Here at Sanders Design, I use WordPress as the backbone of all of my websites. I haven’t found a single piece of software that can help deliver a better website for my clients than WordPress. Of course, if you search for WordPress online, you will notice that there are two options available; WordPress.org and WordPress.com. So, are they the same? Is one option better than the other? Let me explain.
I am going to tackle the WordPress.org vs WordPress question on this page. However, before I do that, I want to talk about what each of these versions of WordPress actually are.
The main difference between WordPress.org and WordPress
WordPress.org and WordPress will allow you to use the WordPress content managing system, much-heralded as the world’s best content management system.
With WordPress.org, you will be running the WordPress software on your own web hosting. With WordPress.com, the WordPress website will be hosted on the servers of WordPress.com.
In fact, when it comes to many of the differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress, this whole self-hosted website vs having the WordPress software hosted on the WordPress.com platform will be the significant factor.
Sanders Design will only use WordPress.org when designing websites i.e. you will get to use your own web hosting. If you do not have your own web hosting, I will be able to provide you with advice on which WordPress hosting option will be the right one for your business.
At this point, I want to point out that WordPress.org is an ‘open’ platform. It is Open Source software. WordPress.com is a ‘closed’ platform. You have very little control with a closed platform.
Control over your data
For my clients, this is the ‘big one’ in the WordPress.org vs WordPress debate.
If you run a business, then I have no doubt that you are planning for the long term. You want to be around for a long time. In the course of running your business, your website will be constantly under development. You may be adding new features to it. You may be adding new content, etc.
When you are using WordPress.com hosting, then you are at the whim of that company. They have incredibly strict terms and conditions about who can be using their services. If you breach their terms and conditions, then they can switch off your hosting whenever they see fit. If they switch off your hosting, then you will have lost absolutely everything that you have worked towards.
If your WordPress.com hosting goes, you will not only have lost your website, but you will have lost your position in the search engines too, not to mention all those advertising campaigns that you will now need to be switching off. I have seen some people lose their entire business overnight because WordPress.com decided that they no longer wanted to host them.
Now, you would think that this means that people had to have done something serious to breach the terms and conditions of these platforms. That isn’t the case. A quick spurt of traffic or doing something with your site that may deem it to be a slightly higher security risk will be enough to get your site shut down.
Enter WordPress.org in our WordPress.org vs WordPress debate.
Obviously, you will still need to be using hosting when you use WordPress.org. This means that the risk of losing your hosting is still going to be there e.g. you can breach the terms and conditions, or the hosting company may go out of business. However, the risk is going to be far, far smaller than using one of the hosted WordPress solutions like WordPress.com.
On the off-chance that your hosting service disappears, regular backups will ensure that you have access to your website. This means that all you need to do is to go find a new web host, upload your backup, point your custom domain name towards the new hosting, and your business is up and running. You may be down for a day or two, at the most. You won’t lose your information. You won’t lose your position in the search engines.
Since I want the clients that I work with to be in business for as long as possible, I will only ever recommend people use their own WordPress.org hosted solution when pitting WordPress.org vs WordPress. It ensures that nothing will be able to undo the years and years of hard work that they have to pour into making a website work.
How much does WordPress cost?
I don’t want to get too much into the specifics regarding the pricing of hosting here. This is because each website will have its own needs. However, pricing does need to be discussed a little when discussing WordPress.org vs WordPress because some people will see that WordPress.com offers ‘free hosting’, and they feel that it is a great way to save money for their business. It isn’t.
Free hosting is far too limited for a business. You have a limited amount of storage space, and you have even less control than you would have with their normal hosted solutions, which still have a ton of restraints on them. However, the main reason why you will want to steer clear is that these free packages are not for businesses.
With the free package, you cannot use your own domain name, which instantly impacts the credibility of your business. You also cannot monetise your website, which means that you may lose your website if they catch you doing just that.
There are business solutions on offer but, once you get to the price of those, you may as well just have your own website hosting with WordPress.org. That way you will have control over your business.
Basically, when it comes to WordPress.org vs WordPress for a business, the price of ‘free’ should not be a swaying factor as this doesn’t apply to you.
WordPress.org vs WordPress speed
I am not going to deny that WordPress.com has some good hosting. For the most part, it can be pretty fast. However, there will be certain times of the day where hosting can fall off a cliff.
If you have read previous articles that we have put together here at Sanders Design, then you will know that one of the key elements of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the speed of the website. The faster your website, the more chance you have of appearing near the top of the searches. This means more potential business.
When you use WordPress.com to host your website, you are sharing resources with thousands of other websites at the same time. If one of those websites has a ton of traffic heading towards it at once, your site is going to slow down. In fact, if there are not enough server resources, your site may just be inaccessible. This isn’t good for your business.
If you have your site hosted elsewhere, then you will not have to worry about this dip in speed quite so frequently. This will really help when it comes to pulling in future clients and customers.
Where is WordPress.com hosted
Again, this is related to SEO and something that businesses will need to worry about when it comes to WordPress.org vs WordPress.
Search engines like Google will use several factors to determine where a business is based. One of these factors will be looking at where their server is located. WordPress.com uses American servers. This means that when you use WordPress.com you are essentially saying, “yes, our business may be located in the United States”. This means that you may appear lower down in the search results for any British people that are searching for your website.
One of my jobs here at Sanders Design, other than designing your website, is to help ensure that you can get found by the customers you want. In most cases, this means using British hosting services.
Control over your site’s functionality; design
This is the biggest reason why you shouldn’t be using WordPress.com for your website. In fact, if you ignore everything else that I have talked about on this page with regard WordPress.org vs WordPress, pay attention to this one.
When you are building up a website for your business, you don’t want it to be some cookie-cutter website. You want it to be built with your business in mind. This is something that I care a lot about when I design websites for my clients. I want to make sure that the website that they have suits the needs of their company. This means in terms of design and the features that they have on their website. A website custom-built for a business makes more money.
The thing is that if you use the WordPress.com solution, you do not have much control over your site’s functionality and design. If you use their free package, you have a couple of templates that you choose from. That is it. If you opt for their paid package, then you can install plugins (essentially the features of your site), but you will still have a limited option available.
Basically, if you opt for WordPress.org, the platform is much more open. You have control over the look of your site. You have control over the features of your website. The result is that you will end up with a site that is better for your business. One that really helps to take your brand to the next level.
Remember what I said earlier at the start of this WordPress.org vs WordPress discussion? I said that the former is an open platform and the latter one closed? This is exactly what I was talking about. If you run a website, you should always have full control over everything related to that website. Only one of these options will be able to offer that.
You will NOT be able to edit the site’s code for WordPress.com. This means that any features are going to be fixed. No chopping and changing them up to suit your business. As a web designer, I hate this.
Site tracking solutions
As a business, you will know that tracking traffic on your website is vital. You need to know where your traffic is coming from. You need to know what it is doing when it arrives. You need to know how to improve this traffic.
WordPress.com doesn’t offer you that many tools to do this, even if you opt for their business solutions. This means that you will struggle to improve your business from a marketing perspective.
When it comes to WordPress.org vs WordPress, you have more options at your disposal when hosting the WordPress.org software. Again, this will help you to improve your business and see how certain marketing methods are working for you. Since my job is to help ensure that your website makes money, I will only ever recommend WordPress.org. It would be wrong of me to suggest WordPress.com here.
WordPress.org vs WordPress security
In the WordPress.org vs WordPress debate. This may be where WordPress.com wins out…maybe.
One of the selling points of WordPress.com is the fact that they will handle the security side of things for you. This means that you do not have to worry about site security. However, I feel that there are a couple of issues with this.
Firstly, you are going to be putting the security of your business in the hands of somebody that you do not know. You have to rely on them keeping up to date with security. If they falter, your site suffers. Now. I am not saying that the team at WordPress.com will be doing a bad job here. By all accounts, they do a good job with security. However, do you really want to put your security in the hands of somebody on the other side of the world? Remember, since the software isn’t open source for you, you can’t even take security into your own hands just to double up on everything.
Not only this, but WordPress.com servers are regularly targeted by bad actors. This is because WordPress.com plays host to millions of sites. It is a constant battle to keep sites secure here. Every so often, the servers can go down as a result.
This is why I feel that WordPress.org may be a bit more secure for you when it comes to WordPress.org vs WordPress. By hosting your own website, security can be taken into your own hands. You are less-likely to be a target too. While this does mean that you will need to keep on top of your security by hiring a WordPress security expert like Sanders Design, you can feel much more confident knowing that your site is properly protected and you won’t lose everything that you have worked for.
While this is unlikely to be a major selling point for people in the WordPress.org vs WordPress debate, just know that your customers will love you a whole lot more if they know that their data is in safe hands.
A website that can grow with your business
And now for the final point when discussing WordPress.org vs WordPress.
Chances are that you have big plans for your business, right? Even if you are not planning to take on the world with your business, you are probably going to be looking to increase business over time. This means that you need a site that can grow with you.
A WordPress.com is limited in growth. You can’t add more features over time. You will have limited options when it comes to marketing your website. You can’t even move your WordPress.com site over to new hosting. The solution that you opt for at the start will be the one that you will forever have to stick with. You have literally no control over anything.
When it comes to WordPress.org, things are different. As your business starts to make more money, you can do upgrades to your website. You can add new features if you have a new idea for your company. As the traffic rolls in, you can even upgrade your hosting to something faster, better, and with more storage space available to you.
In my opinion, as a business, you should always be looking forward. You need to plan future expansion, and in the WordPress.org vs WordPress debate, only one of these options will offer you the opportunity to expand.
As you can see, when it comes to WordPress.org vs WordPress, only one option is going to give you true control over your website. This is why at Sanders, we offer WordPress web design only ever using WordPress.org. I want the companies that I work with to expand and to have the opportunity to squeeze every last penny from their business. I would never recommend WordPress.com as it is far too limiting for a business.
Now that you know the differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress, why not get in touch with me today? I can walk you through the process that we use here at Sanders Design to build up websites for our clients. We can even work together to get a site designed for your business up and running. Put your website in the hand of an experienced web designer, not a limited solution hosted on the other side of the world.