WordPress.com and WordPress.org are NOT the same.
This article is in the interests of KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) which WordPress do NOT do in the naming two different and yet similar products almost the same thing.
Confused? You probably are and I don’t blame you for being confused either.
All the services I offer are for WordPress.org. When I write about anything to do with WordPress I’m referring to WordPress.org.
I had actually forgotten about the WordPress.com service until recently when I’ve had two businesswomen approach me to help them get their WordPress website looking the way they wanted it to look.
My response, as always, is that it’s not a problem – or the short version – No worries.
I check out their website and find it’s based on WordPress.com and suddenly it’s not so easy after all. I have to go back to them saying sorry the website platform that you have is limited.
WordPress.com is a service platform where you add your content where as wordpress.org is called self hosted WordPress which means that it’s downloaded to your website for you to use (or is can be added through your hosting such as cPanel). Most hosting companies offer a one-click install service for WordPress.org.
There are some basic differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and the main one for me is control.
WordPress.com has full control of your website – including deletion
Now as you may know from reading my other posts I’m something of a perfectionist and control freak. Even putting that aside, wordpress.com has full control of your website including that it can delete / suspend your website if it feels that you break it’s terms and conditions or user guidelines.
Yes wordpress.com can delete (suspend) your website. Without warning.
Would you like to read that last sentence again? Just to check that you read it correctly.
The website that you have worked so hard to create, that is bringing in clients, that is earning money for you – can be deleted / suspended. It even has a support thread that says sometimes the suspension can be a mistake.
Many years ago when I doing network marketing (I can already feel your judgements!) I set up a wordpress.com website. It was to add some content and get found in search engines so I could sell more product. A friend working for the same company did the same thing and used slightly different content. Her website was removed.
Think about if that was your important business website.
Even think about if it was an important family website.
Those are conditions that as a (sometimes recovering) control freak I could not accept.
Now we have my main control freak issue out the way we can look at the differences.
WordPress.com free version only allows you access to some themes and plugins.
Themes are the layouts that control the look and feel of your website. It’s separate from the content.
Plugins are little programs that extend the functionality of your website.
To have a website that represents you and your business for your ideal clients I think being able to choose the theme you want and then be able to change it for your needs is important.
WordPress.com does give you access to more themes for a price.
WordPress.com does give you free hosting and free updates. It’s hassle free from that point of view. However the price for free is the lack of control, lack of free expression and you have to display adverts for them.
If you don’t want to display adverts on your website, then you have to pay a monthly fee.
If you want to take payments on your website, then you have to pay a monthly fee.
The free version is basic and anything else you want you have to pay a little more each month.
With self hosted WordPress.org that is on your domain, yes you have to pay for hosting but you decide on how much or how little you want to pay. When you’re starting out you can pay for a cheap hosting to get started and then upgrade as your business builds.
Sometimes websites need a little bit of extra help with a little bit of coding. For the websites I create it’s usually more about styling than functionality. WordPress.com doesn’t allow that either.
How to tell if you’re on WordPress.com?
You log into the wordpress.com website to get into the back end of your website.
If you’re using wordpress.org then you login into your own website often at www.yourdomain.com.au/wp-login.php.
Which one should you use? WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
If you’re creating a small, free family blog I would choose wordpress.com.
If you’re happy with all the terms and conditions and user guidelines then you can use wordpress.com.
If you think you’ll never want to expand your business and your website then maybe wordpress.com will work for you.
WordPress.com make a big deal of doing hosting, security and backups but these are things that can (and in my opinion should) be set up when you self hosted WordPress website is created.
WordPress.com will do all your updates for you but again, in my opinion basic training should be given on every WordPress website delivered. It would be like handing over a car to someone and not telling them how to put in petrol and check some maintenance.
If you are building a business website that you want full control over, that you want to grow with your business, where you want to be able to express yourself and your business – then you want a self hosted WordPress.org website on your hosting and your domain.
Need some help? If you check out my resources page you’ll find downloads such as – 6 Key Focus Points for Website Success, 5 Steps to a Winning Website Project and you can book a 15 minute complimentary call (one per client).