Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

 22 Mar 2019

WordPress is being used by a number of users to develop their website. But many of them are not aware of the fact that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are the two different platforms. So in this post, let us highlight the key differences between these two similar but different platforms.

So if you are planning to opt for WordPress for your website as a platform then read the post carefully and choose the right platform of your choice.

A Brief Introduction to WordPress and Need of This Platform 

Before discussing the difference between WordPress.com and org lets quickly see what exactly WordPress is and why is it considered as a good platform for developing a website.

WordPress is an open source CMS or content management system. In other words, you can easily develop a content-based website by using WordPress. This free platform is managed by volunteers that are located across the world. No company gives you direct access to it, instead, they are these volunteers who provide you with this service.

Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Apart from WordPress, there are other open source content management systems as well like Drupal, Joomla and Wix like website builder.

By far it is one of the most used and beginner friendly platforms and to develop a website through WordPress is as much easy as using Facebook or Microsoft Word. Due to the availability of a variety of user-friendly themes, one can develop either a small business site or blog or online portfolio. WordPress is also being used to develop mobile apps and forums as well. Two most popular and reliable technologies SQL and PHP are used to create a mobile friendly website through WordPress. Technically WordPress websites are scalable and can handle even large amount of traffic. From last 8 years its popularity is continuously increasing and CNN, TechCrunch, Mashable like popular sites are using WordPress as their platform.

In CMS sector WordPress is the leader and currently empowering 30% of the internet. Let us now see the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:

1). Hosting

The two popular and lookalike platforms WordPress.com and WordPress.org differ in the basic hosting.

WordPress.com platform was created by Automattic company, owned by Matt Mullenweg. He is also the co-founder of WordPress software. Automattic is a major contributor to the WordPress open source project as well. WordPress.com is a hosting service and not a software. It’s like Blogger, Tumblr or Medium through which the user can develop his own website that can be maintained and hosted on Automattic servers. WordPress is used by them just as software to run the website.

While WordPress.org is like a home for that software and the site is managed by the non-profit WordPress Foundation, WordPress.com is not same as WordPress.org. At WordPress.org anyone can download WordPress and use it for any of their requirement, whereas WordPress.com does not allow to create a site by using their server. In short, if you are using WordPress.com then you will have to choose your own hosting provider and have to choose the domain as well for your WordPress site. This is why sometime WordPress.org is referred to as self-hosted, while WordPress.com is known as “hosted” variety.

2). Cost of Website for both Platforms

One of the major confusion for both the platforms is the assumption that the sites of both platforms are free. But the fact is the cost depends on the choice of platform.

For WordPress.com only some basic services are “free” .When you will choose your site you will get your own subdomain with the inclusion of WordPress.com (HTTP:\\yourdomain.WordPress.com). Here you can access dozens of themes, 3GB storage space and basic design customization option as well. For any advance feature like for your domain name, you may have to pay extra. There are various plans for that may range from, $48 to $300 annually. If you are going to develop your own blog or just a website as a hobby then the free plan may be perfect for you. However, for professional websites, you may have to pay some extra bucks.

In the case of WordPress.org, you can build as many websites as you wish without paying extra money. There are a number of hosting service providers these days like Bluehost, Godaddy and many other that offer affordable hosting plans like $2.75/month, so you can choose the plan as per your requirement and develop self-hosting website. Here you may also have to pay for premium themes of WordPress and for plugins as well. However, you will be offered lots of free themes and features but by paying some extra amount you can still get lots of advantageous extra features.

3). Website Setup and Management

Though WorPress.com and WordPress.org sites are built on the same software, still there is a major difference in setting up, managing and maintaining these sites.

To create a WordPress.com site you will only have to set up your account, where you can also sign up through your existing Facebook account. Here you need not to worry about any other part of the site as hosting will be provided by the provider and you will not have to handle FTP server, database, hosting control panel, etc. You can start customization of your site and create and post the content. No technical expertise is required for this.

In the case of WordPress.org you will have to follow the following steps:

  • Software download from WordPress.org
  • Database creation in your hosting account
  • WordPress unzip and upload to your server
  • Run installation script

If you are a technical person then you will not find it difficult. Also, many hosting service providers offer one-click WordPress installation.

Hereafter developing the website, you will also have to maintain it and do lots of activities like database cleanups, maintain and check the site speed and others. Here one more option is to choose WordPress hosting, where you will not have to take care of the technical part of your website. Some expert will handle it on the back-end.

4). Customization and Control Options

As far as site customization is concerned, then WordPress sites are highly customizable. WordPress.com has lots of plugins and features that may be used for security, statistics, forms, backups, spam protection and many more. To opt for any third-party plugin you may have to choose Business Plan of WordPress.  Similar is the case for themes, if you will choose the free version then you will only get some features and for extra features, you will have to pay extra.

For customization WordPress.org is quite different. For your self-hosted, you can choose and add any theme and plug-in that can be free, paid or custom-made. WordPress directory itself has thousands of themes and plug-ins. You can also choose any premium offer or hire an experienced developer to customize your site theme.

5). Handling of Update and Security

For any site, owner security is an important aspect. If you have a WordPress.com site then you need not be worried about its security aspect. All technical aspects related to security like protection from spam or hacking, site backups, optimization and updates are taken care of by the technical team of your hosting service provider.

For WordPress.org site the responsibility of keeping your site safe is solely on your shoulders. Here your hosting service provider is responsible to provide protection to your site from hackers, spam and other threats.

Wrapping Up

You can either choose WordPress.org or WordPress.com depending on your requirements. Overall we can say that if you will access free service then there will be limitations. With WordPress.org you can get complete control of your website. Well, control comes with more responsibilities.

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