WordPress.com vs. Self-Hosted WordPress.org: What’s the difference?

Disclaimer: Any products/services mentioned or recommended below are suggestions based on our own experiences. We have no affiliation with any of the products or services mentioned and you should always thoroughly and independently research your options to decide what is best for you.

A common question that beginner website owners or developers often come across is ‘What is the difference between WordPress.com, and it’s counterpart, WordPress.org?’. Today, we’ve saved you some digging and gone ahead to break down the two platforms for you (with handy analogies, if we do say so ourselves) below!


What is it?

WordPress.com is a closed website platform, similar to Wix.com or Squarespace. What that means is that you are building a website that is locked in with this specific company, who you must pay to continue to have/use your website. If you stop paying, your website will be taken offline. You also cannot transfer your website to any other providers. Lastly, you are limited to the tools and options that this provider allows, meaning that customisation will ultimately be limited to whatever has been made available to you.

More advanced features often require plan upgrades. Most maintenance tasks such as regular theme/plugin (website software) updates are handled for you by WordPress.com, so maintenance is not required on your behalf, but may also come with limitations, such as not allowing you to have full access to or control of the backups, which means you may not be able to roll back to specific older iterations, if that were ever desired.


This would be like renting a car. You can only use it so long as you are paying for it, and will be subject to certain restrictions on how you can use it. You are stuck with paying the specific owner of that car, and cannot take that particular car to another rental provider. If you decided to change providers, you’d need to leave your old car behind and start over with an entirely new car.


What is it?

WordPress.org is the exact same software under the hood as WordPress.com, except without any of the restrictions.

WordPress.com offer the full version of their software as a standalone resource for people to load up and use on their own web hosting accounts, free of charge. It is a completely independent installation of the software, so isn’t connected to WordPress.com in any way. This allows extensive customisation and complete control and ownership over your website. 

You can move it from one hosting company to another anytime you wish and will not be locked in with any one provider. You will need to perform maintenance yourself (or outsource this to a third party or plugin, such as ManageWP), as you are essentially a free agent and nobody will have power over/access to your website other than you and those you chose to allow.


This would be like owning a car. You can also customise your car however you want. You can use it endlessly and without restriction, so long as you give it fuel (i.e. load your website into a web hosting account). You can buy “fuel” from any provider you wish and move from one to another if you wanted to. Buying “fuel”, or in this case a web hosting account, is quick and easy to do!


It probably goes without saying that we’d definitely recommend spending the time and installing your very own WordPress.org website. This will give you ultimate control and ownership of your data, which is important when it comes to your online business. 

To greatly speed up and simplify the process, you may want to consider our WordPress hosting plans, which come with 1-click WordPress.org installations, staging, updates and various other handy management tools right at your fingertips! You’ll have the best of both worlds with included backups and a 1-click plugin/theme/core updating tool, and no compromise on features, functionality or freedom.

If you’ve got any questions about WordPress.org that haven’t been answered above, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout anytime, day or night!

That’s it from us! As always, if you have any questions about this post or our shared hostingVPSreseller or dedicated server plans, simply call us on 1300 MY HOST (694 678) during business hours, or submit a ticket through our Support Portal and one of the crew will be in touch!

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