WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service where you can create a free website for life. The URLs of the website hosted on this platform looks like this, “yoursite.wordpress.com” and is largely used for blogs. Below are the pros and cons of using this platform:
Free for up to 3GB of space but after that, you need to switch to a paid plan for more space.
WordPress.com will take care of all your updates and backups.
They place ads on all free website, and if you do not want this ad to show up on your website, you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Even though it is your website, you do not make money from this ad.
You're not allowed to sell ads on your website. But if you run a high traffic website and want to have ads on your site, you need to apply for their advertising program called WordAds. All revenue from this advertisement is not solely yours. You share it with WordPress.com.
You cannot upload plugins and custom theme. Not unless you're on Business plan.
You cannot add or install Google Analytics. You are restricted to their stats, unless you're on Business plan.
WordPress.com can delete your website anytime when they think you violate their Terms of Service.
Your website will display a powered by WordPress.com link, and you have the option to remove this, again if you're on their Business plan.
The “real” WordPress and often referred to as self-hosted WordPress. It is open source and 100% free for anyone to use, for as long as you have a domain name and hosting - you have absolute and total control of your site. Below are the pros and cons of using WordPress.org.
You can add or install free, paid, and custom WordPress plugins, themes, and other apps.
You can customize your website design to anything you want.
You can make money on your website, and all revenue is only yours.
You can use Google Analytics for custom analytics and tracking.
You can build an online store to sell physical or digital products, accept payment, and deliver the goods directly from your website. You can also create a membership site.
You'll need web hosting where you can store all your files on the internet, which could be costly.
You're responsible for your website maintenance - updates, backups, security, optimization, etc.
We hope this cleared things up a bit and help you decide what to use between – Wordpress.com or WordPress.org, if you are planning on building a website. But if you already have a site, which is hosted on WordPress.com and you want to switch to WordPress.org there is no need for panicking, it's easy to switch to the self-hosted WordPress. Here's an article which can help you migrate your website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.