WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org for Bloggers

Are you getting ready to start a WordPress blog? You should consider WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org | Hannah Haefele

They’re two versions of the same software. But they’re also very different.

Before we get into the differences, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.

What Is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a blogging platform and host in one. It claims to allow you to create a website quickly, and you can start for free.

I’ve used the platform in the past, and it’s a good choice for beginners. You can use it to start a simple blog, but there will be some limitations.


The biggest feature that comes with WordPress.com is hosting. Hosting a website can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it. You have to research website hosts and connect WordPress to your site.

Other features that come with WordPress.com include customer support and the ability to make money. The exact features do vary between plans. If you choose the free plan, you won’t have very many options.

You can upgrade to one of four paid plans for more features. However, those plans get expensive very quickly.


  • Free: $0 for the ability to start a website with a subdomain on WordPress.com
  • Personal: $48 per year
  • Premium: $96 per year
  • Business: $300 per year
  • eCommerce: $540

For context, I spend about $300 per year to host multiple websites. Since I use a third-party host, I can access more features than you get with the Business tier.


  • Easy to start
  • Free option
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Ability to pay for more features
  • Can make money (some tiers)


  • Very limited features on lower tiers
  • Hard to export content elsewhere

What Is WordPress.org?

I’ve used WordPress.org to run my blogs since 2016. The platform is very similar, but it doesn’t come with hosting.

That means you have to find your own hosting plan, but you have more control. If you find a good host, you can pay a small amount but still do a lot with it.


WordPress.org comes with all of the same features as WordPress.com. However, you’ll need to contact the hosting company you choose for support.

You’ll also get access to hundreds of themes and plugins. If you don’t like the options that come with WordPress, you can install the ones you prefer.

When it comes to things like website storage, that will depend on the host you choose. I use SiteGround, and they offer three shared hosting plans that should meet the needs of most bloggers.


You can choose from hundreds of different website hosts. Many of them, like SiteGround, offer a one-click installation of WordPress. I’d recommend going with some sort of host that offers that.

If you don’t, you’ll have to download the software and upload it to your host. That may be fine if you’re tech-savvy. But if you want to install WordPress more easily, you need a good host.

Of course, the specific plans that will be available depend on a host. If you want to learn more about the plans SiteGround offers, check out my full review.


  • Very flexible
  • Ability to scale
  • Free (software, but hosting costs money)
  • Can be very cheap
  • More options for themes, plugins, and more


  • Costs some money to start
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Similarities

When choosing your blog platform, you should compare the similarities of WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.

Consider the following aspects about both versions of WordPress.


Both the .com and .org versions of WordPress use the same basic software. The way you write a page or post is the same. How you can design the basics of your site is the same.

While there are some smaller differences, the bare bones are similar. So if you’ve used WordPress.com, switching to WordPress.org is pretty easy.

I wouldn’t recommend switching the other way since WordPress.org is more professional. But if you need to do so, you can, and it will be just as easy to do.

Mobile App

One of my favorite parts of using WordPress is the mobile app. I can use the app to access some basic features of all of my blogs. The app shows you the website stats, and you can access published posts to get their links.

If you want, you can even write in the mobile app. I prefer to write on my computer since I like having a physical keyboard. But if you have a quick moment, you might want to do a bit of writing in the app.

The app is easier to work in than the WordPress admin through Safari. So if I need to update something on the go, I’ll try to use the app on my iPhone or iPad.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org Differences

As similar as the two WordPress versions are, there are just as many differences. If you want to grow your blog into a business, you need to know these things.

That way, you can start with the platform that will better support your goals.


WordPress.org is much more flexible than most of the WordPress.com plans. If you think you may want to sell things on your website, you should go with self-hosting (another way to say WordPress.org).

When I first signed up for SiteGround, I was able to get hosting for about $50 for the year. That’s a similar price to the WordPress.com Personal plan. But with SiteGround, I could make money through my blog.

You can’t do that without at least paying for the Personal plan. And on that plan, you can take payments, but you can’t use display ads.

To get the flexibility of self-hosted WordPress on WordPress.com, you need to pay about $45 per month for the eCommerce plan. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay that for a single website with no other add-ons.


The one place way in which WordPress.com comes out on top is that you can start using it for free. Granted, that will come with some limitations. But if you have no money but want to start a blog, it’s the best option.

You can find free website hosts that work with WordPress. However, I’d hesitate to go with them. They may have certain limitations, and they aren’t always as reputable.

Once you get money, you can always move your blog to a third-party host. Then, you can continue to grow but have more control over your site.


Another difference between WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org is the hosting. WordPress.com is like Wix or Squarespace. It’s both a website host and a content hosting platform.

However, WordPress.org is only a content management system. You need to connect it to a third party website host.

That’s not too difficult, and you only have to do it once. But it’s a difference that’s worth keeping in mind when choosing where to start a blog.

Is WordPress.com or WordPress.org Better?

WordPress.org is much better than WordPress.com. It’s more professional since you can customize it in more ways.

You can also do more customization without having to pay a ton of money. And you get to choose a website host that you can afford and that you trust.

If you want, you can switch hosts easily. That comes in handy if you outgrow your host or if your host becomes too expensive.

Is WordPress.com or WordPress.org Cheaper?

It can be hard to say which one is cheaper overall. On the one hand, WordPress.com has a free version that includes hosting.

But if you want more features, you can probably get those for less if you pay for a third party host and use WordPress.org.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: In Review

If you want to start a blog, you should know about WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org. That way, you can determine which platform is better for your needs.

I’d recommend WordPress.org with a SiteGround hosting account for most people. It’s what I’ve used for over six years, and I don’t have any plans to change it.

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