THE MSHINI BLOG

 

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

Nov 9, 2022

Most of us, who are familiar with WordPress, have run into the WordPress.org vs WordPress.com debate at some point, typically while trying to create our first website. Chances are, the very first website you launched was on wordpress.com.

If you are new to hosting, and currently face this dilemma, rest assured, you are not alone. Beginners often find the whole WordPress.com vs WordPress.org thing very confusing, not realizing the overlap shared by these two very different platforms.

A lot of the confusion comes from the fact that both appear to be WordPress, which most will assume is to build websites with. And while that assumption is correct, in that both platforms offer you the WordPress CMS software used to create websites, there are some major differences to be aware of.

What exactly is WordPress?

WordPress is a PHP based free and open source content management system (CMS) that you can download and install on most web hosts that meet the minimum requirements. This software is designed to create websites. It’s open-source, meaning, you are free to use it without any restrictions.

If that sounds complicated, think of it as free-to-use software that was designed to be very user-friendly. WordPress makes it easy to create and maintain a website, even for those with limited experience. WordPress is flexible enough that it can be used to create anything from simple blogging sites to high traffic e-commerce websites. 

So what’s the difference then?

The major difference resides in how WordPress is hosted.

WordPress.org: This is the actual software itself, and would be where you can download the WordPress software used for building websites. It’s open-source software and free to use for anyone. You will need your own domain name and self-host the website.

WordPress.com: This is essentially a managed hosting service that offers the WordPress software hosted and managed on their infrastructure.

In even more simple terms, you can think of WordPress.com as being the commercially managed host for the WordPress CMS, whereas WordPress.org is the organisation behind creating the WordPress CMS software.

Which one is better?

Well, that would depend on you and your needs. For a start, if you are just testing the waters, and have no commercial intent for your website, you could get a fully functioning website using just WordPress.com and not pay a cent. It’s worth noting that this free plan does have its limitations and can be quickly outgrown. For that, WordPress.com offers you upgrades in the form of 4 paid plans that grant you some additional flexibility and legroom at a price, of course.

For more complex enterprise-level eCommerce websites, WordPress.org is most definitely the better option. Due to it having to be self-hosted, you are in full control and have the option to customise every aspect of your website.

Let’s take a quick glance at some of the pros and cons of WordPress.org and WordPress.com

 

WordPress.org

Pros

  • WordPress CMS software free to download
  • You control your own website
  • No SEO or monetization limitations
  • Full customisation of design, plugins and themes
  • Custom analytics and tracking
  • Can add any theme or plugin you want

 Cons

  • Requires own domain and hosting
  • Depending on your host, you may have to install WordPress yourself
  • You are responsible for maintenance and security
  • Can require technical knowledge

WordPress.com

Pros

  • Basic free hosting plan
  • User friendly
  • Automatic site maintenance
  • Built-in security features
  • WordPress.com community support channels

Cons

  • Very limited customization and scalability
  • You are assigned to a subdomain
  • Monetization options not supported
  • Restricted ownership

Conclusion

With so many website builders out there, WordPress remains one of the most popular with millions of daily users. You can create a fully functioning WordPress site with both, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The main difference is in how the site is hosted.

With WordPress.org, being self-hosted, allows for more flexibility and control, as you are in charge of your own website. This would also be the ideal option for larger commercial and professional sites.

Alternatively, if you would prefer assistance with the management of your website, WordPress.com can offer you some value in its managed services. The downside is you are limited in your options.

Mshini Managed WordPress Hosting offers you a more managed approach to hosting. When you sign up for a Single Site Hosting plan with Mshini, WordPress comes preinstalled, saving you the hassle of having to download and install the CMS yourself. We also take care of managing the server infrastructure, allowing you to focus on more important things like building and perfecting your new website.

 

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