WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management software. It’s used for blogging and to create websites. According to Torque, WordPress sites hosted by WordPress.com or external hosts* published 17 posts every second in 2014.

That’s a lot of websites. Who’s providing all this WordPress hosting?

Wordpress Hosting

There are a lot of website hosting services out there.

Not All WordPress Hosts are Equal

According to WordPress itself, most web hosting services are capable of hosting a WordPress site. Basically, the minimum requirements are PHP (the hypertext preprocessor) version 5.2.4 or higher, and MySQL (structured language query relational database) version 5.5 or higher. Hosts should also use an Apache or nginx server.

This isn’t enough, especially for businesses and eCommerce sites in particular. They require WordPress hosting that works closely with the software. Their host must be on top of the latest updates, well-versed in WordPress plugins and security, and able to provide skilled WordPress managed hosting.

Perhaps the biggest question is price. Individuals may be willing to put up with the limitations of free website hosting, but many businesses may find them untenable.

WordPress.com Hosts for You, For Free

Unfortunately it comes with lots limitations and restrictions.

If you use WordPress and want free hosting, it makes sense to use WordPress.com. This is fine if you are simply blogging and don’t need much in the way of graphics, video, slideshows, and special effects. It’s for those who are truly doing the old weblog thing (the original word for blogging).

But like anything free, you’ll have a lot of limitations. Here are the major ones:

  • Just 3GB of storage. That means you can’t use a lot of graphics or video, which eat up too much space.
  • Limited to free themes WordPress has selected. You may not modify any of the codes.
  • Limited to plugins included in these themes – no uploads allowed.
  • If you don’t want to have a URL that is a WordPress subdomain, you have to pay for your own domain name. In other words, you will be www.wordpress.com/yoursitename.


WordPress.com hosting may be too constrained for most businesses.

On the plus side, WordPress.com performs all your site maintenance for free. You also have access to the WordPress.com network, which might choose to feature your posts as one of the “blogs of the day” or tag it. Plus, if you get more than 25,000 page views each month, you will be allowed to sell ads on your blog.

WordPress.com offers additional features you can add on for a price like additional space, access to paid themes, and CSS upgrades. But for the price, it makes sense to look at a WordPress.org host.

WordPress.org is Self-Hosted WordPress

WordPress.org is basically everyone else outside of free WordPress.com hosting. Tribulant is a managed WordPress hosting service.

Managed hosting allows site owners to take advantage of WordPress’ extensive plugins, modify themes they purchase or upload for free, and sell ads on the site. They often come in packages that are cheaper than WordPress.com upgrades.

For example, our basic, single-site managed hosting comes with the following:

  • 10GB of space, daily backups
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Secure hosting account accessed through our website
  • Access to our expert Help Desk

Many WordPress.org hosts provide additional support like customisation services, plugin development, domain research and registration, and encryption (SSL) services.

Businesses in particular need managed WordPress hosting for the flexibility it offers. Prices are very competitive and some hosts specialise in areas such as ecommerce or news. Check around for specials, free trials, and guarantees before selecting a WordPress hosting service.

*defined as hosts using the Jetpack plugin

Photo credits: carnagenyc, Thiago Lopes, Flickr

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  1. […] has a lot to do with how easily you can get started with WordPress. As we’ve discussed (WordPress.com vs WordPress.org), most businesses should use a managed WordPress host. The free WordPress.com option reduces access […]


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