In my last couple of blog posts I went through the basics of setting up a WordPress website. After the most recent post was published I received a comment on social media that made me realize that some people are not too sure whether I am talking about wordpress.com or wordpress.org. To eliminate any confusion, when I talk about WordPress I am talking about wordpress.org
A lot of people don’t realize that there are 2 different versions of WordPress let alone know what the differences between them are. As a result, for today’s post I will answer the question I should have answered before I even started talking about WordPress in the first place: What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
With wordpress.com your site is hosted through them so you will not have to pay anything for hosting when you set up a site with them. You will also get a free domain from them that contains a WordPress sub domain, so your your URL would be www.yourdomain.wordpress.com.
One of the major problems with wordpress.com is that there are a lot more restrictions placed on your site that will make it hard for you to monetize. You will not be able to put up any pay-per-click ads, Adsence ads, banner ads, etc. Another issue is that you do not have access to plugins. Plugins are what give your site functionality, without plugins you can only set up a very basic website.
Using wordpress.com can be helpful when you are first starting out as you can set up a basic blog or website without having to purchase a domain name or hosting, but not having access to plugins severely limits the type of site that you are able to build.
To use wordpress.org you will have to purchase a domain name and a hosting package. Once you have that set up you can install WordPress on your host’s control panel like I showed you in one of my previous posts. Once WordPress is installed you can use plugins to help you build any type of site you want (e.g. online store, membership site, etc.). It is possible to set up a self hosted wordpress.org site for free if you get a free domain name and free hosting.
There is more flexibility for monetizing your website with wordpress.org and there are even plugins you can install that will help you make sure your ads are placed correctly.
Both wordpress.com and wordpress.org have their advantages and disadvantages. wordpress.com is economical but has little flexibility, wordpress.org has a ton of flexibility but the cost of the domain and hosting may be a bit more than some people are willing to spend when they are first starting out.
At the end of the day, if all you need is a very simple website or blog wordpress.com will give it what you need. If you are setting up a site for the purpose of monetizing with ads or if you need your site to have a specific functionality, wordpress.org is clearly the better option.
Do you prefer wordpress.com or wordpress.org? Let me know in the comments.