WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: Which one should you use?

Jan 25, 2016 | Website Design, WordPress

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kevin Fouche

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: Which one should you use?

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

When it comes to using WordPress for web design, a question often arises: WordPress.com or WordPress.org? So.. which one should you use for your website?

For those of you who are unaware, WordPress is a content management system that allows you to maintain a website without worrying about Html and various other website development technicalities. Everything is handed to you  on a silver platter, so to speak, and all that’s left for you to do is adding content, choosing your theme, etc. The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is in how exactly you use the WordPress software. In some ways, it can be compared to renting a house vs. buying a house.

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

WordPress.org provides you with the WordPress software, and the WordPress software only. You may use it to your heart’s content, but there’s no way to use it without a website. So you must get your own website, by purchasing your own domain name and finding a hosting service where you will host your website. After that, you can install the WordPress software you have downloaded and you are now the owner of a brand new website, and it’s your job to see to its maintainence.

WordPress.com, however, is another story. They set up your WordPress website for you, and provide you with website hosting, as well as website maintenance, such as website protection. It’s sort of like renting a house, where you move in to a ready-made house that’s all set up and ready to use. However, along with the simplicity of a ready-to-use house, renting a house has its disadvantages: You can’t renovate the house and customize it to your tastes. So too, does WordPress.com have some cons. Let’s get right into things.

WordPress.com Pros & Cons

WordPress.com is great for those who don’t want to be bothered with complications such as finding a good website host, making sure that their website is secure, etc. All you have to do is register for free at WordPress.com, where you can get a free and ready-to-use .wordpress domain, meaning your website will look something like this: domainname.wordpress.com.

This is great for individual bloggers and the like, whose only wish is to, plain and simple, blog. Included in the free package is a limited amount of themes, plugins, and storage. They also take care of WordPress updates and website backups for you. However, if you want something more advanced, you have to pay for it.

For example: If you want your own domain, meaning a website that looks like this: domainname.com, you must pay $5 for domain registration, plus $13 for domain mapping. The same goes for ad removal, extra storage, premium themes, and a custom design, among other things. There are also yearly plans of up to a few hundred dollars.

In any case, you can never install third-party plugins, have third-party ads such as Google Adsense, use third-party software such as Google Analytics, and you never have access to your files via FTP access.

WordPress.org Pros & Cons

WordPress.org allows you to download their free basic software, with opportunities for additional software downloads (such as more themes) for a price. However, you are basically left to fend for yourself: You must purchase your own domain and hosting, after which you can install WordPress to your website. You must do your own research to find a dedicated hosting service that provides top-notch protection and is WordPress compatible. Domain registration and hosting aren’t usually expensive.

After that, you have the freedom to do as you wish: You can tweak your design, install whatever plugins and themes you want, and a lot more. The amount of storage will depend on your web hosting plan.  However, you must make sure that your WordPress version is up-to-date, that your files are properly backed up, etc.

So when it comes to the question: “WordPress.org vs WordPress.com–Which one should you use?” The answer will be: It depends. Do you want more freedom, and do you like to be in charge? Then maybe WordPress.org is for you. The same goes if you need to set up a more complicated business website, such as an online store, as it will be easier with WordPress.org’s added freedom.

Do you want to set up a simple website or blog, and save yourself from as much headache as possible? Then maybe WordPress.com is for you. And are you somewhere in between–or both? Then maybe consider using WordPress.org in conjunction with a WordPress management system, which will take care of WordPress updates, WordPress security, website backups, etc.

Whatever your choice is, or if you need help in making your choice, feel free to contact us.

Further Information
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