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Sep 01

What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

If you are thinking of setting up a WordPress website one of the first questions that might come to mind is which one do I need?  WordPress.org vs WordPress.com, what really is the difference between these two very popular platforms?

I thought it would be useful to give you a quick overview of the pro and cons of WordPress.org and WordPress.com to help you decide.  Firstly, let me explain the main difference in the way these two platforms are set up.

WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform which basically means that you need to buy and register your own domain name and have it hosted by one of the many hosting companies available online.  For example, this WordPress.org site is hosted by www.123-reg.co.uk and having bought my domain name, VAforAuthors.com, the URL for this site is http://www.VAforAuthors.com.  The WordPress software is free and can be downloaded and installed through your hosting company.  There are costs involved with both buying the domain names and the hosting.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is hosted by WordPress itself.  There is no need to buy a domain name or pay for hosting.  However, the URL for your site will reflect this so when you choose a domain name it will appear as follows http://nameofyoursite.wordpress.com.  This doesn’t look so good from a business perspective.

The Pros and Cons of WordPress.org and WordPress.com:

WordPress.org

Pros:
  1. Free customised themes (designs) can be uploaded.
  2. The code of these themes can be changed to suit your needs (if you are a bit of a techy!)
  3. There is a huge number of plugins available which are small applications that increase and enhance the functionality of your site.
  4. You are the owner of your site and all the content remains yours.
  5. You can add to your site as your needs change and incorporate more advanced features such as a members only area, shopping carts and payment schemes or forums for discussions.
Cons:
  1. There is a cost associated with domain name and hosting.
  2. You need to make sure you do your own backups, this need not be expensive though.  The WordPress plugin BackupBuddy will back up all your valuable content for around £46 / $75.
  3. It may take longer to set up if you do not have any technical knowledge.

I think the pros far outweigh the cons if you want to have control over what your site looks like and how it performs.  For these reasons WordPress.org is the preferred option for businesses.

WordPress.com

Pros:
  1. It is completely free – no hosting fees or set up charges.
  2. Easy to set up particularly if you are not technically minded.
  3. Backups are performed automatically.
Cons:
  1. The free domain name must include the WordPress name too.
  2. You cannot upload a custom theme (design).
  3. There is a limited number of themes that can be used so you may need to compromise on the design features or look of your site.
  4. The code in these themes cannot be changed.
  5. You cannot upload plugins.
  6. You don’t have ultimate control over your site – WordPress.com has that and could, theoretically, remove your site at any time.

 

So, if you want your website to grow with you and your work then WordPress.org is definitely the way to go.

If you are unsure how to get started with a WordPress site or don’t really want to be spending your time on it then drop me a line and I can sort all that for you.