WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – An Elaborate Comparison (2023)

  • 43.2% of all websites on the web are built with WordPress.
  • WordPress’ annual growth rate has been the highest of any content management system for the past 12 years running.
  • More than 65.2% of all websites that use a content management system (CMS) use WordPress.

The above statistics clearly state how popular WordPress is. The website-building engine is known for its ease of use, and flexibility. An extensive plugin ecosystem, which allows users to add a wide range of functionality to their websites.

However, when you search for the word ‘WordPress’ in Google, things can get confusing. Let’s give a quick search,

It returns two similar yet different domain results – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. We must say that even though we expect to find the same content across all of a company’s domain names, WordPress.com. And WordPress.org are completely different website with different functionalities.

wordpress.org vs wordpress.com
wordpress.org vs wordpress.com

Confusing, right?

Especially beginners will have a hard time choosing the right platform. If they are unaware of the differences between these sites. That’s what we want to clear out in this article.

We wrote this article to help you decide which version of WordPress is best for your needs. We’ll compare WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. And highlight the main distinctions between the two.

What is WordPress.org?

We can safely say this is the original or the real WordPress we all heard of in the first place. WordPress.org is the official website for the WordPress CMS. And you can download the WordPress software for free.

With WordPress.org, you can install WordPress on your own web server. And have complete control over your website. This is a good option if you want to customize your site to your exact specifications. Or you can use advanced features of WordPress plugins.

WordPress CMS software from WordPress.org is absolutely free. All you need is a hosting server space and a domain name to run it.

Benefits of WordPress.org

There are several benefits to using WordPress.org. The self-hosted version of the WordPress content management system (CMS):

Complete Control

When you use WordPress.org’s downloadable software. You have complete control over your website. You can choose your own web host, and install a WordPress plugins and WordPress themes you want. And customize your site according to your requirements.

Flexibility

WordPress software is highly flexible and can be used to build a wide range of websites. Including blogs, eCommerce stores, forums, and more. It has a large plugin ecosystem that allows you to add virtually any feature or functionality to your site.

Scalability

The self-hosted WordPress is a scalable platform that can handle large amounts of traffic and data. This is important if you expect your website to grow over time.

Security

With self-hosted WordPress, you are responsible for your own security measures. While this means you have to be proactive about keeping your site secure. It also means you have complete control over your site’s security. And can choose the security measures that work best for you.

SEO Friendliness

WordPress software is generally considered to be friendly for search engine optimization. Which means it is designed to help your website rank well in search engine results pages of search engines like Google. It has many features and page builders that can help you optimize your site for search engines.

Overall, WordPress.org is powerful and flexible. And the scalable platform is suitable for a wide range of use cases and offers many benefits to users.

Cons of WordPress.org

Like any platform, WordPress.org has some drawbacks and limitations that users should be aware of:

  • Maintenance: As a self-hosted platform, WordPress.org requires more maintenance than a hosted platform like WordPress.com. You are responsible for keeping your site up to date, backing it up, and ensuring that it is secure.
  • Cost: The WordPress.org version is free to download and use. You will need to pay for web hosting and any premium themes or plugins you want to use. These costs can add up, especially if you want to use advanced features or build a large, complex website.
  • Technical skills: Using WordPress.org requires a certain level of technical knowledge. As you will need to install and configure the software on your own web server. If you are not comfortable with web development or technical tasks. You may find WordPress.org challenging to use.
  • Limited support: While there is a large community of WordPress users. And developers who can provide support. And assistance, the support available for WordPress.org users. And that is generally more limited than for users of a hosted platform like WordPress.com.

Overall, WordPress.org is a powerful and flexible platform that offers many benefits to users. But it may not be the best choice for everyone. It requires more maintenance and technical skills than a hosted platform. And it can be more expensive to use if you need advanced features or a large, complex website.

What is WordPress.com

If you know or have used website builders like Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix. Then you are already familiar with the idea behind WordPress.com. You no longer need to worry about hosting services with WordPress.com.

WordPress.com is a commercial website that offers to host. And website-building services based on the WordPress content management system (CMS). It is designed to be easy to use and offers a range of templates and design options. That allows you to create a professional-looking website without needing any technical skills.

With WordPress.com, you can make a good website using the WordPress platform without having to install it. Or configure anything on your own server. WordPress.com provides a range of templates and design options. And it also offers a variety of paid plans that include additional features and functionality. Some of the features available with WordPress.com include:

  • Custom domains
  • E-commerce functionality
  • Advanced analytics and SEO tools
  • Premium themes and plugins

Overall, WordPress.com is a good option for beginners. Or those who want an easy way to create a website. Without having to deal with the technical aspects of hosting and maintenance. It is also a good option for users who want a professional-looking website. With advanced features and functionality. But don’t want to spend a lot of time or money on website development.

Benefits of WordPress.com

There are several benefits to using WordPress.com. The hosted version of the WordPress content management system (CMS):

Ease of use

WordPress.com is designed to be easy to use, even for users with no technical skills. It offers a range of templates and design options. And also has a simple, user-friendly interface for managing your website.

No maintenance

With WordPress.com, you do not have to worry about maintaining your website or keeping it up to date. The platform takes care of all the technical aspects of hosting and maintenance. So you can focus on creating and publishing content.

Cost-effective

The hosted version offers a range of paid plans. That includes additional features and functionality. But the basic plan is free to use. This makes it a cost-effective option for users. Who wants to create a simple website without spending a lot of money?

Advanced features

WordPress.com offers many advanced features. Including custom domains, e-commerce functionality, and advanced analytics and SEO tools. These features are available with paid plans. And can help you create a professional-looking website with advanced functionality.

Strong support

WordPress.com has a large community of users and developers who can provide support and assistance. And the platform also offers a range of resources. And documentation to help you get started and troubleshoot any issues.

Cons of WordPress.com

WordPress.com has some drawbacks and limitations that users should be aware of:

  • Limited control: With WordPress.com. You do not have complete control over your website. You are limited to the themes, plugins, and features that are provided by the platform. And you are not able to make specific customizations or modifications.
  • Limited flexibility: While WordPress.com is a flexible platform. It is not as customizable as the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org). You are limited to the themes and plugins that are provided by the platform. And you are not able to install your own themes or plugins.
  • Advertising: The free version of WordPress.com includes advertising on your website. This means that the platform will display ads on your site to generate revenue. This can be inconvenient for users who do not want ads on their sites.
  • Upgrade costs: While the basic plan for WordPress.com is free. Many of the advanced features and functionality are only available with paid plans. If you want to use these features, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. Which can add to the overall cost of using the platform.
  • No access to source code: With WordPress.com, you do not have access to the source code for your website. This means you are not able to make certain customizations or modifications to your site. And you are not able to troubleshoot issues by looking at the code.

Differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs. wordpress.org: Cost

In terms of pricing, the main distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that the former is a hosted platform. And the latter is a self-hosted platform.

With WordPress.com, you do not have to pay for web hosting or any technical maintenance. As these costs are included in the platform’s fees. With WordPress.org, you will need to pay for web hosting server space. And any other technical maintenance costs yourself.

Here’s a breakdown of the main cost differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:

  • WordPress.com: The basic plan for WordPress.com is free. And includes a subdomain (e.g., yourwebsite.wordpress.com), basic design options, and limited storage. Paid plans start at $4 per month and include a custom domain. Additional design options, advanced features, and more storage.
  • WordPress.org: WordPress.org is free to download and use, but you will need to pay for web hosting. And any premium themes or plugins you want to use. Web hosting costs can vary widely, but you can expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars per month. It depends on the size and complexity of your website. Premium themes and plugins can also cost money. Although there are many free options available as well.

WordPress.com is generally more cost-effective for users who want a simple website. And don’t need advanced features or complete control over their site. WordPress.org is generally more expensive. It requires you to pay for web hosting and any premium themes or plugins you want to use. But it offers more flexibility and control.

WordPress.org vs wordpress.com difference in ownership

Since you are the sole owner of all content uploaded to your self-hosted WordPress.org blog, including text, images, and other media start blogging on WordPress. You are free to do whatever you like with it (so long as it is legal).

However, that’s not the case with the hosted version. WordPress.com reserves the right to terminate your blog account at any time. If they determine that your content violates their policies.

Help and support: wordpress.org vs wordpress.com comparison

WordPress.com is a fully hosted platform. Meaning you don’t need to worry about hosting or managing your own website. Instead, you can create a website on WordPress.com. And the company will handle all of the technical details for you.

WordPress.com offers a range of support options, including a knowledge base, forums, and email support. However, there’s no support provided for the free plan. You will only get official support if you purchase any of the paid plans.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is an open-source platform. That you can download and install it on your web server. This gives you more control over your website. But it also means there’s no dedicated support from the software provider.

However, if you run into any issues using WordPress.org. You can rely on the extensive user community there for help. In this community, you can get help from developers and other seasoned users. In addition, WordPress.org offers in-depth online documentation for its users. And if you don’t have any technical skills related to host. Then you can use managed WordPress hosting.

Plugins and widgets WordPress comparison

When you create a website and blog using WordPress.com. You may be subject to many restrictions. The limitations include the inability to install useful plugins and widgets.

This isn’t the case with WordPress.org. With the self-hosted version, users can install and use all the plugins made for WordPress.

WordPress.com vs wordpress.org: Design themes

WordPress.org: All of the themes (Free and paid) in this version are fully responsive. And compatible with all major browsers and devices.

More than 9 thousand free and 31 thousand paid themes are available for download for you to use in the self-hosted version.

WordPress.com: Only offers you a couple of hundred designs. The free plan offers you only 150 free themes. However, with paid plans, you will get access to over 200 additional premium themes. 

SEO difference between wordpress.org vs wordpress.com

Yoast SEO is the most well-known SEO plugin. And that is available for both WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Because of the excellent SEO features included in this plugin. You can greatly enhance your online shop’s visibility.

Remember that the WordPress.com Yoast SEO plugin is only available to users on the Business or eCommerce plan. However, even without installing any additional plugins. WordPress.com is still an SEO-friendly platform.

WordPress.org, however, is the way to go if you’re in a competitive marketplace. Because it’s open source, users have full control over different types of SEO. And can make adjustments that would be impossible with a hosted service.

WordPress.com vs wordpress.org: Security and backup

WordPress.com users don’t need to worry about any security. Or maintenance-related chores because WordPress.com handles it all.

Updates, plugin compatibility, and reading release notes are not your responsibility. You can rest assured that your store will always be running on the most up-to-date version of WordPress thanks to the automatic management. And upgrades provided by the self-hosted version.

On the other hand, the WordPress.org software has been developed to meet. Or exceed all current standards for both safety and reliability. However, it is your responsibility to tend to the website. You should always update your store’s software. And double-check that your data has been backed up properly. And also you can use WordPress backup plugins.

WordPress.com vs wordpress.org for eCommerce business

ecommerce
ecommerce

You can build a full-fledged, robust and scalable eCommerce store with WooCommerce.org. This version allows you to choose from any third-party eCommerce themes and plugins. Such as Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart, Easy Digital Downloads, BigCommerce for WordPress, and MemberPress. And, of course, WooCommerce, is the most powerful eCommerce platform/plugin in the world.

You can install any of these plugins to build your custom, fully functioning eCommerce store. Also, you have a wide range of options for integrating payment gateways, and shipping methods. And order fulfillment services. Such as invoicing and packing list creation, and many more.

Moreover, you can integrate with other online store platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify. You can also connect your website with marketplaces, shopping engines, and price comparison sites. And social media platforms to upload. And promote your WordPress eCommerce website products directly from your back panel.

For example, suppose you want to upload. And display your WooCommerce products in Google organic listings or any marketplace. In that case, you can simply install a product feed plugin such as  CTX Feed. And create and upload your product feed to the channel.

On the other hand, if you use WordPress.com to sell products. You will need to buy the eCommerce plan, which costs $540 per year. You can accept payments from customers in 60+ countries. And backup your site automatically. And connect with reputable shipping companies with this hosted version.

Conclusion

WordPress.com and WordPress.org sound very similar, which could confuse new users. Comparing WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is like comparing renting an apartment and buying one.

The WordPress.com service is a lot like a monthly apartment lease. The scope of your authority and control over your environment is quite restricted. Having WordPress.org is like having your own home. In which you’re in charge and can do whatever you like without fear of being removed.

We hope that by now, you have a good grasp of the distinctions between the two website generators mentioned above. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions on the topic.

FAQ

Should I Use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are both platforms for creating websites, but they are quite different. WordPress.com is a good choice for individuals. And small businesses want an easy and hassle-free way to create a website. At the same time, WordPress.org is a better choice for larger businesses, developers, and designers. Who needs more control and flexibility?

Can I change from WordPress.org to WordPress com?

It is possible to migrate your website from WordPress.org to WordPress.com, but it is not a simple process. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms. And that use different methods for storing and organizing data.