WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: What’s the difference and which one should you use?

Wordpress.org vs Wordpress.com: What's the difference and which one should you use?

Hey peeps! One of the biggest mistakes and “ugh” moments I get is when new bloggers ask if they should start a blog with WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

I can’t blame them because once upon a time, I was also a WordPress.com user. That was way back when I didn’t take blogging seriously and was only a hobby blogger.

I knew I could do way more on one, but I had no clue what’s the difference between the two was. So for today’s article, I’m going to talk a bit about their differences. At the end, I’ll reveal the winner.

The differences between WordPress.org and vs WordPress.com blogs

I always wondered why WordPress makes this so confusing for people. They could’ve easily made it two different brand names and I’m sure that would answer some questions.

It’s also interesting because .org generally means the organization is a non-profit and .com is commercial. Yet, users have to pay to get self-hosted if they use a WordPress.org blog. On the other hand, a WordPress.com blog is absolutely free to signup for.

Why do they make it so confusing?

#1 A WordPress.org blog means you have to get your own host.

Even though I love tech and talk about it a lot on this blog, I hate the technical jargon that comes with it. So let me try to explain it to you without the technical language.

Since a WordPress.com blog is free to signup for, you don’t need to pay for an additional web host (i.e., Siteground and Bluehost) to host your site. Signing up for a WordPress.com blog is very similar to signing up for a new account on Facebook and Twitter.

Once you sign up with Bluehost and WordPress, you can publish your next blog post in a matter of minutes.

So really, what do you need to do in order to get self-hosted?

It means you have to sign up for an account with something like Bluehost (recommended because that’s what I use) and you host your own blog. You share the Bluehost server with other bloggers who are also getting their blogs self-hosted.

The best visual analogy is taking an apartment flat, for example. You live in your own apartment flat, but you don’t own the building. Your landlord does and you have to share the entire apartments’ facilities with other renters. But because you’re paying your own rent for your own apartment, you have the freedom to do whatever you like. This is different from, let’s say, living with your parents, where they pay the rent, they own the place, and they make the decisions.

Get it?

Here are a few things you can do with a self-hosted blog:

  • Put ads on your site
  • Customize your blog design
  • Grow your one and only asset: your email list

#2 You own your WordPress.org blog, but not your WordPress.com one.

I know this technical jargon for this may seem confusing, but you really don’t even need to understand it. The bottom line is when you get your own host (aka self-hosted), you get to OWN your blog.

Meanwhile, if you use something free like WordPress.com, they own your blog and the content that you’ve poured hours of sweat and blood in it.

My final answer is, if you’re just hobby blogging and you’re only doing this to join a whole bunch of friends doing it, WordPress.com is not a bad bet. It gets the job done and that’s about it.

But if you plan on monetizing your blog or want to grow a strong and serious community, you MUST get self-hosted.

Why?

How can you run a business when someone else owns your content and blog?

#3 Pro bloggers use WordPress.org while amateur bloggers use WordPress.com.

Frankly speaking, I’m sold when I realized that I wouldn’t own my blog if I didn’t use WordPress.org. I mean, “I put out great and helpful content, why would I want someone else to own my blog?” But if you need a little more clarity, the basic premise is that amateur bloggers use WordPress.com.

Pro bloggers use WordPress.org even if they know they have to pay a little and spend an extra few minutes signing up for a Bluehost account.

It’s one thing when you’re blogging on a budget, but it’s another thing when you’re a cheapskate. If you’re a blogger on a budget, you’ll want to use cheaper web hosting service like Bluehost.

Meanwhile, if you have a full-blown budget and want a faster-loading site, you’ll go for something like WP Engine.

But as far as I can understand, the battle between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is really a battle between hobby vs. pro blogger.

Your blog and website is the foundation of your online presence. It’s the only platform you own. Your social media platforms aren’t yours. And if you can’t afford the basic hosting service, you’re probably just not ready to make the leap to being a blogger yet.

And this isn’t to be your Debby Downer. Bluehost is one of the cheapest investments you’ll have to make as a blogger.

And to be a successful blogger who is going to grow and thrive, making investments for your blog is a must.

Ready to take action?

Getting self-hosted isn’t a hard or long process if you know what you’re doing, I have a video tutorial that walks you through how to choose a plan and set up your account. You can watch it here.

Once you set up your Bluehost account, you can install WordPress with one-click and that process literally takes less than 2 minutes.

Related: How to Build a WordPress Blog Without Tech Experience

Now that you understand the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com blog, what are your plans?

Judy

Hi, I'm Judy! I've owned at least four blogs over the last 10 years, from general lifestyle to skincare to blogging. Combined with my experience in digital marketing tech startup, I give away all my blogging and productivity tips and secrets that will make bloggers and creative entrepreneurs successful online.

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