The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

11th August 2015

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

When someone mentions to us they have tried WordPress, we instantly think, “Do they mean WordPress or WordPress”? Yes, just to make things a little confusing there are two major WordPress websites both doing things in very different ways.

Let’s explore the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com

This is run by a company called Automattic. The idea being WordPress.com is to provide the software as a service to people who want to get started with a blog or new site quickly with no need for coding experience, or and hardware setup.

With WordPress.com you can build a WordPress driven website for free. Your website address will be “yourname”.wordpress.com and you can enjoy free usage of the service with no expiry. There is the option to upgrade for a yearly fee to get more such as other design templates, the ability to override colours (using CSS), more disk space, domain name, e-commerce and support.

You will experience the WordPress CMS, however this version has been customised and restricted to allow the team behind WordPress.com to offer a stable, secure and fast website service and experience. The add-ons and templates you can utilise have been carefully provided to ensure compatibility and performance, therefore choice can be limited but you can at rest assured that all should perform well.

Advantages

  • Supported
  • Fast setup
  • Easy to use
  • No coding required

Disadvantages

  • Limited theme choice
  • No plugins available
  • No code access
  • Ad’s placed on free websites
  • You cannot sell ad’s on your site unless u hit 25k+ page views
  • No control over what themes/plugins may be removed from the service

WordPress.org

On WordPress.org you will find a downloadable zip file. This contains all the necessary files to run a WordPress website. You would next need to secure a domain name and some hosting space to install WordPress to. This is the key difference between .com and .org. With .com the hosting and setup is done out of the box, with .org you are in the drivers seat.

Once you have installed WordPress on your host, you will be free to upload any theme you desire either from the WordPress Theme Directory or from other sources such as ThemeForest. You can also use any of the thousands of plugins available on the WordPress Plugin Directory, GitHub, CodeCanyon and many other sources. With full access to your host, you can create new code, new themes and upload them into your installation adding other business relevant functionality.

Advantages

  • You are in control
  • Well documented
  • Unlimited choice of themes
  • Unlimited choice of plugins
  • Code access
  • Monetisation potential
  • No restrictions
  • No coding required unless creating own themes/plugins

Disadvantages

  • Responsible for own updates and maintenance
  • Hosting costs
  • Responsible for own backups

The key difference

In a nutshell, .com provides WordPress as a service with some limitations to facilitate providing a stable service to those who want to get started quickly. The .org site, simply provides the files and documentation for you to run the system yourself.

Our choice

We feel the advantages of running everything yourself far outweigh the disadvantages. The very nature of businesses is to grow, expand and evolve. With your own installation, you can do just that without limitation.

Which do you prefer and why? Share in the comments below.

As a Premium WordPress consultancy, we offer help, support and advice on WordPress installations around the world. Connect with us today for more information.

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