I got a call from a friend days ago asking for advice on a platform to start blogging… Apparently, she had been reading so she started asking questions.
Questions like WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Any difference? Which should I go for?
Although there are tons of resources out there highlighting the difference between Hosted (WordPress.com) and Self-Hosted (WordPress.org) I thought I’d do justice to it by writing a simple article spelling out major differences and which to go for if you’re just starting out.
Let’s get started.
1. Hosted vs Self Hosted WordPress
Here’s a quick rundown of how websites or in this case, blogs work.
They are a collection of well-written codes, arranged into a file to play a role, support each other. So those Web files need to be hosted on a server which therefore creates the need for you to have a hosting server to load your website’s files from.
Now you also need a short, clean domain that represents you or your business for example (creasourced.com) to be able to access those site files properly through your Web browser.
You need these two things.
Now here’s something to know… The WordPress at both the WordPress.com and the WordPress.org are from the same company however the .com version gives you the chance to host your website on their server (Take Note: This server already have hundreds of thousands of blogs on them) for free and even gives you yourname.wordpress.com FREE so you don’t have to pay for that however WordPress.org is a different thing entirely.
Also closely related we call the WordPress.org Self-Hosted because all you get there are the WordPress CMS core files so you can put them on your own hosting servers (that you purchased) and point your own domain to it (that you purchased).
In fact, you may not even have to go there at all if you’re going to self-host your WordPress blog as there are tons of other ways to get started with WordPress.
So WordPress.com is Hosted for you by WordPress.com itself but WordPress.org Self-Hosted by you wherever you purchase a hosting server (Click here to buy from Interserver, I use them for all my blogs and trust them).
2. Free vs Paid
From the number one point below you can tell already that the Hosted version of WordPress is free even though they have some paid plans to bump you up a bit and gives you more freedom.
WordPress.org the Self-Hosted version is also free..(The files) you just have to pay for your hosting elsewhere and tie up your things yourself.
So does the free version of WordPress even looks easier than the one you have to pay for?
Course it is, however, you didn’t pay for it so there are limitations to what you can do with it… So I can’t stress this next line enough “You do not entirely own your website, blog at WordPress.com” It is hosted on their server and you are not paying for it, hence they have a stake in your blog.
The latter however helps you enjoy what true freedom with WordPress is. You pay for your servers and domain, handling everything by yourself which requires a bit more work but is recommended, more on this below.
3. What You Can Create (Limitations)
WordPress is a powerful content management system (CMS) and can be used to create a wide array of websites from full-blown online magazines to a thriving e-commerce websites like Aliexpress, Jumia to hotel booking websites, and so on.
Not saying those companies built their sites with WordPress by the way, however, WordPress could easily deliver lookalikes to the very footer of the website.
Hosted WordPress only gives you the basic options to create a Weblog even after you may have paid for upgrades like a standard .com domain from them and a few other things.
Nothing is like the self-hosted WordPress.org which allows you to even dive more into the core features of WordPress and can help you build a highly efficient website integrating Live functions to it.
For example, you can have an online shop embedded into your website, even a way for people to book you or your services through your page, display information elegantly unlike Hosted WordPress.com which limits you greatly to a weblog.
So, Babs, Which Do You Recommend?
Well, since you’re asking nicely. Sure I can recommend something for you.
It boils down to your aim really and from the three main differences spelled out above, I can tell you can tell the one that’s good for you.
Go for Hosted WordPress.com if you just want to play around with a blog and write stuff without expecting much, like much although I don’t know why anyone would do that.
Go for self-hosted WordPress.org if you’re thinking of business in the long run. Seriously there are cheap hosting packages you can get started with, although not highly recommended but will do for beginners and you can always upgrade later.
Wrapping it All Up
I hope I’ve been able to convince and not confuse you about these two fantastic WordPress platforms.
I tried as much as possible to keep the techy techy terms from this article. If the latter is what I’ve done, confuse you then please, leave a comment below, I’ll see it and do my very best to leave a straight-up answer.