There are certain elements that can elevate a website and can make visitors go wow.…
WordPress is the largest and most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world. It powers blogs, websites, online shops and membership websites.
When beginners decide to set up a blog or website themselves, they often get confused as to which platform they should use.
What do you mean by which WordPress? Is there more than one? Yes, that’s right. In this post I explain the two platforms and highlight the major differences between the two.
Let’s start with the basics
WordPress has two different platforms: wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Both platforms can be great for blogs and business websites, however, there are major differences between them. These differences don’t only impact the costs of your website, but your online success and flexibility, too.
Let’s have a look at the two platforms individually to understand the major differences.
WordPress.com is a hosted service platform, meaning WordPress provides the hosting and installation of the software. After registration you can start building your website straight away.
Advantages of WordPress.com
- Easy set-up for free, however there are paid plans as well
- No need to install the software and to buy hosting
- Maintenance, security and back-up is done by WordPress
Disadvantages of the free WordPress.com
- You can place your site under a subdomain only (https://yourwebsite.wordpress.com). To get a custom domain name, you have to get a paid plan.
- They place their own ads on free websites and you can’t make money from it. You need to have a subscription to get rid of their ads.
- You can’t monetise your blog. You need at least a Premium plan or a high traffic website to use their advertising program WordsAd.
- You cannot upload plugins and themes (i.e. customise your website), unless you enrol in a Business or VIP plan.
- You are limited to their statistics. Google Analytics integration requires the minimum of a Premium plan subscription.
- They can delete your website anytime if they think it violated their terms of service.
- You cannot build membership websites with WordPress.com.
- You have to have an eCommerce plan to have an online store.
- The disk space is limited to 3GB for free websites.
- Less control over your own website
- Hobby bloggers with no monetising ambition
- Less tech-savvy
It’s easy to see that the free version of WordPress.com and even the Personal Plan has very limited options. To unlock advanced features, you have to enrol in their Business Plan or their eCommerce Plan.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted, free, open-source software. When using WordPress.org, you will have to buy your own hosting service and install the software on that hosting. (I recommend this.)
- You can move your website to any web hosting provider.
- You own your own website and data, and it cannot be deleted (unless you do something illegal).
- You can customise your website by using free or premium themes, or create a custom design to help to establish a solid brand.
- You can use free or premium plugins and have more functionalities.
- You have free traffic reporting and tracking through Google Analytics.
- You can monetise your blog by advertising, affiliate marketing or publishing sponsored content.
- You can build your online store and sell your products whether physical or digital.
- You can create membership websites that sell premium content or courses.
- You have to purchase your own hosting to store your website files.
- You need to install WordPress. It may sound daunting, but luckily most WordPress hosting providers offer a one-click WordPress installation to make life easier.
- You are responsible for maintaining your own website. This means, you have to update the WordPress software and plugins by simply clicking on the update button.
- You are also responsible for backups.
- Professional bloggers with or without monetising ambition
- Small & Medium businesses with or without online shop
- Brands, creatives and entrepreneurs
WordPress.org gives you full control, freedom and flexibility which is why I recommend it.
What if you set up your website on WordPress.com by mistake?
This can happen to new users who easily get confused by the two platforms and their services.
But don’t worry, you can move your blog or website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Perhaps the easiest way to sum up the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that with WordPress.com it’s like when you hire something. You can use it, but it’s not yours and there are plenty of rules you have to play by. Whereas WordPress.org is like owning something. It’s yours, you can use it the way you want it and make changes easily.
Hope it helps you to choose the right platform for your website. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.