WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes running a website easy. WordPress offers its services in two flavors which we will discuss below. You can either choose to go with WordPress.com or WordPress.org. The one that suits you best depends largely on what you will be doing with your website.
WordPress.com offers a few paid options. The upgraded plans offer more functionality than the free plan of course, but the Business Plan and the eCommerce plan, allow several features that would be typically expected from a website that is completely self-hosted. That is, you are allowed to install things like plugins and themes.
WordPress.org, on the other hand, is the version of WordPress that can be installed on a third-party hosting server. This is the self-hosted version of WordPress. You have a lot of flexibility with this option and you can configure it to your heart’s delight.
Now that we are clear on what each version of WordPress offers, let’s examine both versions across a few different criteria.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org involve different hosting arrangements. Below, we will discuss how the hosting of your website works with each version of WordPress.
If you have a WordPress.com upgraded plan, you will have access to security features and you will also have the option to use your own custom domain if you so desire.
With the Business and eCommerce plans, you will be able to use a custom domain, you’ll have premium hosting features, and you’ll also have access to a backups utility in addition to the features from the lower-tier plans.
With WordPress.org, you have to buy your own hosting package and domain name. Depending on what type of hosting package you have, you may have to arrange for your own backups if you choose this option.
Customization Options.Being able to customize your website is important for website owners. Let’s see what each service has to offer.
WordPress.com’s plans below the Business and eCommerce options make hundreds of themes available to users. You can also customize the designs.Business and eCommerce plan owners also have access to hundreds of themes and they also have the option to install custom themes.
WordPress.org lets you install custom themes and you can also build your own using PHP and CSS.
Social Media Integration Options. These days, staying in touch with your audience using social media is critical.
WordPress.com Social Media Integration Options
You can integrate your site with various social media networks like Facebook and Twitter on all plans. With the Business and eCommerce options, you will also have the ability to share content to social media networks.
With WordPress.org, you will have to install a plugin such as Jetpack to enable social media integration options.
Additional Features. WordPress can offer more than just blogging content. Let’s see what each service allows you to do in terms of additional features.
Lower-tier WordPress.com paid plans allow users to use features like sharing content and allowing comments and polls without having to install any additional plugins. However, you aren’t allowed anything outside of what you are provided with to begin with. The higher-tier Business and eCommerce plans allow you the same functionality, but you can also install plugins to increase the number of things that you can do with your website.
The possibilities are limitless when it comes to additional features with WordPress.org. You can install any plugin you want, to extend the functionality of your website. There are plugins out there like WooCommerce which allow for advanced eCommerce capabilities, and Total Cache which helps speed up your website loading times.
Whenever you’re dealing with something technical like a website, there’s a possibility that you may run into problems. For this reason, having a strong support network is an important resource.
For the lower-tier packages, you will have access to personal support. The WordPress.com forums are also always available. For the higher-end packages, you will have access to a personal setup session, live chat, and email support 24/7 for 360 days of the year.
WordPress.org does provide support forums. However, depending on your hosting provider, you may or may not be able to get assistance with WordPress issues through them.
Overall, managing a website hosted on WordPress.com is easier. You won’t have to worry too much about details such as which hosting provider to use and you are guaranteed access to support. However, WordPress.org offers more plugin and customization options. Which service you go with will depend largely on your level of technical ability and the type of site that you are running.
Even if you are technically proficient, if you are running a simple blog then WordPress.com might be enough for you. For a simple application like this, it may be unnecessary to complicate things by using WordPress.org. On the other hand, if you are running a more complex website, such as an advanced E-Commerce store, then WordPress.org will offer you all of the plugins that you will need to successfully manage such a website. Based on this information, you should carefully consider your needs and then pick the service which meets the best.