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WordPress.com or WordPress.org
There is quite often a lot of confusion regarding which one to use, especially for those who are creating their online presence for the first time. Let’s dig into the facts about both platforms and make it a bit easier to understand.
Although they are somewhat similar, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are, in reality, two different platforms. They are different web solutions.
WordPress.com: It’s like renting a house. You have limited control over what you can and can’t do.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is like when you own your house where you have full control of everything.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org
In a nutshell, WordPress.COM is a free-to-use, no-worries, complete solution for sharing information via a website. You can use it to share ideas, and family information or write a blog, etc. You can be up and running in mere minutes. You do, however, only have the available themes to choose from. And you don’t have access to the backend code. If you just want to share information or start blogging straight away with everything supplied for you, then WordPress.COM is a good starting point.
If you want unlimited control over your website from design through to hosting services, then you should consider WordPress.ORG. You will buy, choose and register your own domain name and find a company to host your website.
A note about Website Security
WordPress.COM Security: It’s all done for you automatically.
WordPress.ORG Security: You are responsible for implementing your own security measures.
If you don’t want to be bothered managing your own website security, then WordPress.com would be more secure because automated security is included in the free platform.
If you prefer the WordPress.org open-source platform, then YOU will need to make sure your werdpress.org website is secure. So even though you have much more flexibility with WordPress.ORG over the free Wordrpress.COM platform, the trade-off is that you will have to do more of the nuts and bolts work yourself – or pay someone to do it for you.
HOME NETWORK SECURITY:
The above security measures are not related to your home internet security – they are related to your website. Your home network security is a separate issue that you should already be addressing in order to prevent someone from hacking into your home network and devices.
The most common methods are a firewall, malicious software detector, or a router with very strong passwords.
ALWAYS back up your website and your hardware devices.
Have a regular backup plan in case of a virus or computer hardware failure. I have multiple backups on multiple devices and have had to restore entire hard drives on at least three separate occasions.
The restore process only took me 30 minutes (plus the time to buy a hard drive from the store), instead of the days that it would have taken to reload and rebuild everything. I did the time-consuming manual thing once, and I’ll (hopefully) never have to do it again.
COMMON USERS: Personal bloggers, Information sharers, and Hobbyists
Generally, people don’t want to worry about hosting or buying domain names, and they are not interested in monetizing their websites.
The free WordPress.com is an excellent platform for bloggers who are doing it for family or just for fun. It is based on the WordPress.org software but has far less flexibility.
You don’t need to download the software OR host your website. You just sign up for an account, and voila, you have a working website.
WordPress.com is free for up to 3GB of space. You don’t have to fret about backups or updates. The platform will take care of it for you.
If you want a bit more freedom with WordPress.com, you can upgrade to one of their premium services to take advantage of added features. The upgraded business account gives you the same flexibility as the open-source WordPress.ORG software.
COMMON USERS: Affiliate Marketers, Bloggers, Businesses
These users require a lot of flexibility and control over their websites. They want their own domain name and control over who hosts their site. They also require more design flexibility, such as using plug-ins. They also want to use their website to make money (monetize it).
Many call WordPress.org the real WordPress. This is mainly because it offers by far the most flexibility and is used by many businesses, both large and small. It’s also known as the Self Hosted WordPress because you need to source your own hosting company. It does require you to download the software, but it is 100% free for anyone to use, and many hosting companies offer a ONE-CLICK download process.
When downloading the software from WordPress.org, you need two things:
- You need to set it up with your own hosting provider.
- You need to have your own domain name.
The WordPress.org platform gives you full control of your website. You can do anything you want with it. You could add a variety of plug-ins/apps to your website, be it free, paid, or custom. There are hundreds to choose from. You can also make money off your WordPress website by displaying other people’s and your own ads, without having to worry about upgrading to another plan.
WordPress.org lets you use powerful tools such as Google Analytics for tracking and custom analytics.
You can create an online store as well to sell digital or physical products with the help of your self-hosted WordPress. If you want to create your website on a low budget, there are some really low-cost options.
This puzzles most people who are looking into which one to use for the first time. In order to understand this, we need to take a brief look at how the two came about.
WordPress.COM is owned by a company called Automattic.
WordPress.ORG is open-source software that is managed by a non-profit – WordPress Foundation.
A man by the name of Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic and the WordPress Foundation. Automattic is a for-profit organization.
Because of the above relationship, the two platforms are very similar.
So, which one should I choose?
Both platforms have Pros and Cons as set out above.
While WordPress.com does have to serve a very useful purpose, if you have a business model that requires full and total control over your website, and flexible monetization methods, without the need to upgrade to a business plan, then WordPress.org is the better one to use.
If you just have a hobby website requirement and are prepared to accept limited flexibility, then WordPress.com will be the better choice.
WordPress.com is beginning to blur (and complicate) the line between the .COM and .ORG platforms by offering their PAID Business Plan.
Here’s a great low-cost way to get started.
The step-by-step training is available on how to set up your website, buy your domain, choose a theme of your choice, and have your website up and running. Sign up and receive 5 free lessons on how to start your free site.
Want to start with a free website?
QUICK DECISION CHART
Below is a chart where that may help you make a decision quickly on what platform to use.
HOW TO USE THE CHART:
Start with the top 3 items. Circle any ✓ marks that apply to your specific requirements.
If you circle any ✓ marks on the right side, then you should consider WordPress.ORG.
There is the possibility that you could also use WordPress.com and pay for the Business plan to get one or more of these.ORG features. However, most businesses still opt for WordPress.org downloadable open-source software. This is primarily due to the complete flexibility it offers.
If you do not circle ANY on the right side, then WordPress.COM is likely a better choice for you.
If you have a mixture of both sides, then you’ll have to choose the one you think is the best fit.
TIP: If you are just starting out, and “think” you may need more features later on, (like I did) then I still believe WordPress.ORG is the best way to go. Just be sure that you understand – you’ll have to do more nuts-and-bolts “geek-type” work yourself.
Perhaps one day, WordPress.com may be totally open and allow you to do everything that WordPress.org allows you to do, (and without paying for an upgrade plan with more features), but we are far from being there right now.
You can find additional information on Wikipedia.