WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

“WordPress.com?” I used to chuckle¬†to myself. “That’s for amateurs.”

I’m having some seriousface thoughts today, because according to a WordPress.com notification, I registered here five years ago today. Until recently, I was a true believer in WordPress.org only, and I didn’t actually use this account for anything. Now that I do, every time I go through the list of WP.org installs I’m responsible for, updating themes and plugins and checking site backups, I can’t help thinking about how easy and low maintenance my WordPress.com sites are.

That’s not to say WordPress.org isn’t the best fit for a ton of situations. Those installs I look after are work-related, and they each have specialized functions and requirements that a WordPress.com account wouldn’t cover. (If you’re not familiar with those differences, here is a great starting guide.)

This image is from WPBeginner, which is also an excellent resource.

One site I work with uses a single sign-on solution that works with Office 365 logins. This is a lifesaver when granting or revoking access, but it would either be impossible or more expensive to implement using WordPress.com – and I honestly can’t tell which one, without buying the Business plan and testing it. It’s also important to have granular theme controls when working with time-pressed executives and their vision for the brand. Although WordPress.com Business plans offer a lot of options and some ecommerce functionality, most businesses I’ve worked with prefer to feel that they have complete control over their online presence.

This image is from WPEngine, which is my favorite WordPress.org managed hosting provider.

On the other hand, while I’ve written multiple responsive¬†WordPress.org themes from scratch, it’s incredibly relaxing to start building content here on WordPress.com. It gives me the feeling that the nuts and bolts of the site are already handled by the original experts, and gets that stuff out of the way of pure content creation. WordPress.com also has some nice things already built-in that require plugins on WordPress.org, such as easy social sharing, basic traffic stats, and not having to think about plugins or permalinks.

For now, I’m very happy building my personal sites on WordPress.com, but it’s good to know that I can work with WordPress.org just as easily when it comes to larger, more business-oriented projects.

Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They’re just things that I like.

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