Comparison: wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

WordPress.org VS WordPress.com: Comparative Guide

Frequently it is a point of confusion for those wanting to start their own blog on WordPress, only to find out that there are two platforms available – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. So what’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

Here is the short answer: WordPress.org grants you far more freedom but comes at the price of forcing you to ‘do-it-yourself’, while WordPress.com does a lot of the things for you (such as hosting, maintenance, your domain name, etc), but comes at the price of limited freedom.

WordPress.com

Installing WordPress.com is a snap, the domain name is already provided for you (with the .wordpress extension) and hosting is provided as well for no charge.

Hosting is where WordPress.com truly excels in for basic blogs, you get top notch hosting with WordPress.com, built-in automatic backups for your website, security and spam protection.

Maintenance (updates and such) is already taken care of as well, allowing you to focus on creating content for your website.

All great things right? There are, of course, plenty of disadvantages of using WordPress.com as your platform though you can fix most of them with some pricey upgrades.

The most notable disadvantage is that you are unable to upload any plugins of your own, with WordPress.com you have nearly two dozen built-in plugins that come pre-installed, which represent a small fraction of the tens of thousands available on WordPress.org (in addition to the thousands of premium plugins).

You can upgrade to ‘WordPress Enterprise’ for a whopping $500 a month which will give you access to about a hundred or so plugins on the WordPress.com website.

Still small potatoes compared to the tens of thousands on the WordPress.org website.

Your domain name is also going to be displayed unprofessionally since it comes with a .wordpress extension (yourwebsitename.wordpress.com).

Like with plugins, you have the option of upgrading to your own domain name without the .wordpress attached to it, for $18 a month.

Ads are another negative aspect of WordPress.com, well, ads that aren’t yours as WordPress ‘might’ host ads on your blog, though you can shell out $30 a year to get them removed.

Space is free but only for up to 3GB, after that you’ll need yet another upgrade to keep your blog running. For $99 a year you get 13GB of space and for $299 a year you get unlimited space.

Recommended:- 5 Features That Make A2 Hosting An Easy-To-Use Web Hosting Provider

Themes are also limited since you can only upload a free theme from the WordPress.com website and have very few customization options.

There are alternatives though, the WordPress website does have some decent looking premium themes available, with most of them well over $50 each.

WordPress.org

If you feel comfortable doing things yourself, such as purchasing your own domain name and web hosting, and want to set up a professional blog, then this WordPress platform is probably your best option.

Like with WordPress.com, this software is freely available and has the added benefit of being extremely customizable. With it, you can easily set up your own website using a free or, feature rich, premium theme and have access to tens of thousands of free and premium plugins to add pretty much any feature you can think of to your website (contact form, gallery, social share bar, shortcodes, etc).

Also see:- How I Improved My Blog Speed and Sales by 200%

Basically, WordPress.org has nearly every positive feature WordPress.com has with the added benefit of having no restrictions.

Feel free to add ads to your website, customize your theme, buy premium themes on other websites and install any plugin you want.

A few things are missing though, notably a web host. Yes, if you plan on going with WordPress.org you will need to find your own web hosting service which range in price from $5 – 12$ a month.

Most web hosting services come with a free domain name for a year, so after that free year is over you will also have to pay $10 ~ a month for your domain name.

Recommended:- My Pick on Top 20 Best Premium WordPress Plugins for 2015

So which is better, WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

While it is always good to factor in costs, in this case it should not be the main factor when deciding what platform to choose from, especially since you will probably be performing some type of upgrade down the road when using WordPress.com.

You also need to consider that ‘free’ usually tends to be mediocre, at best.

The deciding factor when choosing which WordPress to use is simple, what kind of website do you plan on making?

If you are going for something like a gallery, personal website, or just a casual blog that you only post to a few times a month then WordPress.com is definitely the best option.

WordPress.org is the exact opposite. That is, it is great for blogs that you plan on dedicating a lot of time to. Professional sites or blogs that you want to eventually get lots of traffic to, business websites.

Websites that you plan on trying to heavily monetize, these are sites that WordPress.org is best used for as you are going to need total control over your hosting, plugins, theme customization, advertising, etc.

Here are, an easy to understand infograph via Matt Clark that helps new users who want to build their own website, but don’t know the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Created because there is a lot of confusion regarding the two WordPress software versions, this simple infograph compares important features including themes and customization options.
How much freedom you have when it comes to ads on your website when using either of the two software, what your domain name options are, what hosting options you have when using WordPress.com and maintenance responsibilities.
wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

Bottom line:

If you plan on creating a professional website and grow your traffic, then WordPress.org is your best bet as you’ll be able to customize it to your liking and have plenty of functionality with feature rich plugins and premium themes, something that is an unavoidable necessity  if ever want to have a professional blog in whatever industry/niche you are in.

Please, do vote for your favourite wordpress platform and let us analyse the best one.

Comments
  1. Hi Nisha,

    Wow…what a great comparison you have done here. WordPress.org is by far the better choice for professionalism and branding.

    Whatever niche we are in this has to be the best choice because of the use of fantastic plugins and so much more.

    I also liked the infographic here, which really puts it all together. Great Job!

    -Donna

  2. Hi Donna,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate your presence here.

    I am glad that you liked this post as well as infographic. Hope, this comparison is helpful for newbies to understand the proper difference between both platforms.

    Donna, please vote above also to collect the proper data.

    Thank you so much again for stopping by here. Have a great day!

  3. Hi Nisha,

    You’ve done a good job of outlining the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I really appreciate the infographic that you embedded. Although, WordPress.com appears to be a free/inexpensive solution, long-term it will cost more in terms of lost opportunity.

    I’ll keep this post in mind to refer people to if they’re weighing the differences between WordPress.com and self-hosting.

  4. Hi Nisha,
    To be quite frank with you, I have never taken time to dig the differences this deep. I must say thanks for putting this up for our Education.

    Of course, .org is my choice 😉

  5. Wow……wonderful article. I really appreciate the infographic that you embedded. Thank you so much for sharing such type article.
    Thanks

  6. Nisha,

    This is an excellent post! I have been thinking about checking out WordPress for myself and wasn’t even aware that there are two options. You’ve given a very comprehensive guide to what people should look for regarding their site and what they plan to use it for. WordPress.org seems like a much better fit for those who want to create a business without limitations, especially if they don’t have a difficult time with technical tasks.

    I was especially glad that you pointed out the additional costs that are associated with WordPress.com if you want more than the basic plan…that is really helpful for people to see that it could end up costing you more in the long run. I would have liked to hear a bit more of the associated costs with WordPress.org over what is included (because you sold me on it so well) but I feel like you covered the comparable costs as to what the .com offers so I understand why you didn’t (sometimes too much info gets confusing).

    I also really liked that you included an infographic for a quick overview of the pros and cons of each site…it’s always nice to have a reference guide to remember the key points!

    Thank you for sharing this post, I really enjoyed it!

    Sincerely,

    Andrea

  7. Hi Nisha

    That’s great post with lots of detail you have put to describe both WordPress platform. Most users confused where to go or opt when they first started with blogging or their blog.

    The infographic shared the best comparison between both platform. WordPress.org is best option to get started which makes your website more professional and plenty of option to customize. WordPress.com is best for beginners.

    Overall the post is awesome. Thanks for your worthy share. have a great day.

    Regards
    Amit Verma

  8. Hi nisha,
    First of all awesome post
    According to me .org is better in every aspect as we can transform our blog in any way we want it to be and in .com we are restricted using many features

  9. Nisha you have done very good comparison of WordPress.org and WordPress.com . Bloggers who don’t want to invest money in hosting may definitely like to go for WordPress.com, while those who have already got the knowledge and can invest may definitely go for WordPress.org.

    This post of yours will be definitely be useful for all the newbies in understanding that whether they should go for WordPress.org or WordPress.com. The infographic clearly made me know the difference between both of them.

    One of the main reasons to go for WordPress.org could be the thing that one can choose any theme of his choice.

    Nisha hoping to soon read some more comparisons at your blog.

  10. Hello Nisha,

    Thank you for writing and sharing awesome post. I had gone through this post earlier from many sites in google. Unique thing which i found in your article is Infographic.

    and Thank you for a flat out saying exactly what I needed to hear. “If you have aspirations of becoming a professional blogger or making a sizable income from your blog, a self-hosted WordPress.org blog is the best option.”

    Both of the blogging platforms are great and power on the place of their own. You cant compare both of them from each other because both of them have their own great features but if i say which of the platform i use, I use wordpress and it works great for me.
    But Blogger has neat editor, but it lacks in providing great plugins, however, free hosting by google is a plus point.
    However installing WordPress on a paid hosting is worth it!

    Thanks a lot for sharing! I shall pass it on, especially for new bloggers I know. It will reinforce what I’ve been telling them.
    Regards,
    Akshay Naik

  11. Hi Nisha

    Thanks for laying the comparisons out so clearly. I “knew” that .org was the one to go for, but I hadn’t realized just how many reasons there were.

    The infographic lays it out in such a simple form for beginners, because the .com version sounds tempting, until you realize all those down-sides.

    Great post, and one I shall bookmark!

    Joy

  12. Hi Nisha

    Don’t have much to say. You have said so much and given a wonderful comparison. I am a fan of WordPress.org. I started using WordPress.com and did not like the restrictions so moved to WordPress.org which I never regretted. Thank you for sharing this info

  13. Hi Nisha,

    It is good to be here. 🙂
    Thank you for this comparison. I believe there are many people out there who are still confused with WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Indeed, sometimes it makes confused.

    If I had to choose, I prefer WordPress.org..hehe
    I also liked your infographic, Nisha. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work!
    Thank you for contributing in my learning curve as well. 🙂

    Regards,
    Nanda

  14. Hi Nisha,

    Informative post indeed 🙂

    I liked the way you compared both, org and com here, and I think the decision for most bloggers would go with .org.

    However, I’ve also noticed that when new bloggers start their blogs or plan to start blogging, they don’t really know of both these kinds, and would choose the .com option, which sounds better, but feature wise of course the WordPress.org is better. Plugins, who doesn’t need them, and to have no freedom to add those in .com one is sad.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

  15. Hello Nisha,

    You have crafted a nice article and the inforgraphic is also very nice. WordPress.com and WordPress.org both are the part of WordPress, so never thought before the comparison between them. So this article made me surprised. I appreciate your way how you establish this article.

    Thanks & Regards,

    Moumita Ghosh

  16. Hi Nisha,

    I wrote a similar article about .org and .com several years ago.
    Loved yours, especially with your great info graphic.

    I find using an .org to back up a com site that has similar content a way to
    have a little more exposure, but the easiest way to do it is to put the rss feed from you com on the org sidebar.
    No affiliate ads, even in the text is permitted, but you can put a link to other sites you have.
    Just make sure the link isn’t connected to something to buy.
    Just a suggestion.
    C.

  17. Hi Nisha,

    Very good comparison with valid differentiators. Both the platforms are great and it really drills down to your requirement. Loved the infographic as well 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and you have a great week ahead!

  18. What an excellent and very informative article you have written Nisha!

    And you’re so right, there is definitely still a ton of confusion about the two free versions of the WordPress software.

    And you have done an excellent job (of not only) explaining the pro’s & con’s of each platform, but you really did a great job detailing several of the major expenses, as well as some of the extreme limitations placed on you, should you decide to go the WordPress.com route.

    I can still remember how utterly confused i was the first few times I heard both platform’s pro’s and con’s explained.

    And thank you so much for opening my eyes to rather pricey up front costs involved with choosing WP>com.

    I had no idea some of their monthly hosting fees were that pricey! Thanks, that just helps to further validate and re-enforce my decision to choose WP.org!

  19. Hi Nisha,

    Happy to land on your blog for an informative post. Very good comparision between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, you’ve dig the differences well.

    Bloggers and webmasters should consider getting WordPress.org to have their preferred theme and plugins, for long run as well.

    Thanks for presenting the nice infographic, happy rest of the week 🙂

  20. Hi Nisha mam,
    Again a great post as usual. Thanks for sharing such a great info. Actually I have started blogging with a WordPress[dot]com blog but that time I was not aware about blogging. So later I came to know about blogging and understand the draw backs of that my blog so I switched to blogger. Now still on blogger but no experience with WordPress.org but having some knowledge. And your post work like a boost in my knowledge.
    Thanks a lot for sharing such informative post.

    Naveen

  21. Hi Pandey,

    I really love the comparative review between the two wordpress with different DTL.

    of course, everyone would love to vote for the one with the paid service, because there are much more extra cool premium features that it would be able to attain, which the free version won’t be.

    Best Regards.

  22. Quite useful guide. No doubt I recommend WordPress.org for serious bloggers, however newbies can start from WordPress.com or may be blogger.com

  23. Hi Nisha ma’am, Sorry I could not vote in that speakol as I am a blogger user. And I find it too great. Blogger users have an advantage as they are listed in Google blog directory. 🙂

    WordPress.org is better for those who wish to make money from affiliates links. Thanks for sharing this post on Aha!NOW ABC community where I found this post. 😀

    – ROhan Chaubey.

  24. o great. Blogger users have an advantage as they are listed in Google blog directory. 🙂

    WordPress.org is better for those who wish to make money from affiliates links. Thanks for sharing this post on Aha!NOW ABC community where I found this post. 😀

    – ROhan Chaubey.

  25. Hello Nisha well first of its a clear descriptive differentiation between wordpress.com and .org people often get’s confused between the two and have some doubts which they take long to get evade off. But this post will surely benefit them. Though now a days most of the people who are starting a blog are quite aware of both but still there are a lot who aren’t aware so for them this will clear the ongoing doubts in their mind!

    Also, if you want to get better blogging experience with alot more features without spending wordpress.org is a good option while i you professionally want to opt blogging or make a site with custom domain and optimizing yourself than obviously undoubtedly .org!

  26. Hi Nisha,
    Nice depth and informative post here. You really explained everything well but I can only say WordPress. Org is the best.
    Have once used WordPress. com and WordPress. org but I can only recommend. org as it have many features compared to other platforms.
    Thanks for sharing.

  27. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Sherryl,

    Its great to see you here. You are absolutely right, WordPress.com definitely seems like a good option for a beginner, but with time you realize it is just limiting your opportunities. When I started blogging I had no idea about it. So, this is an effort to guide new bloggers to choose wisely.

    P. S: Please vote on the comparison above. It’ll help me analyse better 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely day!!

  28. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Enstine,

    Thanks a lot for the kind word. And I’m really happy that the post was helpful for you.

    You have a great day ahead 🙂

  29. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Andrea,

    I’m glad that the post could help you. Not only you, there are many bloggers who are not thoroughly aware about the differences between the .com and .org hosting. The idea was to make everyone aware about it. Guess it worked 🙂

    Thanks for liking the info-graphic. And it would be great if you vote on the above comparison, it’ll help me analyse better 🙂

    Have a great day ahead.

  30. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Amit,

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. I’m so glad that you find the useful. 🙂

    Have a great day 🙂

  31. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Amit,

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad that you find this post useful.

    If you are a casual blogger it is definitely alright to go for .com; but once you are taking it seriously and want to see profit .org is the ideal choice. Hope the post will help newbies to select correctly.

    Thanks for visiting. Have a great day 🙂

  32. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Harsh,

    So glad to see you here. Thanks for the kind words.

    Have a great day ahead 🙂

  33. Hi Nisha,

    You’ve laid out a good overview of the pros/cons of the two WordPress offerings. This is a subject that many beginners find themselves getting confused over and can cause a few headaches if they get it wrong.

    One important factor to emphasise is one that often isn’t made clear enough, that it’s not a simply a case of choosing .com or org, as this gives the impression that when building your blog you choose to ‘go with’ one or the other. In reality, as you know, in terms of which of the sites to choose to host your blog the only site that you actually use is wordpress.com whereas wordpress.org is a site that provides the necessary software and resources for you to host the WordPress platform yourself.

    Even once people have grasped many of the differences between the two options, I find that with a lot of people the penny still doesn’t drop completely because they’re still thinking in terms of the physical sites as to which to ‘go with’, asking “Should I go with wordpress.com or wordpress.org?” when the more accurate question would be, “Should I go with wordpress.com or with hosting WordPress on my own server?”. It might appear picky, but I’ve found that a LOT of newbies only completely grasp it all when they look at it that way.

    Personally, I try to avoid the concept of it being a case of choosing .com vs .org because people often still don’t ‘get it’ that way. The way I explain it, in its most simple form, is that wordpress.com is a site that uses a restricted version of the WordPress platform and allows you to create your blog on their servers, whereas wordpress.org is the site from which you obtain all the files in order to create your blog on your own hosting.

    With regards to which to choose, the self-hosted option is always going to be better. Having said that, there may be those for whom it doesn’t warrant investing in a domain and hosting and learning all that’s involved in managing their own system, such as hobby bloggers. But for anyone who’s serious about their blog, especially for business purposes, then wordpress.com is just not advisable and self-hosted is the only way to go. So for casual, hobby blogs then yes, wordpress.com could be an option, but for anything important, self-hosted.

    Thanks for taking the time to highlight the differences between the two options and, as many have said, the infographic is useful and lays things out simply and clearly for anyone who needs to differentiate between the two.

  34. Nisha Pandey

    Hello Mohit,

    Thanks so much for the kind words. Yes, I’ll definitely try to present more comparisons in future, so that all the blogging community can be benefited by the it.

    Have a great day ahead 🙂

  35. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Akshay,

    I’m so glad to be able to tell you what you needed to hear. 🙂 Do pass it on to new bloggers as this post was created for them only. Thank you for liking the infograph.

    Have a great day ahead.

  36. Nisha Pandey

    Hello Joy,

    I am really very happy that you find the post useful. The objective of the infograph was precisely this, to lay out the information and compare at point blank.

    Thanks a lot for stopping by. Have a great day ahead 🙂

  37. Nisha Pandey

    Hi ikechi,

    Yes I understand. If you want to take blogging seriously and want make it profit making you can never be satisfied with WordPress.com. Good that you moved to WordPress.org.

    Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day 🙂

  38. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Nanda,

    Its good to see you here. you see the point of this post was to inform young bloggers about the pros and cons of both the hosting. Once you have the full information you can take a decision on your own and that’ll be the correct decision for you.

    And I’m glad that you like the infograph.

    Have a great day 🙂

  39. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Harleena Ma’am,

    Its so good to see you here. You’ve always been my inspiration for blogging. Thanks for the kind words. Yes the idea was to give a comparative idea on what you can expect from both the hosting. And for serious blogging you cannot do without plug ins.

    Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day ahead 🙂

  40. Nisha Pandey

    Thanks Moumita for liking the post. I’m glad that it could be helpful to you.

    Its so good to see you here. Have a great day ahead 🙂

  41. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Carartaa,

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing. It can be useful for bloggers who have started just now and do not want to invest.
    Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day ahead. 🙂

  42. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Arpit,

    Great to see you here. Yes, you are absolutely correct, it all comes down to what you really need from your blog. In case you are just a casual blogger, .org will be a unnecessary cost to you.

    I’m glad that you likes the infographic. You too have a great week ahead 🙂

  43. Nisha Pandey

    Hello Mark,

    Its great to see you here. Yes when I started blogging I was confused too, and that is the reason I thought this post was extremely necessary.

    Thanks a lot for the kind words. You have great day and week ahead. 🙂

  44. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Nirmala,

    Welcome to SEOTechyWorld! Its so good to see you here.

    I’m really glad that you find this post useful and informative.

    You have a great week ahead. 🙂

  45. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Naveen,

    Its great to see you here. I’m glad that you found the post informative. Now if you are serious about blogging and consider this as a career option, then I strongly recommend you to switch to WordPress.org. Its really great in terms of customization.

    Thanks for stopping by. Have great week ahead 🙂

  46. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Anyikwa,

    Thanks for stopping by. Its really great to hear from you.

    Have a great day ahead. 🙂

  47. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Amar,

    Thanks for stopping by. Its great to hear from you.

    Have a great week ahead. 🙂

  48. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Rohan,

    Yeas you are right, Blogger has Google Blog directory, which is often very helpful.

    Thanks for stopping by. Have great week ahead. 🙂

  49. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Apoorv,

    Yes, there are bloggers who are already aware about the difference ; but trust me most of the new blogger still do not understand the difference. And that precisely is the reason for this post.

    Thanks for stopping by. And have a great week ahead.

  50. Very nice comparison here, Nisha.

    I had .com for probably 2 days before I decided it was crap and I couldn’t do much with it Then I switched to .org and never looked back.

    It’s much better because it gives you more control and you don’t have to worry about the tacky look of having a site look like mywebsite .wordpress.com. That just looks horrible in my opinion.

    Great post.

    – Andrew

  51. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Rohan,

    I’m glad that you found the post interesting. Thanks a ton for dropping by.

    Have a great day 🙂

  52. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Hadharm,

    Thanks for dropping by. Actually the best platform depends on the use of it. If you are a casual blogger and want to blog as a hobby then there’s nothing wrong in WordPess.com. But yes when it comes to professional blogging you cannot just depend on it. Its all depends on who you want to use your blog.

    Have a great day 🙂

  53. Nisha Pandey

    Hello Glenn,

    Its so good to see you here. Thanks a ton for the kind words. You cannot be more correct here. One just cannot choose between the two options, one have to go with the one that addresses the needs correctly.

    I’m so glad that you likes the infographic. Have a nice day 🙂

  54. Nisha Pandey

    Hi Andrew,

    Its good to see you here. Yes, if you are looking for professional blogging, .com will definitely not do. Though I’ll not call horrible. Newbies who want to take up blogging as a hobby, it can be useful for them.

    Thanks a ton for dropping by. Have a great day ahead 🙂

  55. You have made a good comparison over there. I found the infographic useful and much simpler to read.

  56. Great post by the way 🙂

  57. Very neat blog.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  58. When I started my blogging journey then my first question was, Why I should choose WordPress.org and not other CMS softwares.

    I searched a lot about it on Google at that time and I found that everybody is recommending to use WordPress.org and I started doing the same.

    Now today I know that why people should choose WordPress.org . Because WordPress is an independent and easy to use content management system.

    The best thing about it is, We can bring any feature in our website with just using a single plugin. That’s really good. 😀

    I am using WordPress.org since last 3 years and I loved it. 😀

  59. Nice comparison of both wordpress versions

  60. Hi Nisha,
    Thanks for writing and sharing an excellent publish. I had long gone thru this publish earlier from many websites in google. The unique component which I discovered for your article is Infographic.

    and thank you for a flat out pronouncing precisely what I needed to listen. “if you have aspirations of becoming an expert blogger or making big earnings out of your blog, a self-hosted WordPress.org weblog is the best choice.”

    each of the blogging platforms is tremendous and power in the region in their very own. You cant compare each of them from every different because each of them has their very own notable features however if I say which of the platform i take advantage of, i take advantage of WordPress and it really works first-rate for me.
    but Blogger has the neat editor, however, it lacks in supplying outstanding plugins, but, loose hosting by way of google is a plus point.
    however putting in WordPress on a paid hosting is worth it!

    thanks plenty for sharing! I shall skip it on, in particular for new bloggers I realize. it’ll beef up what I’ve been telling them.

    Best Regards,
    Raju

  61. i just read your article i am amzed before reading this article i was thinking this both domain are same now i know the difference between two major extentions. awesome article keep it up

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