Not sure of the distinction between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (self-hosted WordPress)?
When somebody says “WordPress”, it might imply two various things, which is of course fairly complicated. It will probably imply WordPress.com, which is a for-profit weblog/web site builder. Or, it might imply WordPress.org, which is the house of the free open-source WordPress software program you can set up by yourself internet hosting.
So – what’s the distinction, and which one do you have to select to your web site?
I’ll reply each questions on this put up!
Observe – on this put up I’ll use the phrases “WordPress.org” and “self-hosted WordPress” interchangeably. If I say “self-hosted WordPress”, I imply “WordPress.org”.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: An Introduction.
I’ll get into some extra particular variations in a while, however let’s simply begin with a normal introduction to the variations between these two common running a blog platforms.
WordPress.org is the house of the free, open-source WordPress content material administration system, additionally referred to as self-hosted WordPress. It’s a non-profit entity that hundreds of individuals from around the globe contribute to.
Anybody – together with you – can go to WordPress.org, download the WordPress software, and set up it on their very own internet hosting. Or, most internet hosts additionally make it simple to put in the open-source WordPress software program with only a few clicks.
WordPress.com is one particular implementation of the open-source WordPress software program. It’s a for-profit service that makes it simpler for folks to create WordPress web sites. Nonetheless, it additionally restricts the entry that WordPress.com customers need to the underlying WordPress software program.
As an alternative of needing to buy your personal internet hosting and set up the WordPress software program your self, you simply register for a WordPress.com account and you can begin creating content material immediately.
Usually, when folks discuss “WordPress”, they’re referring to the open-source WordPress software program (WordPress.org).
This could result in some confusion. For instance, the WordPress.com touchdown web page says that “37% of the net is constructed on WordPress”. And whereas that’s true, most of these websites are utilizing self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com!
Why Do They Use The Identical Title? It’s Complicated
To be able to perceive why there’s such confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, it helps to return to the start of WordPress.
In 2003, Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg launched the primary model of the open-source WordPress software program. As you realize, WordPress is free open-source software program – anybody can set up and use it. This was WordPress.org.
Then, in 2005, Matt Mullenweg launched an organization referred to as Automattic, which is the corporate behind WordPress.com.
In order that’s why you have got the confusion – the identical particular person is a part of each WordPress.com and WordPress.org, however WordPress.org is the house of the open-source non-profit whereas WordPress.com is the house of the for-profit service that Matt Mullenweg launched (below Automattic).
WordPress.org got here first. Then, just a few years after launching the open-source WordPress undertaking, Matt launched WordPress.com as a solution to monetize the open-source WordPress software program.
Excessive-Degree Variations Between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
At a excessive degree, there’s a philosophical distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com focuses on simplicity – it offers you absolutely the easiest solution to make a web site. Nonetheless, to realize that, it sacrifices some flexibility, which suggests you’ll be restricted in how a lot energy you have got over your web site.
How a lot flexibility you sacrifice is determined by which WordPress.com plan you’re utilizing. On the free/low-cost WordPress.com plans, you lose nearly all the flexibility of self-hosted WordPress. On the costlier WordPress.com Enterprise plans, you get entry to some self-hosted WordPress options, although. Nonetheless, even with the Enterprise plan, you continue to don’t have as a lot flexibility as you do with self-hosted WordPress.
Key takeaway – WordPress.com offers you an extremely easy expertise, however the worth is that you simply lose among the flexibility that the open-source WordPress software program affords. On the Enterprise plan and above, you acquire again some flexibility, nonetheless. Extra on that within the subsequent part.
WordPress.org (self-hosted WordPress) focuses just a little extra on flexibility. It’s not fairly so simple as WordPress.com (although it’s nonetheless simple sufficient for non-technical customers). Nonetheless, the profit is that you’ve much more flexibility than you do with WordPress.com, particularly if you happen to’re utilizing the free or low-cost variations of WordPress.com.
Key takeaway – self-hosted WordPress unlocks the complete energy of WordPress and provides you entry to all of the extensions and your website’s underlying code. It’s not fairly as easy, however most internet hosts make it very simple for non-technical customers to put in the open-source WordPress software program.
Understanding the WordPress.com Enterprise Plan
In 2018, WordPress.com launched a brand new Enterprise plan that makes it just a little tougher to check WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
The Enterprise plan offers you so much extra flexibility than you get with the free/low-cost WordPress.com plans. The 2 massive variations between the free/low-cost WordPress.com plans and the Enterprise plan are you can:
- Set up your personal themes and plugins similar to you’ll be able to with self-hosted WordPress.
- Entry your server through FTP and your database through phpMyAdmin.
Due to that, the WordPress.com Enterprise plan is a form of like a simplified model of managed WordPress internet hosting. Nonetheless, though it offers you much more flexibility than the free WordPress.com plans, it’s nonetheless not fairly as versatile.
As I am going by the variations beneath, I’ll be certain that to notice when a distinction applies to all WordPress.com customers, or simply WordPress.com customers who aren’t on the Enterprise plan.
Sensible Variations Between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Now, let’s get into some particular variations between these two choices…
WordPress.com Presents the Easiest Strategy to Create a Web site
In 2020, it’s simple for a non-technical particular person to make use of each WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Nonetheless, WordPress.com remains to be just a little easier.
With WordPress.com, the setup course of appears to be like like this:
- Register for a WordPress.com account
- Begin constructing your web site
With WordPress.org, there’s an additional step (although it’s nonetheless not very technical):
- Buy internet hosting
- Use your host’s one-click installer to put in the WordPress software program
- Begin constructing your web site
You Can’t Set up Themes and Plugins at WordPress.com Except You Improve
WordPress themes and plugins are an unlimited a part of what makes WordPress so versatile:
- Themes – these allow you to change how your web site appears to be like.
- Plugins – these allow you to add new performance to your web site. Plugins might be small adjustments, like including a contact kind, to massive adjustments, like turning your website right into a working eCommerce retailer.
Up to now, one of many greatest variations between WordPress.com and WordPress.org was that you simply couldn’t set up your personal themes and plugins at WordPress.com.
As of 2018, that’s modified…for some WordPress.com customers.
Should you’re utilizing a free WordPress.com account or if you happen to’re paying for one of many cheaper plans, you continue to can’t set up your personal themes and plugins at WordPress.com. This can be a enormous disadvantage, as there are tens of hundreds of free themes and plugins to select from. And once more, themes and plugins are an enormous a part of what makes WordPress so versatile.
Nonetheless, if you happen to pay for the WordPress.com Enterprise ($300 per 12 months) or eCommerce ($540 per 12 months) plans, you now have the power to put in your personal themes and plugins, which will get you nearer to the pliability that WordPress.org affords.
Observe: WordPress.com appears to have worth discripency between two nations. At one place (in western nations) they’re chargin about $25/month for marketing strategy, the place as in nations like India, they’re charging it lower than $10/month.
Listed here are screenshots of WordPress.com pricing web page taken from two totally different geo location:
This worth discrepancy made this comparability of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org more difficult.
Self-Hosted WordPress Is Often Cheaper for Severe Web sites (However Not All the time)
For a primary interest weblog, WordPress.com is the most affordable solution to get began. Should you’re happy with utilizing a WordPress.com sub-domain (e.g. yourblog.wordpress.com), you’ll be able to create a weblog 100% free of charge. Nonetheless, there are some limitations in you can’t use your personal area title and your weblog could have WordPress.com adverts.
Nonetheless, if you happen to’re launching a critical weblog, a enterprise web site, or any kind of web site the place you propose to become profitable ultimately, self-hosted WordPress will in all probability be cheaper.
To run a self-hosted WordPress website, the minimal prices are round:
- $50 for a 12 months of internet hosting
- $10 for a 12 months of your area title
So – for ~$60 for a whole 12 months, you’ll be able to have your personal self-hosted WordPress set up the place you’ll be able to set up all of the plugins and themes that you really want. You’ll additionally be capable of create a number of WordPress websites.
To get that very same flexibility with WordPress, you’ll pay a minimum of $300 for the 12 months for only a single website.
Mainly – if you would like the power to put in your personal themes and plugins (which it’s best to, until you’re simply making a quite simple weblog), self-hosted WordPress will in all probability be so much cheaper.
WordPress.com Does NOT Give You Server Entry Except You Improve
Should you’re a technical consumer, it’s vital to know that WordPress.com doesn’t offer you any server entry until you pay for the Enterprise plan or above.
On the Enterprise plan and above, you’ll be capable of connect with your website through SFTP and in addition entry your database through phpMyAdmin.
Nonetheless, even on the Enterprise plan, you continue to don’t get full entry. For instance, you’ll be able to’t create your personal databases or edit server configuration settings.
With self-hosted WordPress, you’ll be able to edit each single file and configuration possibility (although some internet hosts may prohibit what you are able to do). For instance, you’ll be able to create staging environments, create separate databases when wanted, and many others.
Self-Hosted WordPress Offers You 100% Management Over Monetization (WordPress.com Has Guidelines)
Should you plan to become profitable out of your web site, you’ll nearly definitely wish to go together with self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) as a result of WordPress.com places some limits on how one can become profitable out of your website.
For instance, WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to use AdSense or different show advert networks until you’re on the Enterprise plan or above.
WordPress.com does enable affiliate hyperlinks and sponsored content material…however with some limits. For instance, WordPress.com says that “you’ll be able to add affiliate hyperlinks to your WordPress.com content material so long as the first objective of your weblog is to create unique content material.”
Equally, you’ll be able to write sponsored posts…however with limits – “We don’t enable websites the place the overwhelming majority of content material is sponsored content material”.
Should you use WordPress.com, you’ll have to contemplate these guidelines if you plan your monetization technique. Nonetheless, with self-hosted WordPress, you’ll be able to simply monetize your website nonetheless you need – you by no means have to fret about following a third-party’s guidelines (past your authorities’s legal guidelines, after all!).
Ought to You Use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Most individuals ought to use WordPress.org, AKA self-hosted WordPress as a result of:
- You will have essentially the most flexibility, together with the power to put in themes and plugins immediately and entry your server.
- It’s inexpensive – you’ll be able to run a number of WordPress websites for as little as ~$60 per 12 months, whereas WordPress.com will price $300 for a single website if you would like to have the ability to set up your personal themes and plugins.
- You possibly can monetize your website nonetheless you need – you don’t have to fret about following WordPress.com’s guidelines.
- It’s nonetheless easy sufficient for non-technical customers to work with – most internet hosts offer you one-click installers that allow you to stand up and operating with self-hosted WordPress in only a few minutes.
For many web sites, these advantages are definitely worth the small improve in complexity.
There are just a few exceptions the place WordPress.com may make a more sensible choice, although:
- You’re making a “only for enjoyable” interest weblog and desire a easy, free running a blog platform. So long as you have got zero plans to show your weblog right into a enterprise, WordPress.com could be a nice alternative.
- You’re keen to pay for the WordPress.com Marketing strategy (to put in themes/plugins) and wish absolutely the easiest, most hands-off solution to make a WordPress website. You’ll pay a premium over self-hosted WordPress, however WordPress.com will deal with all the upkeep for you, which takes a load off your shoulders.
However total, I’d suggest that most individuals select self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org).
To get began with self-hosted WordPress on my really useful host, you’ll be able to observe my information on find out how to set up WordPress on Bluehost.
Nonetheless have any questions on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Ask within the feedback part!