A great analogy made here about the difference is that WordPress.com is like renting an apartment and WordPress.org is like owning a house. With the former, the landlord takes care of all maintenance but you have little control over your environment and can’t make any changes. With the latter, you own it so you can do what you want but the upkeep of the property is up to you.
Let’s move onto the advantages and disadvantages of both and then I will give you a little quiz to help you decided which is better for you.
Advantages of WordPress.com:
- It’s free – WordPress are the hosts
- WordPress does all the maintenance and upkeep
- No need to touch the source code
- Automatic back ups
- SPAM control
- Good security
Disadvantages of WordPress.com:
- Can’t change the source code
- A very limited number of plugins
- Must use one of the offered themes (around 200 though)
- Your domain name will have .wordpress.com after it
- Blog used for advertising (but you can pay $30 a year to have them removed)
- Limited storage – 3GB
- No videos unless you pay
- Can’t have a shopping cart checkout (though you can sell your own stuff by using a Paypal button).
Advantages of WordPress.org:
- You can use any theme you like
- You have access to an almost limitless number of plugins which increase the functionality of your site
- You can access the source code to make small or bigger changes
- You control what is seen on your site. No ads unless you put them there
- You can sell space on your site for ads etc.
- You can have an ecommerce site with shopping cart checkout
- You have heaps of storage space
Disadvantages of WordPress.org:
- You have to pay for a domain and for hosting
- If you break your site with errant plugins or coding mistakes, you have to sort it
- You are responsible for updates and back ups
Wordpress.org or Wordpress.com
1. Are you running a business? Yes - use Wordpress.org
2. Is your blog a hobby blog? Yes - use Wordpress.com
3. Do you want to sell commercially on the blog? Yes - use Wordpress.org
4. Are you a photographer and need good storage space? Yes - use Wordpress.org
5. Do you want to eventually make some money from your blog? Yes - use Wordpress.org
6. Are you creating a blog only as a record for your family and for posterity? Yes - use Wordpress.com
7. Are you technically challenged? Yes - use Wordpress.com
8. Do you need to brand yourself clearly? Yes - use Wordpress.org
9. Do you want a blog you can change as you move forward? Yes - use Wordpress.org
10. Are you on a very restricted budget? Yes - use Wordpress.com
11. Do you want to put ads on your blog so you can make an income? Yes - use Wordpress.org
Hopefully, that gives you a clearer perspective on the whole question of whether to use WordPress.com or WordPress.org.
Here are a couple of sites, which give a more detailed explanation.