WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

.com or .org, which is best for your business?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org:
A Deep Comparison

When I first decided to start a blog, I knew nothing about business or websites. I heard from a friend that she started hers on WordPress, so I hopped on to the computer, searched for WordPress.com, and signed up for a package. I purchased my domain through WordPress.com and was on my way to rock the blogosphere! Little did I know about the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle!

About a year later, I discovered that there were a few limitations I was looking to overcome. After speaking to my friend Amber of Road Warrior Creative, formerly Au Coeur (Yep! You know her!), I finally realized that there was an underlying WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org debate.

I had to decide what I wanted from my website and from my business.

Today, it feels best to make the differences super clear for you to map out. Our theme will be WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org with the mission of helping you quickly see which will be most beneficial to your business or mission.

Who wins in the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle? Click To Tweet

Specifically, we’ll drill into the comparison of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org in each of these categories, summing it all up at the end:

  • Audience / Users
  • Community
  • Cost
  • The Look and Feel of Your Website
  • Hosting
  • Storage Space
  • Security and Spam Prevention
  • Statistics, like Google Analytics
  • Plugins
  • Advertisements: Can You Sell Ad Space? Do You See Ads Targeted at You?
  • Support

Super simple, right?

Let’s jump in!


WordPress Audience / Users


WordPress.com

The perception is that a high percentage of WordPress.com are part-time bloggers or folks who are looking to have a website, but don’t have a full-time business. I’d reckon that some of these folks are in the same class I was in when I first began – unknowing souls!

WordPress.com states that the platform is for “…bloggers, photographers, artists, plumbers, doctors, restaurateurs — almost anyone” who doesn’t need or want full control over their site.

What is “full control”?

We’ll get into that really soon!

That said, there are some big names who use WordPress.com, including The Walt Disney Company, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, as well as these companies:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com users

To show you the sheer magnitude of the platform, let’s peek at some numbers.

In April 2016, 55.8 million posts were published using WordPress.com.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com posts

Folks publish posts on WordPress.com in over 120 different languages. Can you guess the highest percentage?

You got that right! It’s English at 71% of all posts. The next two highest are Spanish at 4.7% and Indonesian at 2.4%.

WordPress.com even publicized an interactive map that allows you to see activity across the platform in real time:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org WordPress.com interactive map

WordPress.org

WordPress doesn’t seem quite as interested in broadcasting the same solid user stats for WordPress.org as they do for WordPress.com. However, they don’t shy away from sharing some impressive names with us.

Here’s a snapshot of a fewWordPress.org users:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Price Comparison .org sites

A generality about WordPress.org users is that they are likely a bit more focused on owning their site and protecting it from limitations (most of which we’ll chat about below). Because of this, most users of WordPress.org are those who have a serious business or are looking to work toward a serious business.

These users are not afraid to find their own hosting company to work with and are perhaps excited about the freedom to create custom changes to their site.

What does this mean to me?

Which category do you most see yourself in within this WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org audience comparison?

Projecting the focus on your business years down the road can be important when choosing your favorite in the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle. Which audience member do you want to become: .com or .org? Migrating your site is doable, but not ideal.

Let’s jump a bit more into comparing the nitty-gritty details. In the end, I’m hoping you’ll find your winner in the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle.


WordPress Community


WordPress.com

There’s a really fun community connected with WordPress.com where you can broadcast your blog posts and follow others. I’d compare it to a social media platform, except the only content in your feed are blog posts.

The community within WordPress.com is a great way to get to know other bloggers and have a first-look at what posts they are releasing to the world.

Which has the best internal community? WordPress.com or WordPress.org? Click To Tweet

Many WordPress.com users make it a point to support other WordPress.com users. They intentionally scan through their feed and comment on posts to show love, hoping (let’s face it) for a bit of interaction in return.

WordPress.org

The community component within WordPress.org consists mainly of chatter about technical issues or the garnering of advice from others more experienced than you. You likely won’t find that you get a lot of pats on the back or words of affirmation from other WordPress.org users.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com image

The ‘feel’ of the community components, speaking in terms of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org can be thought of (if I may use an analogy) as friends sitting around a table sharing their latest news and supporting one another with TLC vs. colleagues sitting around a table chatting about process and procedures. Because of that, we’ll say WordPress.com wins this battle.


WordPress Cost


WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Price Comparison

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

If you’re looking for the lowest price with the most functionality, a WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle leaves .org on top!

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com image

However, if you want the bare minimum stated on the following chart, WordPress.com will be the least expensive choice for you:

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com Free Pricing Inclusions

The Look and Feel of Your Website


WordPress.com

The look of your website on WordPress.com can be really great, but has distinct limitations, as you must choose from one of the available WordPress themes. What if you want to change a specific area of our site? Sorry! There is no option to change the coding and bring upon more customization.

A domain also adds to the look and feel of your site. If you have ‘.wordpress’ within your URL, you might be perceived as a bit less serious about your site than someone who paid for their own domain. This might be the absolute wrong perception of you, but it is a common one.

If you’d like, you can pay a bit extra to garner your own custom domain. The custom domain will allow you to tell folks that your site is at mydomain.com instead of mydomain.wordpress.com. Bravo!

WordPress.org

The world is your oyster! Feel free to customize your theme and your site as a whole as much as you’d like. Choose from a WordPress theme, any outside theme or create your own.

You can also choose any domain (as available in the Internet sphere) that suits your interest.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

WordPress.org. You have the option to use a straight theme, but if you grow out of that, you also have the option to alter the code base to your liking. You can’t lose by having full control of what your site says about you.


WordPress Hosting


WordPress.com

WordPress.com hosts your site. It’s well-known and it’s known to be secure. WordPress.com hosting comes with the security of knowing that WordPress is in control. You don’t have to think about this at all, really. WordPress takes care of everything.

WordPress.org

When building a site on WordPress.org, you must find your own outside hosting. This is great if you have a hosting company in mind, but can also be just another login and just another site to pop into now-and-then.

Choosing your own hosting gives you a chance to dig into the back-end of your website, play around with files, delete items, and have view of everything.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com image
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

In this case, the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org winner is WordPress.com if you’re looking for ease, and WordPress.org if you’re looking for extra control over the backend of your site.


Website Storage Space


Storage includes any files you’ve uploaded. This would include images,
documents and videos for your blog posts or website pages.

WordPress.com

All plans, even the free version, include local storage space. How much? Here are the numbers:

  • Free Plan includes 3GB local storage space
  • Premium Plan ($8.25/mo) includes 13GB of space
  • Business Plan ($24.92/yr) includes unlimited space

WordPress.org

WordPress doesn’t dictate the storage capacity for WordPress.org sites. Storage is dependent upon your hosting. Let’s break out a few examples:

  • Bluehost‘s lowest plan offers 30GB storage space for $24.00 / mo
  • WP Engine‘s lowest plan allows for 10GB storage for $29.00 / mo
  • Green Geeks allows for unlimited storage for $9.95 / mo
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org hosting sites

Bluehost also has a really inexpensive plan at the price of $2.97 / month, as do other providers. Usually these plans are on shared servers, potentially causing more a bit more slowness depending upon the traffic on your website.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

This one is a really close call! For the most part, the prices on the plans with higher storage availability aren’t all that different. That said, if you’re eager for more space and not too concerned with speed (likely, due to the fact that you don’t expect a ton of traffic), choosing one of the super low-priced hosting options might be the best move. That’s why I ended up placing the ‘.org’ badge on this battle!


WordPress Security and Spam Prevention


WordPress.com

Top of the line spam prevention and security comes by being a member of WordPress.com. Sleep well!

WordPress.org

Your security and spam prevention when using WordPress.org comes not from WordPress, but from the hosting company you choose to partner with. This doesn’t, by any means, result in a poorly secured, spam-filled site. It just means that you might need to do a bit of research to ensure your hosting site meets your needs. You also might need to find a plugin that helps with the spam prevention piece.

If you’re really looking for ease, hire a website developer to do the dirty work for you. They’ll know all of the tricks to ensure your have the security and spam prevention results you need.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com image

If you’re looking to reduce time and ensure security (as much as you can ‘ensure’ security), WordPress.com is the winner here!


Statistics, like Google Analytics


WordPress.com

Feel free to use the stats included within WordPress.com. There is an option to have Google Analytics in their $299/year plan.

WordPress.org

Have your way with stats and outside stat-providing companies like Google Analytics. If you go with this option, it’s free!

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Google Analytics

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

If you’re looking for some deep, free analytics to help you create strategy behind what you do on your site, WordPress.org comes out on top in this WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle.


WordPress Plugins


WordPress.com

Choose from a wide-array of plugins available on WordPress.com. Using outside plugins are not available.

WordPress.org

Your options are open! Feel free to peruse and download any plugin that suits you.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

You should find that WordPress.com has a good number of plugins, but if you’re looking for a site that’s scalable and customized exactly to what you desire, WordPress.org is the winner here.


Advertisements:
Can I Sell Ad Space?
Will I See Ads Targeted at Me When Working In My Website?


WordPress.com

On WordPress.com, you won’t find the ability to sell ad space. The site is yours, but maybe we can think of it like when you’re a minor. Your life is yours, but it’s controlled by your parents. Your site is yours to build, but it’s owned by WordPress.com, and they can create the final rules for it.

As for seeing ads while working within WordPress.com, you will unless you pay to upgrade to an ad-free site ($99-299/year).

Your site is yours to build, but it's owned by WordPress.com. They establish the rules. Click To Tweet

WordPress.org

Do what you please! Feel free to sell ad space via B2B sales, AdSense or another ad provider. You also have the freedom to not see ads targeted at you while you use WordPress.org.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .org image

WordPress.org wins this one. If you want to monetize your site via outside ads and also have the option to be ad-free yourself, this is the only way to go.


WordPress Support


WordPress.com

WordPress is right by your side through everything. They definitely seem to feel ownership of the success of WordPress.com websites. Feel free to ask them for help when needed via their FAQs, support forums and email support!

WordPress.org

Chat with other users, ask questions and read the support forums.

Who Comes Out On Top?

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org .com image

If you want to ensure you speak to a person, WordPress.com is the way to go. The company ensures that those who use the WordPress.com platform have their questions answered in the way they prefer.


WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org what do you think?

So, what side of the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle?

There’s no global right or wrong here; there’s only your right or wrong. We want to hear who you think won the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org battle below!

Thoughts or Questions?

Our blog does not accept comments, but we want to know what you think!  Tag us on Twitter to get the conversation started or contact us.