WordPress.com, WordPress.org – same thing right? Nope, not quite! I get it – it can be a tad confusing! In this article, we’ll break down the differences, explore what each platform offers, and arm you with the knowledge to choose the best fit for your blog.

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a blogging platform that manages much of the technical aspects for you, making it incredibly user-friendly. Ideal for those keen to start a blog without getting bogged down in technicalities. It offers several plans:

  • Free: A basic plan for hobby bloggers or users just starting out.
  • Personal: Great for personal use with a custom domain name.
  • Premium: Suited for freelancers with advanced design tools and monetisation features.
  • Business: For small businesses, with plugins, themes, and Google Analytics support.
  • eCommerce: Designed for online stores.

While each plan provides its own set of features and flexibility, they come with some limitations, which we’ll cover off later in the article.

In a nutshell: Think of WordPress.com as a furnished apartment. It’s ready to move into, with everything set up for you; all you need to do is add your personal touch.

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is the core software that started WordPress. It’s a free, open-source platform that allows you to build, design, and manage your website. With WordPress.org, you’re responsible for everything: from hosting to setting up the site. This freedom comes with its challenges but offers unparalleled customisation and control. Around 40% of websites globally are built using WordPress.org, a testament to its versatility and popularity.

If WordPress.com is like a furnished apartment, then WordPress.org is like a plot of land. It offers endless possibilities, but you’ll need to build from the ground up.

Is WordPress.com and WordPress.org owned by the same company?

It’s easy to see why there’s confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, given their similar names. Let’s break it down:

WordPress.com is owned and operated by Automattic, a company founded by Matt Mullenweg, who is also a co-founder of the WordPress software itself. They run WordPress.com as a commercial venture, providing hosting and additional services.

On the other hand, WordPress.org isn’t “owned” by any single entity. It’s an open-source project, a collective endeavour with contributions from developers globally. The WordPress Foundation, a non-profit organisation, champions the open-source nature of WordPress.org. And the connecting link between them? Matt Mullenweg.

So, while WordPress.com is a business venture by Automattic, WordPress.org operates under the guidance of the WordPress Foundation. Both platforms stem from the same origin but serve different purposes.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Comparison chart

Here’s a quick comparison table that highlights the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com:

CostFreeFree or Paid (based on chosen plan)
Custom DomainYesPersonal Plan and above
AdsAd-freeFree version displays WordPress ads
MonetisationYesPremium, Business & eCommerce plans
SEO ToolsFull ControlLimited (Advanced with Business & eCommerce)
Custom Themes/PluginsYesLimited (Full with Business & eCommerce plans)
E-commerce CapabilitiesYes (via WooCommerce)Only Available with Business and eCommerce
SupportCommunityLimited on free plan or Email & Live Chat for paid plans
Storage SpaceUnlimited (depends on host)Ranges from 3GB to 200GB (based on plan)

This table gives you a snapshot of the key differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The detailed differences and functionalities, especially for WordPress.com based on its various plans, will be explored in the sections below.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: The key differences

Ease of Use

Perfect for beginners! WordPress.com provides a more user-friendly experience with its intuitive dashboard. Setting up a blog or website can be done within minutes, and you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects like hosting or security updates.

While it offers more flexibility, it’s slightly more complex. You’ll have to handle hosting, installations, and security updates on your own. However, once set up, the dashboard and interface are similar to WordPress.com, and with a bit of learning, it’s fairly easy to navigate.


It’s all handled for you. When you create a website on WordPress.com, it’s hosted on their servers. This means you don’t have to hunt for a hosting provider or manage server-related issues.

Self-hosted. This means you choose your own hosting provider, which gives you the freedom to select one that fits your needs and budget. While this gives you greater control, it also means considering factors like storage, bandwidth, and ensuring the package can comfortably accommodate your expected visitor numbers.


While it offers a hassle-free blogging experience, its flexibility can be limited, especially on the free or lower-tier plans. Restrictions might be encountered when wanting to add certain plugins or themes.

The sky’s the limit! Being self-hosted and open-source, you can modify and customise your site as you see fit. This includes adding any plugin or theme, creating custom code, or even modifying the core files (though this is for the more tech-savvy and not generally recommended).


On the free plan, customisation options can be quite restrictive. As you move to higher-tier plans, more options become available, but there’s still a boundary to the customisations you can make compared to the self-hosted version.

Endless possibilities. With the freedom to install custom themes and plugins, your site can look and function exactly how you want. From layout tweaks to functionality overhauls, you have full control over your website’s design and features.


Monetising your site on WordPress.com is feasible, but there are some limitations. On their free plan, WordPress.com places its own ads on your site, and you won’t earn from them. To monetise with your own ads, you’d need to be on the Premium plan or higher. Additionally, affiliate marketing is allowed, but with some restrictions.

You have the reins! With a self-hosted WordPress site, you can choose from a plethora of monetisation methods. Be it ads, affiliate links, selling products, or any other strategy, you have the freedom to monetise your site without any restrictions.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

It comes with basic SEO tools, but advanced SEO features are reserved for Business and eCommerce plans. This might limit the extent to which you can optimise your site for search engines on lower-tier plans.

You’re in control. Thanks to its open-source nature, you can choose from a wide array of SEO plugins like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO to boost your website’s search engine ranking. With the flexibility to modify any part of your site, SEO-wise, you’re fully equipped.


While there is a free version of WordPress.com, it comes with limitations. For more features, you’d need to opt for one of their paid plans: Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce. Each has its own pricing and offers varying levels of features and customisations.

The software itself is free. However, you’ll have to bear costs related to hosting, domain name, and any premium themes or plugins you choose to purchase. While initial costs might be higher, in the long run, you might find it more cost-effective, especially if you’re looking for more control and customisation.


Performance is decent across all their plans, but as it’s a shared environment, at peak times or if your site gets a sudden traffic spike, there might be slight slowdowns. Higher-tier plans offer better performance capabilities.

Performance largely depends on your chosen hosting provider. With the ability to choose high-quality hosting providers, implement advanced caching, and use performance-boosting plugins, you can ensure your site runs nice and quick.

Technical support

If you ever find yourself scratching your head, you’ll be pleased to know that WordPress.com offers excellent support. All paid plans have email and live chat support, while the Business and eCommerce plans offer priority support. Plus, there’s a wide range of community forums and help documentation available to everyone.

Being a self-hosted platform means you’re mostly on your own. However, there’s a silver lining: the vast and vibrant WordPress community. There are countless forums, online communities, and tutorials out there. For issues related to themes or plugins, often the developers provide dedicated support.


Basic site stats are available to all plans. But for more in-depth analytics and integration with Google Analytics, you’d need to be on the Business plan or higher.

Your playground, your rules! You can integrate with Google Analytics easily or choose from various other analytics plugins available. It offers a deeper insight into your website’s performance and visitor behaviour.


The platform offers a variety of free themes that you can use. However, if you wish to upload a custom theme, you’ll need to be on the Business or eCommerce plan. Premium themes can also be purchased directly from their theme store.

Infinite possibilities lie here! Access to thousands of free themes from the WordPress theme repository, plus you have the freedom to upload or even create custom themes. Moreover, there are numerous marketplaces to buy premium themes tailored to any need.


Plugins can transform your website, but on WordPress.com, you can’t upload custom plugins unless you’re on the Business or eCommerce plans. They do, however, offer built-in features and integrations that act as substitute functionalities for popular plugins.

A realm of endless opportunities! The WordPress.org platform lets you add any of the 50,000+ free plugins from the WordPress plugin repository. Additionally, you can purchase premium plugins or even code your own. This ability makes WordPress.org an incredibly powerful and flexible platform.


One less thing to worry about! WordPress.com handles security for you. They ensure that your site is regularly backed up, and provide spam protection. The servers are also optimised to fend off malicious attacks. SSL is included with every domain, giving visitors confidence in your site’s safety.

You’re in the driver’s seat here. While WordPress.org itself is secure, the onus is on you to keep your site safe. This includes regular updates, backups, and implementing security measures like SSL. But fear not! There are numerous security plugins available to help protect your site from unwanted guests.


Thinking of selling? With the Personal and Premium plans on WordPress.com, you can set up basic payment buttons. However, for a greater selling experience, the Business (complemented by plugins) and eCommerce plans roll out the full array of WooCommerce features. This opens doors to everything from product sales to appointment bookings.

With WordPress.org, you can integrate with WooCommerce, the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, or choose from a variety of other plugins. From selling a single eBook to running a fully fledged online store, the sky is the limit.

Can I move from WordPress.com site to WordPress.org?

Absolutely, you can! If you began blogging on WordPress.com and now you’re considering more control and flexibility, many see transitioning to WordPress.org as the next logical move.

Migrating involves backing up your content, choosing a hosting provider, importing your content, installing necessary plugins and a few other adjustments. We understand that migrating might seem a tad overwhelming. Fear not though! We’re working on a dedicated, step-by-step guide to streamline this process, which will be available soon.

Is WordPress.com more secure than WordPress.org?

One of the great benefits of WordPress.com is its automatic updates. All plans ensure timely updates, backups, and spam protection. It’s hands-off, and you’re essentially getting a security service without lifting a finger.

In contrast, WordPress.org places the security responsibility directly on your shoulders. If you’re complacent and neglect updates or backups, vulnerabilities could creep in. However, with diligent maintenance, a WordPress.org site can be just as secure as its .com counterpart, if not more. Notably, there’s a plethora of top-notch security plugins available for WordPress.org. Some of these offer functionalities that aren’t accessible on the free or personal plans of WordPress.com.

WordPress.com offers peace of mind with its automatic security features. WordPress.org, on the other hand, requires a proactive approach, but with proper care, can provide equally robust site security.

5 WordPress.com myths

Over the years, various myths have circulated about WordPress.com. Let’s debunk some of these:

  1. WordPress.com is only for beginners: While it’s user-friendly and suited for newcomers, many professional bloggers and businesses also use WordPress.com for its streamlined approach and built-in functionalities.
  2. WordPress.com doesn’t support eCommerce: This is a common misconception. While the free, personal, and premium plans have basic payment buttons, it’s the Business and eCommerce plans that truly shine. They come with extensive online store features, ensuring you’re equipped for everything from product listing to managing secure payments.
  3. You can’t have a custom domain on WordPress.com: Some believe you’re stuck with the ‘yourname.wordpress.com’ format. In reality, even though the free plan uses this format, paid plans allow you to have a custom domain, enhancing your brand’s professionalism.
  4. WordPress.com isn’t customisable: It’s true that WordPress.org offers more extensive customisation through plugins and themes. However, WordPress.com, especially on its higher-tier plans, offers a range of customisation options, including the ability to upload themes and use premium plugins.
  5. You can’t make money with a WordPress.com blog: Not true! While there are restrictions on the free and Personal plans, the Premium, Business, and eCommerce plans all allow for various monetisation methods, including ad revenue, sponsored posts, and online store sales.

Why pay for WordPress when it’s free?

Yes, WordPress.org is indeed free, but there’s a catch. While you won’t be paying for the WordPress software itself, you will need to fork out for a domain and hosting. On the flip side, WordPress.com offers a completely free plan. So, why would anyone pay for it?

There are 5 key reasons to consider parting with your hard-earned money, even if you’re using the “free” side of WordPress.com.

  1. Built-in features & convenience: With the paid plans of WordPress.com, you’re investing in a host of built-in features such as high-quality themes, enhanced security, and premium support. The ease and convenience of these features often justify the expenditure.
  2. Domain name and branding: The free version of WordPress.com will have your site’s domain ending in “.wordpress.com”. Opting for a paid plan grants you a custom domain, adding a professional touch to your site’s image.
  3. No advertisements: Ads are displayed on the free version of WordPress.com. You won’t earn from these ads. However, with a paid plan, these ads can be removed, and you can even monetise your site with your own ads.
  4. Advanced customisation: For those looking to tweak and change their site, higher-tier WordPress.com plans come packed with advanced customisation features. This includes more design tools and the capability to install specific plugins.
  5. eCommerce and monetisation opportunities: If selling products or services directly from your site is on your agenda, then you’ll want the Business or eCommerce plans on WordPress.com. These offer eCommerce capabilities and better monetisation tools, such as ad revenue and the option for sponsored content.

Which is best for your blog?

Choosing between WordPress.com and WordPress.org boils down to your individual needs, aspirations, and how you envision the future of your blog.

If you’re keen to start a personal blog or even a small online venture, WordPress.com is a great shout. It’s user-friendly, especially with its free or personal plans. This platform is geared towards those who want a more managed experience, where many of the technical aspects are taken care of. Plus, with their Business and eCommerce plans, scaling up and setting up an online store becomes pretty straightforward.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for a platform with broader customisation capabilities and more hands-on control, WordPress.org could be the answer. It might require a tad more technical engagement, but the flexibility it offers is unmatched. Yes, there are considerations like hosting and domain expenses, but it opens doors to wider monetisation methods and customisation opportunities. And don’t forget, it’s the choice for a whopping 40% of websites worldwide!

Let’s wrap it up

No one-size-fits-all here. It’s all about aligning with your needs, skills, budget, and vision. While WordPress.com is a brilliant starting point for budding bloggers, WordPress.org offers expansive possibilities for those who wish to dive a little deeper. Think, ponder, and choose wisely. After all, it’s your story, and you get to decide how to tell it! 🙂