WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What’s The Difference?

WordPress.com and WordPress.org… What’s the difference between hosted WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org? Let’s take a look!

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms. And understanding the difference between the two can often get quite confusing. We sometimes work with clients who aren’t aware f the differences, and those that do often aren’t sure which is the better option for them.

Let’s break down the key differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, so you can make an informed decision when choosing a WordPress platform for your business.


Often considered to be the ‘real WordPress’, WordPress.org is a self-hosted software that offers full customisation and control over your WordPress site. It is 100% free for anyone to use and is an open-source CMS.

Pro’s of WordPress.org

  • It’s free to use.
  • You are in full control of your website. With WordPess.org, you own the website and it is your asset.
  • Use free, paid and custom plugins and themes.
  • Everything with WordPress.org is completely customisable. You are not obliged to use a pre-designed theme – you can create your own custom-coded theme from scratch, or hire a developer to do it.
  • Build membership sites, online courses, and easily integrate an eCommerce platform.

Con’s of WordPress.org

  • You are responsible for updates, although this can be done at the click of a button.
  • Potential conflicts between plugins will need to be solved if and when they arise (a web developer can help you with this).
  • You are responsible for backups, although this process can be automated with the help of some nifty plugins.


WordPress.org and WordPress.com were founded by the same person, hence the same name and confusion over the two. WordPress.com is a hosting service with various price plans on offer.

Pro’s of WordPress.com

  • Beginner friendly.
  • Ideal for those creating a personal blog for sharing with their family and friends, rather than a business or personal brand.
  • You don’t have to worry about backups – WordPress will take care of that for you.

Con’s of WordPress.com

  • WordPress.com will place ads on your free WordPress blog, which they get paid for but you don’t.
  • You are not allowed to place ads on your site, making it difficult to monetise. If you receive lots of traffic to your site, you can apply for their ‘WordAds’ program, but you’ll share the revenue with WordPress.com.
  • You cannot upload plugins. This makes customising your website rather difficult, and customisation options are limited.
  • Unless you’re on their business plan, you cannot install Google Analytics or any other analytic tracking program.
  • You’ll need a paid plan to get a custom domain name, otherwise, you’re stuck with a wordpress.com subdomain.
  • Like other web builders such as Wix and Squarespace, you are not in control of your website. WordPress.com have the right to take down the site if they feel it violates their terms of use.
  • Your site will be branded with ‘powered by WordPress’, unless you upgrade to their business plan.
  • You cannot build membership sites with WordPress.com.
  • You cannot build an eCommerce site unless you opt for their eCommerce plan.

Hosted WordPress.com is quite limited, and the price can soon rack up once you start upgrading to their various paid plans.

In comparison, WordPress.org is the preferred and cheaper option over other ‘DIY’ style web builders. Self-hosted WordPress itself is completely free, the cost comes in when you hire a web designer, pay for website maintenance or choose to use premium paid plugins and themes.

How much you should budget for a self-hosted WordPress website depends on what size and type of website you are trying to achieve (eCommerce, blog, one-page website, standard multi-page website, membership site, etc).

Do you have a question about WordPress? Reach out to the team who will be happy to chat to you about what’s best for your business!

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