It’s no longer breaking news that: WordPress is the best blogging platform on the planet. This explains why most top blogs on the internet runs on WordPress.
But do you know that WordPress has two platforms?
Which are: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
If you’ve finally decided to kick-start a blogging career on a brilliant topic you’re passionate about, which platform should you go for?
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
Let’s dive in:
The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
First, what is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is simply an open source software, co-founded by Matt Mullenweg, where you host your website for free for life, but some restrictions abound. You can also pay for upgrades, if you like – to achieve a specific aim.
This means everything is done for you: security updates, spam-protection, automatic backups, technical coding etc. All you need is to simply create an account, choose the name of your blog, choose a theme and you instantly have a website of your own.
Great deal, right?
WordPress.org on the other hand, is the WordPress content management system (cms) software that allows you to create your own website.
According to Technorati, 39% of website on the internet is powered by this platform, including SmartBloggingTips.
Using this software means, you’ll have full control of your site but you’ll really get your hands “dirty” by: choosing a reputable hosting company, purchasing a domain name, securing your site, backups etc.
WordPress.org also offers a free support forum, an online instruction manual and a feedback forum which you can easily access whenever you need any kind of help.
What are the costs of running your site on WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Running a website comes with some amount of investment on your part especially if you really want to grow an online business from it. But the costs defer, depending on the platform you intend to use.
Let’s have a look:
The domain name
This is your web address. On WordPress.com, the domain name is free but it comes with an ugly, long and unprofessional url that looks like: www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com.
Isn’t that ugly?
To me, it is.
Though, you can buy a custom domain name (and get rid of the .wordpress.com part) but that that will cost you around $18 per year. It could cost more, depending on the extension. Source
On the other hand, running your website on WordPress.org will require the purchasing of a domain name. You can either buy from a domain registrar (like Namecheap) or buy from a web hosting company.
A domain will cost between $7 and $20 per year depending on the registrar but most web host gives you a domain name for free or at least for the first year.
On WordPress.com, you won’t have to pay for hosting as your site is hosted for you free of charge but if you intend to use WordPress.org, you will have to pay for hosting. Web hosting charges varies depending on the web host.
Godaddy, the web host that powers this blog, charges $12 per year plus a FREE .COM domain name registration for life if you use the coupon code available in this step by step guide that guides you on how to set up your website on Godaddy in 30 minutes.
There are literally thousands of beautiful themes (both free and premium) you can choose from the WordPress.org repository.
But, on WordPress.com, you can only choose themes that are from the official WordPress.com collection which is far less (about 300) than what is available for WordPress.org users.
Also, you can’t upload your own theme or use a premium theme. What you see is what you use!
Plugins provides additional features and functionalities to your WordPress blog. For instance, you could:
- Turn your blog into a community forum.
- Embed a live chat on your blog which allows users to discuss issues and questions.
- Add social sharing buttons on your blog to spread your words.
- Turn your blog into a membership site.
All thanks to plugins!
Unfortunately, WordPress.com users cannot install plugins on their website and the features present in the premium plan of WordPress.com, does not even include some of these functionalities you’ll need.
The premium plan of WordPress.com is called the VIP program which starts at $5,000 per month. Source
That’s damn expensive!
Maintenance and Security
Running your website on WordPress.org comes with the responsibility of maintaining your website by yourself. You’ll have to keep yourself abreast with the latest security updates, put measures in place to check hackers, protect your site from harmful malwares, create backups frequently etc.
Securing your website is very critical and if get this wrong, you could see all your hard work crumble before your eyes.
Thankfully, there’re amazing plugins to help you check security loopholes! A good example is the Wordfence plugin that helps you protect your site from hackers and harmful malware logins.
But on WordPress.com, everything is done for you. All you just have to do is: focus on publishing your content.
If you intend to blog for a long time, you need to have a means of earning from your blog and there are numerous ways you can monetize your blog:
- Affiliate marketing
- Google Adsense
- Private Advertising
- …the list is endless.
But yet again, WordPress.com users are not allowed to place ads or affiliate links on their website which defeats the essence of blogging in the first place.
Though, this ban can be lifted if you can work your ass off to generate 25,000 page views per month. You know you can’t get that kind of traffic overnight and when you get approved, you will have to split your revenue 50/50 with them.
That’s inhumane, if you ask me.
Also, you’ll see some ads flying around on your website which is place by WordPress to pay their bills. If you want your site to be free from these ads, you will have to pay $29.97 per year.
On the other hand, WordPress.org users can monetize their website easily without any form of restriction.
Which platform is best: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
Both are amazing options, no doubt. But, there is a line of boundary that differentiates the two, in terms of what you want to achieve.
If you just want to blog for fun or as a hobby without any intention of making money online, then you can go with WordPress.com.
Because, you won’t have to spend time maintaining, designing or even racking your brain with security stuffs.
But, if you want to gain full control of your website, build a profitable online business and make money online – then, WordPress.org is the way to go and if you follow this guide: How To Set Up A Website On WordPress.org In 30 Minutes and you’ll have your website online with a breeze.
I’m curious to know this:
Do you run your blog on WordPress.com or WordPress.org? What has the experience been like? Share your thoughts!