In a nutshell: The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org!

WordPress – we all know it’s THE system to use for your author website. (You don’t? You need to read this post yo!) But have you ever wondered what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is, and which one is right for you?

WordPress in a nutshell
Image courtesy of commissionedwriting.com. I love me a walnut!

It can be confusing wrapping your head around the two.
Here are some of the major ways in which they differ in a nutshell:

WordPress.com

  • WIth WordPress.com, your website is sitting on a server managed by the team who created WordPress, so you don’t have to deal with setting it up or running it.
  • The basic features are free, you pay for additional features
  • .com does NOT support the uploading of all plugins (add-ons which allow you to fully customize the site). You can only use the ones that are allowed by WP, which can be limiting.
  • Since WP manage your domain and hosting, your URL will have .wordpress in it. For example  http://laurapepperwu.wordpress.com. This can look a little unprofessional and makes your URL a lot longer than it needs be.

WordPress.org (self-hosted)

  • .Org requires you to set-up and run your own server. A cost is involved, typically $10/ year for a domain and between $50- $200/ year for hosting depending on your traffic.
  • You have your own URL without the .wordpress in it. (e.g. http://30daybooks.com is a wordpress site, but it doesn’t have wordpress in the URL.) (p.s. You can pay an extra fee on wordpress.com to have your custom domain.)
  • You have the ability to upload a wide variety of themes
  • The ability to upload plugins which allow you to fully customize your site pretty much anyway you want it
  • Since you host the site, you have full control over the site. Modify to your heart’s content!

Essentially, WordPress.com is easier (and free) to get started, but it can’t be customized and modified as much, and as such it might cost more in the long run if you want some of the added features (http://en.wordpress.com/products/). In addition, you’ll have wordpress.com in your URL which ain’t ideal. WordPress (self-hosted) is slightly harder and more expensive to get started, but offers greater flexibility and control and will scale with you no matter how big your needs get.

Both .org & .com are great, systems to use for your author websites, and which one you choose depends on your needs and desires. I started with .com for the first 6 months and soon found that it was too limiting and transferred to .org. It was annoying because all the backlinks to http://laurapepperwu.wordpress.com still exist and I still get a lot of traffic there even though I no longer update it. However it was a free and easy way to get started with blogging without worrying about cost.

How about you? Are you using either WordPress? Does it suit your needs?

pssstt…. Looking for a new author website? We have just released Authorlicious, a WordPress theme built *just* for indie and self-published authors! Find out more here… 



Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.

 

  • Melissa

    I use .com for my website and am not a big fan. It’s limiting but am afraid of the growing pains you endured with the backlinks and what not. Good to know the specific features of .org, though. I hadn’t ever taken the time to research it.

  • Cheyenne Campbell

    Great post! I *just* made the switch this past weekend from .com to .org. I hemmed and hawed for awhile, but I saw people doing some neat things with their blogs that I just couldn’t on .com. It is more responsibility, having to backup yourself and all that, but I’m hoping it’s a worthy investment. I’m much happier with the themes available, that’s for sure! There’s a learning curve, but I’m enjoying it :)

  • Pauline Baird Jones

    I run/manage my own website, so when I decided to switch to WP, I followed the links for someone who runs their own site and accidentally went .org. LOL! It was a bit bumpy getting the kinks worked out, but my site’s tech support and my son helped me out and its up and running. I do wish we had the option to have a WP “like” button, though.

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Glad to hear it worked out for you in the end, Pauline!

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Ooh, Melissa, please leave a link! Want to read your blog :)

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    I think it is worth the investment, Cheyenne. And I think it’s worth doing earlier rather than later so good for you!

  • Melissa

    Why, thanks! I need to get my Gravatar thing worked out. I saw you mention it a while back and need to get that squared away… ;)

    http://musingsofatwinmama.blogspot.com/

  • Debbie Jeffrey

    With WordPress.com I paid extra at start-up and went to my domain service and used one of my own domain names. It is bit fiddly to change the A and CNS records but it meant I don’t have wordpress.com in the domain address. I have a premium theme as I wanted it for photos. I don’t know if that has any bearing.

    The worry is about selling hearing equipment off the blog in case it puts people off. I can’t go to .org because it is hard enough to work out the technical details at wordpress.com. I read somewhere that website owners are using .org as a practice site which they keep hidden and then transfer to wordpress.com. What do you think of that? I would be so grateful for your view as I’m confused. I have joined your authorlicious’ – great name. And thanks for your weekly emails on writing. I always read them and find lots of information.

  • Lynnette Spratley

    Hmm. There’s a banner that shows up on my WordPress.com dashboard offering me the ability to become plain old lynnettespratley.com for $18 per year. I’m not sure all the bells and whistles — and the hassle — offered by the .org would suit me. The only reason I haven’t opted for the $18 per year option is that nobody can spell my name correctly. A domain name isn’t much use if nobody can spell it correctly in order to get to it. LOL

  • Brandon Wu

    @Debbie Jeffrey:
    Using wordpress on your own server (.org) can seem very complicated at first, especially when compared to wordpress.com where you can simply sign-up an account and start writing. However, the .org solution offers a lot of flexibility and support for themes/plugins that aren’t always available on wordpress.com. And when you need to turn your website into something more than a blog, self-hosted wordpress allows you to integrate with none-wordpress packages easily. (For example, adding a forum to your website.)

    Switching between these two is for the most part fairly straightforward. I haven’t heard anyone using .org as testing site before moving to .com. The other way around seems more common – starting out with .com, and moving to .org once you feel more comfortable with wordpress and wants the flexibility. :)

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Hi Debbie, Brandon has answered your tech question :)
    And glad you are finding the weekly emails useful!

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Hi Lynette :) It really depends on your goals and needs – you may well not need the .org. And if people tend to spell your name wrong, one trick that is commonly used is to buy the misspelled domain name too and redirect folks to your website. Just a thought!

  • http://www.30daybooks.com 30 Day Books

    Hi Lynnette :) A common trick is to buy the domain with the misspelling – I’m guessing in your case that would be LynetteSpratley.com and redirect people to LynnetteSpratley.com. Companies do this all the time to ensure that they don’t lose traffic and the visitor won’t even notice they are being re-directed it is that quick and painless :)

  • http://publishersearch.wordpress.com/ Tahlia Newland

    I use wordpress.com but with my own domain name. The free theme I use does everything I need it to do, so I’m very happy with it.

  • kajal

    very good content……..

    I want to make blog by installing bluehost, but little more confusion. Plz resolve my querry,i will be very thankfull to you……..

    1. Can i changed already Installed Host or downloaded blog from one PC to my leptop ?

    2. what happen in case of formating my PC ……. does i completely lost my installed Host or Downloaded wordpress ?

    3. Can i reinstall same web host in case of formating PC ?

    plz be needful …. thank you so much for this artical.