Almost Every blogger has to deal with the dilemma of choosing between self hosted wordpress.org and free wordpress.com in the initial days of blogging. Head to head comparison of these two option offers clarity of direction to those who find themselves at crossroads. Let us begin by refreshing our knowledge about these two great Content Management Software options. 

Understanding WP.com and WP.org

WordPress.org is the most sought after open source content management or Blogging software. It is supporting majority of the topmost websites and is the result of painstaking efforts of thousands of community members who have been volunteering religiously to ensure constant support to its users. 

WordPress.org offers free plugins, themes, and installation files. Although WordPress.org does not require users to pay for license it needs a host support to keep it up and running. If you are planning to use WordPress.org, then you will have to search for a reputed host to ensure that your site is properly maintained.

In contrast, WordPress.com is a commercial offering and one can leverage the same for hosting websites for free. Being a hosted service, it obviates the need to find a webhost. Although both WordPress.org and WordPress.com use the same software of WordPress, users of WordPress.com have to cope up with certain limitations. These can be overcome by paying an annual fee. 

Cost comparison

Even though WordPress Hosting is an open source platform, users are required to pay for certain costs that are not linked to WordPress license since no license fee is required to use WordPress. 

There is a cost of hosting your WordPress.org site because you will have to get associated with an established web host for operating the site. You can survey many webhosting providers offering cheap hosting with lot of useful features and finalize the one that offers the most suitable plan for your website. 

There can be additional cost of premium WordPress themes and plugins if you do not wish to use plethora of free plugins and themes offered by WordPress.org. As such, you will be more than happy to choose from thousands of free themes offered by WordPress.org. 

In case of WordPress.com you will not be incurring the cost of hosting since your site would be hosted on WordPress platform to make things easy and simple for you. The cost factor will come into play as soon as you think of any upgrade. Accessing other options on WordPress.com can lead to significant costs. 

To make things simpler, let us dig deeper into the specifications of WordPress.com plans

If you avail the basic plan, then you will be entitled for a custom domain and free blog with no scope for customization. There would be no facilities of premium themes as well as ecommerce support. Your site will have access to 3GB of space and you will have to put up with some ads as well as community support. 

Things will become dearer as you move upstream. The premium plan would cost somewhere close to $99 and will offer benefits of customizability, video storage for couple of files, and 13 GB space with no support for ecommerce. There would be no interfering ads and users can access direct support for emails.

Shell out additional $200 for a Business plan and get access to unlimited space, fifty plus premium themes video storage, ecommerce support, and live chat benefits, just to name a few. 

It means that you can only enjoy the benefit of economy of WordPress.com provided you prefer to stay in a severely restricted basic plan. So if you are looking forward to pursue blogging as a pastime or a hobby, then the option of WordPress.com is suitable. Hence in terms of costs, WordPress.org is far superior option than WordPress.com.

Options and restrictions

Major feature of WordPress CMS is the array of restrictions and freedoms that are characteristics of WordPress.com as well as WordPress.org. Hence it forms a criterion for comparing the two options.

WordPress.org entitles user to access and use any plugin or theme including free or premium. Users are also free to edit or add the files or execute adjustment of server settings or WordPress files. WordPress.org also leaves the option of ads that are shown with the user. 

WordPress.com has found many ways to ensure that the users are made to pay while maintaining the free status of the platform. Users are offered excruciatingly limited space and are forced to move to premium options that are not free. 

You don’t have any access either to themes other than WordPress themes or plugins. Users of free WordPress.com will have to put up with ads on their websites. Want to remove them? Proceed to pay to get them removed. 

In terms of availability of options and freedoms, it is obvious that WordPress.org emerges as a better choice than WordPress.com. 

Site maintenance

Any website needs to be properly and professionally looked after well to ensure regular updates and smooth running of various applications as well as plugins. WordPress.org needs an expert care for the upkeep. It is understood that the responsibility would be shouldered by your WordPress host. 

In contrast, your WordPress.com site is maintained by none other than WordPress itself since they are the ones hosting it. So you are completely absolved of the responsibility of looking after the regular maintenance. 

Hence WordPress.com becomes a better option on the basis of maintenance. 

Conclusion

After looking into different parameters, it would be safe to conclude that self hosted WordPress.org is a significantly better choice than free WordPress.com.