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WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: What’s the difference?

William Bacchus
William Bacchus

Published: April 15, 2022

Last updated: April 15, 2022

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Ask anyone with website experience and they’ll tell you: the best way to host a website is with WordPress. WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that provides you will the tools you need to build a website. It powers 43% of all websites on the internet and has over 2 million downloads per year. If you’re looking to create your own website, join the 1.1million new domains registered with WordPress every month and start your website today.

But where to start?

If you were to type WordPress (and other related searches) into Google, the top two results will be WordPress.com and WordPress.org. To the naked eye, they may seem the exact same. Whilst both provide access to download, install and use WordPress, there are some key differences between the two that are key when deciding how to build your website. So, let’s take a look at the differences, benefits, and disadvantages of WordPress .com and .org before ultimately deciding which is ideal for you.

WordPress is the best ways to create a website!

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com takes care of everything for you. All you need to do is register for a free (although you can pay for premium- but more on that later) account, pick a theme and then get publishing! This makes WordPress.com ideal for anyone who doesn’t have a vast amount of technical skills and just wants to put content onto the internet. .Com is a great choice for people who may not have the time or skill to independently develop a website.

WordPress.com offers multiple plans, starting with a basic, free account and working up to a premium (but costly) plan. These plans will give you more customization with aspects like themes and plugins.

Downsides of the free plan:

As you may be able to guess, setting up a free account with WordPress.com does come with some drawbacks. To start, you have a limited inventory that you can work with:

  • WordPress ads on your website
  • Restricted disk space
  • ‘WordPress.com’ will appear at the end of your domain name
  • No access to premium themes
  • You cannot install extra plugins for your site

If these seem like deciding factors, it may be worth looking into one of the paid plans offered by WordPress.com, which is available for $15/month. Some of the features it offers are extra storage space, unlimited themes, and more. However, this will add up to a costly spending per annum on your website.

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is where you can find the WordPress software files, which are PHP programmed templates that can be customized by users. If this makes sense to you, then WordPress.org will be a perfect fit for you. If the first sentence sounded like a foreign language- not to worry! You can still use WordPress.org as a beginner, providing you accept the responsibility of taking care of your website.

WordPress.org is a self-hosted site. This means that all of the plugins and elements you want to use need to be installed by you. Whilst this does mean doing more by yourself, you also have access to a console full of endless possibilities. With over 55,000 plugins and 31,000 themes at your disposal- you have the power to create your website and every detail the way you want it.

In addition to this, WordPress.org is significantly cheaper than .com. But with WordPress.org, you need to pick a web host for your website. A web host will facilitate your website and allow you to develop it as best you can. They will also provide other essential addons for your website like security. One of the most well-regarded, fast, and reliable web hosts is ELITEWEB.Co.

WordPress hosting with Elite:

Elite will provide you with WordPress hosting that’s sure to exceed your expectations! From just $7.99 a month, you can have access to all the tools to cultivate and build your website exactly to your liking. Some of the great bonuses that Elite offers are:

  • SSL certificate
  • WordPress migration tool
  • Website security
  • Backup protection
  • And more great, inclusive features to help make your website great!

Furthermore, Elite will handle the installation process, any future updates and will keep everything running smoothly and up-to-standard. You may be wondering: ‘What’s the point in WordPress.org if I’m going to purchase WordPress through ELITEWEB.Co?’. Well, WordPress.org will still provide you with countless plugins and themes that you can install to customise and develop your website even further. So, whether you’re a beginner looking for a user-friendly console to build your site, or an experienced developer/website expert wanting to get hands on with WordPress- Elite offers something for everyone!

Key differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.Com:

Now that we know what each different WordPress variant is, let’s take a look at the crucial factors that differ between them that will impact your final decision.

Themes:

Aside from your actual content, themes are arguably the important part of a website. WordPress.com will allow you to choose from many pre-made themes (although you’ll need a premium account to use themes from external sources). WordPress.org allows you to import any theme and customize it at your will- although you’ll need to know how to do this through your site’s admin dashboard. Premium themes will tend to have more options and greater customizability than free ones- but it all depends on your preferences.

Plugins:

Plugins are another great way to further customize and adapt your website beyond the basic WordPress features. WordPress.com won’t allow you to install plugins. Instead, they offer pre-loaded plugins such as Social media plugins, contact forms, Google analytics, and more. WordPress.org on the other hand has an extensive list of both premium and free plugins that you can install and use to customize your site the way you want it.

Click here for a list of some of the best WordPress plugins available to you today.

Domain names:

There are some distinct differences between using a domain name with WordPress.com and WordPress.org. For those who don’t know, a domain name is a name that is typed into a search bar when someone is finding your website. On a free WordPress.com plan, your domain name will always have the subdomain name ‘WordPress.com’ attached to it- showing visitors that your website is managed by a third party. This will convey a lack of professionalism to anyone visiting your site.

However, a domain name with .org is fully customizable. You can choose the main domain name as well as the TLD (top-level domain) too. This means your website’s name can perfectly reflect your website and truly be yours.

Further differences summarised:

Take a look at the table below to find a list of more differences between WordPress.org and both the free and premium WordPress.com plans:

WordPress.com (free plan)WordPress.com (Premium plan)WordPress.org (with ELITEWEB.Co)
CostFree$15/monthFrom $7.99/month
IndependencyAided by WordPressAided by WordPressSupport available
Extras (Plugins, themes, etc.)BasicUnlimitedUnlimited
Domain nameRestricted domain nameFree custom domain name for one yearCustom domain names available
SupportNot availableCustomer service availableCustomer service available
Website backupNoYesYes
Storage1GB50GB30GB-unlimited GB*
AdsYesNoNo
WooCommerce included?NoYesYes*
*plans vary

So, which one is best?

In all truth, I can’t answer that question for you. Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have their pros and their cons- it all comes down to you. WordPress.com is great if you need something easy, basic, and functional. It is also perfect if you feel you won’t have time to independently manage and host a website by yourself.

However, WordPress.org has a clear creative advantage. It has infinite possibilities that are limited only by your inventiveness. Whether your an experienced developer, or a newbie on the website scene, WordPress.org has all the tools you could dream of to provide you with a brilliant website.

I hope this article has cleared up any confusion you may have about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and you now feel comfortable making a decision. A website will be a big part of your business, passion, or whatever else you choose to do with it- so it’s important to take the right first steps. Now, get out there and build yourself a website!

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William Bacchus
William Bacchus
Will joined the Elite team in 2021. He has a background in content writing as well as a keen interest in media journalism. His interests include taijutsu and a immense passion for film and television. He aims to inform as many people as he possibly can about the vast and often confusing nature of web design!

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