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Did you know that and are actually two very different platforms?

Often beginners confuse and, which leads them to choose the wrong blogging platform for their needs. Even those who know that they are two different platforms are not aware of the differences between them.

We’re often asked by our users which is the better platform: vs To help answer that, we have created the most comprehensive comparison of free vs (self-hosted version).

Our goal is to highlight the key differences between vs, so you can choose the right platform for your needs.

Self hosted vs free

Since choosing the right platform is crucial for your online success, we have created the most detailed comparison of vs (text comparison, table-based comparison, and a full infographic). You can use the links below to jump to a specific section:

If you just want to start a blog or make a website the RIGHT way, then you can skip this article and head over to our guides here:

Having said that, let’s take a look at the differences between self-hosted vs vs (Infographic)

Self-hosted vs Free

Note: This infographic and article compare the powerful self-hosted with the free website hosting service. You can unlock additional functionality in by upgrading to their paid service. We have highlighted those features as well.

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If you’d prefer written comparisons, please keep reading. vs Comparison

The best way to understand the difference between vs is to take a look at each platform individually.

Here’s a comparison of both versions of WordPress: aka “the real WordPress”, is the popular website platform that you have heard all the great things about.

It is an open-source software, and it’s 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.

Below are the pros and cons of using the self-hosted to build your website or blog. Benefits

With, you have full control of your website. You are free to do anything you want and customize it as much as you need.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing to build your website, and the reason why it is our #1 pick for the best website builder.

  • The WordPress software is free, open-source, and super easy to use. WordPress is used by over 43% of all websites on the internet (See why is WordPress free?).
  • You own your website and all its data. Your site will NOT be turned off because someone decides that it is against their terms of service (as long as you are not doing something illegal). You are in full control.
  • You can add free, paid, and custom WordPress plugins / apps to your website.
  • You can customize your website design as needed. You can add any free or premium WordPress theme that you want. You can also create completely custom designs or modify anything that you want.
  • You can actually make money from your WordPress site by running your own ads without sharing revenue with anyone.
  • You can use powerful tools like Google Analytics for custom analytics and tracking.
  • You can use self-hosted WordPress to create an online store to sell digital or physical products, accept credit card payments, and deliver / ship the goods directly from your website.
  • You can also create membership sites and sell memberships for premium content, courses, forums, etc., and build an online community around your website. Cons

There are very few cons of using the self-hosted site.

  • Like all websites, you will need web hosting. This is where your website files are stored on the internet. Initially, the cost is around $3-$10 per month. However, as your website grows and gets more traffic, the web hosting plan costs will increase as expected, but then you will be making enough money to cover the costs.
  • You will need to install WordPress. Luckily, most popular WordPress hosting companies offer 1-click WordPress installation options. You can also follow our comprehensive tutorial on how to properly install WordPress.
  • You are responsible for updates. You can easily update your WordPress site by simply clicking on the update button (one click), so it’s not too much work.
  • You are responsible for backups. Thankfully, there are tons of WordPress backup plugins that let you set up automatic backups.

The real cost of the website varies based on what you are trying to build (simple blog, portfolio website, eCommerce store, membership site, etc). There are also other factors like free templates vs premium templates, free plugins vs premium plugins, etc.

On a low budget, you can build your website for as little as $46 per year. See our guide on how much does it really cost to build a WordPress website for full details.

For 99% of users, our recommendation is always to use See our guide on how to start a website.

Bonus: The team at Bluehost is offering our readers a 61% discount on web hosting + a free domain name. They’re an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. is a hosting service created by Automattic, the company led by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. Because of the same founder, users often confuse with the popular software.

The hosting service has six pricing plans:

  • Free – Very limited and restrictive in terms of features.
  • Starter – $48 per year
  • Explorer – $96 per year
  • Creator – $300 per year
  • Entreprenuer – $540 per year (Suitable for eCommerce sites using WooCommerce)
  • VIP – starting at $25000 per year

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Benefits

The free platform is a good choice for hobby bloggers and those starting a blog for their family. Here are some of the benefits of using

  • It’s free for up to 3GB of space. After that, you will have to switch to a paid plan for more storage space. (Starter plan $48 /year, gives you 6GB, Explorer plan $96/year, gives you 13GB storage, Creator plan for $300/year comes with 50GB storage).
  • You will not have to worry about updates or backups. will take care of that. Cons

There are several limitations of free, which differentiate it from Here are some of the disadvantages of using

  • They place ads on all free websites. Your users see those ads, and you don’t make money from them. If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan (starting from $48 per year).
  • You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your website, which severely limits ways to monetize your site. If you run a high-traffic site, then you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them. Explorer and above plan users can use WordAds right away.
  • You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in Jetpack features pre-activated. Creator plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins ($300 / year). VIP program lets you install plugins, and it starts from $5000 per month.
  • You cannot upload custom themes. Free plan users can only install from the limited free themes collection. Explorer and Creator plan users can also select premium themes and use custom CSS with those themes. There are limited customization options for the free version.
  • You are restricted to their stats. You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Creator plan users can install Google Analytics.
  • Free sites come with a subdomain (e.g. You’ll need a paid plan to get a custom domain name (e.g.
  • They can delete your site at any time if they think that it violates their terms of service.
  • Your site will display a powered by link. It can be removed by upgrading to the Creator plan.
  • does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways unless you switch to the Entrepreneur plan.
  • You cannot build membership websites with

As you can see, the hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To unlock some of the more advanced features, you have to be on the Business plan ($300 per year) or on the VIP plan ($5000 per month). vs (FAQs)

Since this is a popular topic, and WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners, we get tons of questions regarding vs

We have done our best to answer the most frequently asked questions below: vs – Which is Better?

If you are a personal blogger and you don’t care about making money from your website, then go with the free

If you are a business or a blogger who wants to make money from your site, then we recommend using the self-hosted It gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want.

While you can get several advanced features with the Creator plan ($300 / year for each website), you can make that money go much further on a self-hosted WordPress site which costs $46 per year.

In our expert opinion, is hands down the better platform. That’s the platform that every professional blogger, small business owner, and even big name brands like Disney uses.

Can I Monetize Free Website? does not allow you to run ads on free websites. If you run a high traffic website, then you can join their own WordAds program and share your ad revenue with

You can put some affiliate links on your website, but that’s about it.

Basically, you have very limited options to monetize content on your website.

Whereas with, you have full control over content management system, so you have unlimited monetization options for your new website. vs – Which one is better for Ecommerce? offers the easiest way to build an eCommerce website. You can use WooCommerce to build your store or choose from many other WordPress eCommerce, membership, and LMS plugins. also offers an eCommerce plan starting at $540 per year which is a hefty amount if you are just getting started. It is still limited in terms of features, and you’ll have to follow’s terms of services for your eCommerce store.

See our guide on how to start an online store without a high budget. It includes how to get your own domain for free along with all the powerful features that you need to grow online.

How do I start a Website?

To start a self-hosted WordPress website, you need a domain name and WordPress hosting.

A domain name is the address of your website on the internet, such as,, etc. Web hosting is where your website files are stored on the internet.

We recommend using Bluehost to host your website because they are one of the largest web hosting companies in the world. They’re also an official recommended web host. Last but not least, they’re offering our users a free domain + free SSL + 61% off on hosting.

For step-by-step instructions, you can check out our free guide on how to make a website.

If you need help, WPBeginner team can even install WordPress and build your website for free. Learn more about how our free WordPress blog setup works.

Can I move from to

Often new users who don’t know the difference between vs end up starting with the free service. Once they see the limitations of the platform, they want to switch to “the Real WordPress” aka

Yes, you can definitely switch from to and fairly easily move all of your content.

We have created a step by step guide on how to move your blog from to, or you can take advantage of our free blog setup service, and we will transfer your blog for free. vs. – Summary

The best way to think about the differences between vs. is the analogy of renting a house vs. owning a house. is similar to renting a house. You have limited power and control over what you can and cannot do. is like owning a house. Where you have full control, no one can kick you out, and you can do anything that you want.

Below is the summary of everything we discussed above in our self-hosted vs comparison: (Platform) (Free) (Premium) (Business)
Cost$46 - $100 / yearFree$96 / year$300/ year
Custom DomainYesNoYesYes
Hosting StorageUnlimited3 GB13 GB200 GB
Monetization FreedomYesNoYes (with rev/share)Yes (with rev / share)
Branding FreedomYesNoNoYes
All SEO FeaturesYesNoNoYes
Powerful AnalyticsYesNoNoYes
Full Theme SupportYesNoLimitedYes
Full Plugin SupportYesNoNoYes
Ecommerce StoreYesNoNoNo
Membership SiteYesNoNoNo
Full ControlYesNoNoNo

Final Thoughts

The confusion created by similar domains: vs is quite unfortunate for beginners. There is a lot of history behind the decisions, and you can read more about that in our article how and are related.

Our hope is that you found this article helpful in understanding the main differences between and

We wish you all the best with your website and hope that you chose the right platform:

If so, you may want to follow these useful guides:

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

506 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
    You can get more details about the contest from here.
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  2. Poorwa Vishwakarma says

    I have a question here.
    What will happen to my followers and likes on when I’ll transfer my blog to
    Please help me.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You can transfer your followers but your likes you would need to check with for what is currently allowed


  3. Victor says

    Thank you so much for this post. To be honest, it’s really got me informed on the above mentioned topic. Thanks alot.

  4. Nina says

    I am new to blogging on WordPress and I made the mistake of not doing enough research before starting and I signed up to I haven’t even started posting content and i’m desperately trying to set up on .org.

    I have my domain and hosting, but the WP admin is directing me to and don’t know how to change it. Has anyone else experienced this and knows how to fix it?

  5. Dixon says

    Nice write up,
    So its clear .org is good for a beginner at zero cost.
    But few query:

    Can i build a site before i buy a domain name.

    Thank you in advance

  6. Acolade says

    Is it wise to build your site on free hosts like blogger or (free) and gain large followers before migrating to paid?

  7. Pallavi says

    The article was really helpful…
    I have a question.
    I want to start a blog to write short stories. Or say some articles. Can I still get paid for it if I open a blog on I am completely new to the digital world and want to make some money from it. Can writing a blog help me???
    Thank you for the wonderful article.

  8. Mr Aggarwal says

    Thank you very much. This clears my all the doubt about it.
    I made a big mistake by choosing because I am not aware of that.I am a beginner. Thank You very much.

  9. Antoinette Truglio Martin says

    If I change from premium plan to, can I keep the current theme and can I change my domain from my domain to a new one and if I can do that can I do something that allows the old domain to goto the new domain name for a year or so?
    Thank you in advance.m

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You can keep non-paid themes and has a redirection service you can use to point your site to its new location


  10. Grace says

    Thank you so much for this article. I just want to create my website and this has really enlightened me. Thank you!

    • WPBeginner Support says

      No, our site is a site and our content is for sites


  11. Marie Nicholson says

    Hi, I’ve downloaded your ToolKit but I don’t think it can help me.
    Over a year ago I bought a Domain from WP and got an email wp address ending in .org. All went well until two or three weeks ago when I accidentally clicked on a theme and changed mine. This seemed to result in my paid Plan changing itself back to a Free Plan. The result is I can no longer load my images to the website, and of course, I’ve lost all the other benefits of having a domain.
    I have put queries up on two forums, the general one and the .org one but so far no one has replied to me.
    I am at my wits’ end. I cannot move on and am stuck without a site. Anything you can suggest?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      The ending of your domain name does not determine what type of WordPress site you have. If you create the site through the website you have a site. If you create a site on a different hosting provider it would be a hosted site. From the sound of it, you would want to reach out to’s support and they should be able to assist.


  12. Vasile says


    What an awesome guide!

    Thank you so much Sir..i have a question:

    With everything is possible, correct?

    I can also create emails pop up, landing pages,etc.. right?

    Thank you for your time!


    • WPBeginner Support says

      Yes, sites do not have a limitation on what you can add to your site.


  13. Vanessa says

    Am I missing something? I used to thing that blog were moved to if they switched to the ‘premium’ plan.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      No, you would need to purchase hosting on a hosting provider and transfer the site to make it a site. The closest to a self hosted/ site on would be their business plan.


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You’re welcome, glad you like our content and hope you have a great day too :)


  14. Andy Knight says

    Great blog – just what I needed – a little enlightenment on the differences which I now understand so much better. Thank you.

  15. Marco Giacomo says

    Great website, I am looking forward to using WordPress and building a successful blog like yours. Thanks again.

  16. Saravanan says

    Such a great article for beginners who don’t know the difference between these two. really appreciated

  17. joel says

    so if i create a website by com or org. can i than hire a programmer to edit or add anything with any of this 2? if yes, which one?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you wanted to be able to have custom code on your site you would want a site.


  18. Cheyenne Blythe says

    Hello, so .org is self hosted whereas .com is not? I am a beginner and do not understand very well. Maybe this is an obvious question. Is a template considered a type of hosting? Thank you for your time and answers.

  19. nigel morris says

    I know i sound stupid but how do i know i will get wordpress org when i sign up. If they give me can i ask to change it ?

  20. Julia Recipes says

    This is the first understandable explanation of & I have found. Hallelujah!! Thank you guys very much for this article! My only question is now, if I migrate my blog to, is the traffic count of my blog going to migrate as well or will this be like starting from zero? Meaning is my content going to be visible to search engines as if I would just posted for the first time?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Some counters are not transferrable so your number could reset but your visitors should still be the same for your site.


  21. Nahumy Mwangangi says

    An informative blog post over there.
    Now here is my question that requires an honest reply. Why do you feel that .org is superior to .com while you are using .com yourselves? I have a free .com website that I am thinking to upgrade to premium. When I read this article, I had to confirm which one you are using only to find that it’s a .com. Please let me know what you think.
    Thank you.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We use a installation, just because our domain ends in .com does not mean it is part of


  22. Aman says

    Thanks for sharing the much required knowledge.

    I subscribed a premium plan on After reading your article i tried to switch to and successfully transferred my data to
    But i had some doubts or confusions.
    My website address is created on i want to use, so what will be my site address on
    Should i need to delete the site on
    Will the hosting provided by will work on or should i cancel the hosting there?

  23. Roberta C Capasso says

    Hi! I am currently a WordPress user. However, I don’t like Facebook controlling my blog site: Blog of my Book: Sky Woman Lives in Me. Will I have more control over my blog is I switch over to Does Facebook control the org site also? Please give me some honest, helpful advice on this matter. I would be very grateful. Thank you! Sincerely, Roberta (Bobbie)

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Facebook shouldn’t be controlling your site if it is on or org. If you feel someone has control over your site without your permission, you would want to reach out to’s support.


  24. Thelma says

    I’m so confused. I started building a wordpress site but the work is too much and I am thinking of using wix. Now I’m even more confused. My WP domain is hosted on siteground which I dont believe could host wix so what would I do. I just want to create an ecommerce store to sell my wreaths. Great information though

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to check with for that question but you would likely need their business plan.


  25. TheBeerThrillers says

    Wow, this is so extremely helpful. Makes me wish I would have read this before setting up the original blog. At least with your other guide “its not too late”. And I’ll have to look into doing that for our blog, especially once it starts gaining more steam. Thanks!

  26. Gina Rodriguez says

    Thank you so much for creating this helpful guide. I’ve had issues getting any data into Google Analytics from the site I created using Hostgator’s simple site builder, and that got me interested in moving to something more widely used like WP.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Glad our guide could help you see the difference between the two forms of WordPress :)


  27. Lou Fields says

    Hey there! I’m a little confused!! I’m just literally starting out creating a blog and I’ve got my website set up through Siteground and have downloaded WordPress through them. Does that mean I have or as I’m able to customize my site and can add plugins and I don’t have the at the end of my domain name but when I go to the dashboard and sign out of there it says it’s



    • WPBeginner Support says

      Your site should be a site, for the message, do you have the Jetpack plugin installed on your site? That plugin connects and gives some interaction between your site and


    • WPBeginner Support says

      For a free personal site if you’re not looking for many features it’s a good entry point to using WordPress that can be swapped to a site as needs grow.


  28. Edem Emmanuel says

    Thanks for the post.
    I love your comment box cos its simple and allow everyone to say a word unlike some blogs that one wil be asked to signin to google account before he can comment, and some even ask to login to facebøok b4 u can comment.

    pls wpbeginner how can i use your same comment box on my personal blog?
    Pls treat as important

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We are using the default comment system of WordPress, we’ve removed the website and are using a plugin to allow subscriptions for replies


  29. Gianna says

    Hi! Im in the same situation as a previous commenter. I bought the premium plan, but I want to switch to I followed steps to do so, but it says I can’t transfer my domain to a different host until I have had the domain with wordpress for 60 days. Should I still try to cancel wordpress premium while I wait till I can transfer my domain?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to reach out to for how they handle the purchased domain when you don’t have an active plan for if they would allow you to change the nameservers for the domain which would allow you to point the domain to a different host while the domain is still on


  30. Savannah says

    Hi, this information is so helpful! I was looking to move my over to .org but I literally just bought the premium package. Do you think I can get a refund or somehow transfer that over to my .org site? Or is that just gone forever?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For plan upgrades, they normally offer a 30 day refund period if you reach out to them


  31. Abdulrazaq Yahaya says

    This post is good.
    Can i be able to publish a blog post if i have not been purchased a domain and hosting from I am about to register to and create my website, so i don’t know if it will allow me to publish a post, i.e to learn how it works before i can tap into
    Please reply to my comment.

  32. Eva says

    I just started reading the .com vrs. .org page. This, “often users confuse with the popular,” is stated way too frequently.

  33. TyroPharma says

    Thanks for sharing information u can I shift my blog to wordpress and question is that can i get more revenue compare to blogger by adsense please reply

  34. Pam says

    Thank you for this info and for making it easy to understand – no, I did not realize the difference between the org and com. I wanted to begin a new blog but have become unhappy with and the new way of blogging by sections. I do not know any techie stuff and need a simple platform. I think I will be looking into the .org version. I may even switch some of my other blogs. Need to go read some of your other links.

  35. Thomas H. Thomsen says


    I purchased WordPress Premium through, including a domain name, but I want to use instead. Should I cancel my Premium on or can I transfer my Premium to

    Also, I would like to host my future website at Bluehost, but what about my domain name? How do I transfer it to Bluehost? Thanks!

  36. Lyndsay says

    Hello! I am having trouble with ediditing my site on This is my first time using it and when I make a template “active” to use it, it doen’t show up like the demo… any thoughts?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to first reach out to the support for your specific theme to see if there are theme specific settings that need to be enabled. It could be that you were also viewing a setup page while a page you are creating has no content to style yet.


  37. Edward Tucker says

    This is great information!
    I want to begin selling online for myself. I have an old sight that does not allow me to do this. With this old sight I have a main domain name and also a subdomain. Do you know if that is possible to have subdomains with the hosting company that you direct people to?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It would depend on which host and which plan. If you reach out to the hosting provider they can clarify what you will need for what you’re wanting.


  38. Carlise says

    I found a misspelled word in this paragraph…”servie” should be “service”
    “We have created a step by step guide on how to move your blog from to, or you can take advantage of our free blog setup servie, and we will transfer your blog for free”.

  39. Andrea Magdalena says

    Hello, A few years ago I purchased a Genesis framework and the Beautiful theme with it. I closed down that blog but now I am restarting with another genre and with a different domain. My questions are: 1. Can I use the Genesis framework and its themes on the platform? 2. Since I am a beginning of setting everything up, how do I know if I am going with .org or .com? 3. If my domain is: or does it mean I am using or .org OR domain extension has nothing to do with wordpress extensions? Silly questions I know. But I am 101.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You can use Genesis and its themes on, If you are purchasing hosting on a site other that the website then you are likely setting up a site, and your domain does not determine if your site is a or site unless your domain is similar to


  40. Charles Torres says


    I purchased the wordpress website and I use hosting through go daddy. However, I am trying to get the google adsence and it has been impossible? Is there someone that I can pay to look at it and get me going?

    Thank you,

    Charles Torres

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If the code is being removed from your site, you would want to reach out to your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.


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