Tech Q&A: WordPress.com v. WordPress.org

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What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? Which is better?

I don’t know if there’s a single “better” between the two, but there is probably a “better for you right now.”

The obvious plus for WordPress.com is that it’s a potentially free, user-friendly service. In less than an hour you can have a blog up and running. For $13 you can map to your own domain name (registered through WordPress or not)β€”no domain.wordpress.com. The drag-n-drop widgets make it pretty easy to add buttons, links, and social networking functions. It does, however, have its limitations, even if you upgrade for CSS design flexibility or video hosting. Also, WordPress.com, in exchange for this free to low-cost service, will run random ads on your blog. For $30 a year you can prevent this, but you are not allowed to run ads of your own.

WordPress.org is not as simple, right out of the gate. You’re on your own for hosting, so to get it started, you’ve got to know a little something about FTP uploading, databases, and the like…or know someone else who does. But once it’s all set up and you’ve chosen your theme (of which you have many more choices and are free to customize) and plug-ins, it pretty much acts like WordPress.com. With WordPress.org, you can install plug-ins for monetizing ads, stats analysis, and e-commerce.

What seems to make the leap to WordPress.org easier is a hosting service such as Bluehost. For $5-10 a month, you can choose WordPress scripting and it’ll take care of much of the nuts and bolts of it, making this pro option more accessible to the less tech savvy among us.

So what’s the tipping point? If you just feel a little penned in by the “.com,” and it’s worth upwards of $100 a year to you, then it might be time for “.org,” perhaps with the help of a hosting service or a super geeky friend. And if you get stuck or scared, WordPress has a huge support site and community.

Bottom line, don’t feel bad about taking your time. Plenty of respected bloggers use free blogs. Focus on your content and get to the flashy stuff when you can.

Have you got a tech question? Hit us up at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail [dot] com. We’ll dig up the answers!