WordPress is a content management system (CMS), that is, a website editor. Originally designed for blogging, it is now the most widely used in the world, with more than 75 million websites created. However, you should have noticed that there are actually two “WordPress”. This sometimes creates confusion in neophytes. We, therefore, explain the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The way they work
What is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is a site where you can find open-source software of the same name. To create your website, you will need to install this software on a web hosting space to which you have subscribed.
Indeed, if WordPress.org is free, to be able to use it, you generally have to use a web server that will “store” and process the data of your website. It is a paid service.
You can then install a theme (among thousands), which you will then have to customize: colors, button, ergonomics, content, etc. You can also install plugins to take advantage of additional functionalities: contact form, sales pages, chatbox, etc.
With WordPress.org, you are the architect of your website. It will have to be “built”, fed with content regularly and ensure that it functions properly.
What is WordPress.com?
The company behind the service therefore lends or rents its servers with the already integrated website creation tool. You don’t have to install WordPress.
It allows you to choose from just under 300 customizable templates. It’s a turnkey interface, you practically only have to take care of the management of your content.
With WordPress open source software, you will also have to “rent” a domain name with your hosting (it is often offered for the first year). This domain name is therefore yours.
As for the WordPress.com solution, a free version is available. The platform, therefore, lends you a domain name to which a subdomain will be added: “https://monsite.wordpress.com”. When you subscribe to one of the paid plans, the “.wordpress.com” section disappears.
The free version may be enough for a small personal blog, but if your website is intended for marketing use, the paid version is essential. The subdomain prevents, in fact, the good natural referencing (SEO) of your site on the search engines. On the other hand, it gives an unprofessional image.
WordPress.org is undoubtedly much more flexible than WordPress.com. It offers the possibility to upload several important themes. Many sites, like ThemeForest or Divi, offer their own design for purchase, in addition to the hundreds of freemium WordPress themes already available in the library.
Similarly, WordPress.com does not have a large selection of plugins to enrich your site with functionality. It is also not possible to add or modify code there. This freedom of the WordPress Open Source module allows, among other things, to develop custom templates, with the help of a freelancer. It is also difficult to get a perfectly responsive design in wordpress.com, without taking paid options.
Finally, with WordPress.com your site does not really belong to you. It is complicated to migrate it to another host. Migration solutions exist through the Jetpack extension, but not without paying, and they remain limited.
To create an online sales site with WordPress.com, you will have to opt for the Business package at $25 per month. Without this, it is impossible to create an E-commerce site there. WordPress software allows the installation of the free Woocommerce plugin to activate the functionality. However, you need to have some technical knowledge to configure it correctly.
WordPress.com sites are indeed secure. They are also saved on the servers of the platform. In principle, you won’t have to worry about it. However, you should be aware that there is always a risk.
The security of your site under WordPress (in open-source version) will depend on your host and the security plugins installed. The backups and security of your website, therefore, rest largely on you.
Contrary to appearances, the WordPress.com solution, although leaving you great autonomy, can cost you more than its namesake. To create a professional website, you will have to pay between $8 and $25 per month. And some advanced features are only available with the Jetpack plugin, which can cost you up to $27 more per month.
While WordPress hosting will cost you only $5 per month on average (* for entry-level hosting). Then ten euros per year for the domain name. Admittedly, handling is more difficult.
It generally requires the intervention of a professional. Nevertheless, a website is an investment that can bring you much more than you have spent in the long term.
Nevertheless, if you look for more advanced ways of creating a WordPress site with no restrictions on your own WordPress hosting account, we recommend then these WordPress web hosting companies that you might find interesting.