WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Detailed Comparison
Many people know that there are two types of WordPress, but it is uncommon knowledge that they do not offer the same features.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two popular blogging platforms that share a lot of similarities, but there are some key differences as well.
Website owners might wonder which version of WordPress is better for their needs.
There are several factors to consider before making this decision, but generally, WordPress.com is great for people who want a blog for personal uses, while WordPress is more advanced for business purposes.
What is WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a hosted service where all site management and blogs reside on their servers.
WordPress.com is a free blogging website with a focus on user-friendliness and widespread distribution of your content. This blog platform includes a WYSIWYG editor, widgets to help you create blog posts, and has a variety of blog layouts.
With more than 41 million blogs, WordPress can give you the opportunity to reach a large audience without having to write all the time.
The mission of WordPress.com is to create a free, open-source website publishing platform that offers a domain name and hosting to small site owners who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
The owner will never be able to change the domain name or use plugins, but it is cheaper and offers freedom from hosting and other technical tasks. On the other hand, WordPress.
What is WordPress.org
WordPress.org is a domain name of the official WordPress website where users can download, update or analyze their own WordPress websites.
The website is quick and easy to use for beginner web developers who are looking to build a site without having to know how to code.
The plugins, themes, and core files are all available for download on the site. WordPress was originally designed as blogging software – but has since evolved to be a fully functional website management system.
WordPress.com is a decent host, which gives you 5 different plans, which start from free and scale up to an E-Commerce plan, which is costing $50 per month.
The plans are decent for people, who would like to use the services of WordPress.com and can free their time from dealing with hundreds of issues, that the open-source WP users have.
The plans that WordPress.com is offering are:
- Free for life
- Personal – $4.50 per month
- Premium – $9 per month
- Business – $28 per month
- E-commerce – $50 per month
As previously mentioned the free WordPress.com plan offers you to pay nothing and be hosted on their website.
What this means is that you will be on the original WordPress.com host, but you cannot migrate your website to another host.
Along with the free plan, you get a free subdomain name, which would be yourdomain.wordpress.com.
There are no taxes for using their subdomain name and they will never charge you for anything as long as you are using their free plan.
The free WordPress.com hosting plan also offers you 3GB of storage to store your files and information on your website.
You can download free WordPress themes and plugins, and also configure your website however you want without any charges or issues from the side of WordPress.
The personal WordPress.com plan is fairly a cheap start option with a starter price of $4.50 per month. You get all the features from the free plan along with many upgrades, such as the storage you will have is 6GB.
For example, if you choose to host your website on WordPress.com and use their personal plan, you get a free domain name for a year.
The domain name can be however you want, without having the extension .wordpress.com.
When you choose the WordPress.com personal plan, you will be free from their ads and you will be able to place your own ads on your website, from which you can make money.
The personal WordPress.com plan gives you the ability to accept payments on your website, which can be donations or anything else.
You can also set a subscriber-only content, which means that people should be paying to unlock certain content on your website, such as a premium page or post.
The WordPress.com premium plan gives you extended support and not only email support along with 13GB of space, the personal plan perks, and much more.
The premium plan is for more professional plans, which let you accept payments in various ways, integrate your website with Google Analytics, and even share social media content, by scheduling your content to be automatically posted.
If you have a decent website with a lot of traffic, then you can start using the WordPress.com word ads, which let you place word ads on your website and gain money.
The business plan that WordPress.com offers is for a bit more experienced people and the price is not really low to experiment with it.
It offers all the previously mentioned perks, but it also includes powerful tools and integrations, which can take your website to another level.
While the previous WordPress.com plans did not include branding removal, the business plan lets you remove any trace that your website has been built with WP.
This is an option that cannot be bought or achieved, except if you are a business plan user.
Along with all the perks from the previous plans, you also get the ability to download and upload themes or plugins to your website, which is currently impossible for the other versions.
You also get powerful SEO tools, which can help you with growing your website in its early days.
Although it is advisable not to be using SEO plugins on your website because they can slow down your website a lot.
If you wish to learn more about SEO plugins and why they are bad, you can check my article, which explains do you really need SEO plugins.
One of the good things about the business plan is that you receive automatic backups, which can save your website’s data.
If you get hacked or your website loses its information, you can always use these backups.
Nonetheless, you can create many backups with WordPress plugins.
The WordPress.com E-commerce is the most powerful and most expensive plan on their website, which is created basically for hosting E-commerce websites.
Along with getting all the perks from the previous plans, you get many e-commerce tools and priority support, which will be available for you 24/7.
Also, this plan offers you personalized expert sessions, which are currently new and aims to help e-commerce business websites to continue growing and managing to make more sales.
The E-commerce plan offers the same amount of storage as the Business plan, which is 200GB, but it also offers powerful e-commerce tools, that you would not want to miss.
For example, you can easily integrate your website with any store and start your own dropshipping website and get money without owning products.
With the e-commerce plan, you get to serve more than 60 countries in the world, which lets you integrate the best payment gateways and accept payments, without any problems.
The good part is that you receive some premium themes absolutely free and on top of that you can integrate some powerful marketing tools, such as MailChimp, or sign up for Facebook Pixel.
The good thing about WordPress not offering you a certain price means that you are financially free and can choose any kind of plan that suits your pockets.
One of the things that you need to be aware of is that some hosting and domain name providers have renewal fees or contracts that can be easily broken and cost you a lot.
The downside of using WordPress.com
While WordPress.com can be free and also have some paid plans, which offer good resources for websites, they also have some drawbacks.
It can be a bit frustrating when you start understanding how hard it is to rank websites and see for yourself that the lower WordPress.com plans do not offer SEO-friendly tools or the ability to download plugins and themes.
And if you are on their free plan, you will be seeing their ads, also branding, which can be kind of annoying for you and your visitors.
You also do not have the chance to create your website responsive for mobile and tablet devices and have to rely on WordPress themes.
You cannot host images on your own and it has to be with WordPress themselves.
You cannot use any WordPress security plugins to protect your website from spam attacks and hackers.
And final, but not least, if you break the Terms of Service, your website may get removed without giving you any certain information or apply for a dispute.
The downside of using WordPress.org
In order to get traffic on WordPress, you will either need a lot of money or start improving your website.
Or you will need to learn on your own. First of all, you will need to know the basics of structuring your website.
After you had learned the proper structure of websites, the next step would be to actually code your own theme, which can easily happen by using Understrap.
Is WordPress.com or WordPress.org better for SEO?
As I mentioned above, in order to do SEO on WordPress.com with plugins, you will need to use at least their business plan, so you can start using their tools.
This is kind of a drawback, while on WordPress.org you can actually use any kind of SEO plugin and maintain your website, without paying extra for it.
WordPress.com website speed
WordPress.com is a bit limited to speed enhancement, as you cannot edit the WordPress theme, add custom CSS or use any speed optimization plugins if you do not get one of their higher-tiered plans.
The speed that a basic WordPress.com website without any pictures, just plain text is really good, but imagine if you want a well-designed website, how much time it will take to load for one of your website visitors.
Not only the speed is bad for a plain website with HTML and CSS only, but the requests made are beyond the number of the average requests that you will need to have.
WordPress.org website speed
WordPress.org offers many plugins to optimize your website’s speed and start caching your resources.
I do love both of these plugins so much that I have even created guides with their best settings, which you can find below:
If you manage to optimize the speed of your website with any caching plugin, you will be getting similar to my results from most of the locations.
Websites load differently and depend on the number of resources your web hosting plan offers you. The slight difference in speed is due to the number of images, fonts, HTML & CSS loaded from my website, versus a plain website with a basic blank theme.
WordPress.com theme customization
With WordPress.com you can use any of their free themes and even get access to premium themes if you have a business or e-commerce plan.
Along with the themes that you can download, you will also receive the option to edit the CSS and add your custom designs, which will not change once there is an update to the theme.
Otherwise, if you are using the free plan you will not be able to use any premium theme or customize its CSS.
WordPress.org theme customization
With WordPress.org you have the full freedom to choose any kind of free and premium WordPress theme.
You have the power to customize your own themes and do not need any authorization to perform customizations.
Can I monetize my website with WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Monetizing a website is one of the best ways to start generating income on your website and help you pay for the website and domain hosting that your website needs in order to be kept alive.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org both offer monetization features, from which the most known ones are ads and affiliate websites.
Monetize website on WordPress.com
WordPress.com does allow you to set up ads on your website, but you will need to have a business plan, bought.
The free plan does not give you the opportunity to set up ads, and WordPress.com will display its ads on your website, but you will not be paid anything for this.
They also limit you from affiliate links, because you will be using their free plan and they do not give permission for the free plan to be monetized.
Even if they had let you monetize your free plan, visitors would still be annoyed by the ads displayed on your website or dislike the branding that your website has.
Monetize website on WordPress.org
WordPress.org does not have any Terms of Service or contracts that hold you away from displaying ads or sharing affiliated links.
Also, they do not add any branding links or banners to your website, so you have full control over your website.