WordPress is the most popular way to build a website. But despite its popularity, there’s one question that many new users still struggle with – what’s the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?
If you search for “WordPress” on Google, the two websites will rank #1 and #2. And if you’re new to WordPress, you might not know which one to use.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: The key difference
The WordPress software, located at WordPress.org, is a free, open source content management system. To use the WordPress software, you need to install it on a web server. And that’s the key difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
If you download WordPress from WordPress.org, YOU host it. You set it up with your own hosting provider and use it on your own website, which gives you a ton of flexibility. This is why WordPress.org is often also called self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a blog/website platform based on the WordPress.org software. Instead of needing to download the software and host it yourself, you can just sign up for a WordPress.com account and have a working website right away.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and cons
Each version has its own pros and cons. (Although, I personally think the .com version has more cons than pros. But you can decide for yourself!)
When to use WordPress.com
With WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting or maintaining your site. It also can be free, though there are paid plans as well.
The free plan limits you to 3GB of data and a subdomain (like mywebsite.wordpress.com). It also includes WordPress.com ads.
Furthermore, you won’t be able to install your own “plugins” or “themes” unless you pay for the expensive business plan. Plugins and themes are one of the most helpful things about the WordPress software because they make it easy to customize your site, so that’s a pretty big loss.
When to use WordPress.org
WordPress.org has to be set up with your hosting provider. In most cases, this is a simple one-click install, and is really easy.
In fact, if you purchase your domain name from your hosting provider, you don’t even have to worry about changing DNSs. It will be done for you!
You can also monetize your website however you want, which is great if you’re planning to make it a business.
Even though there’s a bit more of a learning curve, in the long run you’ll thank yourself for making this decision.
Ready to get started? Follow our 15 minute guide to starting a WordPress website.
Need more info? Check out our in-depth guide to WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.