Which Is Best For Your Business Website?
It’s critical that when you start with WordPress you choose the correct version for you. And understanding the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org will ensure you make the right decision for you and your business.
What Are The Main Differences Between WordPress.com And WordPress.org?
First of all, congratulations on choosing WordPress! The popularity of it is increasing year on year, with approximately 40% of all websites now being built on WordPress.
However, you now need to decide between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
So, let’s look at the main difference between these two WordPress versions.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Hosting Services
WordPress is the software that the website is built on, but in order for you to create your website, then you need to host it somewhere and it needs a web server.
Which brings me to the main difference between .com and .org, the hosting.
If you sign up to wordpress.com, you can have a very basic WordPress website hosted for you for free.
On wordpress.org, you can download the WordPress software for free, but you will need to organise and pay for the hosting to use it yourself, so it’s self-hosted.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Domain Names
The next difference is custom domain names. So the domain name is the address that you see at the top of the browser window when you type in to get to a website, so amazon.com or kellysparkes.com.
WordPress.com allows you to create a website without a domain name using the wordpress.com subdomain. So, I could have kellysparkes.wordpress.com for free if it was available.
However, this doesn’t look very professional. It would be better to have a custom domain name, like kellysparkes.com. This is only available on the personal plan and above, and that’s going to cost you at least £36 per year.
You also need to pay for your domain name, which on wordpress.com is included for the first year. But, after that there will be an annual charge for your domain name.
Using self-hosted wordpress.org, you can use any domain name you want without any additional costs, but you do have to register your domain name. Some hosts throw this in for free for the first year, or you can buy it separately and have it totally separately to your hosting if you want to.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Functionality
The next difference is the functionality. The best thing about WordPress is that you can achieve anything you want on your website using plugins, and I’m not exaggerating! If you can think of it, there’s probably a plugin created for you to do it. You could add a shop, you could add a membership site, you could add any learning platform, all using plugins.
On wordpress.com, there are limitations to what you can do, even with the more expensive packages, but on the cheapest packages, you can’t install plugins at all.
However, on wordpress.org, you can install any plugin you want and you have complete freedom.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Design Features
The next difference is design. In WordPress, the design is controlled by a theme or by templates or by a plugin.
On wordpress.com, you are very limited as to what you can install, especially on the lower packages. So you may not be able to get the design you want and you might not be able to get all of your branding in there.
Whereas using the self-hosted option, you can design whatever you want. You could use a page builder like Elementor, for example, to build your theme from scratch and make sure your website is completely on brand.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Updates
The next difference is the ability to update.
On wordpress.com, it’s very easy, as they do them all for you. However, that’s not always the best way, because sometimes updates cause problems. And if wordpress.com decides to update your website whilst you’re on holiday, then it breaks, you might not notice for a few days. So you’ll want to do it yourself and make sure you are checking them.
With self-hosted wordpress.org, you can install a backup plugin so you can back up your website before you do any changes. You can do your changes one-by-one, you can check if anything’s been affected and roll back any changes that you’re not happy with. WordPress.org is much more flexible.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Budget
And finally, budget is another difference.
WordPress.com goes from their basic free plan, right up to their £36/month plan if paid yearly or £47/month if you want to play month-to-month.
If you’re using wordpress.org, you can get basic hosting from as little as £5/month with a free domain for the first year. However, if you want to use decent hosting, then it’s probably going to cost you somewhere around £10-£20/month.
And then if you want to have any support or any maintenance, then you’ll have to budget that in too.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Which Do I Recommend?
Overall, if you haven’t guessed already, for a business website I recommend using self-hosted wordpress.org.
You have complete control of your website, you own it totally, and you have the freedom to use all of the glorious WordPress features.
However, if you’re just starting out and you’ve just got a personal blog or a small hobby project, then please use wordpress.com. It doesn’t matter and you probably won’t need all the things that I’m talking about. And if you do later on, then it’s an easy job to migrate your website over to self-hosted.
If you’re still on the fence about choosing wordpress.com or wordpress.org, then please take my FREE QUIZ here to help you make the decision!