WordPress.com vs WordPress.org [Infographic]

If you’re new to the world of WordPress, you might not realize that there are two different ways of building and hosting your online presence.

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll have to consider WordPress.com vs WordPress.org in terms of their unique benefits and configuration processes.

This infographic breaks down the biggest differences between the two, followed by a deeper dive into some of the most common questions on the topic.

An infographic showing the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Which is cheaper to use?

WordPress.com offers a completely free plan that empowers users to launch a website as a subdomain of WordPress.com. If you want to do even more with your website — like customize your domain name or access additional functionalities and design features — you can upgrade to a more comprehensive plan.

WordPress.org is technically free to use under the GNU General Public License. But unless you’re creating a website that’s only available on your local computer network, you’ll have to pay for web hosting and domain name services to ensure that other people can access it.

Which is easier to install?

WordPress.com is easier to use from the very beginning — you don’t have to install the software to start using it. Other important processes around hosting, security, and backups are managed by the platform so that you don’t have to set them up yourself.

WordPress.org installation can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on where you host your website. But since WordPress software powers around 35 percent of all websites, most web hosts facilitate a quick, user-friendly installation process.

Which offers more customization options?

WordPress.com caters to both beginners and technical users, with enhanced customization features available on more advanced plans. New features are also released on a regular basis in response to user functionality requests. WordPress.com features several built-in tools for managing analytics, social media, and SEO. Users also have access to hundreds of theme designs. By upgrading to the Business Plan, you gain access to features available on a self-hosted WordPress.org site, like the ability to fine-tune your site’s design with custom HTML and CSS.

The greatest benefit of using WordPress.com is the peace of mind that comes from not being responsible for updating software, themes, and plugins — or fixing anything that breaks as a result. WordPress.com handles all of this for you.

But if you’re already a whiz when it comes to building websites from the ground up, WordPress.org might be a better fit for you. With WordPress.org, you can customize your website to your exact liking, and even create your own themes. There are no restrictions on which plugins you can use with WordPress.org besides those put in place by your web host.

Which is better for SEO?

If you’re just getting started, WordPress.com offers a solid foundation for finding success with SEO. Themes optimized for speed partnered with SEO-friendly features like auto-generated sitemaps make WordPress.com SEO-ready right out of the box. Upgrading to a Business plan allows users to make use of more advanced SEO tools and install SEO plugins of your choice.

If you’re looking for complete control when it comes to SEO, WordPress.org has great potential as well. That said, you’ll need a technical background to completely configure SEO plugins and make changes to your website’s backend in order to maximize results.

Final thoughts: Which version will you choose?

There’s really no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Ultimately, picking between the two comes down to your preferences for how and where your website will be hosted.

WordPress.com can help you launch your site at no cost, while the Business plan offers both customizability and fully managed hosting, freeing you up to develop your brand without worrying about software updates, security patches, backups or uptime.

Do you still have questions about the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Our customer support team is ready to help.

Thousands of small businesses and online stores call WordPress.com home.

Whether you’re looking to promote your business or share your story, we have a plan that’s right for you.

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