WordPress.Org Vs WordPress.Com
|Cost||Free to download WordPress software. However domain name and web hosting is not included. You need to purchase your own domain & hosting and install WordPress software on your own.||Free to sign up with subdomain and web hosting included. Paid upgrade options available i.e. TLDs (.com & .net.), space upgrades (>3gb), and more.|
|Customisation||Able to customise core files i.e. PHP, CSS, install third party themes, and plugins to extend functionality of site.||Plugins are not available for installation. Unable to customise core files unless you pay for upgrades.|
|Maintenance||Backing up and updating your site, preventing spam, and enforcing site security is your responsibility. Only forum support available.||Security and backups are included. Personal support and forum supports are available.|
Let’s look at the costs of using WordPress.Com. It’s free to sign up and you can start customising your site almost immediately. However your domain will look something like this – yourcompanyname.wordpress.com, which isn’t exactly very nice if you’re a big brand. Web hosting is free with limited space (up to 3gb at this time of writing).
There are paid upgrade options which will allow you to get a custom domain i.e. www.yourcompanyname.com and increase your web hosting space.
Customisation is very limited. You can only choose a free or premium/paid theme from the WordPress theme directory, unlike WordPress.Org which allows you to upload your own customised theme or a third party theme.
You are also not able to customise the core files such as the header.php, page.php, footer.php, etc and to further limit the customisability of your site, you cannot install any plugins.
Maintenance-wise, WordPress.Com may be more suitable for those who do not have time to manage backups and security updates. Personal support with the WordPress.Com customer service support team is also a feature that WordPress.Org does not have.
Unlike WordPress.Com, the WordPress.Org software is free to download. However in order to go live, you need to purchase your own domain name and web hosting server, then install the WordPress.Org software into your hosting server.
Thankfully with WordPress.Org, you are able to customise the core files since you have root access to the WordPress core files. You are also able to purchase and install third party themes from sites like StudioPress, Elegant Themes, Woothemes, Colorlib, SoloStream, and Themeforest which may offer many more features and customisability for your website compared to themes installed through WordPress.Com’s theme directory.
Unlike WordPress.Com, WordPress.Org does not offer personal support, only community support on the WordPress forums. Updating, backing up, and moving your site to another location is your responsibility. However with site backup plugins like Duplicator, the process of backing up and moving your site is much more simplified.
Who Uses WordPress.Com & WordPress.Org?
If you want to launch a personal blog or a simple catalogue website without the hassle of managing your own domain and hosting, or if you wish to try your hands on creating a website without committing to any costs upfront, WordPress.Com is for you.
If you want more control and better customisability over your site, which I think is a good enough reason to skip WordPress.Com, then go with WordPress.Org.