WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: What should you choose?

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

Even if video content is now the primary source of information, blogging is still relevant. When you think about starting a blog, you will still find WordPress as the most popular and trusted platform to start a blog. If you search about WordPress, you will find two different sites: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. If you are new to WordPress, you will find it hard to decide whether to go with WordPress.com or select WordPress.org for your next WordPress blog. I have seen many people asking “WordPress.org vs WordPress.com” in different Facebook groups, Quora, and forums. So, I decided to write this article. In this article, I will be comparing the two and will explain the pros and cons.

These are the things I will explain in the article:

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  • Primary differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
  • Cost of each
  • Freedom and limitations
  • What should you choose and why

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is not a blogging platform but the official website of WordPress, a popular blogging/content management system. You can download WordPress for free of cost from WordPress.org. You will be surprised to know that WordPress now powers around 35% of the web including most of my websites.

WordPress is the PHP script available to use for free and all the future updates are free as well. You can download the CMS software and use it on your own server to have a WordPress site with your own domain name. You will have full control over your website as you will be using your own server and domain. You need to buy a domain and web hosting before you decide to go with WordPress.org for your blog.

If you know the coding, you will be feeling very free as you have no restriction for editing the code and deploying other things. Most of the plugins are also free, so you can use those plugins. If you face any code level issue, you can ask it on WordPress.org forum or StackOverflow. There are thousands of developers who are ready to solve your queries for free.


  • It is free and easy to use.
  • You are the owner of your own data.
  • You can upload and use any plugin.
  • You can upload any theme and modify it.
  • You can monetize your blog.
  • You can install any kind of tracking software
  • Full access to the server


  • You need to buy a web hosting
  • You are responsible for maintenance and security
  • You are responsible for backup

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is the commercial site that offers the same WordPress platform available at WordPress.org. WordPress.com offers free web hosting and a free wordpress.com sub-domain. So, you can use the same WordPress without buying a domain and hosting. Hosting with WordPress.com is free forever, but it has so many restrictions. If you want to add a custom domain, you will be charged more than the cost of the domain.

WordPress.com is a closed platform where you will not have access to the code. You will be given the limited set of WordPress themes and plugins to use. If you just want a plug and play blogging platform, you can visit signup WordPress.com, choose your blog name and design to have your own blog.


  • Free hosting for up to 3GB. 3GB is more than enough for your website. Storage upgrade is also available if you are ready to pay.
  • No need to think about maintenance, security, or backup


  • Restriction on monetization. You are also forced to split the money with Automattic.
  • You cannot use Plugins
  • You cannot use custom plugins and not even customize the available themes
  • You cannot use third-party analytics tools
  • You are not the owner of your website and Automattic can delete it anytime if you violate any term.
  • You have to keep the link to WordPress.com even if you pay.

WordPress.com is free with basic features. You will have to purcahse subscription plans to unlock more features if you want. There are several plans including Personal, Premium, Business, and E-commerce.

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: Full comparison

Now it is the time to compare different things of WordPress.org and WordPress.com side by side.

DomainYou can buy the domain only from WordPress.com and they charge much more than the original cost ($18 per year) of the domain. You are free to buy the domain at regular cost from any of the domain registrars. The domain usually costs $10 per year.
HostingYou get free web hosting forever but up to only 1GB of space. Space upgrade starts at 56B for $19.97 per year and goes up to 100 GB for $389.97 per year.You will have to purchase the web hosting from any good web hosting providers.  You can get web hosting for $4 to $7 per month.
Theme SupportLimited themes support. You can only use themes available at WordPress theme repository. You can also purchase selected commercial themes.You have no access to the code. You can purchase CSS upgrade for $30 per year.You can use any free or paid WordPress themes. You can even customize the themes to edit the codes.
Plugins supportYou are not allowed to use any free or paid WordPress plugins.You can use any available free, paid or custom made WordPress plugin.
Monetization optionYou are not allowed to sell ads on your site unless you have less than 25000 views per month. When you are eligible to monetization, Automattic takes 50% of your ad revenue.You can monetize your blog in any way.
MaintenanceYou do not need to worry about this thing. Automattic takes care of all maintenance including backup, security, updates and optimization.You are responsible for updates, security and other things of your website.

Note: WordPress.com VIP program allows you to get full control over code, themes, ads and more. But they charge $2500 per month for up to 5 websites.

Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org is not just limited to blogging. You can create different kind of websites including eCommerce, Directory listing, forums, social networking and more. This thing is not possible with WordPress.com

The WordPress.com looks good only if you are interested in Free hosting and maintenance service. But you have many good plugins that help you in keeping regular back, enhancing security and help in blog maintenance for free of cost. The only thing you need to pay is for your hosting.

Cost of a WordPress.org website

I am assuming that you will use free themes and plugins.

Hosting (per year) + domain (per year) = $60 + $10 = $70 per year.

The cost of hosting depends on the hosting provider you select. But most of the good hosting providers offer you the hosting for $60 or less price for a year. You can get Bluehost hosting for less than $50 per year.

Cost of a WordPress.com website

The initial website is free but I am assuming that you need a .com website. Domain registration + domain mapping cost =  $18 per year. If you just look at this thing, you will assume that the WordPress.com site costs less. But you have no control over your website until you go with premium upgrades.

If you need more upgrades, these are the prices.

  • Domain Privacy – $8, per domain
  • VideoPress – $60
  • Custom design – $30
  • Space upgrade – $20 – $290
  • No ads – $30
  • Site redirect – $13
  • Unlimited premium themes – $120
  • Premium theme – from $20, one-off fee
  • Guided transfer – $129, one-off fee

It means you will have to pay a lot more if you are finally serious to make money with your blog.

Note: Even after paying for all these upgrades, you will not be the full owner of your blog and you will have to follow the terms and conditions of WordPress.com to keep your blog alive.

WordPress.com VS WordPress.org: What should you choose?

If you are doing blogging at the personal level and have no interest in making money from it or adopting blogging as a part-time or full-time business, WordPress.com is good for you. But you should always select WordPress.org to own a self-hosted WordPress blog if you are thinking of professional blogging to earn money from your blog.

Often people just see the initial cost of the self-hosted blog, but the self-hosted blog is cheaper if you look properly.

Our Recommendation: WordPress.org

When it comes to cost, freedom, and monetization, WordPress.org should be the choice. We have lots of WordPress tutorials to help you if you have no idea how to use WordPress.org. We always recommend self-hosted WordPress from WordPress.org. You will own your blog along with full control over everything. Still, the final choice is yours. WordPress.org must be your choice if you are building a prfessional website for commercial purpose.

What is your final choice? Let us know your selection and views in the comments section below.


Deepanker Verma is an experienced WordPress developer who has been working on WordPress for more than 12 years. On TheWPGuides, he writes about WordPress, WordPress development, and WordPress plugins.

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