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WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Which One is Best for Bloggers

It’s no doubt that WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for creating websites. However, for beginner bloggers, it’s easy for confusion to set in since there are two kinds of WordPress platforms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

These platforms are very different from each other. Not knowing what these differences are can result in wasted time and effort. Before leaping, you must learn which version suits you the most.

wordpress .com vs .org

What is WordPress?

Contrary to what other people think, WordPress is not just a platform for websites to be built on. To be more specific, it’s a content management system. It’s one of the most popular options on the internet for creators because it’s a content solution that’s easy to set up and operate.
Fun Fact: As of May 2021, about 41.4% of the top 10 million websites on the internet use WordPress.

What is WordPress.com?

The first version of WordPress is WordPress.com which is powered by a company called Automattic. It’s the version that’s hosted for users and works more like a website builder. All a user has to do is log in, register the name of their website, and then set it up, which requires only a few clicks. The hosting, domain, and even the theme set up are taken care of.

Think of it as a semi-done-for-you approach to getting a new website.

Definitely, it’s easier and more beginner-friendly. However, it doesn’t come without setbacks. Although in-house support is provided, there are aspects that users don’t have much control over. For example:

Domain Name – Instead of the usual yourname.com, your website name will be yourname.wordpress.com.

Theme Customization – A theme is basically the layout and design of a website. Different ones choose from upon setup, but customizing the set theme will be challenging, especially if a user has limited coding skills.

Monetization – Although you can earn from your website through WordPress.com, the ways are limited. You can accept payments through subscriptions and more; however, you’ll have much more freedom with a website that’s on the other version: WordPress.org.

Pros 

  • Free to use (if you go with the FREE plan)
  • Easy to set-up
  • Easiest for beginners
  • Easy maintenance

Cons

  • Limited theme support
  • Plugins are not allowed
  • Limited monetization opportunities
  • Limited Analytics
  • Not ideal for SEO
  • Name.Wordpress.com extension
  • Limited hosting storage (3G only)

What is WordPress.org?

The second version is WordPress.org which many refer to as the open-sourced, self-hosted WordPress. You can build websites through WordPress.org, it’s free, but you would have to supply your own domain name and hosting.

You’re free to do anything on your website when you have finally set it up. You can customize it as many times as you want. You can even run your own ads and sell your own ad space. Another added benefit of going through WordPress.org is that you can sell your own physical or digital products.

Pros 

  • Full support for themes
  • No limit to plugin usage
  • More monetization options
  • Best for SEO
  • Custom domain
  • Unlimited hosting storage

Cons

  • Domain and hosting required
  • Maintenance involved
  • Setup a bit more complicated than first version

Cost of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com cost

Pay monthly option:

  • Free
  • Personal – $7
  • Premium – $14
  • Business – $33
  • eCommerce – $59

Annual option:

  • Free
  • Personal – $4
  • Premium – $8
  • Business – $25
  • eCommerce – $45

WordPress.org Cost

Completely free

However, you have to purchase your own domain and hosting. The cost of both will depend on where you purchase them from.

Can I transfer from WordPress com to WordPress org?

If you have already leaped, you can always migrate your content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. There’s a simple way for you to do this:

Use the Export Option

Under Tools, you will see an option called Export which allows you to export all the content of your website from pages to images. It will download everything and give you an XML file that you can import into your new website.

How long the migration will take will depend on how much content you are transferring. If you only have a few photos, pages, and posts, it should take less than 10 minutes. However, if you already have 1000 HD photos, plus 500 posts, then expect the downloading to take a while.

It’s best to double-check everything once the importing process is completed. You might have to restructure a lot of things design-wise. There’s bound to be some misalignment in some design elements, especially when your theme has changed.

wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

Which one is the best for my blog?

It’s highly recommended that you take a look at your needs first. If you want more freedom with your branding and monetizing your site, you can go with the second version, WordPress.org. 

Definitely, you will experience a learning curve, especially when you don’t know the first thing about building websites or don’t have any coding skills at all. There will be guides and even walk-through videos available, but it will take time for you to master everything. The great news is when you have gone through your first website, setting up the second one or the third one will be a breeze.

On the other hand, if your budget is limited and you would like to have a “practice website” before you actually go into investing and creating your official one, then going through WordPress.com might be your best bet. You can always migrate from one the first version to the second one. This is an entirely new process involving another learning curve, but it’s easy to learn as long as you follow the steps and ask for help when needed.

WordPress.com is the perfect playground for you to test your skills and actually think about what you want from your soon-to-be official site – from the design to the brand colors and the tone of voice you’re using to write your content.

If you’re ready to start a blog that you can monetize, then WordPress.org is your choice.

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Which One is Best for Bloggers

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