This is the question many people ask themselves when getting started on WordPress, whether as a developer or starting their own new website; What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? WordPress is a Content Management System. To some stats, it powers overs 33.5% of all the websites on the internet with over 60.4% global market share. But you might find two different versions of WordPress out there; WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
On the surface it sounds like just two different websites, but there is one major difference between them. WordPress.com is a hosted platform, while WordPress.org provides you with source code for WordPress that you host on your own platform. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense yet! We will talk about this in detail.
Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress.com provides you with a sub-domain on their domain name and lets you host a version of WordPress.com on their servers with access to some other features, both, for free and via subscribing to premium packages.
WordPress.org is self-hosted version of the WordPress. You need a web hosting to host WordPress. Most of the web hosting these days provide automatic installation of WordPress apps and you can get up and running quickly. However, you can also get the source code for WordPress from the WordPress.org website and install it yourself.
Both versions of the WordPress are quite similar in terms of core features. But WordPress.com limits your access to certain features if you’re on a free plan.
Custom Domain Name
To use your own custom domain name on WordPress.com blog, you will need a paid premium plan. However, you can also purchase domain names from WordPress.com directly for ease of registration and integration.
While on WordPress.org, you can host it anywhere and use any domain/subdomain of your choosing and it’s totally free.
Free version of WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to have custom plugins and you can only use the features that WordPress.com platform provides you access to. However, you can switch to eCommerce plan and have access to plugins installation feature as well.
On WordPress.org, you can browser through thousands of free plugins on the WP repository and install any plugins you like. Of course, you have the option to bring in any third-party premium/free plugin or build your own plugins as well.
WordPress.com offers dozens of highly customised themes to choose for your blog and they are mostly free with some paid options. If you choose to upgrade to paid plan, you can also enable the option to upload your own theme and customise your website.
WordPress.org Free Themes Repository offers thousands of WordPress themes for any kind of website you can imagine building using WordPress platform. You can install third-party themes and/or build your own custom theme for your brand/blog website.
When should you use WordPress.com?
WordPress.com lets you set up your blog/website for free but with a couple of catches. In the free version of WordPress.com:
- You cannot remove ads set by WordPress.com
- You cannot monetize your blog/website on WordPress.com free version
- You cannot set a custom domain name on your website
- You cannot install custom/3rd party plugins or themes
- You only receive 3GB of storage space
With all that in mind, if you’re just starting out with WordPress and you plan on making a personal blog, WordPress.com is the solution for you. You get to set up your blog quickly and easily without knowing too much about WordPress.
However, if you’d like to bypass these limits, the WordPress.com premium plans start at $4/month.
When should you use WordPress.org?
As I mentioned earlier, WordPress.org is self-hosted version of WordPress. If you like to take control over all aspects of your WordPress website and get the most out of the CMS and take full advantage of all the features WordPress.org has to offer, you should use self-hosted version of WordPress.
There’s absolutely no cost associated with getting your copy of WordPress.org. You can download it right now from here.
However, you need to have a web hosting account to host the WordPress on. You can checkout our guide on some of the best WordPress hosting solutions available in the market and get your website up and running quickly .
So, the main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that one solution provides access to hosted version of WordPress and the other one is non-hosted. If you can trade off some features, both of these versions are available for free to use.