WordPress.com or wordpress.org? Know how to make the best choice.

  • Meg Jensen 
  • 7 min read

Decide Which Is Right For You – wordpress.com or wordpress.org

The 4 things to know before you start your blog or website

YAY! YOU’VE DECIDED TO START A WEBSITE.

You’re going to love being a website owner!

I was so excited when I started my website and when I came across a website called WIX and it seemed so easy, I was hooked up on the spot.

I mean really, who doesn’t love the idea of just dragging and dropping what you want on your page.

Not to mention the amazing templates they offered.

It was easy to put together and manage.

Until….

I learned about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and I very quickly learned that to have control over your optimization on a website like WIX was extremely limited.

Not to mention the apps available to use for various things like site tracking, forms, etc. are sparse.

On top of that, to add an outsourced app is not an option. You can only use what WIX has integrated and approved.

SEO is the KEY to growth and without hands-on control, you’re going to be limited in growth.

 

Okay, so now you can see my dilemma.

ENTER MY OFFICIAL JOURNEYWITH WORDPRESS.ORG

I was actually working with a client’s webpage when I learned about WordPress.org. So, I was lucky and missed the nightmare that a new website owner faces when they opt to start with WordPress.com

You see, the thing about WordPress.com is if you decide you don’t want to use them and you want to move your domain to WordPress.org, you have to wait 90 days from the origination date.

There is truly no way around this.

And I have read about many of these experiences from my fellow website designers and bloggers.

So, trust me, take the 10 minutes to read through this post and make a pros and cons list for your website.

THE 4 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE STARTING YOUR WEBSITE

I am going to use my teaching background and give you an analogy to simplify these terms. So, I will first give you the technical term, and then the simplification. 

HOSTING

There are 2 types of hosting – self-hosting and hosted sites.

WordPress.com is a hosted site.

WordPress.org is a self-hosted site.

Having a self-hosted site is like owning a house in a neighborhood. You own the property, but not the neighborhood. The neighborhood has an association and they care for the neighborhood maintenance. All exterior decisions go through them.

Having a hosted site is like renting a house. The owner is still in charge and they make the profit off you paying for their mortgage. They also care for the maintenance, but you basically have no right to the property beyond your limited time rental contract.

In short, the neighborhood is your server that hosts your website, the house.

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THINGS TO CONSIDER: Do you want to have full control of your site and make changes as you please? Or, do you want to not have to think about anything, aren’t interested in rapid growth, and are okay with limited appearance options?

HOSTING ON WORDPRESS.ORG

If you choose to go the route of WordPress.org, you’ll need to get a hosting site.

Often, you’ll see tons of ads for Bluehost offering web hosting for $3-$4/month. While this is true, it is misleading.

In order to get that price, you have to purchase a minimum of 36 months and there are restrictions to support and domain email.

My personal preference is GoDaddy.com for hosting. I started with GoDaddy and I have been so impressed! They have called to check in and they have 24/7 support.

24/7 support.

That’s my favorite part!

Anytime I have a question or need help, I call.

It’s great because every person I’ve ever talked to has helped me above and beyond.

Another great feature is the free domain email when you get 6 months or more for your domain.

If you want to know more about the differences in the GoDaddy website and how to pick the right one for you, check out the GoDaddy Explained Post.

DOMAINS

Domains are pretty straight forward. They direct the user to the webpage, convert the text into an IP address that is assigned to the webpage, and voila! You are visiting the page intended.

You can think of domains as the address to your house in the previous scenario.

Every parcel of land has a number related to their neighborhood and plot, but we don’t go around addressing mail to lots and parcels.

The domain name represents the same exact thing as the parcel number but makes it easy to navigate.

Without getting too technical, you’ll hear a term called DNS and to ensure its pointing your domain to the webpage properly.

I think of this as a traffic director within the neighborhood. It’s telling the

 

THEMES

In any rental situation, you are limited on what you can do to the house, versus when you own, you can do anything you want to your property within the law.

Themes work the same way. Within wordpress.com you are allowed to use prebuilt themes that are included with the rental of your hosting domain.

With WordPress.org you own the home and can do anything you want it. There are, of course, free versions of themes that are great, but often they offer a Pro version for a fee.

My favorite theme of choice is the Hestia Pro site.

The free version offers a lot if you’re just starting. In fact, that’s what I started with for a bit.

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PLUGINS

So, Plugins are amazing little bits of code that allow you to ultra-customize your site beyond your theme. It’s GREAT!

WordPress.org is self-hosted, and therefore you can use any plugin you want by simply uploading the zip file in the plugin area of your wp dashboard.

WordPress.com well, you guessed it. Limits what you can use.

Some of my favorite plugins are Essential Grid Pro, Elementor Pro, EWWW Optimizer, Tag Manager, and Broken Link Fixer. For more information on plugins, see The Best WordPress Plugins to be a Successful Blogger.

 

CONCLUSION

In the end, if you’re looking to grow your reach and expand to a larger, quality audience, I highly recommend starting with the WordPress.org platform using GoDaddy hosting.

For more information on how to decide on GoDaddy’s plans, see The Best Things About Using GoDaddy for Web Hosting

XO

Deciding between wordpress.com and wordpress.org is a big decision. Find out the nitty-gritty before making a decision that has you stuck for 90 days!

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Meaghan (Meg) is a former conventional classroom, award-winning educator that is passionate about education. Meg is a homeschooling mom and remote ESL teacher, and she shares her wealth of knowledge and passion for education to help other like-minded people.