What’s the difference between the two WordPress options anyway? Well there’s a big difference and there are pros and cons whichever one you pick! We’ve put together a summary of the main differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com for you below.
Remember that you can switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org without losing your blog – but you do need to do it carefully!
What is WordPress.org?
This is also called Self Hosted WordPress, because to use it, you need to have your own hosting account with all the WordPress files and database stored on it. This can require some technical knowledge, however many hosting companies are making this easier and easier to achieve if you want to DIY and you’re not into the tech side of things.
- your WordPress website is under your control and you can manage the hosting yourself
- you can add plugins to your website
- you can add Ecommerce modules (like WooCommerce)
- you can add any theme you like and even create a custom theme for your website
- and basically you (or your developer) has full control over adding, fixing and changing things on your website.
The cons are:
- you need to keep an eye on all the hosting, updates and plugins yourself
- you need to be running backups in case something goes wrong
- you’re responsible for any problems that arise with your website
- so all up – you’ll need a bit of tech knowledge, or you’ll need to work with a developer know knows their way around WordPress.
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a basic version of the WordPress software, and it includes hosting your website. This is great for getting started, or for if you don’t like to dabble in the techy or coding side of things, but want to get set up quickly, easily and for free.
It’s not entirely free though because as soon as you want to add or improve functionality, you’ll need to move to a paid plan and these can get expensive pretty quickly.
Many bloggers find that WordPress.com is a great place to start out and grow their fledgling blog, but they will get to a point where they need more control, more options and more features – that’s when they switch to WordPress.org and a fully customised blog. Or if they want to start selling things, creating membership areas, or building new ways of engaging with the blogging audience – that’s the time to switch too.
What you get with WordPress.com:
- quick and easy set up
- free for basic features
- a large community of people helping for free int he forums
- hosting and security is all covered for you
The cons are:
- you can only choose from one of a few themes and they can’t be customised
- no plugins
- no Ecommerce
- no membership areas, digital downloads, or advanced features
- expensive to get more features
- limited options for your blog
- doesn’t work well as a regular website as it’s designed for blogging
How do I choose between them?
Hopefully the info above combined with a few Google searches will help you decide what’s best for you. Think about your budget, the stage your blog or business is at, how tech-savvy are you (or do you want to be)?
- If you’re just starting out with a blog, with no budget and no tech knowledge – then WordPress.com is definitely the one for you!
- If you need certain features, plugins, Ecommerce, memberships, or a particular look and feel for your brand, then WordPress.org is your only option.
- Remember that you can switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org at any stage – as long as you approach it carefully, you won’t be at risk of losing your hard work.