Before you build your first WordPress website, you have an important decision to make. Will you use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
This video tutorial explains the difference between the two versions of WordPress and will help you determine which version of WordPress is best for you.
Watch to learn the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I explain them in more detail in this lesson.
First, we're going to take a look at WordPress.com. WordPress.com is usually thought of as a blog hosting service, but WordPress.com has been evolving, and if you haven't taken a look at this service recently, you may be surprised by some of what they have to offer. Let's head on over to WordPress.com.
When you get to WordPress.com, you'll see something that looks like this. They are constantly redesigning, so it may not look exactly like this, but it is a quick start for you to sign up for the WordPress.com service and you'll be online and blogging in no time. There's no easier way to get your feet wet with WordPress than to head on over to WordPress.com and just sign up for an account and log in and see how it works. If you just aren’t sure if WordPress is right for you, this is the quickest way to get started. And later on you're going to need a WordPress.com account anyway even if you use WordPress.org. To use a plugin like Jetpack, which I highly recommend, requires that you connect your WordPress.org site to your WordPress.com account. So whichever solution you choose you probably wanna have a WordPress.com account to get started.
So I've logged in to my WordPress.com account, and from the Dashboard it looks very much like a typical WordPress.org installation. It's only when you begin looking at the menu on the left here that you notice some things are missing, and there are some things that you don't have access to on your WordPress.org site.
Let me give you a quick overview of what the differences are here.
The advantages are it's free and easy. If you just use the basic WordPress.com service with none of the additional features it won't cost you anything and it's all set up for you, there's nothing to install. One advantage is it’s always updated. There's no maintenance for you to do, you don't have to do any upgrades, you don't have to worry about something going wrong with the database, or with plugins going bad, all that's taken care of. It's reliable and secure. If you just want to publish on the web without having to think about it and not have anything to worry about, WordPress.com is the great way to go.
There are, having said that, there are some limitations. You can't install plugins other than the ones that are already pre installed. So as you're talking with your friends about what they're doing with their website, if they tell you about some great plugin they're using, there's a pretty good chance you won't be able to use it.
You can't install themes other than the ones that come available as part of WordPress.com. There’s a limited number of themes available. There are paid themes that you can access for an additional fee, but again, there's a limited number. You don't have access to the whole world of themes that are available in the WordPress universe. The themes that you do have, you cannot modify your themes. You can, for an additional fee, to edit the CSS. If you are a CSS guru, you can spruce up your theme that way for a small annual fee. You can edit your CSS and modify your theme, but you can't modify the underlying theme templates.
And WordPress.com is ad supported. So you will have advertisements very likely running on your WordPress.com website unless you pay an additional fee to have those disabled.
There are also some limitations related to what you can do with your site. You can't run your ads, for example. So if you're thinking of setting up a site and running some Google ads to make a little extra cash, you won't be able to do that on WordPress.com. That's out of the question.
Now there are some extras that you can pay for in WordPress.com. There's a menu of features. Let me show you this right now and give you an idea of some of the additional features you would get access to for a fee. And these upgrades are all available from the Dashboard, the Store option.
There's a ninety-nine dollar bundle that gives you the most popular upgrades. You can map your domain name which I recommend if you're using WordPress.com at all. It's worth it to pay extra for the domain name. You don’t have to get this bundle. You can get the domain name mapping for thirteen dollars a year. This way if you decide to move your website to a self-hosted WordPress.org site later on you can take your domain name and your content with you and your visitors will never know the difference. You can move transparently without having to do some funky redirect where people go to your old WordPress.com address, and then you say no, go to our new address. Get started on the right foot if you're going to use WordPress.com at all; add your own domain name to WordPress.com. That's the right way to do it.
There's also VideoPress update, the custom theme; this is what I was talking about. This thirty-dollar option allows you to edit your own CSS. There are a bunch of other - No Ads for thirty dollars, and.. they are adding more and more features all the time. For example, this WordPress.com Enterprise gets awfully close to being more like a self-hosted WordPress.org. You have more freedom regarding the number of themes and plugins you can use. But it's going to come at a cost. They charge five hundred dollars a month for that. So at that point you're probably back to looking at hosting with WordPress.org.
And here's a quick overview of some of the themes that are available. And there are premium themes as well that you would pay an additional fee to have access to. And those vary in the price from forty to eighty dollars. But once you buy one of these themes, you can use it on your WordPress.com site. You're not going to be able to make edits to the theme templates. You have to pay extra to have access to edit the CSS as well.
So that's an overview of WordPress.com. I think WordPress.com is great for bloggers and novices who have no desire to get technical and just wanna get going quickly without having to worry about a lot of the details. WordPress.com is a great way to start.
Let's take a look now at WordPress.org. Everything that you could want to get started for WordPress is on this WordPress.org site. You've got themes, you've got plugins, you've got community support, you've got documentation, but as I said it's all very DIY. The pieces are here for you to put your amazing website together with WordPress. You just have to add your elbow grease.
So the advantages of WordPress.org is that it's completely customizable. Anything you wanna do with your website you can do with WordPress.org provided you're willing to put the time and to understand the system and how it works. No one's going to say "hey, you can't do that." You're hosting your own website. It's up to you to decide what you want to do.
There's no limitation on design, theme. You can use any theme. You can use any plugin. There's no limitation on how you monetize your content. You can sell directly from your website. You can sell advertisement on your site. That's all up to you as the site owner. You have complete freedom when you host in WordPress.org as your version of WordPress.
Of course, there are some drawbacks. You have to get your web hosting account. That's going to be, probably a monthly fee. Anywhere from ten dollars a month and up to seventy-five and eighty dollars a month for a premium WordPress hosting solution like WP-engine. And you're responsible for your maintenance. You have to do updates. Any time WordPress is updated, you'll want to do an upgrade in as soon as possible because these updates are usually security related. And you're responsible for the security on your website. So it's up to you to make sure WordPress gets updated. It's also up to you to make sure you do backups in case anything goes wrong. Unless you got a great web host saying that "hey, we're going to take care of backups for you." There are some of the high-end premium WordPress hosts will do that but the average budget hosting account you're kind of on your own to get your backup under control and have the backup set up, so you're in the position to do restores if something goes wrong. So these are things to take into consideration when you choose to go to WordPress.org route.
So I think WordPress.org is great for businesses or professionals who need a need a robust and flexible web presence. It's the best way to publish a website. You've got control over your content through an easy to use interface, and you've got the freedom to use any WordPress theme or plugin you want. You just have to deal with a little bit extra work, and if you're running a business, you know what that is all about. Your website is part of your business and WordPress is a great way to run your business website, but it's not completely hands off. You have to have a plan for things like backups and upgrades and maintenance and those sorts of things.
So that's a quick overview of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the difference between these two different flavors of WordPress, and more importantly, I hope you have an understanding of which version is right for your website.