The Difference Between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org
Did you know that when it comes to having a WordPress site, you have two options to choose from? You can either go with the WordPress.com option, or the WordPress.org option. But what’s the difference?
It’s confusing. Let’s discuss the two in a little more detail and weigh the pros and cons of each.
The WordPress.com Option
WordPress.com is a free platform that is hosted and maintained for you. You don’t have to do a thing (hardly)
Pros of WordPress.com
- No annual domain registration fee (that’s good)
- It’s hosted for you (no monthly hosting fees – also good)
- Software updates and backups of your precious data are automatically done for you (nice)
- It’s easy to get started and to use (very nice)
Cons of WordPress.com
- It doesn’t come with a custom domain name. You’ll be able to choose your site’s name, but it’ll have wordpress.com behind it, for example: www.yourname.wordpress.com. If you’re a business, you’re really going to need to register your own domain name.
- Other people’s ads can be displayed directly on your site (ugh!). These can be removed for a small fee (around $30 per year).
- You’ll have access to a limited number of fairly ugly website designs (also called ‘themes’).
- You can’t install plugins (little programs that do cool extra stuff) to customize your site.
- You’re not allowed to host income-earning advertisements on your website
- You don’t actually own your site. *
* What?! This means that your site (along with all of your text, pictures, hard work, blood, sweat and tears) can be taken down and deleted without prior notice if the WordPress gods believe you’re using their free blogging tool to promote your products and services.
When your website is deleted without warning it is a very, very BAD thing!
The WordPress.org Option
WordPress.org is the WordPress software that you can use to create your own website. While the WordPress.org software is free, along with many pretty nice themes and extras, you’ll need to have your own domain name and a website hosting plan you purchase through Bluehost, for example.
Pros of WordPress.org
• You can choose from thousands of ready-made or custom-designed themes and plugins to make your site stand out from the crowd.
• You are able to have paid ads on your site to earn money.
• You have complete control over your site – you can talk about what you like and you can ask people to buy your stuff. And that’s GOT to be GOOD.
Cons of WordPress.com
- You’ll need to purchase a custom URL. (For example: yourdomainname.com) We like GoDaddy – we’ve been using them for over 10 years and we have an affiliate relationship with them because we trust them.
- You’ll need to have a website host. Depending on your needs and the company you choose, this can run between $5-$15 per month. You can also use GoDaddy for this part, or again, Bluehost.
- You’ll be responsible for managing your website, applying any needed updates, and backing up your site regularly. This can be a hassle and a learning curve, but worth it.
As you can see, both WordPress options have pros and cons.
If you’re just starting out and want to ‘test the waters’, then WordPress.com might be a good choice for you.
However, you’re more than likely going to want to upgrade pretty soon if your site is for business purposes. When that time comes, you’re not going to want to start all over and lose your great content, so we always recommend choosing the option you’ll have the most control over, i.e. WordPress.org.
To sum up, WordPress.com isn’t a bad choice if you’re only going to blog as as a hobby, but if you’re a business owner and are seriously going to use the site and blog as part of your business, WordPress.org is definitely the way to go.
It may cost you a little for the domain name and hosting package up front, but it’s the only way to go if you want to actually make money with your website.
Got questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below.