WordPress.org Vs WordPress.com: 14 Differences

The battle between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com continues and it will never end. Within this article, I will show you 14 differences between the two to help you choose the right one. Let’s start by finding out which is which. WordPress.org is also known as self-hosted WordPress. This means that it is free to use, but you have to pay for your own hosting provider, in which I strongly recommend SiteGround because the quick setup process, cheap price, high uptime, features, and more. Free hosted WordPress is WP.com.

This means that they will host everything for you and you don’t have to pay 4 dollars a month for hosting your site. You might think this is awesome, but it’s not. When I first started blogging years ago something told me don’t go this route because there is an incredible number of limitations, which I will explain below. It’s like buying knock off sneakers or a knock off the game system. It’s just not the same. You know it’s not made with the best material. You know it will break easily. It’s not built to last and below I will show you why WP.com is not built to last and why you need to start a site with WP.org instead.


1. With the .com version your site is not really yours.

This is the first and probably the most important point. If you start a free hosted site, then guess what, you don’t own it. It’s not for you. Your content is really their content. There have been so many cases where blogs have been shut down for no apparent reason or a simple mistake. Guess what happens to all the words that you have spent hours typing? It’s gone forever. You won’t be able to get it back. Believe me, this is not something that rarely happens. This happens to a lot of people every year.

WP makes it clear in there TOS page #16 that they can shut down your site without warning and without a cause at any time immediately. A wise person after reading their Terms of Service would say I’m not willing to take that chance. With WordPress.org everything is yours. You own it. You don’t have to worry about your site being terminated. You don’t have to worry about anyone taking your house because they don’t like your artistic decorations. You’re free to express yourself. The sky is the limit. The more you write on your blog and the more it grows, the more you will fall in love with your blog. You’re going to be happy with your accomplishments. Don’t make the mistake of the many owners who got shut down. Don’t risk it.


2. WordPress.com offers a limited amount of themes.

Not only do bloggers who use WP.org have a bigger selection of themes to choose from for their site, but we can also upload themes. You can’t do this with WP.com. That means you can’t choose SEO optimized themes such as Genesis and Thesis, which is what most bloggers use. I know you have been wondering about how your site will look. When I started my first blog I was always wondering what theme would I use. I spent hours fantasizing and checking out different themes at Envato Market.

Imagine that you’re searching for the perfect outfit and you finally find it. You say this is the one. This is what I need. I will look good in this. When it’s time to purchase it the owner says sorry it’s not for sale. Go check out the generic rack with only 12 items to choose from. WordPress.com is throwing your theme dreams down the drain. WP.com does allow you to go premium, which enables you to get more themes, but that’s still a problem. Why? you ask. Because then you have to pay 49 dollars and up and even with this there are still some customization restrictions. Why go through all that when you can choose thousands of fast themes for your WP.org site?


3. With WP.com you only get a few built-in plugins.

You can’t upload plugins with the free hosted WordPress. One of the best benefits of the .org version is that you have access to over 30,000 plugins for your site. I have plugins that increase my page speed greatly. Plugins have revolutionized the way we blog, they have made blogging more fun, and they have saved bloggers like me a bunch of headaches. In some cases, a plugin makes our whole website such as eCommerce sites and some gaming sites. If you choose the free WP you can’t get those plugins that you desire or always hear about. You will be on the outside looking in. Plugins are a serious part of blogging. You name it there is a plugin for it. You’re going to be missing out on a lot and in the end, you’re making your blogging journey much harder on yourself.


4. You can’t use your own CSS on your site with WordPress.com.

Yeah, that’s right you can’t add style to your site. Well actually you can, but you have to spend some more cash. If you don’t pay 30 dollars per blog and per year then you can’t customize fonts or add your own CSS code to change the appearance of your theme. Think about it, if you have more than one blog that’s going to add up. With WP.org you can customize all of your sites for free.


5. You can’t change your permalink structure.

Bad news if you want a good looking URL without the subdomain name. Permalink changes are only available for self-hosted sites. Say Goodbye to branding. Your website domain is going to look very unprofessional and ugly which will hurt you in the long run. It’s going to look like this, mywebsite.wordpress.com. You have to admit the subdomain ruins the whole presentation of your website. People just won’t look at your blog the same. You are able to add a custom domain name, but once again there is a catch. You have to spend 13 more dollars a year to remove the ugly WP subdomain.


6. WP.com is able to advertise on their site.

Have you ever wondered why WordPress is free? Since you don’t own your site to keep your blog free WP.com will display annoying ads on it. Don’t worry you can remove the display ads if you want…….But once again you have to pay a fee. This time it’s a yearly fee of 30 dollars or you also have a choice of choosing their premium and business plans which are both over 99 dollars a year. By now I know you are starting to see many of the pains of having a WP.com site, but it’s not over yet. There is more stuff to talk about below.


7. You will have low storage space.

If you want terrible storage space, then WordPress.com can handle your needs. For your site, you will only get 3G of space. All the things we want for our blog take up space. Think about images, videos, audio files, etc. Above I was telling you about their business and premium plan that you can purchase, but is it really worth it? You have to pay 100 dollars year-round for premium and that will give you an additional 10GB. At this point, you have no choice but to get your own hosting platform for your blog.


Let’s talk about the advantages.

Before I continue on why you shouldn’t get WordPress.com if you want to be a serious blogger, let me explain some quick advantages of having it. The advantages are it’s free and they manage things for you. They back up your site for you and they do maintenance work for you. With WP.org while you do have to do these things on your own you don’t have to worry because it’s not hard. You don’t have to be computer savvy to do it. I did it with no blogging experience. It’s easy to backup your site and WP.org is so awesome that you can install backup plugins for your blog. Now let’s go back to the disadvantages of the .com version.


8. You can’t make money with ads.

We all want to monetize our blogs. One of the best things about starting a blog is that one day with hard work you can make a living out of it. If you were hoping to one day sell ads on your site then you can, but you to have at least 25,000 pageviews a month. You might be thinking in your mind that it doesn’t sound so bad, but that’s not the bad news. The bad news is that you have to split your profit with them 50/50. With self-hosted WP all your earnings are for you as it should be, but with free hosted they want to basically take half of your money. I don’t know about you, but I have a serious problem with that. This problem all comes back to the fact that it’s not your site.


9. Ugly footer

With the free WP you get the ugly footer treatment. What I mean by this is that you will have to have the blog at WordPress.com credit link forever. This is what it says in their custom design page at the bottom. “All WordPress.com bloggers are required to maintain the Admin Bar (the dark bar that appears at the top of WordPress.com sites when logged in) as well as credit links in the footer, even our VIP bloggers”. You can’t pay to have it removed from your blog. It’s like having an unremovable watermark in a photo.


10. They can switch your theme.

Yes this is true. WordPress.com can and has switched themes in the past because of the dislike for the person who developed it. We see this in the case of the Cutline theme removal. I have placed a link for verification. With WP.com the site is not for you so they can do whatever they want, even if that means screwing over their users who were happy with a theme that meets their needs. Free hosted sites are just not good for business that is why most people go the .org route.


11. You can’t make a company email with WP.com

One of the first things I do when setting up my blogs is I immediately add my company email address. For example, [email protected] All professional websites have company email addresses and believe it or not they will help you in the long run greatly. Having a company email address establishes trust and it shows professionalism. Would you want to buy something online from a seller with an email like [email protected]? As humans, we take notice of these little things. These days it’s hard to trust people. Don’t make it harder for yourself and your brand. WordPress.com lets you down in this area. It leaves you with no choice, but to go find somewhere that offers monthly email hosting for your blog, which can add up. Why do all that when it should be free?


12. You can’t use affiliate links

One of the best ways to make money with a blog is with affiliate links, which is promoting other people’s products within your niche for a percentage of the sale. When you choose WP.com to say goodbye to that money-making avenue. Promoting links is an easy way to get your site shut down.


13. You can’t use Google Adsense.

If you were saying to yourself well that’s OK I will just use Google Adsense you will be very disappointed because you will not be able to use this feature either. It is made clear on WordPress.com advertisement page in which it states that “Advertisements, including those from third-party advertising networks like Google AdSense, OpenX, Lijit, BuySellAds, and Vibrant Media are not allowed on WordPress.com”.


14. There is no future with WP.com

If you plan on generating income with your website and eventually work at home or if you plan on making it brandable, then get your own hosting. If you want to actually have a future with your site and if you want your site to actually go places, then don’t choose WP.com. You have to put into consideration all the things you are missing out on. No ftp access, no Google Analytics, no customization, no plugins, etc.

The only true advantage that WordPress.com has over .org is that it is free. That’s what it comes down to. Serious bloggers will never recommend WP.com. When I first started blogging in a couple of months I was able to throw up a simple Adsense ad that paid for my hosting for the current month and some months in advance. I highly recommend that if you’re serious about making a site then you have to choose WordPress.org. I will help you if you need any help. Don’t make the mistake of starting off free with the intention of later on getting your own hosting. This will only create more problems for you. Start now.



Once again I highly recommend SiteGround. They are easy to install, very cheap, and extremely reliable. You can start writing blog posts in less than 10 minutes from now. Start today and I will help you set up your blog for free, just contact me and I will respond immediately.

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Blogging quote – Blogging is not rocket science. It’s about being yourself and putting what you have into it.