Many of us are familiar with WordPress and you may have been considering using it to build your own website.
But did you know that there are actually two types of WordPress – WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
Both are owned by the same company, Automattic Inc, but both lead to very different types of web builders.
Understanding the difference when choosing to create a WordPress-based custom website can be important for helping to meet your individual needs – one option is very much do-it-yourself, whereas the other route often needs help from WordPress developers to build your site.
Here are a few ways in which the specs differ from platform to platform.
WordPress.com – Great for small sites, but not for SEO!!
WordPress.com is the site most people gravitate towards. This is an online website builder that specialises in being fast and easy to use. You don’t need any coding knowledge – not even any HTML. The site is also free to use. It’s most often used for blogs and small personal sites. The domain name will usually show as [your website name].wordpress.com, although you can pay to upgrade to a custom domain name, as well as being able to use other templates and features.
The downside of WordPress.com is that its pre-installed themes can be very limiting. Those wanting a truly unique website are unlikely to get the result from using this service and the result can often look very much like a template. You can’t use plug-ins, access the server the site is on and can’t open code source. WordPress also use space on your site for advertising which can put a lot of people of. There are other limits on top of this that can stop it serving as a suitable tool for those considering monetising their sites. However, this may suffice for those that are looking for a simple and cheap platform to give them some web presence beyond social media.
WordPress.org – This is what we use!
Those using WordPress.org (the self-hosted version!) can expect a little more complexity. The site allows you to download a zip file which can then be used to create your own site from scratch. Unlike WordPress.com which gives you a free domain name, you have to find the get the domain name yourself using a hosting provider such as 123-reg or Heart Internet.
There is much more freedom when it comes to choosing themes and plug-ins with WordPress.org. You are very much in control and can build more complex and intricate websites that don’t look like a template. There’s also code access for those that want to experiment with their own programming and themes.
This version is likely to be fiddlier for some people and takes a lot of patience. Much of the responsibility of running such a site is in your hands. For example, you have the task of backing up your website and securing your content, whereas WordPress.com can do this for you. If you’re expecting high volumes of traffic, you would be wiser to choose WordPress.org.
The key advantages & disadvantages
- Simple to use
- Limited themes
- No code access
- Little control over ads
Toast use this version of WordPress which is self-hosted.
- Lots of freedom for customisation
- Code access and plug-in use
- Control over ads
- More difficult to use
- More time consuming
- More responsibility for domain name/ content backup
So, which is better for me?
If you’re looking for a simple and easy option and don’t care about having a unique appearance, WordPress.com may better suited for you. You may be looking to run your own small blog or you may be looking for a platform to contain a portfolio for work or school, in which case this platform is ideal. Most people running personal projects will use this service.
WordPress.org is likely to better suited if you’re a business owner wanting to project a professional image, or perhaps a blog owner looking to create a more serious blog. It does require a bit of coding knowledge, but it isn’t so complex that you need an education in programming. Besides, there are companies such ourselves that can handle these complexities for you and do all the design work, saving you the time and hassle.
There are other content builders out there on the web that you may have considered. Both variants of WordPress are still more popular. They’re also by far the cheapest and easiest services to use when looking for DIY website building solution.