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

Did you know that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms? Often beginners confuse the two which leads them to choose the wrong platform. We’re often asked by our users which is the better platform: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. To help answer that, we… Read More »

The post WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better? (Comparison Chart) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Did you know that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms? Often beginners confuse the two which leads them to choose the wrong platform. 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 highlight the key differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, so you can choose the right platform for your needs.

Self hosted WordPress.org vs free WordPress.com

Since choosing the right platform is crucial for your online success, we have created the most complete comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org ( text comparison, table-based comparison, and a full infographic).

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:

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)

Self Hosted WordPress.org vs Free WordPress.com

Note: This infographic and article compares the powerful self-hosted WordPress.org with the free WordPress.com hosting service. You can unlock additional features in WordPress.com by upgrading to their paid service. We have highlighted those features as well.

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.

WordPress.org

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

It is open source and 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 the go-to choice.

  • It is free and super easy to use. (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 / apps to your website.
  • You can use customize your website design as needed. You can add any free or paid WordPress theme that you want. You can also create completely custom designs or modify anything that you want.
  • You can actually make money from your WordPress site by running your own ads without sharing revenue with anyone.
  • You can use powerful tools like Google Analytics for custom analytics and tracking.
  • You can use self-hosted WordPress to create an online store to sell digital or physical products, accept credit card payments, and deliver / ship the goods directly from your website.
  • You can also create membership sites and sell memberships for premium content, courses, etc and build an online community around your website.

WordPress.org Cons

There are a 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 costs will increase as expected, but then you would be making enough money to cover the costs.
  • You are responsible for updates. You can easily update your WordPress site by simply clicking on the update button (1-click), so it’s not too much work.
  • You are responsible for backups. Thankfully, there are tons of WordPress backup plugins that let you setup automatic backups.

The real cost of 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.

WordPress.com

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

The WordPress.com hosting service has 5 plans:

  • Free – Very limited.
  • Personal – $36 per year
  • Premium – $99 per year
  • Business – $299 per year
  • VIP – starting at $5000 per month

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 space. (Personal plan $36 /year gives you 6GB, Premium plan $99/year gives you 13GB storage, or Business plan for $299/year for unlimited 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. So your users will see ads, and you don’t make money from it. If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan (starting from $36 per year).
  • You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your website. If you run a high traffic site, then you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them. Premium and Business plan users can use WordAds right away.
  • You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in JetPack features pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins ($299 / 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. Premium and business plan users can also select premium themes. There are limited customization options for the free version. Premium and Business plan users can use custom CSS.
  • You are restricted to their stats. You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Business plan users can install Google Analytics.
  • They can delete your site at anytime if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
  • Your site will display a powered by WordPress.com link. It can be removed by upgrading to the Business plan.
  • WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways.
  • 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 ($299 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 that 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 Business plan ($299 / 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 likes Disney uses.

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 your website’s address 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 for hosting your website because they are one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. They’re also an official WordPress.org recommended hosting provider. Last but not least, they’re offering our users a free domain + 60% off on hosting.

For step by step instructions, you can checkout our free guide on how to make a website.

If you need help, WPBeginner team can even 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 servie, 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:

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Final Thoughts

The confusion created by the 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 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 our guide on how to learn WordPress in 7 days or less.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better? (Comparison Chart) appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons)

We are often asked by users why they should use WordPress instead of other free blogging services like Blogger, Ghost, Tumblr, etc? Medium is a fast growing free blogging platform that allows anyone to create stories and have their own personal space on the web.… Read More »

The post WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by users why they should use WordPress instead of other free blogging services like Blogger, Ghost, Tumblr, etc? Medium is a fast growing free blogging platform that allows anyone to create stories and have their own personal space on the web. In this article, we will compare WordPress vs Medium with the pros and cons of each platforms.

WordPress vs Medium - Which one is better?

Important: Please note that this comparison is between self-hosted WordPress.org sites and Medium, not WordPress.com vs Medium. Please see our guide on the difference between self-hosted WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.

1. Ownership of Your Content

Medium is a free online community where anyone can share their stories. It is easy to use, reliable, and has built-in social networking features.

However, you do not own Medium. It is owned by ‘A Medium Corporation’, and they can decide to shut it down, announce new pricing plans, or cancel your account at anytime.

On the other hand, WordPress allows you to own your own content. Since you host your own website, you have full control over your data and who you share it with.

2. Growing into Your Own Brand

Medium brand displayed on a Medium publication

When you are using Medium, you are promoting their brand along with your stories. You don’t get paid for that. If you are not a famous author, chances are that Medium users would remember reading a story on Medium without even remembering your name.

Medium is also a network which means content from other authors often get displayed as next stories below your own story. Taking your users away to read articles by other brands and authors.

On WordPress, you have full control on how you want to promote your brand. As your site grows in popularity, you alone decide how to capitalize on your content and brand recognition. Your content and ideas are recognized by your name alone.

Since you have full control of your WordPress site, you can do a lot more to increase the time users spend on your site.

3. Design Possibilities

Medium allows you to choose a layout for your publication. You add your own logo, background color, or image to the header. For layout you can choose grid or stream based layout. This drag and drop editor is very easy to use and offers multiple customization options.

However, still your publications appearance is limited to the choices available in Medium. You cannot choose your own design and layout for your website.

On the other hand, there are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available. These themes are designed by professionals with innovative designs and unlimited customization options.

WordPress themes offer unlimited design possibilities

WordPress gives you the flexibility to build a site that looks uniquely yours. If you can spend a little more, then you can hire designers and developers to create any kind of website imaginable.

4. Freedom to Move

Moving your blog

Medium allows you to export your data in HTML format. This makes it difficult to export your data into other platforms like WordPress. Responses and likes on your articles cannot be exported.

Setting up redirects from Medium to WordPress is nearly impossible. Even if you are using a custom domain on Medium, you will still have to manually setup a redirect for each story on your new platform.

As an open source platform, WordPress gives you freedom to move all your content. You can import/export your data from WordPress using importer plugins.

You can also import/export users and comments. WordPress also comes with amazing backup plugins that allow you to restore and migrate your site to a new host or even a new domain name.

5. Support Options

Medium comes with extensive documentation and a ticket based support system. Currently, support is free for all users. Answers are provided by Medium staff and their response time depends on the number of support requests they have in pending.

WordPress is a community driven project. It powers more than 26% of all websites on the internet. Free community support is available through WordPress.org website. (See: why is WordPress free?)

WordPress.org support

Apart from that, you will find WordPress support on countless third-party platforms like StackExchange, YouTube, SitePoint, etc. See our guide on how to properly ask for WordPress support and get it.

WPBeginner itself is the largest WordPress resource site for beginners. We have hundreds of how-tos, tutorials, videos, and step by step guides to create any kind of website with WordPress. See our guide on how to make the most out of free WPBeginner resources.

6. Security

Medium is a fully hosted platform, which means you don’t need to worry about the software. Your content is served by highly secure Medium servers. Your private information is kept secure using the industry standard security measures.

WordPress is a self hosted platform. This means that you are responsible for safety and security of your website. WordPress is well-known for its quick response to security issues with immediate updates that are automatically installed on millions of WordPress sites.

WordPress security

At WPBeginner, we use Sucuri to protect our site against malicious attacks. Take a look at how Sucuri helped us block 450,000 of attacks in 3 months.

8. Future

Medium is a private company owned by ‘A Medium Corporation’. Currently, the company has limited monetization options offered by partnerships with select brands for fewer publishers. We don’t know for sure what the future holds for Medium. It can survive and make money, or it may disappear like dozens of other free content hosting services before it.

WordPress is an open source project, managed by a community of thousands of independent developers and users. WordPress Foundation protects the legal freedoms of WordPress which ensures that the project will continue even if core developers leave the project.

It has been around for more than 13 years and has grown into the largest content management system in the world. It is safe to say that WordPress is going to be around for years to come.

For more details, see our guide on who owns WordPress and how does WordPress make money?

We hope this article helped you compare the pros and cons of WordPress vs Medium. You may also want to see our guides on the most common misconceptions about WordPress and Why is WordPress free?

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post WordPress vs. Medium – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on WPBeginner.