WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Who Wins in 2021?

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Do you want to skip the read and get right to my winner? Actually, the WordPress.com vs WordPress.org battle comes out in a draw BUT you can try WordPress for free only with WordPress.com.


Introduction: Why even consider WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for your next website builder platform?

So: how exactly can you tell WordPress.com vs WordPress.org apart? Wait – there's a difference?

Mention the name WordPress and you will immediately get responses like “great for blogging” and “nice for starting up a website.” But not many people are aware that there are actually two sides to this platform; indeed, a lot of people tend to mistake one for the other. For example, which platform do you use for a WordPress blog vs website?

Take note: these aren’t interchangeable and, in this review, we will see exactly how these two compare with each other and determine which works best with bloggers and casual site makers and for those who have more complex needs like business and online retail sites.

In this comparison, we answer the important question – which between WordPress org or com works better for you?


Pros and Cons for WordPress org vs com:

To assess major WordPress org vs com highlights in terms of Pros and Cons for these two powerful website builders please click on the following links;


Overview:

Before we get right into this showdown – a WordPress com vs org overview should be in order:

WordPress.com:

When thinking about WordPress org or com, the com version of WP is what many bloggers have come to know and love since 2005.

For nearly 20 years now, this CMS-driven platform has given numerous people from a diverse array of industries the ability to create engaging blogs covering numerous topics and points of focus.

To date, WordPress.com has been used to create almost 45 million blogs and websites throughout the world.

wordpress-com-home
wordpress-com-home

WordPress.org:

It’s interesting to note in this WordPress com vs org review that most WP enthusiasts refer to WordPress.org as the real WordPress.

However, unlike its .com counterpart which offers managed hosting to users, the open-source platform is self-hosted – in essence, users must already have a ready domain and site hosting service to use with it. Essentially one of the most flexible site builders currently available, WordPress.org allows users to create fully-functional high-impact websites with any number of features.

In this comparative report, we will see how each of these two WordPress platforms – WordPress com vs org – stack up in terms of usability, features, pricing, mobility, and ecommerce capabilities.

wordpress-org-home
wordpress-org-home

Ease of use:

So which has better user experience – WordPress com vs org?

WordPress.com:

In essence, WordPress.com takes all the guesswork out of blog creation with its block-based editing suite (essentially modified from the same framework used in word processing software.)

Yet for this WordPressorg or com review, we have noticed that its most recent iteration does take some time to learn. This is especially true if you want to create a custom look for your website through the modification of its CSS or if you will be installing third-party tools or widgets to enhance the user experience.

WordPress.org:

To sum it up in one word: challenging. When using WordPress org vs com, WordPress.org needs to be downloaded and installed into your desktop. While there are a number of sites that offer one-click WordPress installation, setting up shop is where things get a little hairy, as you need to manually fix settings on the backend before you can start working. Once that’s fixed, though, it’s pretty much smooth sailing,

Winner – WordPress.com! within this ‘Ease of Use' WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

Features and Flexibility:

What features can you expect when you use either WordPress com vs org?

Out-of-the-box:

Which between WordPress org or com has more features out of the box?

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com’s CMS-driven interface – so similar to the word processors many of us are very familiar with – enables users to sign up, log in, and start working in no time at all. Over the past few years, though, WP.com’s UI has been modified into a block-based editor which is easy enough to use, but one which feels somewhat generic because platforms like Medium already use something similar.

In this WordPress org or com showdown, you may also use plugins with the com version. There are a number of available options – but keep in mind that many of these are only available for top-tier platform subscriptions.

WordPress.org:

We mentioned previously in this WordPress org vs com review that getting started with WordPress.org can be a challenge.

You have to install the site builder into your desktop first, and then set everything up for the backend. But from that point, you can go into any number of directions: start a blog using the CMS-like UI, create an online store using WordPress’ proprietary ecommerce plugin WooCommerce (more about that in a bit), create a members-only site for organisations, corporate websites, and even create a site to serve as a training and learning hub.

It’s a cliché, but the options are limitless where WordPress.org is concerned.

Themes and Templates:

What about aesthetics and beauty – how does each fare in this WordPress org vs com comparison?

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com currently offers more than 250 themes organised in 26 categories, but most of these were created for the blogging community.

WordPress.org:

11,000 – seriously, yes, 11,000 themed templates to choose from. Selections are diverse and templates are categorised by purpose, aesthetic, and features. Still not happy with the selection? A lot of independent designers like TemplateMonster have WordPress-compatible templates to download throughout the web.

Customisation Tools:

You'd want to stamp your own flair and style on your site – how does WordPress org vs com help you achieve that?

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com may not be au courant in the sense that they still don’t use a drag and drop builder like everyone else, but it has a built-in Theme Customizer that allows users to swap out templates and widgets, and preview their site prior to going live.

WordPress.org:

Theme Customizer is also available for WordPress.org, but you could also gussy things up with Elementor, a third-party tool that allows you to create a completely custom look for your site.

3rd Party Integrations:

In this WordPress org or com showdown, let's find out how you can play around with third-party apps.

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com allows users to use any number of third-party apps with the platform, but the most notable integrations are with Google, specifically for analytics and productivity (Google Analytics and GSuite.)

WordPress.org:

The same goes for WordPress.org. In this case, however, the roster of integrations is longer and certainly more complex. In fact, the WordPress.org Plugins page offers over 58,000 applications that you can use to enhance the appearance and functionality of your WP.org website. Apps and widgets include custom editing tool Gutenberg, the previously mentioned customisation tool Elementor, and SEO-booster Yoast SEO.

Hosting:

So – which platform is WordPress hosted vs self hosted?

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com offers managed hosting for its users, and this particular hosting service relies on a content delivery network (CDN) wherein sites are hosted on numerous servers in different locations. In doing so, WordPress.com ensures its business continuity and stability for its users’ sites. This may seem cumbersome as you are completely at the platform’s mercy if they should choose to cull sites out for some reason, but at least you need not trouble yourself looking for a particular hosting service.

WordPress.org:

Part of the challenge in using WordPress.org is that you need to find a host where you can park your website. While users have absolute freedom in this regard, there are a number of hosting services that have, so to speak, received the platform’s seal of approval. Bluehost, in particular, is the current host of preference for many .org users.

Backups:

Accidents do happen – files get lost. How does WordPress com vs org protect you should the unimaginable happen?

WordPress.com:

An automated backup system is bundled into the managed hosting package, so users need not worry about how to back up their data on a regular basis; the process is handled for them.

WordPress.org:

Unfortunately, you’re on your own when it comes to backing up vital information on a WP.org site. In which case, you’ll have to download a third-party backup tool – and there are quite a number of them in the Plugins page and on other developers' sites – and manually set it up to schedule regular backups. Also, let’s bring up the issue of updating your site ware: you’ll also have to update your WP.org regularly and this has to be done manually.

Migration:

Whether you're using WordPress org or com, migration is a reality. Which is better in this aspect?

WordPress.com:

The problem with migration in the context of WordPress.com is that not every user gets the service in their package. WordPress.com’s migration feature is only available for those on either the Business or Ecommerce subscription plans.

Regardless of which one you’re on, this will also require the installation of the Jetpack plugin. If this has you stumped, be sure to check out this nifty little article in the WordPress knowledge base that presents the step-by-step process of migrating from a self-hosted site to a managed hosting platform.

WordPress.org:

Migrating site content from a different host to your WordPress.org account will require the use of a third-party tool to ensure a smooth transition. Comparing WordPress com vs org, WP.org also follows a certain procedure when it comes to migration.

Winner – WordPress.org! within this ‘Feature and Flexibility' WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

eCommerce tools:

Many of us are looking to sell our products and even expertise online – which between WordPress org vs com has better sales features?

WordPress.com:

WordPress.com bloggers who want to monetise their sites can download the free-to-use open-source plugin WooCommerce. While it does offer various solutions for creating an online storefront using one’s blog as the foundation, it is still quite lacking in advanced features.

WordPress.org:

Whether using WordPress org vs com, you get the free WooCommerce plugin to users via the Plugins page, but it also opens things up to a wider roster of ecommerce solutions, including plugins for storefront management, backend management, international transactions, as well as shipping and delivery.

Winner – Draw! within our ‘eCommerce Tools' WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

SEO and Mobility:

If your website can't be found on top of search engines, that's bad news. So which among WordPress com or org is best for SEO?

SEO:

WordPress.com:

For this WordPress org or com battle, WP.com’s SEO toolkit is one of the reasons why you ought to avail of a premium subscription: the tool suite is only available for those on a Business subscription plan or higher.

WordPress.org:

Again, you’re on your own when it comes to making your site SEO-savvy, but there are plugins for that which you can download for your use. The previously mentioned Yoast SEO is one of them, but you can easily shop around for a tool you’re comfortable with.

Mobile:

How does WordPress org or com perform in terms of mobile responsivity?

WordPress.com:

The original WP.com app has long been available for both Android and Apple devices, but note that its functionality is mostly for blogging and podcasting. If you’re going to use it for site or store management, it’s not so handy.

WordPress.org:

The open-source edition is also available for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile, but note that it only works on sites running on WordPress 4.0. As with WP.com, it’s more of a content management app, though it does have limited functionality for e-commerce.

Pagespeed:

WordPress clocks in at 3.22 seconds on average. Whereas, with WordPress.org, because sites built with this platform are self-hosted, page speed will be dependent on the hosting service – and not all hosting services are created equal in this regard.

Winner – WordPress.org! within our ‘SEO and Mobility' WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

Support and Resources:

One important consideration when choosing a great website builder is excellent technical support. How does WordPress com vs org perform in this area?

WordPress.com:

Up close and personal service is what WordPress.com promises its users and the round-the-clock live chat support team is ready to provide what you need. This customer service system is supplemented with its well-researched and maintained knowledge archive which offers everything from how-to guides to audiovisual tutorials.

WordPress.org:

WP.org’s Support page offers numerous guides to help users get started: everything from downloading and installation, to setting up shop, to installing plugins for various purposes online. If you need more detailed assistance, you can go online for a live chat with customer support or log onto one of the topic-driven support forums.

Winner – WordPress.com! within our ‘Support and Resources' WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

Pricing:

The pricing comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is a little more difficult to quantify. But we can safely say those looking to monetise 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 two sections to help with your decision on whether you need WordPress org or com.

WordPress.com

wordpress-com-plans-pricing
wordpress-com-plans-pricing

As we have already mentioned, there is a free but very limited option for you to choose.

While you can use WordPress.com for free, subscription plans range from $4.00 for the personal plan to $45.00 for the ecommerce plan. Note that features such as the SEO toolkit and the WooCommerce plugin are only available for those in the Business and Ecommerce subscription tiers. Likewise, be sure to check for additional costs in the form of premium templates or widgets.

For large enterprises, the VIP price plan starts at $2000 per month. Organisations who are large enough for such a plan should contact the WordPress.com sales team for pricing details.

WordPress.org

While essentially free, running a WordPress.org-powered site can set you back between $45 to $3,500 a year on average depending on the widgets, plugins, and themes you select for your site. Likewise, getting a WP Expert on board for regular technical assistance will also cost you. You’ll also need to pay extra for your site hosting and site security.

For hosting, Bluehost and Siteground are its preferred partners. Best for site security would be Securi.

Winner – Draw! within our ‘Pricing' category for WordPress org vs com comparison.

Comparison Winner:

Website BuilderBattle ScoreVisit Official Website
WordPress.com 3 / 6 www.wordpress.com
WordPress.org 3 / 6 www.wordpress.org

As expected, this WordPress com vs org comparison was a tough one to call. Therefore, all things considered, we elected to consider this WordPress.com vs WordPress.org battle a draw!

We’ll be very honest at this point. Much as WordPress.com gives newbies a leg-up in terms of site-building and convenience, we think that professionals and those getting into ecommerce would do better with the flexibility that WordPress.org offers. It may cost you a bit, but that’s a small price – so to speak – to pay for a scalable site-building solution.

Still, we always recommend that you do independent research and test drive each platform so you can decide better.

>> Try WordPress for Free <<


Conclusion and Recommendation:

Both WordPress com vs org have their merits, but we have to say that the .com edition works best for bloggers and those creating sites for small businesses. Between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, the latter is more scalable and works well for larger companies.

What is WordPress.com best used for?

Our WordPress org or com findings state WordPress.com is best for personal bloggers and those who want to monetise their website.

What is WordPress.org best used for?

What our WordPress com vs org research reveals: startups and small businesses can fully maximise this self-hosted solution. It's also perfect for those who value creativity and control above all else. Creators can self-determine design, elements, and integrations as with this platform, the sky's the limit.

Still, a caveat: this platform requires some technical expertise. If you don't have it, it's best to hire a professional developer to get your site online.

Final Word:

We do hope our WordPress org vs com comparison has helped clarify what both platforms have to offer and made your decision that little bit easier.

Remember; everyone's needs are different so what we have found the better between WordPress org or com, may not be the best option for you. So please do your own research based on your business's needs.

For those who are still undecided on WordPress org vs com, a final important note when considering WordPress compare this review against others before making a final decision. 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.

It would do no harm whatsoever to take advantage of such an offer and test-drive to see which fits your business model most appropriately. Two weeks should be ample time for you to test-drive each platform in order to decide as to whether it suits your needs best.


FAQ:

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

The former is an online site building/blog posting platform built upon a managed hosting framework. It essentially enables those who want to build a website to create one without having to worry about hosting and maintenance. The latter is a self-hosted platform that is better suited for those with more advanced knowledge about coding and site development.

Which platform should I use if all I’m going to do is blog - WordPress org or com?

n this case, we recommend WordPress.com. It offers all the features you need to create a visually appealing and functional blog.


That’s all for now:

If you've read our WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison up to here, we are grateful. Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other WordPress org vs com alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;

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