Being an open-source content management system is what makes WordPress the most popular one available in the market.
Available and useful to any people from beginners to advanced has made the range of users of WordPress extremely high with almost 30% of the world’s website made using WordPress.
Although it seems easy to set up a WordPress website for free, there are still a few things you need to know before you jump to conclusions with the best CMS, WordPress.
When you look at WordPress in your google search engine, two websites pop at #1 and #2, that is, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Both of them seem to work the same way, that is, working with setting up the website as per the needs of the users. However, there are a few differences and similarities between them that you must go through before committing to one.
Hold on to this article to find out if WordPress is actually free and why are there two websites of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Is WordPress free?
WordPress is open-source software and is known to be 100% free. That means, it is openly accessible as WordPress has made itself available through General Public License (GPL). GPL license guarantees the following for its customers:
- You can use WordPress for any purpose
- You can modify the software as per your requirements
- You can improve the program and release the modifications
- You can redistribute the code
This further means that, you can download the full software from WordPress.org which is completely unrestricted and does not even require you to spend a penny.
Therefore, WordPress software is completely free for its users. Does that mean setting up and using WordPress is free? No.
Even if WordPress is free software and can be used from anywhere and anytime, you need a way to power the WordPress software and make it accessible to the world via the internet.
To power your WordPress website, you need a domain and a web host. There are hundreds if not thousands of different web host that offers different plans to host a WordPress website at a very reasonable price.
Here, there are other elements or aspects of WordPress that might include some hidden costs while setting up your website. The list consists of the following things:
There are several plugins designed for specific as well as general purposes in WordPress. Plugins enhance your website’s functionalities with the option of adding various features.
There are thousands of plugins in WordPress.org and you can find a number of general plugins for free. However, if you need a specific plugin for specific purposes, then you might have to pay a certain amount.
Themes help you select a particular look and layouts of your page so that your page looks like a professional website. Just like the plugins, you can find thousands of different options for themes free of cost.
No matter which website you use, you can get the themes. But you do need to pay a few amounts to get more control over the functions and features provided to you.
- Customer support services
If you are an advanced user, you do not need this support. But if you are just a beginner, then you should probably pay a few more for this support as it would be extremely helpful in the long run. If you ever get stuck in the technical issues then customer support will save you from the unnecessary headache and unnecessary expense.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org
There are two distinct websites for WordPress, that is WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Both of them are used to make the WordPress website and make it easily available to users all around the world.
However, there are differences between them as well which should be known by anyone who is thinking of using WordPress for their personal as well as business websites.
The key difference between these two might be who’s hosting your website, that is, WordPress.com handles all the operations of managing your website from web hosting to maintenance as well but WordPress.org offers more control over your website.
WordPress.com is actually a hosting service that is created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, with the objective of offering a complete solution for establishing a website.
As WordPress.com and WordPress.org have the same founder, it is often considered to be the same. The WordPress.com hosting service offers five different plans to its users, that are as follows:
- Free – Very limited.
- Personal – $48 per year
- Premium – $96 per year
- Business – $300 per year
- eCommerce – $540 per year
- VIP – starting at $5000 per month
WordPress.org is the real WordPress that has been famous all around the world as the best content management system available. It is open-source software that you can download and install on your own server and establish a fully functional website.
WordPress.org is the more advanced among the two allowing you to create your own website regardless of the requirements as you can find anything in WordPress.org.
All you need is a web host and there are already thousands of web hosts ready to host your website available in the market.
Pros and Cons
- Provides a free plan; 100% free
- Requires a very little tech experience; easy to set up
- Easy to customize
- Ideal for blog-specific websites
- Paid upgrades for advanced customization
- You can not sell ads, that is, hard to monetize the website
- No plugin uploads
- A limited number of free plugins
- 100% free to download
- Complete customization
- Upload custom plugins
- Use any theme
- You can run your own ads and earn money
- Install Google Analytics for free
- Requires you to source your own hosting
- You are responsible for managing and maintaining your website and server
- You are responsible for website backups
The differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org are as follows:
|Hosting||You get to choose your own hosting provider||The hosting services are provided to you|
|Technical Skills||You must have beginner coding skills to use this software efficiently||Although beginner coding skills are helpful, it is not absolutely required|
|Customization||100% customizable||Limited customization|
|SEO||Multiple add-ons and plugins are available, from free to paid versions||Few free plugins available|
|Help & Support||External support with expert teams; form forums and developers are available||Only in-house email and live chat support is available|
|Plugins||There are varieties of free as well as paid options available||There are varieties of free as well as paid versions available|
|E-Commerce capabilities||Scalable eCommerce capabilities with the support of WooCommerce.||Basic eCommerce capabilities|
|Blogging||It offers powerful content organization and storage||Especially known for easy set up of any kind of website|
|Pricing||Starts at about $55 per year||Starts at about $3 per month|
When to use
When using WordPress.com, you do not have to worry about managing and maintaining the website, purchasing host, and many other things that can be a headache for some.
There are free plans but to work with advanced settings you can use the paid plan as well.
The free plans have limited features, such as 3 GB of data and your website comes with a subdomain, that is, yoursitename.wordpress.com.
On top of that, you can not install your own plugins or themes unless you pay for the business plans which is the most expensive. Not being able to install plugins and themes takes away the customization control over the website.
Hence, if you are not looking forward to changing your website’s DNS or back up your website, and it sounds like an overwhelming task to you then WordPress.com may be the way to go for basic and simple websites.
On the contrary, WordPress.org has to be set up with a hosting provider of your choice and it is as simple as a one-click install.
If you purchase the domain name from the same hosting provider that hosts your website, then you do not even have to worry about DNS as it is automatically done by the provider.
WordPress.org has much better customization options with lots of plugins and themes that you can choose from to make your website look as professional as possible.
If you are planning to make an online business, then WordPress.org helps you to monetize your business and grow as well.
If you are looking to have full control over your site with lots of functionalities then going with WordPress.org would be the best.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world right now offering free services with a lot of control to the users. However, to people who are just starting up, there might be a lot of things that are still unknown and needs to be cleared.
This article is focused on those people who want to know if WordPress has any hidden cost and do those costs stop you from achieving your dreams of an online presence.
Similarly, the difference, similarities, and almost every detail of WordPress.com and WordPress.org to help you understand WordPress a bit more so that you can help your website grow as your requirements.