If you run a WordPress site, do you own the .com version or the .org?
Do you know the difference between two?
Did you even know that they exist?
WordPress.com is where you can host the site for free though it has some limitations as you don’t necessarily own it. But it will mean that your site will be well looked after by the Automattic as they will look after all the responsibilities such as updates and security.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress. This is where you own the CMS (content management system), and you are responsible for installing it, get your own hosting and domain, and you maintain it yourself. It comes with a lot more flexibility, but it also comes with many benefits that don’t come with WordPress.com.
And this is where I will start talking about why you should aim for the latter version of WordPress if you have long-term ambitions about your site.
Below, we will look at the reasons on why you should convert from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Get a Custom Branded Domain
One of the main benefits is the fact that you will be able to have your own branded domain.
You can tell if a site is using the free version of WordPress.com or not just by looking at their domain.
Let’s say there is a dog grooming company out there which wants to have a website. And let’s call them “Fluffy Dog Groomer” (it’s the first thing that came into my head).
If “Fluffy Dog Groomer” has decided to go for the free WordPress.com site, their domain could be fluffyydoggroomer.wordpress.com.
The benefit is that this domain will be free. Happy days!
On the other hand, it’s not personal, it’s a bit of a mouthful, it’s long, and it’s not the most professional name for a website.
(FYI, the domain is available for anyone out there at the time of writing. And you’re welcome 🙂 )
You can go for the paid version of the .com and get your own custom domain (at around £30 a year).
But you still would not have the other benefits that come with .org as mentioned on this post.
Have Access to More Themes
One annoying thing for many .com users is the limited number of WordPress.com themes available…as you can’t upload them yourself; you can only use those selected by Automattic.
At the time of writing, there are around 194 free themes and 184 premium themes.
Granted, they will be well-built and well-designed. But you might want more options.
The number of themes might enough for some. But with tens of thousands of themes out there for the .org users, you will never be short of options if you are looking for the best-looking themes.
If you are overwhelmed with the number of themes you could technically use a WordPress.com theme on a WordPress.org, but it’s a little bit more complex than that.
Have Access to More Plugins
There is a a plugin for everything. And with almost 50,000 plugins in the repository alone, you can add simple but powerful functions to your site with ease.
But that’s mainly for the .org users.
Don’t get me wrong; the .com site will give you access to some trustworthy and reputable plugins.
But you are not able to use any 3rd party plugins.
And there’s a lot of powerful plugins out there that you simply won’t have access to via WordPress.com.
Ability to Customise the Code Yourself
It might not be important to many of you. But just in case you want to customise your codes or have special scripts you want to implement, you will have that access.
It could be something very minor, like having access to the CSS file to customise the styling of a button or even something like moving the post date in a different area.
You can access the CSS file on WordPress.com, but only if, yep you guessed it, you pay for the annual plan.
However, you will not have access to the PHP file so you can change modify any functions on the site.
Own Your Real Estate
Did you know that you will not technically own your site and the content that is within them if you go with WordPress.com?
I have talked before about the importance of owning your site.
But this will only happen if you self-host via WordPress.org.
If you are going to create content, showcase your knowledge, display your talent and provide service to your market, wouldn’t want to own your site?
You just never know what might happen if your site is taken down, so owning your site will alleviate any risks.
Control Your Adverts
One aspect of your content which will have no control of is the adverts. The people of WordPress.com will have the right to display ads on your site.
If you want to remove, you can either pay for this feature in a separate price plan. Or you can go self-hosting, where you will have full control of what goes on your site.
If you want adverts, then you will be able to control what goes on there.
If you don’t want an advert, you will be able to remove them.
So it’s just nice to have that option.
Create An Online Store
Another way to monetise your site is by setting up an online store. With WordPress.com, there are no e-commerce solutions that will allow you to do so.
WordPress.org has countless amount of e-commerce plugins out there, including the infamous WooCommerce, which will allow you to sell digital or physical goods with ease.
The only possible way to have an online store with your WordPress.com site is to use a 3rd party site and send your traffic there.
But that’s not the best experience for your customers.
Plus, it will also send your customers away from your site.
Gives You More Flexibility
Since you will own your site, you will have full flexibility with what you want to do with it.
It’s not a surprise that WordPress.org will give you the ability to grow and scale your online brand.
If you want to go for a specific managed-WordPress hosting like WPEngine, you can do that.
If you need to get more bandwidth space than the 3GB that comes for free, you have a wealth of options to do that.
If you need to export your data to another service, well you own your site so you can do that if you want.
The point is that your WordPress.org site will give you much more flexibility of what you want to do with it as opposed to the restrictive WordPress.com.
If you are looking for a basic site with limited customisation and maintenance as possible, then WordPress.com is perfect for you.
But this comes with many limitations, and that can come at a price in some cases.
But if you want to move up a level and maximise the potential of your site, there’s no doubt that you will need a self-hosted site (be it with WordPress or otherwise).
Yes, it requires more maintenance, time and effort to set up.
But when it comes to the cost, the freedom it provides, flexibility, scalability and development, there is no doubt that WordPress.org is the one for you.
If you are currently with WordPress.com and are looking to convert to WordPress.org, Automattic has created a guide on how you can do that seamlessly.
If you are on .com, are you ready to level up your online brand and move .org?
If you prefer .com, please share why you prefer to stay there too.
I would love to know your thoughts.