization and the freedom to do what you want. You don’t have to fork up a ton of cash just to get the ability to install plugins and custom themes.
What you Need
It is easy to get up and running on WordPress.org. All you need is a domain name and web hosting provider. I personally used dreamhost.com that gives me a hosting package and access to WordPress.org built in, for just around $10 per month. Depending on the size of your business you could find a hosting provider for even less and even download and install WordPress yourself on your site to save you some cash. Of course, as your business grows you can expand your hosting package. But with just around $120.00 a year, I can have all the features that WordPress.com offers and more for less than half the costs of a yearly business pan with WordPress.com.
Features of WordPress.org
Here are just some of the features that WordPress.org offers…
- You have full control of your site and brand with no WordPress branding
- Full control of displaying ads
- You can full access to download tons of free themes in the marketplace. My personal favorite theme is Avada. Which allows you to do a lot of customize pages using an easy module template builder plugin Fusion Builder. See my other tutorials on some of my other Avada themes I have built.
- You can download any kind of plugin on the market Free and Paid. You should start with a good SEO plugin like the popular Yoast
- If your business sells products, you can install the WooCommerce plugin for free.
It seems like the possibilities are endless, which is why this platform is so popular and used by just about 30% of the internet. But, there is some cons to using WordPress.org, you should stay on top of updates to your themes and plugins and even the WordPress version you have installed for security risks, and if something were to happen to your site make sure you have a backup of it. A quick tip on backing up your site, you can use a plugin like the All-In-One migration tool that can save a backup of your site in case something where to happen.
I hope you now have a better idea between the two versions. While it may be great in the beginning to rent a website, owning proves to be the better route in the long run. It just gives you more freedom to grow and expand your operation, and is more cost effective than the general WordPress.com tools. Let me know what you think in the comments below on some things you have discovered while using both sites.