WordPress has become the undisputed heavyweight CMS champion. Whether you want an ecommerce solution or a simple blog solution, the content management system has broad digital capabilities.
However, WordPress is not a single content management system. Underneath the name are two content management systems: wordpress.org and wordpress.com.
Although they are similar in functionalities, there are important differences between the two. The easiest way to see the difference is that .org provides better and more advanced customization and monetization capabilities.
When it comes to .com, it provides users a fast and easy way to have a digital presence for free before being able to expand and customize it with paid options.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
When it comes to wordpress.com, it is free for the majority of users, but it does offer paid features for advanced capabilities. These paid plans begin at $7 per month and scale upwards to $59 per month.
The free version of wordpress.com comes with a custom subdomain yet if you want a complete domain name you have to pay – i.e., the difference between mywebsite.com and mywebsite.wordpress.com.
However, with wordpress.org, most host companies give a free domain name for the first 12 months.
With .com, users can only use WordAds, the official advertising network of WordPress. If you have a self-hosted account, it lets you connect with any ad network – such as AdThrive, Mediavine, or Google AdSense.
With .org, if you’re a blogger, you have to have a self-hosted blog if you want to monetize it. The reason for this is that the majority of influencer networks need you to self-host in order to own the content that is produced, without giving WordPress the right to use it.
Take this scenario: you want to publish a book after building your audience online through your blog by posting excerpts from the book. If you are using .com or .org, a book publisher will not take any content you’ve already posted as it has technically been published.
When it comes to analytics, you can install Google Analytics on a self-hosted site. But if you want that option for wordpress.com, then you have to buy at least a premium plan.
However, if you are not interested in advanced customization or monetization capabilities (although why would you not!?) then .com would work just fine.
There is an ecommerce option on wordpress.com for $59 per month, which enables payment in over 60 countries as well as have the ability to integrate with shipping carriers.
WordPress.org is able to integrate the site with plugins for ecommerce solutions in addition to the ability to choose themes.
There are certain situations where you would want a self-hosted option. If you’re a business owner, you’re probably best off with a self-hosted website through wordpress.org.
eCommerce plans exist for wordpress.com although they would struggle to compete with the capabilities of .org. But another way, if you’re after a website to experiment with content, go for .com but for businesses go with .org.
On wordpress.com, the amount of storage available will depend on the plan that is chosen. On free plans you can get 3GB but on paid plans you can get up to 200GB of storage. On wordpress.org, the amount of storage will depend on the package of your host company.