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Why even consider WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
The reach and power of the WordPress platform is quite astonishing. It allows individuals as well as companies to achieve whatever they are looking for. This ranges from simple website creation, through blogs on any topic to top end, extremely complex portals and full enterprise websites.
Here are a few of the reasons as to why so many choose the platform:
- Online/Published/Out there: The focus of the WordPress platform is to ensure that those with little experience can quickly, easily and effectively get whatever they wish online in a very short timescale. Posts, pages and collaboration are intuitive and easy to produce, share and publish when complete or though automated publishing schedules.
- Themes: There is certainly no shortage of WordPress themes to choose from whether you go for WordPress com or org, but to give an insight into this, here are some stats: WordPress.com offers in excess of 200 themes. WordPress.org offers around 1,700 themes in the free WP repository, plus countless commercial themes that you can pay for (or indeed, you can create your own!)
- Flexible: The choice really is yours. Whatever WordPress blog vs website ambitions you have can be achieved. Those using WordPress.org also have countless plugins to enhance their online appearance and appeal.
- Ease of publishing: Create whatever content you wish. Posts and Pages can be written, media inserted wherever necessary, preferred format completed, and with one-click, your content is live and out there on the web
- Password protected: You can choose whether your data becomes public or private. Pages you feel should be protected and accessed only on a “need to know” basis can be password protected and details given only to those you decide on.
- Management: There is no doubt in the WordPress com vs org debate that WordPress.org gives you far greater management control of what is introduced to add to your online presence, but this also means knowledge of management procedures are necessary (unless outsourced). While this can be extremely valuable for some, others will be content to let the WordPress hosted vs Self hosted option take the former course. This frees them from any real concerns about management in its various guises.
- Ease of media upload: Another key benefit, drag and drop functions allow ease of upload in terms of different media types. Images, videos and the written word are inserted quite effortlessly.
- Multilingual: In any WordPress com vs WordPress org review you need not be concerned about multilingual abilities for your site. The platform is offered in over 70 languages.
Ease of use:
The WordPress platform has been produced with the intention of making your blog, website and online presence very easy to manage. Yes, there will be a learning curve for those starting out, but it is certainly one that can be mastered.
The WordPress.com essentially has an overlay on top of WordPress.org to ease the learning curve and essentially turning a content management open source system into a more website builder. For this reason the WordPress.com platform wins the ease of use battle.
Winner - WordPress.com
Features & Flexibility:
In this section of WordPress org or com we will give our take on what you can actually do with both. This will help you to decide if the WordPress hosted vs Self hosted platform is right for what you are trying to achieve.
|Feature||WordPress com||WordPress org|
|Hosting||WordPress.com looks after all hosting for you. This means you do not have to download software, find and pay for separate hosting, or have the concern of managing a website server. Free Hosting. Those on the free plan are limited to 3GB of space.||No free hosting. YOU host your own blog or website. WordPress.org is where you go to find the free WordPress open source software that can be downloaded and installed on your own web server. . You must look for your own host and pay for this separately.|
|Domain||Free subdomain – e.g.: MYSITE.wordpress.com – Those looking for a custom domain must upgrade to a paid plan.||You need to get a custom domain name of your own. Additional costs will apply.|
|Security & Performance||Basic security and backups are handled for you. The WordPress.com team handle everything about the technical performance of your site. When something is not working you can do nothing until WordPress.com address the issue.||You will receive varying levels of security dependent upon the hosting provider you use. Some are far more comprehensive on this point than others. You may choose to secure your website. The same stands for backups. You either rely on your host provider or enable plugins to achieve this.|
|Themes||Far less themes are offered than from WordPress.org (although it must be said there are still a healthy number available for use). In addition, limited customisation is possible.||Install any theme you wish. You can also customise exactly as you wish. Those with technical knowledge (or who outsource the task) can create their own themes using PHP coding|
|3rd party plugins||3rd party plugins can only be used if you subscribe to the $25/month Business plan. The other plans only offer a small range of pre-built features. (see below for pricing options). You cannot add additional features to your site if they are not already provided in the WordPress default environment.||You have the freedom of installing any free or premium plugin you wish. This is a key point if you intend to customise your site to the point where it exactly fits your needs.|
|Monetization||No ads of your own are allowed on your site, but WordPress.com actively displays their ads on your site. Reason: That is the price you pay for using the platform for free. To remove such ads, it will cost you a minimum of $4/month. Strict rules are in place as to whether you can advertise or not and any ‘monetization’ is split between yourself and WordPress.com||You are at liberty to choose and place as many ads and as many forms of monetization on your site as you wish. This also means you can choose any ad service you want and you keep 100% of your earnings.|
Winner - WordPress.org
SEO & Mobility:
It is absolutely crucial that your site is mobile-optimised. The growing number of visitors to all sites using mobile devices is increasing exponentially and this is something you need to take full advantage of. The WordPress platform offers this ability to the full so no matter WordPress.com or WordPress.org you will be future proof here with their latest themes on offer.
Due to the number of SEO plugins that you can choose from when plumping for WordPress.org, those looking for more effective SEO should be using WordPress.org. There are some industry standard SEO plugins available and if used in the right manner will afford excellent results.
Those who opt for WordPress.com and are looking for solid SEO performance need to invest in the Paid for Business Plan (details in the pricing section below).
On the topic of SEO best practice, it is vital that this is not underestimated. You can have the best site in the world, but if you do not get it noticed then your efforts have been in vain. If there is little or no SEO expertise within your company you should either invest in some through professional training of a staff member, or better still, take the immediate benefit of hiring professional SEO and online marketing services. By doing so you will receive huge benefits. These benefits will far outweigh any cost invested through the ability of such a company to significantly promote brand recognition. This will be achieved in many ways but includes lifting you up the search engine ranking tables and targeting those customers you are looking for. In short the SEO plugins available will only help with on page and technical SEO workflows, off page SEO is a whole extra ball game.
Winner - WordPress.org
Support & Resources:
An added advantage that should be understood from the “get-go” is the amount of resources and assistance this extremely popular WordPress platform has available. There are tutorials both written and in video form, vast communities to help you along, and WordPress experts who will help you achieve exactly what you are looking for if you wish to invest in their services.
It should be said that assistance is far more likely be required on the WordPress.org site due to management challenges of the platform let alone the number of plugins available and how you decide to integrate these into your site. But again these will come at extra costs.
WordPress.com however does offer LIVE Chat support for paid subscription level and for this reason alone it wins our Support & Resources battle.
Winner - WordPress.com
The pricing comparison between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com is a little more difficult to quantify. We have pricing and package details within our separate WordPress.org and WordPress.com reviews, so best to check these out for details. But we can safely say those looking to monetize their site there is no question in the WordPress com vs org debate – WordPress.org wins hands down.
Below we will separate the pricing into 2 sections to help with your decision on whether you need WordPress.org or WordPress.com.
As we have already mentioned, there is a free but very limited option for you to choose. Take note as mentioned earlier with “custom domain name”. This does not mean it comes bundled with the price. You will still need to pay for this separately.
This is certainly a sensible way to go if you wish to trial the service to see how it meets your needs. By doing so your final choice in terms of decision making will widen considerably. It will also allow you to understand in your WordPress org or com deliberations whether:
- The free WordPress.com service suits your needs.
- If WordPress.com is what you are looking for but you want to upgrade to one of the paid for packages.
- If you want to start out with the WordPress.com version with the option to migrate to WordPress.org in the future.
- If you feel WordPress.com does not meet your needs you will then whether the WordPress.org will do so either.
It should be noted that there is also VIP price plan not mentioned on the website pricing page. The VIP price plan which starts at $5000 per month. Those organisations who are large enough for such a plan should contact the WordPress.com sales team. You can be assured, they will be very happy to speak with you! This would be essentially the same as going with a premium London WordPress Web Design Agency.
Annual cost approximation:
To give you an idea of annual costs in your WordPress hosted vs Self hosted debate, here is an example of what your annual costs would be if you chose the “Premium” price plan.
This calculation is for guidance only and all figures should be fully checked for latest pricing before committing to any price plan.
Premium price plan = $ 8 per month (8 x 12) = $96
Domain Name cost per annum = $15
Total = $111 per annum
Note: If you are looking at the Personal plan ($4/month) or the Business plan ($25/month) simply multiply the monthly cost by 12 (months) and add the annual domain name cost.
It is important to understand that there are variations in what you pay on an annual basis for your personal domain name – check this and add to your calculation.
Your pricing calculation for using WordPress.org does need investment up front, but this investment is generally far smaller than mentioned above. Particularly for new sites.
Indeed, it is possible to get a high-quality shared hosting package for your WordPress.org site for under $50 per annum with our recommended hosting company SiteGround.
Note: There are cheaper as well as more expensive hosting packages available. Be sure to check what you are signing up for and compare against other hosting offers.
Once you have added your annual domain name cost (in our example $15) to the cost of your annual hosting costs (in our example $50) you will have your total start-up cost.
In our example to get your site up and running on WordPress.org would be $85.
Of course, this is overly simplifying the price comparison because hosting is usually cheaper the first year or unless purchased in bulk and then in all likelihood you will use premium plugins of different varieties and these will add to your set-up costs. Also you can start an albeit limited site for Free with WordPress.com. But the fact remains that in the WordPress com vs org debate you could set up a professional online presence for less by going down the WordPress.org route.
Winner - Draw
|Website Builder||Battle Score||Full Review||Visit Official Website|
|WordPress.com||3 / 6||Read full review||Go to WordPress.com|
|WordPress.org||3 / 6||Read full review||Go to WordPress.org|
From using and studying both platforms thoroughly our comparison battle scores result in a draw. Essentially both are the same platform and cater for a different user.
Remember; everyone's needs are different so what we have found the better of the two, may not be the best option for you. So please do your own research to make your decision based on your businesses needs. The easiest and free way to do this would be through the WordPress.com platform.
Conclusion & Recommendation
In this WordPress org vs com comparison, we need to be very clear on who the WordPress hosted vs Self hosted options are most suitable for.
Before we give clear advice, here is an analogy that is roundly used, but really does sum up the difference in your decision making when it comes to WordPress com or org:
Renting a house vs Owning a house: WordPress.com is very similar to renting a house. You have little say over what you can and cannot do to the grounds, interior and exterior of the house. On the other hand, WordPress.org can be associated with owning your own house; basically, you can do anything you wish to the grounds, interior and exterior.
Our WordPress com or org findings state that personal bloggers and those who have no interest in making money from their website would be far better suited to going for the free WordPress.com offer. Also those looking to test the water with limited technical skills would be wise to take advantage of the 14 day free trial on the WordPress.com
Any startup or small business looking to make money from their online presence would be wise to take up the Self hosted WordPress.org solution. We say this because it gives complete freedom and total flexibility to allow you to grow your website as you wish. Themes are yours to choose or personally design, the complete raft of any changes are yours to decide, and plugins can be used to enhance your online presence no matter which sector you operate in or the customer base you are targeting.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our ever-growing blog of review and comparison articles. If you have tried either of these platforms we would love to know your thoughts and experiences.