Difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org

Difference between WordPress.com and .org

We are recently doing many more WordPress websites these days and one of the questions we get is:

If hosting is provided by WordPress.com , why aren’t businesses simply using that option instead of getting an additional hosting space?

In this post, we will attempt to compare the differences between having your own hosted space (wordpress.org) versus using the free hosting service provided by WordPress (wordpress.com).

For WordPress.ORG (own hosted space)

  • You can download the files for free at https://wordpress.org/ and set it up pretty easily. The only tricky part is securing the site to prevent your site from being hacked. (WordPress is a popular target for hackers due to the popularity of the CMS etc).
  • As the files are uploaded onto your own hosted space, you own your website and its data. You have full control to add any plugin or app to your website.
  • You will also be able to customise your design, add and modify the themes as you wish.
  • As the files will be uploaded onto your own hosted space, you will need to consider the hosting space required to store the files. Web hosting however, is now very affordable. Note: You might also need to get your own SSL certificate for your site (it now shows up as insecure on Chrome browser if you do not have it; besides, it also helps with SEO).
  • Do remember to update your site regularly to minimise security vulnerabilities. Some clients choose to do auto-updates although we do not advise that for websites that are heavily customised (as the updates might sometimes break the customisation, i.e. the website might not be functional).
  • We will also advise to backup your WordPress sites regularly.

For WordPress.COM (hosting service provided by WordPress)

  • WordPress.com has free hosting service, taken care of by WordPress; PLUS all sites come with SSL certificate, so you do not have to purchase/renew your own.
  • You can easily create a WordPress.com site at the said URL (https://wordpress.com/). The plans available range from S$0 to S$63 (monthly).
  • However, as the website is on WordPress server, technically WordPress owns your site. Also, this means it can take down your site if WordPress deems that your website violated its terms of service.
  • WordPress will automatically perform updates and backups for all sites.
  • For Free plan users, you will not be able to upload plugins. Only Business and Ecommerce plans users get to install from a selected list of plugins. WordPress will install the Jetpack Essentials plugin for all sites.
  • For Free plan users, there are only limited free themes to choose from while Premium and Business plan users can only select from premium themes. Furthermore, Free plan users will have limited customisation options while Premium and Business plan users can use custom CSS.
  • See comparison of WordPress.com pricing and plans here.
  • Google Analytics can only be installed by Business plan users.
  • For domains, only paid plans can get custom domain (eg. yourowndomain.com).
  • Only Business plan users will be able to remove the Powered by WordPress.com link.
  • ECommerce features are only available for Ecommerce plan users.

Most sites will recommend to use .ORG where you have more control over your site. To us, it is simply which one fits better for you or your business. WordPress.COM will be easier for your business to start a WordPress website if you are less tech-saavy; but the trade-off is possibly higher cost and less control/freedom of your own website.