WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better? (Comparison Chart)


imageDid you know that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms?

Often beginners confuse WordPress.com and WordPress.org, which leads them to choose the wrong

blogging platform for their needs.Even those who know that they are two different platforms are not aware of the differences between them.

We’re often asked by our users which is the better platform: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.To help answer that, we have created the most comprehensive comparison of free WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (self-hosted version).

Our goal is to highlight the key differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, so you can choose the right platform for your needs.

Since choosing the right platform is crucial for your online success, we have created the most detailed comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (text comparison, table-based comparison, and a full infographic).You can use the links below to jump to a specific section:

If you just want to start a blog or make a website the RIGHT way, then you can skip this article and head over to our guides here:

How to Start a Blog with WordPress(step by step) How to Create a Website with WordPress(step by step) How to Start an Online Store with WordPress(step by step) How to Create and Sell Online Courses with WordPress(step by step)

Having said that, let’s take a look at the differences between self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (Infographic)

Note: This infographic and article compare the powerful self-hosted WordPress.org with the free WordPress.com website hosting service.

You can unlock additional functionality in WordPress.com by upgrading to their paid service.

We have highlighted those features as well.

Video Tutorial

If you’d prefer written comparisons, please keep reading.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org Comparison

The best way to understand the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is to take a look at each platform individually.

Here’s a comparison of both versions of WordPress:


WordPress.org aka “the real WordPress”, is the popular website platform that you have heard all the great things about.

It is an open-source software, and it’s 100% free for anyone to use.All you need is a

domain name and web hosting.

This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.

Below are the pros and cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org to build your website or blog.

WordPress.org Benefits

With WordPress.org, you have full control of your website.You are free to do anything you want and customize it as much as you need.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing WordPress.org to build your website, and the reason why it is our #1 pick for the

best website builder.

– The WordPress software is free, open-source, and super easy to use.WordPress is used by

over 43%of all websites on the internet (See why is WordPress free?).

– You own your website and all its data.Your site will NOT be turned off because someone decides that it is against their terms of service (as long as you are not doing something illegal).You are in full control.

– You can add free, paid, and custom

WordPress plugins / appsto your website.

– You can customize your website design as needed.You can add any

free or premium WordPress themethat you want.You can also create completely custom designs or modify anything that you want.

– You can actually

make money from your WordPress siteby running your own ads without sharing revenue with anyone.

– You can use powerful tools like

Google Analyticsfor custom analytics and tracking.

– You can use self-hosted WordPress to

create an online storeto sell digital or physical products, accept credit card payments, and deliver / ship the goods directly from your website.

– You can also

create membership sitesand sell memberships for premium content, courses, forums, etc., and build an online community around your website.

WordPress.org Cons

There are very few cons of using the self-hosted WordPress.org site.

– Like all websites, you will need web hosting.

This is where your website files are stored on the internet.Initially, the cost is around $3-$10 per month.

However, as your website grows and gets more traffic, the web hosting plan costs will increase as expected, but then you will be making enough money to cover the costs.

– You will need to install WordPress.Luckily, most

popular WordPress hosting companiesoffer 1-click WordPress installation options.You can also follow our comprehensive tutorial on how to properly install WordPress.

– You are responsible for updates.You can easily update your WordPress site by simply clicking on the update button (one click), so it’s not too much work.

– You are responsible for backups.

Thankfully, there are tons of

WordPress backup pluginsthat let you set up automatic backups.

The real cost of the WordPress.org website varies based on what you are trying to build (simple blog, portfolio website, eCommerce store, membership site, etc).There are also other factors like free templates vs premium templates, free plugins vs premium plugins, etc.

On a low budget, you can build your website for as little as $46 per year.See our guide on

how much does it really cost to build a WordPress website for full details.

For 99% of users, our recommendation is always to use WordPress.org.See our guide on

how to start a website.

Bonus: The team at

Bluehost is offering our readers a 61% discount on web hosting + a free domain name.

They’re an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.


WordPress.com is a hosting service created by Automattic, the company led by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.Because of the same founder, users often confuse WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software.

The WordPress.com hosting service has six pricing plans:

– Free – Very limited and restrictive in terms of features.

– Starter – $48 per year

– Explorer – $96 per year

– Creator – $300 per year

– Entreprenuer – $540 per year (Suitable for eCommerce sites using WooCommerce)

– VIP – starting at $25000 per year

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of WordPress.com.

WordPress.com Benefits

The free WordPress.com platform is a good choice for hobby bloggers and those starting a blog for their family.Here are some of the benefits of using WordPress.com:

– It’s free for up to 3GB of space.After that, you will have to switch to a paid plan for more storage space.(Starter plan $48 /year, gives you 6GB, Explorer plan $96/year, gives you 13GB storage, Creator plan for $300/year comes with 50GB storage).

– You will not have to worry about updates or backups.WordPress.com will take care of that.

WordPress.com Cons

There are

several limitations of free WordPress.com, which differentiate it from WordPress.org.Here are some of the disadvantages of using WordPress.com:

– They place ads on all free websites.Your users see those ads, and you don’t make money from them.

If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid WordPress.com plan (starting from $48 per year).

– You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your website, which severely limits ways to monetize your site.If you run a high-traffic site, then you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them.Explorer and above plan users can use WordAds right away.

– You cannot upload plugins.Free plan users get built-in Jetpack features pre-activated.

Creator plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins ($300 / year).WordPress.com VIP program lets you install plugins, and it starts from $5000 per month.

– You cannot upload custom themes.Free plan users can only install from the limited free themes collection.Explorer and Creator plan users can also select premium themes and use custom CSS with those themes.

There are limited customization options for the free version.

– You are restricted to their stats.You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform.Creator plan users can install Google Analytics.

– Free WordPress.com sites come with a WordPress.com subdomain (e.g.https://yourwebsite.wordpress.com).You’ll need a paid plan to get a

custom domain name(e.g.https://www.yourwebsite.com).

– They can delete your site at any time if they think that it violates their terms of service.

– Your site will display a powered by WordPress.com link.It can be removed by upgrading to the Creator plan.

– WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways unless you switch to the Entrepreneur plan.

– You cannot build membership websites with WordPress.com.

As you can see, the

WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan.To unlock some of the more advanced features, you have to be on the Business plan ($300 per year) or on the VIP plan ($5000 per month).

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (FAQs)

Since this is a popular topic, and WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners, we get tons of questions regarding WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

We have done our best to answer the most frequently asked questions below:

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better?

If you are a personal blogger and you don’t care about making money from your website, then go with the free WordPress.com.

If you are a business or a blogger who wants to make money from your site, then we recommend using the

self-hosted WordPress.org.

It gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want.

While you can get several advanced features with the

WordPress.com Creator plan ($300 / year for each website), you can make that money go much further on a self-hosted WordPress site which costs $46 per year.

In our expert opinion, WordPress.org is hands down the better platform.That’s the platform that every professional blogger, small business owner, and even

big name brands like Disney uses.

Can I Monetize Free WordPress.com Website?

WordPress.com does not allow you to run ads on free WordPress.com websites.

If you run a high traffic website, then you can join their own WordAds program and share your ad revenue with WordPress.com.

You can put some affiliate links on your website, but that’s about it.

Basically, you have very limited options to monetize content on your WordPress.com website.

Whereas with WordPress.org, you have full control over

content management system, so you have unlimited monetization options for your new website.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which one is better for Ecommerce?

WordPress.org offers the easiest way to build an eCommerce website.You can use

WooCommerce to build your store or choose from many other WordPress eCommerce, membership, and LMS plugins.

WordPress.com also offers an eCommerce plan starting at $540 per year which is a hefty amount if you are just getting started.It is still limited in terms of features, and you’ll have to follow WordPress.com’s terms of services for your eCommerce store.

See our guide on

how to start an online store without a high budget.It includes how to get your own domain for free along with all the powerful features that you need to grow online.

How do I start a WordPress.org Website?

To start a self-hosted WordPress website, you need a domain name and

WordPress hosting.

A domain name is the address of your website on the internet, such as google.com, wpbeginner.com, etc.Web hosting is where your website files are stored on the internet.

We recommend using

Bluehost to host your website because they are one of the largest web hosting companies in the world.They’re also an official WordPress.org recommended web host.

Last but not least, they’re offering our users a free domain + free SSL + 61% off on hosting.

For step-by-step instructions, you can check out our free guide on

how to make a website.

If you need help, WPBeginner team can even install WordPress and build your website for free.Learn more about how our

free WordPress blog setup works.

Can I move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Often new users who don’t know the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org end up starting with the free WordPress.com service.Once they see the limitations of the platform, they want to switch to “the Real WordPress” aka WordPress.org.

Yes, you can definitely switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and fairly easily move all of your content.

We have created a step by step guide on

how to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, or you can take advantage of our free blog setup service, and we will transfer your blog for free.

WordPress.com vs.WordPress.org – Summary

The best way to think about the differences between WordPress.com vs.WordPress.org is the analogy of renting a house vs.owning a house.

WordPress.com is similar to renting a house.You have limited power and control over what you can and cannot do.

WordPress.org is like owning a house.Where you have full control, no one can kick you out, and you can do anything that you want.

Below is the summary of everything we discussed above in our self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com comparison:

|WP.org (Platform)||WP.com (Free)||WP.com (Premium)||WP.com (Business)|

|Cost||$46 – $100 / year||Free||$96 / year||$300/ year|

|Custom Domain||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|

|Hosting Storage||Unlimited||3 GB||13 GB||200 GB|

|Monetization Freedom||Yes||No||Yes (with rev/share)||Yes (with rev / share)|

|Branding Freedom||Yes||No||No||Yes|

|All SEO Features||Yes||No||No||Yes|

|Powerful Analytics||Yes||No||No||Yes|

|Full Theme Support||Yes||No||Limited||Yes|

|Full Plugin Support||Yes||No||No||Yes|

|Ecommerce Store||Yes||No||No||No|

|Membership Site||Yes||No||No||No|


|Full Control||Yes||No||No||No|

Final Thoughts

The confusion created by similar domains: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org is quite unfortunate for beginners.

There is a lot of history behind the decisions, and you can read more about that in our article

how WordPress.com and WordPress.org are related.

Our hope is that you found this article helpful in understanding the main differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

We wish you all the best with your website and hope that you chose the right platform: WordPress.org.

If so, you may want to follow these useful guides:

How to learn WordPress in 7 days or less 24 best WordPress plugins for your website (expert pick) Ultimate WordPress security guide to improve your website security Ultimate Guide on how to speed up WordPress(including power user tips) Ultimate WordPress SEO optimization guideto help improve your own website ranking (without hiring an expert) 27 proven tips to increase your blog traffic

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our

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