It is interesting to know that WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not alike at all, especially where user control over site is concerned. WordPress has been around for more than ten years as a popular CMS. Using the WordPress it is easy to create blogs and then adorn it with preferred themes. However, when you choose to explore WordPress.org, you will realize that you can enjoy far more options with a self-hosted WordPress site. The bottom-line is that there are different kinds of WordPress solutions.
Most of us are most familiar with WordPress.com which is browser-based and does not need downloading. This is a commercial website heavily used by web-users. This allows users to create their own blogs when they have an account. This is free of cost, explaining why there are as many as nearly 77 million WordPress sites today. When you create a site here, you will find many new features. You need to create your domain name and then choose from amongst the multiple WordPress templates to get a theme of your choice. You have the freedom to decide how your blog will look like. While most WordPress.com templates are free of cost, you may need to pay once for a few commercial layouts.
WordPress.com is free and lets you run a blog; it comes with pre-programmed software allowing users to create sites and give domain names to these. So, you get a place to host your site, domain names, tools and templates. But, the site does not technically belong to the user that created it. This is why it entails some shortcomings:
• To begin with, since it is free of cost, your site space is likely to be limited, not more than 3 GB. This means that in case you have too many high-quality images and videos, the space may prove to be less. So, you will need to pay an amount every month to get an upgrade.
• Secondly, even if you are keen to get rid of the “.wordpress.com” in your domain name, you cannot. So, you continue to be a sub-domain. Custom domains require plan upgrades and you will need to pay eventually because every growing company will need a separate domain.
• You can usually track the blog’s trajectory and progress by using metrics like bounce rates and conversion rates. But in WordPress.com, you will be limited to only the analytical tools that WordPress offers you. When you use their free services, you cannot install your own plugins. This will need you to sign up for a paid business package.
• When you use the free services, WordPress may well place advertisements on the site without seeking your approval. Revenues from these ads will not be given to you but to remove these, you will need a plan upgrade.
• Free WordPress services will only allow you to carry out some basic design customization. You do not get to integrate third party plugins and themes unless you pay for the services. This is possible only on signing up for the Business or Premium plans. With choice of simply a few themes, you run the risk of looking like many other blogs on the Internet. Here, the cost-effectiveness actually turns out to be a disadvantage for the user and he is forced to pay more to enjoy customizability.
• Since you are probably looking for ways to make money through your WordPress site, it becomes hard to earn revenues when you cannot place codes for ads. You must follow guidelines for sponsored posting in a free service. To make money from blogs, you must upgrade.
These arguments show that when you want to offer information to people in a no-frills fashion, WordPress.com is your best bet. You can get a site active in minutes. You will find it an excellent option when you plan on trying out blogging for the first time. It is also useful for those not keen to handle the nitty-gritty’s of site management. You could also start off here and then decide to migrate the content to a self-hosted website in time. For those however that want to create a long-term site, a distinct domain name is needed. Moreover, such people will need more control over the appearance and feel of the site. They will need access to advanced features, more plugins and themes. This is where WordPress.org comes in; this is basically a self-hosted WordPress site.
In WordPress.org, source code is much like a framework which can be used for building and customizing the site. The code will work together with a hosting service which will give you space to house the site. Besides, WordPress.org will also offer valuable resources or Documentation to help users with the plugins and themes. Users can also benefit from community-led forums when it comes to troubleshooting technical issues. So, the community features in WordPress.org are very handy for users, enabling them to interact and collaborate with others in building sites. However, as users have greater control over the site and can edit the codes, they also become more responsible for updating WordPress every time new versions are launched. Besides, they will also have to pay for web hosting solutions and maintain their sites with backups and proper security measures. Unless you have bough managed hosting plans, you will also be responsible for protecting data against spam or errors. Likewise, when there is a technical problem, you will need to hire experts for troubleshooting it. So, unlike renting a condo as WordPress.com was, WordPress.org is like owning a house. The control is completely in the hands of the user and he is responsible for the site’s upkeep and maintenance. The user owns the content and can change themes and codes.
The truth is that the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org are many and your choice will depend on your budget and your needs.
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