It is the most common question for newbie WordPressers. If you also have the same question, you landed on the right page. I am sure that, after reading this article, you will choose the correct one for your project.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s most popular open source web publishing application, Content Management System (CMS), Website creation tool. WordPress was started as just a blogging platform and grew into a powerful Content Management System. To know more about WordPress Application, Checkout my article – What is a WordPress? Why You should use WordPress??
What is WordPress.com? (WordPress.com Hosted Website)
WordPress.com is Commercial enterprise owned by Automattic, and it distributes WordPress application as a software service for free / Paid Membership.
Technically Speaking, WordPress.com provides Free / paid hosting for WordPress websites and is completely managed by them.
To get a wordpress.com website, you just need to register an account in wordpress.com, Chose your site name (wpera.wordpress.com) and select any one of the WordPress theme from 100s of available themes. That’s all, your site is ready to publish content. (if you chose a custom domain name like wpera.net, you have to pay domain mapping cost too)
Pros of WordPress.com Hosted website
- WordPress.com will handle the hosting and some other technical burdens.
- You can install any one of the available free themes.
- They will make regular backups of your site.
Cons of WordPress.com Hosted Website
- Free always comes with limitations. 😛
- Your website is under the control of wordpress.com.
- WordPress.com will display Ads on your site. To remove wordpress.com Ads you need to upgrade to personal plan which cost around 36$ per year.
- Free plan Comes with 3GB Hosting Storage space- if you need more hosting space, you need to upgrade to Premium membership or Business Membership which cost 99$ and 299$ per year respectively.
- Free plan comes with wordpress.com subdomain (wpera.wordpress.com) and it doesn’t look professional. If you want to use a custom domain name like wpera.net, you have to upgrade to the personal plan.
- To monetize your website you need to upgrade to Premium membership or Business Membership.
- Even for installing google analytics, you need to upgrade.
You can check out the wordpress.com plans and pricing in the below image.
What is WordPress.org? (Self-Hosted WordPress Website)
WordPress.org is the website that provides WordPress open source Application. The company Automattic doesn’t own or control the WordPress open source project. Simply wordpress.org provide free WordPress application to create and manage your self-hosted website, provides documentation and support.
Steps To start a self-hosted WordPress website:
- Purchase a domain name of your own interest.
- Download WordPress application from wordpress.org website.
- Choose a web host which supports PHP and MySQL.
- Install WordPress on your hosting space.
- Choose a theme from thousands of available themes.
- Publish content and enjoy the freedom.
Pros of WordPress.org Self-Hosted WordPress Website:
- You are in complete control of your website.
- The sky is the limit to do what you can with your website.
- You can build any kind of website.
- You can install any one of the theme from thousands of available themes.
- You can add additional functionality to your website by adding plugins.
- You can monetize your site.
Cons of WordPress.org Self-Hosted WordPress Website:
- You will be responsible for your site update, backup, and maintenance.
- You have to choose a better host for your WordPress website.
- You have to install WordPress on your hosting servers.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org Comparison:
|Hosting Cost||Free up to 3GB. After that, you need to upgrade to premium or business plan which cost 99$ per year and 299$ per year respectively.||Starting from 36$ per year|
|Domain Mapping||Custom Domain Mapping upgrade 18$ per year which includes domain name (or) if you already own a domain it costs 13$ per year.||Domain name Cost around 12$ year|
|Themes||You can install any one of the available 364 available theme (which include free & premium)||You can install any one of the of the theme from available 3200 free WordPress themes, or you can buy from marketplace or hire some developer to get a custom theme.|
|Plugins||To install plugins you need to upgrade to premium plan, after that you can install the plugins of your interest from available 15 plugins.||You can install available plugins from WordPress repository and 3rd party themes.|
|Media files Support||jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, ppt, odt, pptx, docx, pps, ppsx, xls, xlsx, key.||You can upload all types of media files.|
|Max file size upload limit||1GB from your desktop, 2.5 MB if uploaded via mobile||It can be determined by your hosting plan.|
|Monetization||To monetize you site you need to upgrade at least to premium plan.||Yes, you can monetize your sites with advertisements, affiliate links etc.|
|FTP Access||No||Depends on your hosting plan, most of the web hosts support FTP.|
|Backups and maintenance||WordPress.com will do regular backups||You have to take care of your website.|
|Suitable For||Personal blogs||Personal blogs, portfolio sites, business blogs, e-commerce stores etc.|
Which one should you use?
If you are a personal blogger and don’t care about look and feel of your site, then go with wordpress.com and I don’t recommend premium plans as they comes with limited features. If you are a blogger or a business person, and you want to blog for a long time go with self-hosted WordPress.