WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: what is the difference?

And, most importantly, what is the best solution for you?

If you want to get started with WordPress, the existence of these two kinds of blogs will probably be a little confusing to you. This is why it is time to brief you on the differences between both systems, as well as on their respective pros and cons, so that you can make a well-informed choice.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: what is the difference?

WordPress itself is an open-source blogging Content Management Software, maintained and developed by a huge community.

WordPress.org is the official WordPress website, where you can download the installation files for free before installing them on your own server or hosting package. The site also offers free themes and plug-ins that allow you to complete the basic files, as well as forums where you can get support when you have questions.

WordPress.com is a platform, created by the founders of WordPress.org, on which the WordPress software is installed. There, everyone can start their own blog, without any technical knowledge. WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you do not need to take care of software installation and maintenance – you can get started right away. But it also has a few limitations that you should be aware of. You will find them below.

However, there is also a middle ground: Managed WordPress Hosting, like the one that Combell offers you. This solution has the great benefits of WordPress.org, but you do not need to worry about installation, maintenance, security and backups, and there is no inconvenience due to the limitations of WordPress.com.

WordPress.com: the pros...

  • An ordinary blog is free and includes 3 GB of space. If you want more, you need to pay some money ($19.95/year for 5 GB, $289.97/year for 100 GB)
  • You do not need to take care of installation and maintenance of the WordPress software
  • Limited backups of your site are made regularly.
  • Your blog’s web address will look like yourblog.wordpress.com. Tip: if you registered a domain name with Combell, you can have this domain name forward visitors to your WordPress.com blog, without anyone noticing.

... and cons

  • Advertisements may be displayed on your blog. You have no control over this, and you also will not make any money out of it.
  • You cannot place ads by yourself, unless you have over 25,000 page views per month. In that case, you have to join the Ad control programme, and share 50% of the benefits.
  • You cannot use any custom themes or plugins. If you want to personalise the CSS in a theme, it will cost you an extra $30/year.
  • You can only use the analytics tools that come with the blog. You cannot use other analytics software because you are not allowed to run extra code.
  • If your site does not comply with the Terms of use, WordPress.com reserves the right to delete your blog.
  • “Powered by WordPress.com” will be displayed on your site, even if you pay for an upgrade.
  • No FTP access.
  • Less interesting for search engines.

WordPress.org: the pros...

  • The WordPress software itself is free and user-friendly
  • You have full control: you are responsible for the data
  • You can use any plug-in or theme you want, and even install e-commerce plug-ins.
  • Millions of themes are available for every sector
  • Make your site profitable thanks to advertisements
  • You are free to use your preferred method for analytics and tracking
  • You are totally free to improve your SEO
  • Optimisation & caching of your server & files are possible

... and cons

  • Besides the software, you also need hosting. Combell can offer you a hosting package from €10 per month.
  • You need to take care of updates and backups by yourself (Combell can take this task off your hands and do everything for you. Please note that many other hosting providers do not offer this service.)
  • You also need to fight spam by yourself (Combell can also take this task off your hands)

Overview of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

HostingWordPress platform & infrastructureYou need your own hosting account
Domain name"http://yoursite.wordpress.com
(Possibility to link your domain name if managed by Combell)
"http://www.yoursite.com or
WordPress softwareLimitedYes (all the features are available)
AdsThird-party ads chosen by WordPress will be displayed on your websiteNone (you choose)
Advertising revenues
Themes and plugins
You can choose from a range of free themes ; editing the CSS will cost you $30/yearSupport (also sales support) available for themes. You can also edit the themes or use themes you have developed yourself.
No plugin allowed, unless you join the VIP programme ($2,500/month for max. 5 sites)All plugins are allowed, including e-commerce
You are constrained by the limitations imposed by WordPressYou can make changes according to your needs
User-friendlinessOthers =
Combell =
MaintenanceOthers =
Combell =
SupportnoneDepends from the support provided by your hosting provider (Combell offers 24/7 support via a toll-free number)
FTPNo FTP accessFTP access (complete freedom)

What is the best solution for you?

Wordpress.com vs WordPress.org what is the differenceIf you want a basic site, with the limitations you know about, and have no problem with the fact that third-party advertisements are displayed on your site, WordPress.com is probably the best solution for you – linked to your domain name or not.

If, on the other hand, you are a professional user, blogger or webmaster who wants a unique design with full control over all aspects, including plug-ins, WordPress.org might be a better option, especially when you intend to install a web store on your website. No third-party ads will be displayed on your site, there will be no limitations, and you will be free to do everything you want. The growth potential is endless. Everything is possible!

WordPress.com’s plans

WordPress.com: starting a blog is free, but if you want more options, you need to switch to a paying plan. WordPress.com currently offers the following plans:

  • Free: includes a free blog, a web address (that looks like yourblog.wordpress.com), limited possibilities to choose from simple themes, no possibilities for e-commerce, 3 GB of space, and you cannot store any videos. And, most importantly: ads may be displayed, and there is nothing you can do about it… and you will also not get a penny from them.
  • Premium ($99 per year): includes a free blog, a custom domain name, advanced customisation, but no premium themes, no e-Commerce, limited possibilities as regards the possibility to store videos, 13 GB of space, and no ads.
  • Business ($299 per year): includes a free blog, a custom domain name, advanced customisation with over 50 premium themes included in the price, e-Commerce, unlimited storage space for videos, unlimited space, and no ads.

For a full-service WordPress hosting solution with its unlimited possibilities, we advise you to visit Combell’s website.

How should you link your domain name (registered with Combell) to your free WordPress.com blog?

Go to the My Combell control panel. In the DNS & forwarding management section, click on DNS & Forwarding next to the chosen domain. In the empty “web forwarding” field in front of your domain name, enter your www, and in the “Destination” field, enter the name of your WordPress.com blog (e.g. myblog.wordpress.com). Also, check the “Cloaked” box if you want the address bar to show the address www.myblog.be at all times. Click on “Add” and you are done!

Give the system some time to apply the changes. From now on, visitors who enter your www.myblog.be address will be forwarded to your free wordpress.com blog.

How can I activate a WordPress.org hosting account on your domain name?

In order to be able to use wordpress.org, you need a Linux hosting account. You can order one on Combell’s website. If you are a returning customer and already have a hosting package, one click is all that's needed to install WordPress via your control panel. If you prefer help with the install, send a simple e-mail to our helpdesk and we will install WordPress for you!

Discover our WordPress hosting packages


Now, you know the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Which option will you choose and why? Let us know in the feedback section below.