This is a common question, which crosses everyone’s mind planning to start a blog. Whether to opt for Self Hosted WordPress.org or Free WordPress.com? Both have their pros and cons.
Here is the detailed comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
- Custom Analytics and Tracking
- It’s easy to use and free.
- It can help you make money by using your own ads, and doing things the way you like.
- You can upload and use plugins.
- You can upload custom themes. Modify theme files (not just styles) if needed.
- You yourself are the owner of your data. Your site will NOT be turned off because someone decides that it is against their terms of service.
- It gives you 100% control.
Cons of WordPress.org
- A good web hosting service will cost you money somewhere from around $3 – $7 per month. As your site grows, your hosting costs will too. Nevertheless then you will be making enough money to pay for the costs.
- Updates are your responsibility. WordPress upgrades require 1 click.
- You are responsible for backups, but there is a plenty of plugins like BackupBuddy available for your facilitation.
- You are responsible to prevent SPAM, but if you enable Akismet, which comes built-in with WordPress.org, then you won’t have to worry about it.
Benefits of WordPress.com
- Usage up to 3GB of space is free. However, higher space i.e. 5GB costs $19.95 per year and $289.97 per year for 100GB.
- They create steady backups of your site.
Cons of WordPress.com
- They place ads on all free websites. Did you really think it was free without a catch? If you don’t want your users to see ads, then you can pay them $29.97 per year to keep your site ad-free.
- You are NOT permitted to sell ads on your site unless you receive 25,000 page views per month. In which case, you have to apply to try their feature called Ad control. The approval process doesn’t cost you any money, but you have to split your revenues 50/50 with them.
- You cannot use plugins. Yup WordPress is well known for its flexibility due to the plugins. WordPress.com does not allow you to use plugins! If you want to use plugins, then you have to move to their VIP program which starts at $3750 per month. No joke.
- You cannot use custom themes. Yup, you have to be stuck with their choice of themes which is being used on hundreds of millions of sites. They do offer a “design upgrade” which should really be called CSS upgrade for $30 per year. Meaning, you can change the color of your site. But if you want to add something really custom, you cannot.
- You are restricted to their analytics. You cannot use custom analytics software because you cannot add custom codes.
- They can delete your site at any time if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
- They will change your theme without your permission if the founder doesn’t like the theme developer.
- Even if you pay for their upgrades, you still have to tell others that your site is powered on WordPress.com.
Which one of the above is a better option for you?
If blogging is your career, then self-hosted WordPress.org is the right option for you. You will come across people telling you that self-hosted WordPress will cost you money, but for a small site, it is actually an inexpensive option. For personal bloggers, who are not focused at making money from their sites, WordPress.com is a better option.
Assuming that you use WordPress.com, you will buy their custom domain for $17 per year, pay for ad-free option at $29.97 yearly, and get custom design upgrade for $30 every year. That total is $76.97, and still you don’t have full control.
As for WordPress.org, you can opt for Bluehost. It will cost you $3.95 per month, which makes it $47.4 per year, and it includes a free domain name. It is worth noting that Bluehost is officially recommended by WordPress. You will pay a similar price, if you choose other web hosting companies. But you won’t get a domain. Better still, Godaddy or NameCheap can offer you a domain name for $10. Your yearly total would come to $57.4 and you will be in full control of everything.