I have been running my Website Creation Workshop program since 2008, and every single time I run an introductory webinar or teleseminar, this question comes up:
Which should I pick: wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
I see how people get confused. Both services were created by the same company called Automattic and offer tools to create websites using the “WordPress” platform. Although their basic functions look the same, we strongly recommend WordPress.org.
However, there are some critical differences that you should know so that you can make the right choice for you when building a website.
- Software is free, you just need to get your own hosting service. (This is why WordPress.org is also called, “self-hosted WordPress.”)
- You can get your own domain name from any domain registrar and use it for your website.
- You have great control over what appears on your site, including ads and affiliate links.
- There are countless themes available, both free and premium. You can also customize these themes to a much greater degree than WordPress.com themes.
- And free and paid plugins are available, which helps you to make your site function the way you really want.
- It makes a great eCommerce platform among many other purposes.
- It integrates with most of the Internet tools/services out there.
- You get the software from WordPress.org, or install it in your webhosting account with one click. You have a lot of freedom with how you use the website.
- Software is free, and it also comes with hosting. (ie. You don’t need to get your own hosting. They will host your website for you.) Note: it does NOT include emails, so you need to get a separate email service.
- You will get your website URL with “wordpress.com” at the end. (ex. yoursitename/wordpress.com) (They offer a premium plan that allows you to use your own domain name while being hosted on WordPress.com server at extra cost. They also offer “custom domain upgrade” options also at extra cost.)
- From time to time, your site might display ads unless you purchase a special feature to turn it off.
- It has a limited number of themes, they cannot be customized to the extent you can with wordpress.org themes.
- They do not allow plugins, which means the functionalities are limited compared to WordPress.org.
- There are restrictions on selling products/programs from your site. (ex. you can sell certain types of products, using PayPal.)
- You can’t have a storefront on the site. E-commerce integration used to be available, but that’s no longer the case.
- Only WordAds are allowed as an advertisement program, if you quality (either by purchasing a qualified plan or by applying). And your WordAds revenues need to be shared with Automattic.
- Affiliate linking allowed with some conditions.
- They allow you to embed only certain forms, not all. For example, you can’t embed the opt-in form for many of the popular email services.
If you are building a website for your business, I strongly recommend that you go through the WordPress.org route. You can do so much more with WordPress.org, and more importantly, the site can keep growing with you and your business with a self-hosted site.
Here are some web hosting companies that I have had experience with and can recommend:
Blue Host Web Hosting Company
Hosting with Site Ground
Hosting with Host Gator
Hosting with WP Engine