You want a website- a real website- a WordPress website! So you Google “WordPress website”. The top link says “WordPress.com: Create a Free Blog or Website”. Sweet! Your very own website FOR FREE!!! Or is it?
One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see new business owners make is sign up for a website through WordPress.com. And so often it happens because they honestly don’t know there is another option. I mean, why would you? You’re a total newbie at this, and the bigwigs aren’t making this easy.
So I want to take a few minutes and break down the major differences between a WP.com and a WP.org website so you can make sure to choose the right one!
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Is WordPress free or paid?
So here’s the dirty secret most new website owners don’t know: WordPress is a FREE platform to build a website on. Yup, totally free. But it’s got to live somewhere. That’s where hosting comes in, and that’s the part costs money.
If your website is a house, hosting is the plot of land it sits on. Without land for your home, you’re pretty much out of luck. (Your domain is your address by the way. It just tells other people where your website lives). And no matter what you use to build your website (WP, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc.), it has to live somewhere.
The techy answer is that hosting is renting space on someone else’s servers (like giant computers) for your website to live. If you build a site through Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, your website is hosted on their company’s servers. But WP isn’t owned by a company (hello, free!), so it needs to be hosted somewhere.
What is WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
WP.com is a company that hosts websites on its servers. They offer very limited free plans and then very expensive paid plans. Honestly, to get a professional looking website, you’d need to be on their $25/month plan, which is just outrageous. (In comparison, Siteground, which is my hosting recommendation, is $3.95 a month)
The dashboard on WordPress.com. The blue header is a dead giveaway that you have a WP.com site.
WP.org is just the platform that needs to be hosted on someone else’s servers. If you’ve ever heard of people getting hosting through Siteground or GoDaddy or Bluehost, that’s why! These are called self-hosted websites, and is absolutely the best way to create a website for your business.
A self-hosted WP site has a dark gray header and sidebar.
Most hosting companies offer one-click installs of WP, so they make it nice and easy to get the platform. (This post shows you how to set up a website on Siteground). You can install any theme or plugin you want to get the perfect site for your business.
Do I want wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
If you are starting an online business or serious about blogging, then you want to use WordPress.org. I know the free plan for WP.com sounds really nice. I mean, who doesn’t like free, right?
But the truth is the free plan is extremely limiting. Websites built on that plan do not look like professional websites and will hurt your chances of getting clients or growing your blog.
And if you decide to upgrade to one of their paid plans, you’d be paying waaaaay more than you need to for your website.
I know getting a website for your new blog or business can seem like an expensive investment. But really you can purchase a year’s worth of hosting and domain through Siteground for less than $75. And then you’d have the freedom to do whatever you want or need to with that website!
Can I change from wordpress.com to wordpress.org?
Started your website and just realized you used the wrong WordPress? No worries, you can pretty easily move your website from a WP.com account to a self-hosted account.
The only catch is if you bought your domain through WP.com. Due to fancy Internet rules, you have to wait 60 days to transfer a domain from one hosting company to another. So if you just recently bought your domain from WP.com, it will have to stay with WP.com.
But you can still migrate your site to a self-hosted account. If your new hosting company doesn’t offer this service, you can pretty easily do it yourself for free. Check out this post for the step by step details on migrating from WP.com.
Confused on the Best Options for You?
I host a free Facebook group to help women design and launch a website they’re proud of! If you’re looking for some resources on how to set up your WordPress site, what themes and plugins are best, how to write copy that connects, and how to design an amazing website without losing your mind, this the group for you! Click here to join.