WordPress.org is the self-hosted option, and it allows you to install the site on any website hosting service you want. Moreover, you can easily install as many WordPress themes as you want here. This includes free and paid themes too. WordPress.org allows you to install plugins too, regardless of their nature or price.
That being said, you do have to pay anywhere from $40 to $100 or more per year for hosting. But if you do pay for that, you will get monetization freedom. So, you are the one to choose how you monetize your website if you opt for ads, affiliate marketing and so on.
There’s no branding limitation either. You will not have any branding limitations; this means you can customize the site as you see fit. You can also get complete SEO control with WordPress.org, not to mention you can use third-party SEO tools on the site without any issues.
You are free to install Google Analytics and other powerful third party tools too. In fact, you can easily use WordPress.org to create your store where you can see physical or digital goods. You can also create your own membership site if you want. However, you are responsible for the website maintenance.
WordPress.com can be installed and used free of charge. Keep in mind that most of the limitations listed below such as the lack of too many WordPress themes can be removed with a paid subscription.
That being said, WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to install plugins and it has limited theme support. It means the customization options are pretty limited here, which can be quite the issue for a lot of people. If you opt for the free WordPress.com account, you won’t have to pay for the service, but you will have limited monetization and branding, which can be a bit problematic. Paying for your own domain is a possibility, but you don’t have to worry about hosting as that is handled by WordPress.com.
The SEO control is limited, and you also have some limited analytics in here as well. Moreover, WordPress.com stops you from creating a membership site or an online store. You don’t have to worry about any maintenance, as everything is handled by WordPress.com.
Which is the best?
It all comes down to your needs. If you want a free online presence, WordPress.com can be a very good option. But if you want to have more control, if you need to install WordPress themes and want to customize your website, WordPress.org is a much better solution. Yes, it can cost a bit more, but you are in complete control, and you can start branding your site too, which is a very important thing to keep in mind.
Credits: WordPress Logo