Many beginner to mid-level internet users often get confused with the differences of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. This common mistake can cause a lot of trouble when you are trying to build an effective and attractive website. There are many differences between these two platforms and in this article, we will give you some comparisons to help you understand the difference.
What Is Your Goal?
Whether you are a beginner blogger with a big dream or a small business that needs to keep its customers informed, it is important that you know your goal. If you plan on having a highly custom website with a lot of features then you need to understand the WordPress.com is not right for you. There are many limitations with this CMS and it does not come close to what is possible with WordPress.org
It is easy to get confused when you are learning about the two platforms so the information below is meant to clear up any misunderstandings that you might have about either site.
If you want to make your life easier and not have to do a site transfer down the road, make sure that you start your website on WordPress.org and not WordPress.com and here are the reasons why.
Control of Your Website
With WordPress.com, you do not have control over your website. While you may be able to edit your copy and change the layout and different things like that, what we are referring to is owning the website. You do not own the website whenever you are on this platform. With WordPress.org on the other hand, you own the website and it is hosted by you (self-hosted). Self hosting does mean that you are going to have to pay for the hosting but it is worth it if you have ownership of your content.
If you want to put anything on your site, you have free reign to do so. If you post something on your site that may be against the WordPress.com terms of service, they have the right to take all of your hard work down. Even if you are unknowingly violating a TOS, you could wake up to find that your website is no longer available.
Access to Themes
If you see a WordPress theme that you love and want to buy, you are going to find yourself sadly disappointed that you are not able to put it on your site if you are on WordPress.com. On the other hand, if you are on WordPress.org, you are going to be able to have whatever theme that you want, modify it to fit your needs and make your site as custom as you would like.
There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress themes available for free and paid. You can use any of them that you like or you can even make your own to go on your site if you have that talent and skill. The ability to customize and make your site the way you want is one of the biggest differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
No Sharing Ad Money
If you want to make money with WordPress.com, you are going to have to share the love. Having ads hosted on your blog means that you have to share a piece of the pie with the platform. If you are using the self-hosted version (WordPress.org) then you are able to host ads and keep all of the profits. You can add Google Adsense or even sell your own ad space on your site. Whatever revenue comes in from those efforts, you are able to keep it.
Plugins are brilliant little pieces of awesomeness that allow you to do many different things, integrate with other platforms and have overall better function and access on your site. You can have as many plugins as you want with your WordPress.org site, but if you are on WordPress.com, there are no plugins. Instead of plugins, you are going to see features that are similar to plugins but you cannot make your own and you cannot install any either.
As you can see, WordPress.com presents you with a lot of limitations and little value for what you would give up if you were to go with their site instead or the .org version.
Simply the Stats
If you want to use Google Analytics, you’re going to have to go to .org because with .com, all you have is the statistics that they have on their site. You don’t get to use any outside source for gathering information. It is very cut off from the rest of the web, unlike the .org version.
If you want to build a website that gives you the best features, functions and overall ease of use, WordPress.org is the best option. The only person that would really benefit from WordPress.com would be the hobby blogger that doesn’t care very much about their user experience, but simply enjoys blogging and wants to have a free platform to release their creativity.
When you have your website set up on WordPress.org, you will be able to customize and create a site that is on brand without having to worry about WordPress.com hosting ads on your site and having to pay to take them off. You have free reign over ever part of your website so you can change and improve it as much as you want as many times as you want.
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