If you are still a beginner, you must’ve been plagued with questions about hosting: is it better to pick the self-hosted WordPress.org or just go with the free WordPress.com?
To better help you decide which one to use, we have compiled the disadvantages and advantages of both WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of WordPress.org
WordPress.org is free and definitely easy to use. When you use this, you own your data and are in full control of your website. Unless you are doing something illegal, your site will continue to exist simply because you are not under someone else’s terms or service. You can upload and use plugins, upload custom themes and even modify theme files if necessary. If you are thinking about earning, you can also make money by using your own ads or whatever you want to do. This also comes with custom analytics and tracking.
However, WordPress.org will need web hosting which may cost around $3-$7 a month, and if your site grows, your hosting costs grows too. You are also responsible for keeping updates, backups and spam prevention. Luckily, there are a lot of good plugins to help you out with backups. You can also enable Akismet which is built-in with WordPress.org.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of WordPress.com
WordPress.com is also free up to 3GB of space. More than that and it’s $19.95 annually for 5GB or $289.97 for 100GB. This also makes regular backups for your site.
But for this one, ads are all over the place and for you to stop these ads from bugging your users, you have to pay a fee of $29.97. You are also not allowed to sell ads on your site, unless you get 25,000 page views in a month. In this case, you’ll have to apply for Ad control. For this option, it’s free but you’ll have to split revenues 50/50 with them.
Plugins are not allowed as well which is quite contrary to what WordPress is known for, which is its flexibility. To allow plugins, you are supposed to move to their VIP program which starts at $375 per month.
Custom themes are also not allowed and you are limited to their choice of themes used by a lot of other sites out there. They do have a design upgrade though which is charged $30 per year. However, it’s almost as if the only change you can do is the color of your site. Other than that, you cannot customize anything else.
You are also limited to their analytics and you are not allowed a custom analytics software. You are also submitted to follow their terms of service and if you violate them, they can delete your site at any moment. There are also events when themes are being changed without the permission of the owner. Lastly, despite you paying for the upgrades, you are still supposed to say that your website is powered by WordPress.com.
Overall, if you are a blogger who does not worry about making money from their site, you can go with WordPress.com. But, if you’re really serious about this and you’re considering a career with this, go for WordPress.org. Although a lot of people think that self-hosted WordPress will cost you more money, it could actually be cheaper.
Say, for WordPress.com, you can buy their custom domain for $17 per year, the ad-free option for $29.97 per year and the custom design upgrade for $30 per year. That’s $76.97 and you do not have enough freedom and control.
Meanwhile for WordPress.org, use Bluehost at $3.95 a month, which means $47.4 per year. You can also try other web hosting companies for the same price but BlueHost also gives you a free domain name. You can also try other companies with a domain name for $10, like Goddaddy or NameCheap. That’s a total of around $57.4 in a year with full control on your website.
For the usage, their interface are basically almost similar so it’s hard to say which one is easier to use. But if you want to be hands-on on every aspect of your site, we would rather have WordPress.org.