Which one should I choose: WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbI have been running my Website Creation Workshop program for 7 years now,
but every single time I run an introductory webinar or teleseminar, this question comes up:

What’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

I see how people get confused. Both services were created by the same company called Automattic and offer tools to create websites using the “WordPress” platform.

Their basic functions look the same. However, there are some critical differences that you
should know so that you can make the right choice for you when building a website.

[info]Catch Christina’s free live webinar – Easily Create a Beautiful Website in WordPress – Even if You Hate Technology…. – on Thursday Dec 4, 2014. Register here.[/info]
WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com/)
  • Software is free, and it also comes with hosting. (ie. You don’t need to get your own hosting. They will host your website for you.) Note: it does NOT include emails, so you need to get a separate email service.
  • You will get your website URL with “wordpress.com” at the end. (ex. yoursitename/wordpress.com) (They offer a premium plan that allows you to use your own domain name while being hosted on WordPress.com server at extra cost.)
  • From time to time, your site might display ads to logged-out users who aren’t regular visitors  unless you purchase a special feature to turn it off.
  • While it offers many free and paid themes, they cannot be customized to the extent you can with wordpress.org themes.
  • They do not allow you to add plugins, which means the functionalities are limited compared to wordpress.org.
  • To sell products/programs from your site, you need to sign up for “WordPress.com Business” (http://store.wordpress.com/plans/business/) and pay the fee.
  • They allow you to embed certain forms, not all. For example, you can’t embed the opt-in form for many of the popular email services.

WordPress.org (https://wordpress.org/)
  • Software is free. But you need to get your own hosting service. (This is why WordPress.org is also called, “self-hosted WordPress.” )
  • You can get your own domain name from any domain registrar and use it for your website.
  • You have a great control over what appears on your site, including ads.
  • There are countless themes available, both free and premium. You can also customize these themes to a much greater degree than WordPress.com themes.
  • And even more free and paid plugins are available, which helps you to make your site function the way you really want.
  • It makes a great eCommerce platform among many other purposes.
  • It integrates with most of the Internet tools/services out there.
  • You get the software from WordPress.org, and you are then on your own. You have a lot of freedom re. how you use the website.

If you are building a website for your business, I strongly recommend that you go through the WordPress.org route.  You can do so much more with WordPress.org, and more importantly, the site can keep growing with you and your business with a self-hosted site.

  • Rashmi

    I’ve never seen such a clear explanation on the difference between the two. Thanks!