If you're a WordPress newbie, then you might be wondering what's the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
In short, WordPress.com is a Hosted solution, and WordPress.org is a Self-Hosted solution. Let's take a look at the key differences between them below!
WordPress is a FREE and Open Source CMS (Content Management System) software, and it can be downloaded at WordPress.org and used to power any website or blog.
Now to use WordPress to power your website you would normally need to manually download the WordPress software from WordPress.org and then upload it to your web hosting server. However, because WordPress is so popular, many web hosts like HostGator now come with simple one-click installations of WordPress so installing it on your web server is a breeze!
Since we are installing WordPress on our own web server, this is why we call it a ‘Self-Hosted' solution.
Automattic is the company that operates the WordPress.com website, which runs on the WordPress software available over at WordPress.org.
WordPress.com is a commercial site that allows you to host a blog/website on their own servers, either for free with limitations, or you can pay to remove the limitations.
WordPress.com is a ‘Hosted solution' as they host your website on their servers which already have WordPress installed.
Let's compare WordPress.org with WordPress.com.
~ You can add WordPress Plugins to extend your website's functionality.
~ You can add custom WordPress themes and modify them if needed.
~ You are in full control of your website content and data. You can publish what you want, when you want (as long as it's legal of course!).
~ You can make money by running Ads on your site.
~ WordPress is free to use.
~ You can run analytics and tracking on your site.
~ Just like with any website, you need to purchase a domain name and web hosting, although you can grab them both for as little as $9.95/month with HostGator (Coupon code: FlowerPower).
~ You need to backup your website yourself. However, there are loads of free WordPress plugins that can do the backups for us.
~ You get the first 3GB of space free, although you cannot have a custom web address, so your website name will look something like: http://whatever-you-chose.wordpress.com
~ They backup your website.
~ You cannot use WordPress Plugins! To use plugins you have to join their VIP program which costs a whopping $3,750/month!
~ You can't use custom Themes, you're restricted to their selection of themes, and to be able to change the color of your site you need to pay for their $30/year upgrade.
~ They place their Ads on free websites. To remove their Ads from your site, you need to upgrade to their $99/year package.
~ You can't sell Ad space on your website unless you have over 25,000 monthly page views, and even then you have to share 50% of your Ad revenue with them.
~ You can't use custom analytics and tracking.
~ If they feel your site violates theirs Terms of Service, then they will delete it at anytime.
~ For unlimited website space, you need to pay for their Business package which costs $299.00/year.
I personally recommend Self-Hosted WordPress (WordPress.org). You can grab yourself a domain name and web hosting over at Hostgator for only $9.95/month with unlimited disk space. Then once you install WordPress for free, you have no limitations and you can use any plugin, theme, run Ads on your site, the lot! You're in full control!
To get unlimited disk space on Hosted WordPress (WordPress.com) and have your own website name, you are looking at the $299.00/year package, and you are still subject to their Terms and Conditions so ultimately they could shut down your site at any time without warning.
So if you want full control of your website, go for Self-Hosted WordPress!