Choosing Between vs.

When you start working with WordPress, the first decision you have to make is which version you’re going to use — or

In this article, I’ll explain the difference between and as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. By the time I’m done, you will have a better understanding of which version of WordPress best meets your needs.

What is may have started as a blog hosting service, but over the years it has evolved into much more. While you can still use to blog, the service is an excellent way to build any website.

If you’re merely curious about WordPress, the dot com version is the easiest way to figure out if WordPress is right for you. Setting up a account is a snap — and it’s free, so there’s no reason not to.

Even if you decide to use later on, you will need a account to use specific plugins and services like JetPack.

The Advantages of

If you want to publish a website without having to think much about the underlying technology, is a great solution. is free. Perhaps the biggest advantage of is that it’s free to use. If you use only the basic service with none of the additional features, it won’t cost you a thing. is reliable and secure.
One big benefit of using is that there is no ongoing maintenance for you to perform. You won’t ever have to worry about upgrading your site software. Likewise, your site is always backed up, so there’s no chance of data loss.

The Disadvantages of

While is free, low maintenance, web hosting service, you should also be aware of the limitations. If you’ve heard about all of the amazing things that WordPress can do, you should know that does not include everything WordPress has to offer.

These are the limitations of

You can’t install plugins on your site.
Plugins are add-on programs that expand the capabilities of a WordPress site. There are tens of thousands of plugins available for pretty much every website feature you can imagine. But you can’t use those plugins on

Themes (site designs) are limited to the ones pre-installed on
As with plugins, there are thousands of WordPress themes available — many for free. But sites are limited to the themes that come pre-installed on the service (a few hundred). There are also a limited number of commercial themes that you can add to your site for an additional fee. But again, that number is much smaller than what’s available from the official WordPress theme directory and third party theme designers around the web.

Further, limits how you can modify the themes that are available. You won’t have the ability to create or modify theme templates, but you can modify the theme’s CSS file (for an additional fee). is ad-supported. You will very likely have advertisements running on your website — unless you pay an additional fee to have those disabled. And don’t expect to see any of the ad revenue. These ads help offset the cost of the free WordPress hosting service. extras

Earlier, I mentioned that some services are available for an additional fee. For a small additional price, you can use your own domain name (something I highly recommend). Beyond that, there are currently three levels of premium service ranging from $3 to $25 per month.

The entry-level packages are a great deal for anyone looking for simple, low-maintenance, WordPress hosting. For just $3 a month, you get your own domain name, and you’ll have access to email and live chat support.

However, I have my doubts about the higher-end packages. At $25 per month, the Business package is about the same price as a managed web hosting account. Given the limitations of the hosting environment, it’s hard to recommend the business account.

That’s not to say it’s a bad deal for every business. If your needs are minimal and you don’t want to worry about maintenance and backups, the price may ultimately be worth it to you.

In general, I think is a great option for bloggers and novices who have no desire to take responsibility for the technical aspects of running a WordPress website.

What is is home to the open-source software project. Everything you need to get started with WordPress is on this site. is home to all of the things you need to build an amazing website with WordPress. You just have to add a bit of elbow grease.

The Advantages of

The advantage of is that it’s completely customizable. You can build any kind of website with this version of WordPress — there are virtually no limits.

You are free to use any one of the thousands of pre-designed WordPress themes available.

And you can install any WordPress plugin you like.

Or you can make your own WordPress themes and plugins — provided you’re willing to put the time and effort into understanding how the system works.

There’s also no limitation on how you monetize your content. You can sell advertising on your site, or you can sell products and services from your website. That’s entirely up to you as the site owner.

The Disadvantages of

With great freedom comes great responsibility. And that may be the biggest disadvantage of using You will have complete responsibility for your website. requires a web hosting account.
It’s up to you to find a company to host your website. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 a month, up to $30 a month for a managed WordPress hosting solution like WPEngine.

Maintenance and Software Updates.
When you run your own website, you are responsible for your maintenance and software updates.

Fortunately, WordPress updates aren’t difficult to install. But many WordPress updates are security related, so you will want to install updates promptly.

WordPress Backups.
It’s also up to you to make sure your website is backed up in case anything goes wrong. Backups are your responsibility unless you have a great web host that takes care of backups for you.

These are things to take into consideration when you choose to go to route.

Which is Better: vs.

Now that you understand the difference between and, it’s time to decide which option best meets your needs.

If you’re a hobbyist or blogger, is the best way to get started. I recommend spending a few extra dollars to buy a domain name. That way, if you decide to move to later, you can migrate your WordPress content and redirect your domain. Your visitors will never know you’ve made a move.

If you are a business owner or professional in need of a robust website, start with The availability of thousands of themes and plugins will save both time and money over traditional web design. This is a big reason why WordPress the best way to build a business a website.

Hopefully, you now you have a better understanding of the differences between these two different versions of WordPress. And more importantly, I hope I’ve helped you determine which version of WordPress is right for your website.


2 thoughts on “Choosing Between vs.”

  1. Hi Kirk,

    I have been looking around the web for quite some time for a WP tutorial…and I think I found it. I like what you show me so far and I hope the rest of your lessons are as good and helpful as I expect it to be.
    I intend to make a website and most of what I saw on line is crap…I am wandering how they built their own website if they can’t explain how to do it …who knows …but …Thanks for your help


  2. This was very well done. I had seen others attempt to explain the difference elsewhere online, but you did the best job of breaking it down. I’m still new here and just getting started in depth with the videos, but so far I’m really pleased with the way you structure your instruction. As the previous commenter mentioned, a lot of people are attempting to share their knowledge with others, but simply don”t realize that teaching is a skill unto itself. Thank you for the excellent presentation.

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