It can be confusing choosing your software platform when starting out with your first blog or website. Especially when the most popular blogging platform has two names!? However, it is critically important to understand that WordPress.com and wordpress.org are two very different platforms. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between WordPress .org vs WordPress .com and which platform is best for you!
WordPress .org Vs WordPress .com
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, whereby I receive a small commission from any purchases that you make from the external links.
Firstly, WordPress .org AKA the REALWordPress is an open-source 100% free software.
With WordPress .org YOU host your own blog or website. This means that to able to use a WordPress .org platform for your blog or website, you would need to purchase your website hosting, along with your domain name.
What is website hosting?
Think of your website hosting like your own little piece of the internet, a space of digital real estate where you can plant your website for people to discover. Website hosting sounds more complicated then it is. Although there are many companies with expensive website hosting, there are also very affordable options for your website hosting.
Some companies provide website hosting on a monthly basis, whereas you also have the option to pay for 1 year, 2 years or even more for your hosting package. Generally, the longer that you pay, the cheaper that it becomes overall.
Most website hosting companies include the ability to install WordPress .org onto your website for no extra cost. In addition, when choosing your website hosting company, it is also important to check whether they include an SSL certificate with your hosting.
What is an SSL certificate?
This used to be an optional feature for websites to have, however, if you want your website to appear high in search engine results pages such as Google, then having an SSL certificate is now mandatory for your website. An SSL Certificate is basically a piece of code on your web server that provides security.
What is a domain name?
A domain name, also known as a web URL, is a unique address used to visit and view a website. This is entered into the URL bar at the top of your web page.
There are many different extensions available when choosing your domain name, such as .com, .org, .net etc. As a general rule of thumb, try to stick with a .com domain name, as this is the most universal name for websites!
Where can I find affordable web hosting?
There are many options for web hosting, and these can depend on your requirements.
More often than not, for an average blog or website, you should be okay with the cheaper packages. These include a shared server, a certain amount of space on your server and extra features such as an SSL certificate. However, you can always pay a little more to upgrade your hosting in time, as your website grows larger.
I have tried a variety of different web hosting companies and I have found that having quick customer support is a very important factor. This is why I recommend the web hosting company Hostgator.
I switched to Hostgator and I have never looked back!
They provide an affordable service with fast customer support, along with everything that I require for my web hosting including a free installation of WordPress .org. Furthermore, they also supply a FREE SSL Certificate with their web hosting!
The company that I was previously with was charging me an additional £50 per year for the SSL Certificate so this was certainly a bonus.
Hostgator currently offer a great web hosting package for beginners or smaller blogs/ websites. This is the Hatchling Plan, which includes hosting for 1 website, free WordPress .org installation and a free SSL Certificate, currently from $2.75 per month.
I currently have an awesome deal with Hostgator that I am excited to share with you!
If you use the coupon code; 60HGSDN in your basket, when you place an order from their website, you can claim 60% off your order!
Simply visit Hostgator, choose your web hosting plan, add your coupon code at the check out for a 60% discount and you can get started installing WordPress .org!
WordPress .org Pros & Cons
Easy to use.
You own your website and the data. The site cannot be turned off, you have full control.
You can monetise your site by running your own ads and you keep all the revenue.
Can utilise powerful tools such as google analytics for tracking.
You can create an online store to sell digital or physical products and manage shipping from your site.
Ability to create membership sites e.g. to build an online community or sell a course.
You have access to backend code and databases.
Ability to upload your own themes (a great advantage!)
You can upload your own plugins.
Can use your own custom domain name for your website URL.
Usually unlimited hosting storage.
Access to all SEO features.
Cost of website hosting which is usually, $3-$10 per month depending on the package. Remember to use my coupon code 60HGSDN for 60% off webhosting with Hostgator.
You are responsible for updates & backups, important for avoiding being hacked!
Wow, as you can see there are a lot of benefits of using the WordPress .org platform.
To conclude, WordPress .org is a professional platform and essential if you want to take yourself and your website/blog seriously. The initial outgoings for your web hosting and a domain name is a small price to pay for such a great platform!
In contrast to what a lot of people think, WordPress .com is a web hosting service created by Matt Mullenweg, a co-founder of WordPress. Not to be confused with the WordPress .org software.
WordPress .com takes care of the hosting for you. Whereby you don’t have to download or pay for anything, however the features with WordPress .com are basic as you would expect with a free service. Free plans are a subdomain of WordPress .com.
The WordPress .com hosting service has 5 plans:
Free – Very limited.
Personal 6GB space– $36 per year
Premium 13Gb space– $99 per year
Business unlimited– $299 per year
WordPress .com is free with up to 3GB of space. Which is great for hobby bloggers.
A quick setup.
WordPress .com takes care of updates so you don’t have to worry about it.
WordPress .com places ads on all free sites. Therefore your users will see ads on your site, and you don’t receive any money from these ads. Furthermore, to avoid ads, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
You are not allowed to sell ads on your website. The only option is to apply for a program called WordAds, an advertising program where you share the revenue with WordPress .com.
You have no unique domain name.
There are no plugins available.
There is no access to code or databases.
Very limited theme options.
You are restricted to their stats, with no access to google analytics.
The risk that your site can be deleted at any time and you have no control.
Your site displays a “powered by wordpress.com” link. You can only remove it by upgrading to the business plan.
No e-commerce features.
As you can see, there are many disadvantages to the free WordPress .com software.
The Difference Between WordPress .org Vs WordPress .com
In conclusion, WordPress .com is suitable for a hobby website or a personal blogger.
If you want something more professional, or you are a blogger that wants to make money from your blog. Then you will need a self-hostedwebsite where you can install and use the WordPress .org software. Check out Hostgator to get started with affordable web hosting.
Although WordPress .com offer advanced features through their business plan ($299 per year), you can still gain much more for less money with a self-hosted WordPress .org website. Which is usually around $150 per year.
You can always start a blog with WordPress .com and if you want to move to a professional self-hosted WordPress .org site in the future, you can simply export your existing blog posts, and upload them to your new website.
A good way of understanding the difference between WordPress .com and WordPress .org is by thinking of them as a house…
WordPress .com is like renting a house, you don’t have control and you have limited power.
Whereas with WordPress .org, it is like owning your house. You have access to everything, full control and no one can tell you to leave.
Ready to get started with your WordPress .org website/ blog?
The first step is to purchase your web hosting and domain name from a company such as Hostgator.
Once you have done this, you can install WordPress .org and get started setting up your bespoke website/ blog! Don’t forget to use my coupon code 60HGSDN for a 60% discount on web hosting with Hostgator!