WordPress is a powerful content management system that allows people to create websites or blogs without needing to invest hours of hard work into learning to code. The fact that you’re here reading this means you are probably already aware that WordPress exists. You may even know that it comes in more than one form. In this post, we will discuss both WordPress.com and WordPress.org, the advantages and disadvantages of each and how to choose which platform is right for you, so let’s get started.
- What is WordPress.com?
- WordPress.com Pros
- WordPress.com Cons
- What is WordPress.org?
- WordPress.org Pros
- WordPress.org Cons
- Who might use each platform?
What Is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is a hosting service that exclusively hosts WordPress websites, it was made by a co-founder of WordPress. It has several plans from free to VIP. It uses a restricted version of the powerful WordPress platform to build a website, this means its easy and intuitive to use but you lose some of the powerful features that many people use and love about WordPress.
For some people wordpress.com is perfect and all they need. Many even use the free version and never feel the need to move. What are the Pros and Cons of a wordpress.com website?
- Automatic updates – You don’t need to worry about anything going out of date or changing, wordpress.com will do all that for you so you can focus on writing great content.
- Ease of use – It’s easy to add new content with the simple sidebar, its slightly less technical than its .org counterpart, although both are fairly easy to handle once set up.
- One consolidated payment – WordPress.com gives you your hosting and domain name in 1 price. You pay them and don’t have to worry about anything else
- Free at entry level – You can get a free hosted blog.
- No maintenance – All backups, updates and more are handled by WordPress. You will also get basic security.
- Quick to set up – You can have a website set up and published within 5 minutes, including the time taken to sign up.
- Beginner friendly – As everything is done for you and laid out its perfect for beginners. There is also free technical support should it be needed. Even someone that has never had a website will usually be able to set up a website, without help.
- Limited functions compared to WordPress.org – It’s not as technical as WordPress.org but also loses some of the functions that you may need.
- Limited space – The free plan comes with just 3gb of website space. This doubles with the Personal $4 package up to 6GB, at the $8 premium plan you get 13GB, once you get up to $25 a month you get unlimited but you can get this from other hosts for cheaper.
- Website domain – Your URL (the address that you use to get to your website) will look like YOURSITE.wordpress.com. If you want a custom domain you will need to upgrade your plan.
- Lack of third-party plugins – you can only get third-party plugins if your willing to spend $25 a month which converts to around £19.02 (as of March 2019). All the lower cost plans don’t allow you to add extra features to your site that aren’t already provided by WordPress.com
- Design customisation – You have to pay to have the freedom to edit your selected WordPress theme, for $4 a month you can do basic edits on the theme although these are still limited. If you would like to edit more you are looking at $8 a month but it’s not until your on the $25 package that you can upload any custom themes.
- Adverts – All free sites will contain wordpress.com adverts. If you don’t want this to be the case you have to pay at least $4 a month.
- Limited monetisation – You can’t place any of your own adds, websites with over 25,000 monthly pageviews can apply for advertising with revenue sharing, meaning you split the money made from advertising with WordPress.com. Premium and Business plans get immediate access to WordAds.
- Restricted SEO – Due to the fact that you can’t install external plugins you don’t have the same level of control over your SEO as you would on a WordPress.org site.
- Analytics – Although WordPress does come with its own inbuilt analytics with basic stats, due to not being able to install plugins, you cant use more powerful platforms such as Google Analytics.
What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org has even been called the REAL WordPress. It is the website platform that you’ve probably heard most people talking about. It is open source meaning it is 100% free to use, all you need is a domain name and hosting (which is quite affordable) and then your good to go. Let’s have a look at the advantages of WordPress.org along with its disadvantages.
- Cost – WordPress.org is actually free to use (you pay externally for your hosting and domain), there is no paid version. It is an open source software meaning developers can work together to improve it without any cost to the user.
- Plugins and add ons – You can use any free paid or self-made plugins or add ons. It’s your website to add whatever you please to. This includes essentials like Yoast SEO.
- Monetisation friendly – You can place any advert you like without splitting any money with anyone bar the company you are advertising for. You can also set up your own online shop and sell products yourself. You have the freedom to make money however you like, as long as it is legal of course.
- Customisation – You can customise the look of your website as you want without restriction. This includes using, editing or creating your own themes long with using WordPress free themes.
- Its all yours – No one else is able to turn off your website, edit it or anything else. Its all yours along with everything on it. You don’t need to keep up with any terms of service you just need to stick to the law and your own morals. You’ve got the power.
- Analytics – You have the full use of powerful analytic tools like Google Analytics. This will make tracking your websites progress much easier. It also allows you to set up tests and find out what will work best for your site.
- Sell yourself not WordPress – You aren’t stuck with WordPress branding or adverts, this means you can build your own identity and sell your own products.
- You can have membership sites – you can get people to sign up to read premium content for example, which you can’t do with WordPress.com
- Arrange your own Hosting – You will need to find your own host, this means searching for the best package for you and then purchasing. This will mean a month cost, this isn’t much different from the paid WordPress.com.
- Install WordPress – Once you have your own hosting you will need to install WordPress. Many hosts will do this for your or have a 1 click installation feature but always check before purchasing hosting if you need a nice easy option.
- Purchase your own domain name – You need to buy your domain name (what people type in to get to your website) there are many providers of these and prices vary. You pay yearly and most companies offer the first year considerably cheaper than the following years so make sure your price won’t go up too much next year
- Updates needed – You are responsible for all your own updates, although this is easy it is another thing to remember.
- Backups – You are in control of your backups, we suggest getting a hosting company that will take backups of your website, it’ll do you a world of good to have backups that can be restored should something go terribly wrong.
So Which Should I Get?
If you only intend on blogging for yourself and not to provide an income we suggest you keep your costs down as much as possible so we would suggest using WordPress.com. We would then suggest staying under the free package and having fun with it. If however you own a business or you would like to monetise your blog/website at any point now or in the future, we would suggest WordPress.org. It has more features and can be monetised at any point leaving all your options open.
Both WordPress.com and .org have great features and usability. WordPress.Org is better value for money in our opinion, there is no doubt that WordPress.com is great and has great features, it will, however, cost more for less of the software capabilities even with the business package. In short, if you want to make money from the website pick .org. If income from your blog is not something that matters to you then we suggest going for WordPress.com if you are unsure which path you want to take .org will allow you to enjoy full creative freedom and give your site room to grow, hosting can be changed at any point so pick a lower hosting package to start out to keep your costs down.