Free WordPress.com Website vs Self Hosted WordPress.org Site
As of January 2015, more than 60 million websites worldwide use WordPress, making it the most popular blogging system on the web. WordPress is owned by Automattic Inc., USA. It is an open source, community-driven project run by employees at Automattic and thousands of contributors around the world.
WordPress offers two ways in which you can start using its services.
- com – You may host your website on WordPress.com, which is a commercial site, for free (Of course! there are some limitations). It runs on the open source WordPress platform. You do not have to worry about most of the technical aspects of the site as it is taken care of by WordPress. Though convenient, this results in lesser control on the website.
- org – This is a self-hosted version where you get access to WordPress Content Management System (CMS) for free. This is the-self hosted version where your website is entirely your baby. This means you have to take care of all the aspects of a website such as technical nuances and hosting. Though challenging, you have full control of your website as you get to set up your own website.
Choosing, which of the above two methods is most suitable for you and your website, can lead to a lot of confusion. Let me explain the difference between these two versions so that you can take an informed decision while one method over the other.
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|Hosting||Premium hosting space is provided by WordPress for free (up to 3 GB). It charges you if you need space above 3 GB. You do not have to worry about your site going down.||You need to buy hosting space to host your website. The storage space depends on the hosting plan you purchase. (Cost: Starts at USD 10 per month). The downtime of the site depends on the service level of your hosting company.|
|Technical Know-how||Very easy setup. Technical knowledge required is low. No need to worry about updating your themes and plugins.||Setup requires some technical knowledge (beginner to medium level). Regular update of theme and plugin is required.|
|Security and updates||Security and periodic backup of the site is done by WordPress besides protecting your site against hackers and spams.||Website security and backup has to be done by the owner. Onus to protect your site against hackers and spams, lies with you.|
|Social Media Integration||Provide automatic integration with popular social media websites.||Integration has to be done manually using various plugins.|
|Control||You do not have full control of the website. This means that your site can be deleted by WordPress if it is not in conformity with the terms and conditions.||You have full control of your website.|
|Custom Domain||The subdomain provided by WordPress.com is free (Yourblog.WordPress.com). For a custom domain (yourblog.com), you have to pay USD 18 per year, at the time of writing this article.||No free domain is provided. You have to buy a custom domain from a domain registrant such as GoDaddy. (Cost: USD 10 – 15 per domain per year)|
|Themes||You cannot change the look and feel of your website. The theme automatically chosen for you. WordPress can change the theme without intimating you.||You can choose from thousands of free and paid themes available on theme stores. You can keep or change a theme as and when you want|
|Ads||WordPress places ads on all free websites. You can make your site ad-free by paying USD 30 per year to WordPress.||No ads are shown by WordPress. You are free to sell ad spots on your site from day one.|
|Plugins||No custom plugins can be installed.||You can install as many custom plugins as you want.|
|Ownership of data||No FTP access to your files.||You have complete ownership of your files.|
|Analytics||Restricted to WordPress analytics. No third party tools can be used.||You can integrate third party tools such as Google Analytics.|
Opting for WordPress.com is like buying a pizza from the neighborhood pizzeria. The cost of the pizza starts rising as you go on adding toppings to it. So think deep, pen down all the features that you might need in your website and then choose judiciously.
If you are serious about your website and want unrestricted growth for your site, the WordPress.org is the way to go. It offers complete freedom and outright control on your website. With ever decreasing hosting costs, it will turn out to be much cheaper. Choose a good hosting service such as Bluehost (recommended by WordPress) or Hostgator. You might take some time in understanding the nuances but with the help of WordPress developer community you’ll never get stuck.
Let us know (in the comments below) if you have any questions related to WordPress and we would be happy to answer your queries.