Did you know that there are two WordPress platforms? Yes there are! WordPress.com and WordPress.org. I didn’t until I stumbled across a description of both platforms while I was doing research for other posts. It was news I thought new affiliate marketers would need to know. So, which one is which, and which one should I use? WordPress.com or WordPress.org? In this article, I will compare the two.
WordPress.org is the “real” WordPress. It is a website platform that is open source and free to the public. Download the WordPress software to your computer, and purchase a domain name, and you have a self-hosted website. Here’s are the particulars of WordPress.org.
- It’s free.
- It’s easy to use.
- You own your website and all its data.
- You can add free, paid, and custom WordPress plugins and applications to your website.
- You can customize your website design as needed. WordPress has hundreds of free and paid themes, or you can design your own.
- (What’s a theme? In WordPress, a theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance and display of a WordPress powered website. They can be changed, managed, and added from the WordPress admin area under Appearance » Themes.)
- You can use Google Analytics to track and analyze your website.
- You can create a self-hosted WordPress online store to sell products, process credit cards, and drop ship products.
- You can make membership sites and sell memberships for premium content and courses, and build an online community around your website.
There are a very few cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org site.
- Like all websites, you will need web hosting. Really small websites, you can certainly host yourself on your own PC. But if you expect your business to grow, you need hosting by someone who has the bandwidth. This is where your website files are stored on the internet. Initially, the cost is around $3-$10 per month. However, as your website grows and gets more traffic, the web hosting costs will increase as expected, but then you would be making enough money to cover the costs.
- You are responsible for updates. You can easily update your WordPress site by simply clicking on the update button (1-click), so it’s not too much work.
- You are responsible for backups. Thankfully, there are tons of WordPress backup plugins that let you setup automatic backups.
The real cost of WordPress.org website varies based on what you are trying to build (simple blog, portfolio website, eCommerce store, membership site, etc). There are also other factors like free templates vs premium templates, free plugins vs premium plugins, etc.
WordPress.com is a hosting service created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Because of the same founder, often users confuse WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software.
The WordPress.com hosting service has 5 plans:
- Free – Very limited.
- Personal – $36 per year
- Premium – $99 per year
- Business – $299 per year
- VIP – starting at $5000 per month
- It’s free for up to 3GB of space. After that you will have to switch to a paid plan for more space.
- You will not have to worry about updates or backups. WordPress.com will take care of that.
There are several limitations of free WordPress.com which differentiate it from WordPress.org. Here are some disadvantages of using WordPress.com:
- They place ads on all free websites. So your users will see ads, and you don’t make money from it. If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan (starting from $36 per year).
- You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your website. If you run a high traffic site, then you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them. Premium and Business plan users can use WordAds right away.
- You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in JetPack features pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins ($299 / year). WordPress.com VIP program lets you install plugins, and it starts from $5000 per month.
- You cannot upload custom themes. Free plan users can only install from the limited free themes collection. Premium and business plan users can also select premium themes. There are limited customization options for the free version. Premium and Business plan users can use custom CSS.
- You are restricted to their stats. You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Business plan users can install Google Analytics.
- They can delete your site at anytime if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
- Your site will display a powered by WordPress.com link. It can be removed by upgrading to the Business plan.
- WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways.
- You cannot build membership websites with WordPress.com.
As you can see, the WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To unlock some more advanced features, you have to be on the Business plan ($299 per year) or on the VIP plan ($5000 per month).
Below is the summary of everything we discussed above in our self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com comparison:
How Does This Compare to Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate is the hosting platform that I use. They interface with WordPress.org, so you get all the customizing perks that you would with WordPress.org, plus a lot of other great perks. Plus with Wealthy Affiliate, you get backups, and hosting storage space! Click on my articles below to see all the benefits you get with hosting your site at Wealthy Affiliate. Also, don’t forget that WA has the best training, and the best online community you will find when looking for a web hosting platform. So click on any or all of the links below to get more information about Wealthy Affiliate!
First of all, don’t confuse the two: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. They may look the same, and have a few of the same features, but they really are not. I suggest you go with web hosting that uses WordPress.org and not limit yourself with the narrow hosting rules of WordPress.com.
Please put your comments and questions below, and thank you for reading!