WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Basic Comparison

WordPress is an open-source platform that is used by many people to create a website, and it is the most popular platform as almost 40% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress.

If you want to start a website using WordPress, you have two options. WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Yes, those two are different and many people are still not sure about the differences between them. 

In this article, we will discuss the differences between them and which one is more suitable for you. 

What are they?

WordPress.com offers you a website hosting service, together with security function and maintenance and it is operated in its own WordPress platform. Therefore, being a web hosting provider, WodPress.com will manage all the complicated things such as security and plugins for you.

WordPress.org is an open-source software from WordPress which works similar to WordPress.com, but you host your website rather than having WordPress managing it for you. It is also called self-hosted WordPress because you install the WordPress.org software and put it on your website. In addition to the software, you still need web hosting and a domain name to actually run the website.

What are the key differences between them?

1. Complexity

WordPress.com is an open-source platform while WordPress.org is software from WordPress. Regarding this, WordPress.com is easier to start with and it gives you less headache because it works similarly to other web hosting service providers in a way that they will take care of the complicated subjects such as updates and backups for you.

Since WordPress.org is software from WordPress, you still need other things to manage to run your websites such as web hosting and security. Moreover, regular updates and maintenance should be done by you as well. It is not as complicated as you think, but it is definitely more complicated compared to WordPress.com especially for beginners.

2. Limitation

From point number 1, we can observe that WordPress.com is less complicated. Then, what makes WordPress.org extremely popular? The answer is related to the limitation of WordPress.com. While it might seem incredible that they will take care of everything for you, you have little freedom to manage & operate your website. These limitations involved the followings:

• You cannot monetize your website and you cannot put ads on your website. Even worse, you will see their ads on your website (for cheaper plans) and receive no money for it.

• No additional plugins (traffic tracking tools included) for your website and it does not allow you to have your custom themes.

• You cannot have your custom domain name and your website name will be branded by WordPress (For example: https://mywebsite.wordpress.com)

Note: You can have more freedom using WordPress.com, but need to pay for a more expensive plan. Those issues do not apply to WordPress.org since you only install the software for WordPress in this case. It is possible to add custom themes, brandable domain names, and ads to your WordPress.org websites.

3. Price

You need to pay for the web hosting service for WordPress.com but could go with the free plan that allows up to 3GB of space. More advanced plans cost $4/month (personal), $8/month (premium), $25/month (business), and $45/month (E-commerce). The personal plan allows you to have SEO options and support, but no themes, plugins, and unique domain names. The business plan allows you to have more control over themes and plugins.

WordPress.org is free, but you need to pay for domain names and web hosting services which are basic to start a website. Together with security and additional plugins, it could cost up to $50~$80 a year. Relatively cheap and you get full control of your website (monetization included).

Which one do you need for your website?

It depends. If you are a personal blogger without the need to monetize your website, then WordPress.com might be more suitable for you. Also, if you are really busy and do not have the time to know more and understand the complexity of WordPress.org, then WordPress.com is also for you.

If you are a blogger who wants to monetize your website or a business, then WordPress.org is for you because you want to have full control of your website (brandable domain names, themes, plugins, etc.). Developers also find WordPress.com is too limited and therefore, often choose WordPress.org. Obviously, you can go with a more expensive plan for WordPress.com for full control of your website as well, but it is recommended to choose WordPress.org instead in that case.

Another point to consider, it is possible to start with WordPress.com, and then move it to WordPress.org.


The main differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org are related to complexity, limitation, and price. WordPress.com is simple and it has a free plan. Therefore, it suits personal blogger the best.

On the other hand, WordPress.org is more complicated since it works as a software and still needs other elements to run the website. Nonetheless, it is relatively cheaper compared to the paid plans of WordPress.com and you have better control over your website. Hence, more suitable for businesses, developers, and bloggers who want to monetize their websites. 

In this article, we have discussed about the basic comparison of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. We hope you have a better understanding after reading this article.