WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – The Differences & Which To Choose

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – The Differences & Which To Choose

Are WordPress.com and WordPress.org the same? It’s a question that on the surface seems so obvious, that many people don’t even think to ask it, let alone consider the answer. The truth is that those three little letters after the period make a huge difference, and could impact the success of your website in the future.

So, what are the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? Besides sharing the name ‘WordPress’ there are a number of significant differences to be aware of when choosing the platform you want to use for your website.

What Is The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

To make things as clear as possible, we’re going to cover all differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, starting with:

The Fundamental Difference


This is where people typically get confused. Both are called WordPress, yet aren’t the same.

The non-profit WordPress Foundation manages WordPress.org which is a self-hosted content management system (meaning that you can install it anywhere and buy your own domain to set up a site). Not only is it a self-hosted content management system, but it’s also the world’s leading content management system.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is essentially the largest WaaS platform owned by Automattic, the company run by WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. It is powered by the WordPress.org open-source software.

TL;DR – WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Differences

In short, WordPress.com is a limited version of WordPress.org that has been intentionally simplified for a completely different demographic.

WordPress.org is open-source meaning that the main difference is:

While some of the most notable limitations of WordPress.com include:

  • No monetization through ads is possible (you are locked in to using the “official” WordPress.com advertising program)
  • No plugin installation or updates on the free plan — bigger plans also have these limitations, just lighter
  • You only get to choose one out of a few free themes if you’re on a free plan
  • Customization of the appearance, features, and overall site is heavily limited
  • The free plan doesn’t let you use Google Analytics
  • You have to upgrade from the free plan if you want to use your domain without the WordPress.com subdomain
  • No eCommerce features or integrated payment on the free plan
  • No membership websites


There are plenty more limitations with WordPress.com, however, you have more responsibility with WordPress.org as a result. This should affect your decision on whether you should go with WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

Pricing and Cost Differences

Budget is always one of the first things you have to figure out when you’re building something. In this case, there are big differences between the pricing and costs of WordPress.com and WordPress.org, so to help you plan your budget better, we have broken down both solutions.

WordPress.com offers four different pricing plans that can be paid annually, upfront, or monthly.

Here’s a detailed pricing breakdown for WordPress.com


Besides these, WordPress.com does offer a free plan, and all you have to do is buy the domain. However, you will have their subdomain displayed e.g www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com.

When it comes to WordPress.org, it’s completely free to use. However, there are other costs that WordPress.org doesn’t cover, which WordPress.com covers for you.

  • Hosting – You can either set up a server with a cloud provider like DigitalOcean, Linode or Vultr or using a shared hosting service
  • Security — Depending on your hosting, you might need some premium security features or plugins that can cost up to $250 per year.
  • Premium themes — there are free ones, but to get the most out of WordPress.org, you’ll probably want to go with premium themes. They usually cost up to $150 per year.
  • Premium plugins — another optional thing, but if you’re serious about scaling your website fast, you will probably want to go with some premium plugins like Rank Math for SEO.

Ease of Use

Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have a learning curve, but which one is easier to overcome?

Since WordPress.org offers you a lot more freedom, you might frequently get lost if you’re a beginner. Whereas WordPress.com doesn’t have this issue. Their setup is more robust as you’re solely dependent on the plan you chose.

On the other hand, if you are a more advanced user, you’ll probably find your way faster with WordPress.org, as you’ll know exactly what you need to set up your intended site.

Setting up WordPress.com is a bit easier as it’s designed for blogging. Also, since it has far more limitations and doesn’t allow you to change many things you would normally be able to change on WordPress.org, fewer options mean it is easier to use.


Plugins are coded programs that serve the purpose of performing certain functions on your website, and they can be anything from payment integrations to a simple table of contents.

There are major differences in handling plugins on WordPress.com and WordPress.org so you must familiarize yourself with these to make your choice better.

WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to use any plugin upload or installation unless you’re on the Business plan ($300) even though the majority of plugins from WordPress databases (over 50,000) are free.

This again represents a huge limitation in controlling your website, but the benefit is that WordPress.com pretty much handles a lot of things for you. Whereas you’d need to install more plugins yourself on WordPress.org.

Speaking of WordPress.org, you have zero limitations when it comes to playing with plugins. You can install any plugin you want, free or premium, and configure it however you want.

After Action Report — Use WordPress.org for Maximum Versatility & Control

Although both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages there’s really no question as to which is the best solution for any business that’s either already established or is planning on significant growth.

From the addons and plugins you can choose that allow you to integrate everything from payment portals to mailing lists, security to social media automation, to full control over your themes and website’s appearance, WordPress.org lets you have it all.

Happy Coding!!!

Thank You for reading till here. Meanwhile you can check out my other blog posts and visit my Github.

I am currently working on Stone CSS ( Github )

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