WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Why I Self Host

Last week I kicked off a new blogging tips series How to Start a Blog and discussed finding your niche. Can I just say and you guys are insannnne with the feedback I received? I love how you are reaching out for additional questions and responding to my e-mail blasts… it totally gives me more motivation to continue this series based on really understanding the types of problems you guys are facing with blogging overall. I'm really going to do my best to cover the main issues I hear repeatedly, but of course your e-mails and comments continue to give me ideas for more content, so thank you for that- you guys inspire me more than anything!

This week, I'm explaining a very frequently asked question, which hosting/platform is best to use for a blog?

Specifically, I don't think there's a correct answer to this, because a large part is user preference- but I know what works for me and that's what I'll share.


What You Will Learn

  • WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
  • Should I Self Host?

I thought this would be a great starting point within this tutorial as I get asked this question quite a bit and it can be a little confusing if you don't understand the way each option works.

“Which is better to use, WordPress.com or WordPress.org?”

Before I get into what I prefer (and what I recommend), lets review the basics:


WordPress.com (Free)

A free Content Management System (CMS) software that is Self Hosted. This means your website is hosted for free but on their web hosting server. All you would need to do is sign up, choose your blog name and select your theme. Easy right?

Awesome because…

  • It's FREE, no worrying about domain/hosting (unless you want to buy a custom domain for $18/yr)
  • Automatically fights SPAM and creates backups

But there's a catch…

  • You are not in control and at the mercy of WordPress.com (they have the ability to delete your site if they feel it violates their terms in any way)
  • Unless you pay for the upgrade, all FREE sites will have ads (that you won't be making money on)
  • Can't place your own ads (unless you apply for their Ad Control Feature)
  • Can't use custom themes, stuck with the options they provide
  • Can't install plugins

Essentially you are very limited with WordPress.com… On the other hand:


WordPress.org (Self Host)

A free Content Management System (CMS) software that can be installed on a web server that allows complete control over your website.

Basically it allows people (with little to no web coding experience aka ME) the ability to run and update a website… or in our case a blog.

Awesome because…

  • You are in control, as it will be hosted on your server
  • Free and easy to use (installation is a piece of cake!)
  • Can install plugins and custom themes (which I will go over in another post)
  • Ability to monetize via ads
  • Google Analytics (which will also be explained in another post, but basically Google Analytics offers more options and data compared to the base analytics WordPress.com provides)

But there's a catch…

  • Need to have a domain and hosting plan, which will cost you a monthly fee
  • Responsible for back-end web support such as theme/plugin updates, monitoring SPAM and creating website backups
  • Customizing themes could be difficult (assuming you have no web coding experience)


Why I Self Host

If you want to have the ability to scale your blog while still having control of it (which I assume most of you reading this do) then WordPress.org (Self Host) is the way to go. It provides the ability to have complete control over your website (whether through monetization, theme customization and EVERYTHING in general). It also maximizes the amount of money you can make through your blog. I know WordPress.com has some limitations as to the extent of monetization techniques that can be used.

Now I know there are other platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr and Weebly that other bloggers use and even though I don't have too much experience using them, I label them the same as WordPress.com. There is no ability to have complete control over your blog while using these services. This is your passion, your blog, (and hopefully down the line) your business. You WANT control. The benefits far outweigh the cost.

Ok you may be thinking: But I'm not a techie and have zero experience with setting up a domain and hosting account, installing a website, etc.

Well, I wasn't a website guru (still not) when I first started my blog and my husband taught me what he knew about building websites in a very user friendly way and I'm going to teach you what I learned step by step.

Happy blogging!
xx Brittany

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Leave a comment


  1. Louise Gleeson August 11, 2015 at 3:28 am

    Have already left a comment on your previous post and then remembered something else. A post on tax, when you have to resister at self employed and pay tax would be amazing. These posts have been really beneficial for me:).

    Thank you,

    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Hi Louise, I’m actually not sure the exact threshold on when you have to state that, I think it may be different for everyone depending on household income. I have a CPA that handles all our taxes and would suggest you consult with one too! :)

  2. Hayley August 11, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Great post! I taught myself to do all this a couple of years ago and now I make websites for other people as a second job. I love it.

    Starting a blog can lead to so many different things!

    I have cast my vote. I hope you win!!xx


    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Thanks Hayley!

  3. Ida Pahus August 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Really great and helpful tips!!


    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Thank you! :)

  4. Sara Hadar August 11, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    These are great tips!! I can’t wait for part 3. I started out less than a year ago on WordPress.com and realized after 5 months that I should have started on WordPress.org (which I didn’t even know existed/ that there was a difference at a time). I felt like I was starting all over again when I made the switch.

    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:22 am

      Yes it’s a little tricky at first to figure out the two for sure!

    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:22 am


  5. Melissa August 11, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    You are doing a fantastic job with these “How To Start a Blog” posts. They are all very helpful and I will definitely keep coming to see what other helpful tips you have in the future!


    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:22 am

      Thank you!

    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 12:22 am

      Of course! :)

    1. Brittany August 19, 2015 at 4:02 pm


  6. Grace August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

    This post was so helpful, I’m definitely saving it for when I find it’s the proper time to host my own domain! I started out in Blogger and have been seeing that most blogs are best utilized in WordPress. Do you think making the switch to WordPress would be necessary? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Brittany August 12, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Grace- I would definitely recommend you making the switch even though it’s alot of work. I know someone that is great for that, send me an e-mail and I can connect you.


  7. Auneetuh August 12, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Great post! When created my blog, I woke up by 10pm, bought a domain and signed on to Hostgator. I had no clue what I was doing, I just knew that I wanted to start my blog immediately. Google and youtube were my friends, Its great to see a blogger put this out there for more people like us! Love this series, its dear to my heart.

    1. Brittany August 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you! :)

  8. Jackie August 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing with us all your blogger tips with us. I have found your last few posts on – ( how to grow your Instagrams accounts and how to start a blog part 1 or two) very helpful. I’m looking forward to reading your tutorial on how to maximize seo and drive more people too our blogs.
    Also, maybe you can shed some light on these affiliate programs for like the ones seen on instagram such as RewardStyle( Like to know it) or even Shopstyle…do they only accept top blogger?

    xo, Jackie

    1. Brittany August 19, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      HI Jackie, I will cover all those areas when I get to monetization later in the series!

  9. Melissa August 13, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Definitely voted for you! You insight and knowledge is great, and all the help you are giving us is just priceless. Thank you so much!

    1. Brittany August 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you!! :)

  10. Aimee August 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Great post! And i love all these tips I’ve had my new blog since February and I’m really wanting to take it seriously so these tips have been amazing!
    But I was curious you spoke about WordPress.com then went onto speak about hosting sites. Because I have a domain name http://cappuccinointheclouds.co on WordPress do I still need to use a hosting site?

    Aimee x

    1. Brittany August 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Hi Aimee,

      I will explain this better in tomorrow’s post… I don’t think I did a great job in describing the differences and what’s necessary ;)

  11. Ashlee August 15, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Hello lady!

    I use blogger for my blog and I bought a yearly domain for my name with blogger! Now it never said about renewing it but I’m sure I will when that year mark comes around again. Do you think that I still would need to purchase through one of the websites you mentioned? Thanks you!


    1. Brittany August 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Ashlee,

      Domain names are typically renewed on a yearly basis, unless you bought it for multiple years. Now with Blogger, the hosting is not in your control and therefore you do not have 100% ownership of your blog. If you choose to make the switch out of Blogger and onto WordPress, you would then use one of the sites I mentioned to buy hosting and your domain name (if it needs to be renewed). Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  12. Marisa August 16, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Hi Brittany,

    This series is so great! I’ve been reading your posts about tips obsessively to make sure I get it all (so much information!). One thing I have been wondering is how to use Bloglovin to make connections and extend my blog’s reach. Have you thought about doing a post on that?


    1. Brittany August 17, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Marisa,

      Actually that post will be later once we get through setting up our WordPress blog. It would be under “Outreach / Social Engagement”… or something like that lol

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  18. Boh-lee December 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    This was helpful and I agree about making the transition – I currently have wordpress.com – however am wanting to make the switch and get more capability for my blog to take it to the next level!
    I’ve installed and tried working with wordpress.org, however seem to keep hitting walls! I’ve also looked at various tutorials, but really haven’t had much luck in actually working it out and even logging in (sad I know!) – Does anyone have any tips for the ‘after installation’ phase of wordpress.org?


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  20. Diana Cabello March 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hello Brittany!!! I love these posts even though Iโ€™m just getting to read them. Thank you for sharing. Do you have any thoughts about Wix?

  21. Catalina September 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Hi Brittany!

    I’ve read through your posts so many times and just want to make sure I get it right!
    So currently I have a blog through WordPress .com, it’s a .wordpress.com URL
    before I switch to WordPress. org, I need to register, and pay for a domain through BlueHost then export and import my content to WordPress. org? & also switch the domain name over?


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