Self Hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com – Which is Better?

When starting a blog, you have one big question to ask yourself — which is, “what blogging platform will you choose?”

There are plenty of options to choose from, but in my personal opinion, there is only one right answers… which is WordPress of course!

WordPress currently powers the majority of blogs on the internet today. It’s free to use and they actually have two different versions for you to get setup with, which are WordPress.com and WordPress.com. WordPress.org is a self-hosted version of WordPress that allows you to download the software and run it off your own domain and web hosting. WordPress.com is another free solution, but instead of running the software off your own hosting and domain, you would be running it through their web site.

Both options are nice, but I would always recommend going with the self-hosted version as there are just so many advantages and benefits to having and owning your own content — all of which are discussed below and shown visually through the infographic below.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com – Which is Best for Your Blog?

As mentioned, there are plenty of blogging platforms out there for you to choose from… but most of them are a waste of time. WordPress is the biggest, best and baddest beast out there. It has the most plugins, themes and customization options as well.

Now it’s time to put free the self-hosted version up against the free wordpress.com version.

WordPress Theme Support

The look and feel of your site is very important. With a self-hosted version of WordPress running your blog, you can have complete customization over the look and feel of your site — whether it’s with a free, premium or custom WordPress theme. As a user of WordPress.com, you will be limited to the themes available to users under the free blogging service.

WordPress Plugin Support

As a user of the self-hosted version of WordPress and hosting it on your own server, you can use as many plugins as you like. You also won’t be limited by how many or which plugins you would like to use. This isn’t the case with WordPress.com hosted blogs, as you are limited on the plugins you can use.

Cost of Running

Both WordPress options are free to use. The only difference between the two cost-wise is that you would need to register your own domain name and setup hosting if you wanted to use the self-serve platform. While there is a slight cost in getting a domain name and hosting, the advantages of owning your own site outright has many advantages. As a user of the WordPress.com platform, you could also pay to connect your site to a domain name.

Ability to Sell Ads / Make Money

When running your own version of the self-hosted version of WordPress.org on your site, you can sell ads, make money with affiliate marketing and even create your own membership site or service based business. Since you are hosting the platform on your own site, you can pretty much do anything with it.

Under the WordPress.com platform, you are not supposed to make money with your site or have any paid advertising. Going against these terms, WordPress could terminate your site at any given time.

Site Maintenance

Running your own hosted version of WordPress, you would be responsible for updating the software whenever a new update comes out. This is done by logging into your WordPress dashboard and simply clicking on the Update option. Some hosting company now offer auto-updating, so this method may not even be required.

WordPress.com hosted blogs are automatically updated, as they are all running off the main WordPress servers.

Control Over Your Site

If you want to make your blog the way you like and have complete control over your content and if you make money or not with the site, you will want to choose the WordPress.org self-hosted platform. Under the WordPress.com free blogging service, you will need to follow their guidelines and be limited on the customization, control and what you can publish on your site.

Branding and Ownership

When creating a site, it’s important to have branding and ownership over what you create. Using WordPress.com software to power your blog, you are in complete control of the content, branding and who owns your content — which is you. With WordPress.com, not only will you get “Wordpress.com” branding possibly associated with your site, you are also at the mercy of their terms and conditions, which means they can shut down your site without warning and for any reason.

The Clear Winner is WordPress.org

Now that we’ve broken down the comparisons between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, you should also be able to see why so many people prefer WordPress.org and their self-hosted platform. For anyone still on the fence about which solution is best for them, we’ve made a final bullet point summary to help stay clear of any confusion.

WordPress.org is a great solution for anyone that wants to…

  • Create a site or blog that they completely own
  • Setup as an online ecommerce site
  • Pick and choose their own plugins and themes
  • Have multiple site authors to contribute content
  • Get a lot of traffic and upload big images and video
  • Build a site that they can scale and make money with

WordPress.com is a great solution for anyone that wants to…

  • Not worry about maintaining their site
  • Start with a blog just to try is out
  • Create a simple site with no frills
  • Setup their own domain name or hosting

As you can see, the benefits of setting up your own blog through WordPress.org’s free self-hosted platform are nearly limitless. It’s much better to setup your blog today on the right path and investing a few dollars into your future, then building something on another platform only to find out later that you are limited on what you can do with it.

If you haven’t setup your own blog yet, click here to walk through the process and see how you can get a free domain name in the process.

Be sure to check out the WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com infographic below.

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