If you want to create a blog, you must have inevitably heard of WordPress. There are two versions of WordPress, which are often called ” free WordPress (WordPress.com) and paid WordPress (WordPress.org).”
But what exactly are the differences between the two? Which one should I choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? How much does it cost?
I have prepared a full comparison of these two, I hope it will answer most of the questions that you ask. Feel free to post a comment if you have any questions,
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a CMS, that is to say, a platform ready to use that simplifies the creation and management of a website. WordPress is particularly oriented to blogging, it can even be also be used to create a website.
WordPress.com : free WordPress
WordPress.com is a host of blogs: that is a very big website that allows visitors to register and create a WordPress blog for free in a few clicks. It is for this reason that it is sometimes called the ” free WordPress “. However, it isn’t entirely free, it has some paid plan in it.
WordPress.org is a software, that is to say, you have to download and you should install it somewhere for it to work. When you download a software, in general, you install it on your computer. However, it is not installed on your computer, but on a web host.
The download of WordPress.org is free, but the host is most often for a fee (rates from a few dollars per month/year). It is for this reason that this version of WordPress is sometimes called “Paid WordPress .” In reality, WordPress is free, but you need to pay a web host to install it… so it costs you money in the end.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
I will differentiate WordPress.com and WordPress.org using these 5 criteria :
- The technical aspect: maintenance, safety, installation.
- The price.
- The customization of the design.
- The customization features.
- Advertising and monetization.
Technical Aspect: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
When you create a blog or a website, there are technical aspects to be taken into account: it is necessary to ensure that the site is up-to-date to avoid any problem of security and the risk of piracy; it must ensure that your website loads fast and also make backups.
All these aspects are directly managed by WordPress, so you do not have to worry about it. The platform itself deals to make updates and technical improvements are necessary. Similarly, you don’t have to manage the installation of WordPress: when you sign up, the overall structure of your blog is ready, you just have to customize it and start writing.
Security- WordPress.com is beautiful and well secured. It can also be saved on the servers of the platform. In general, you do not have to bother about it.
It is up to you to manage all of these aspects. You need to update WordPress when a new version comes out. If you are using plugins (plugin allows you to add additional functionality to the WordPress ” core “), you must also update it. You must plan to make backups of your site. If there is a problem of slowness, you’ll have to try to find the cause and speak to your web host. Even so, it is up to you to manage the installation.
It involves a little more technicality, even if there are a lot of resources on the Internet for help.
For security- The security of your site with WordPress (version open-source) will depend on your web host and plugins installed security. The backups and the security of your website are therefore based in large part on you.
Registration is free and you can create a blog without paying anything. By default, all free blogs have a type name yoursitename.wordpress.com and offer 3 Gb of space to store your files (photos of your blog, etc.). You will have access to a selection of the designs (known as themes), to basic options… WordPress will sometimes advertise on your blog to finance its free service.
Then, the platform offers various paid options if you want to add features to your blog free basic.
First, there are the annual subscription packages :
- Personal ($36 per year) – It allows you to have your own domain name, without “wordpress.com” inside. You can also take advantage of direct assistance by e-mail and live chat, and a storage space doubled, to 6 Gb. Moreover, WordPress will no longer display ads on your blog.
- Premium($72 per year)- You can have your own domain name, direct assistance, a storage space: 13 Gb, no ads… but you will also have access to unlimited all topics Premium offered by WordPress and will be allowed to monetize your website via advertising program WordPress WordAds. You’ll also have access to the CSS files of your blog for more fine-grained control of its design.
- Business ($204 per year) – In addition to the features offered by the Premium plan, you will have access to unlimited storage for your files, you will be able to install themes and extensions, install Google Analytics, or hide the mark WordPress.com on your site.
- eCommerce ($360 per year)– This is for those interested in eCommerce sites.
You have a purchase a web host plan in order to use it. Most host plans cost between $2- $5 per month.
If you have a big site (e-commerce website, etc.), it is better to choose a plan a bit more powerful ($10 to $20 per month). Most hosting providers will allow you to easily move to the higher plan during the year if necessary.
In general, some hosting site offers you a free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan, below are some of them:
Design customization: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
On WordPress, a design is called a ” theme “.
The themes on WordPress.com
When you create a free blog on WordPress.com you can’t do everything that you want in the design. You have to choose among a selection of themes charged (more than100 themes to choose from). You can also buy a Premium theme (more than 200 themes to choose from).
Then, the customization options depend on your subscription: if you have a free blog or a paid subscription WordPress Personal, you will not be able to access the CSS file of your theme to make changes to it. You can only change some of the colours, edit the header image, change the title of the site, manage widgets… but the possibilities remain limited. To go further, it is necessary to subscribe to a paid subscription Premium or Business.
In addition, if the WordPress themes included are not suitable for you, you will not be able to buy a theme elsewhere and then install it on WordPress.com unless you pay a subscription WordPress Business at $204 a year.
The themes on WordPress.org
You are free to make your choices! You can install a theme for free or buy a theme from sites such as ThemeForest. And if you want, you can even create your theme from A to Z!
WordPress allows all its users to create a blog by inserting texts, photos, allowing users to post comments, etc, Then, to extend this core functionality, it is necessary to install what are called plugins.
WordPress.com offers in the free version, a list of plugins by default, which corresponds to the plugins the most used. You’ll get antispam, of the basic statistics, the ability to create photo galleries and slideshows are simple to integrate, share buttons on social networks, show a widget Twitter or Facebook, or even to insert a contact form on your blog.
On the other hand, if you need more features, you will not be able to install additional plugins unless you pay for the subscription plan.
The plugins on WordPress.org
You can install all the plugins of your choice, whether they be free or paid.
Advertising and monetization
Monetize your blog on WordPress.com
WordPress.com strives to provide all its users a commercial-free service, including when you open a free blog. However, the platform reserves the right to display adverts on your blogs for free, it is necessary to cover the operating costs of the service. For having a blog really guaranteed to be free of advertising, it is necessary to subscribe to a paid subscription.
You have the right to post affiliate links and write posts that are sponsored.
You also have the right to sell your products and services and make you pay through your Paypal account, for example. WordPress Premium allows you to accept payments with the functionality Simple Payments.
On the other hand, if you want to create a true e-commerce website, it is necessary to turn to a subscription plan that is further dedicated to e-commerce (“eCommerce experience “).
WordPress.com prohibits all networks, contextual advertising, or sale of advertising spaces (like Google Adsense) unless you have a subscription Business. In fact, the site offers its own ad network, WordAds. The principle is simple: WordPress handles the display of advertising on your blog and pays you accordingly. The program is available only to holders of a subscription of Premium or Business.
Monetization with WordPress.org
You are free to make choices! Not to have advertising of any or monetize your blog. You have full flexibility in the choice of your partner, to your advertising, the size of your ads, their positioning. If you want to start an online shop, small or big, you can also make it. In short, it’s total freedom!
It is no doubt that using wordpress.org is the best for any type of site you want to start. The choice is yours! If you have $0 to start a blog, don’t use wordpress.com, here’s the reason.
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Thanks for reading.If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress blogging video tutorials and how to make money online. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment. Also, If you think I missed a step or have any suggestions for us; please let us know. We'd love to hear from you!