The confusion of the century. Neither are directly related to each other, yet they are indeed linked. It’s only necessary to know the differences between the two and what may suit your needs and wishes.
What is WordPress.com?
Official Page: https://wordpress.com
WordPress.com uses WordPress.org’s open source platform to create what essentially is WordPress.com and its functionality. So in short, WordPress.com is a simpler and a less functional WordPress.org, which means that you don’t have the freedoms you’d have if you were to use WordPress.org.
The platform is made easy for anyone to hop on and use, but the free option is extremely limited, so do not expect to make something awesome out of it. You have to pay a lot of money just to get some customization and freedom within your website.
These are the prices that are upon the official website. All of them include that you will have a Free Domain for One Year, but in actual truth, the domain part is a rather shady, since WordPress.com puts their own branding after your personal domain.
You also can’t access your back-end database, nor could you install any plugins without buying the expensive Business 25 euro option. I mean, you do realize you’d have to pay for the plugins as well? If you lack any programming experience in front end, you will need paid plugins for sure.
So, let’s stop blabbering further and list the pros of using WordPress.com:
- Simple and quick to set-up
- Free with basic plan
- For people with no experience or time
- Everything is taken care for you in terms of the website working
Well, we got to get to the cons:
- Expensive plans
- No access to database
- No plugins for plans before Business plan
- Restricted customization before Business plan
- WordPress.com subdomain before Business plan
So what about WordPress.org?
From wordpress.org is how wordpress.com exists, but we already understood that the 2 are different from one another. How so? Well, wordpress.org is free, fully free! You can just download it and start developing your website offline, without having to burn hole in your pockets.
Eh, if it were that easy… WordPress.org is way more sophisticated to set-up and just get started, especially if you don’t want to pay hosting companies to let you get to the installation. Inlet was developed offline using MAMP, which creates a local server on the main computer, where wordpress.org is installed and executed on.
Learning how to do that takes time and effort, and is not for people who can’t figure out how to rename a folder on their computer. I personally had to invest a lot of time just to understand how it works. As we already stated: free is not really free.
How do you know if wordpress.org is for you? Well, if you are up to the challenge of learning a lot about how servers operate, about how the back-end of a server looks like and how a wordpress.org installation can be executed, then this option is for you.
The awesome truth about it is that you can develop any website offline and then just upload it to a server or run it on your PC. You can easily do all that, maybe even create a business, without having to pay hosting companies, who are offering wordpress.org installs, the sums of entry.
WordPress.org with Bluehost is a finely tuned choice, since just 1 year with shared hosting can cost around 70-80 dollars for the whole year. It’s not advised to migrate from wordpress.org to wordpress.com, unless you don’t have the time.
Time for the pros:
- Free, like 0 euro free
- Total versatility and freedom
- Availability by hosting companies for install
- Access to any theme or plugin
- Access to the back-end database
- Ability to upload your own themes
- No subdomains like on wordpress.com
- One-click installs from hosting companies
- Cheaper hosting plans
And for the cons:
- Incredibly sophisticated to set-up without a hosting company
- Time is required to learn how to optimize and control your website
What’s the verdict?
Both have their good side and bad side, so it’s up to you to choose what best would suit you. If you are bad with technology and just want to tire your mind with a lot of new information, you should go with wordpress.com and just go on from there.
If you’ve got experience or a very strong drive to learn, you should actually just go with wordpress.org on your own machine, rather than using the one-click installs from hosting companies.
What would I do?
At first I had went with wordpress.com, since I didn’t know better and thought that wordpress.org was just some random files. Then I realized that I’m using a very restricted version of wordpress.org and that I’d need to pay too much money.
So I chose not to buy a hosting plan with a one-click wordpress.org install and went on with MAMP and offline wordpress.org development. I can say that it was just insane and hard to cope with. I’ve had so many problems with upload limits, database rename errors, plugin crashes and so on.
But in the end, I now am able to work with wordpress.org without any issue, and I see my choice as the best choice ever made.
What you would do is up to you. I rest my case as I drop the mic.