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WordPress.com vs. Managed WordPress

Is WordPress.com the same as WordPress.org?

Is Managed WordPress just another way to say WordPress Hosting? 

If you’re new to the wonderful world of WordPress, which powers nearly 40% of all websites on the Internet, you’re inevitably going to hear these phrases thrown around a lot

And you’re bound to get confused. 

Why? Because they all sound the same (even though they’re really not). That’s why we’re here, to give you a simplified rundown of the differences so you can figure out the best solution to suit your website needs.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org 

When you’re just starting out with your WordPress website, you essentially have two options to choose from in order to get things up and running:

  1. Using WordPress.com 
  2. Using WordPress.org

To put it plainly, WordPress.com is a commercial business that’s owned by Automattic, Matt Mullenweg’s brainchild. Mullenweg also happens to be the co-founder of WordPress, which was founded back in 2003. And with WordPress.com, the basic hosting of your WordPress website is included for free when you sign up. It’s also worth mentioning that WordPress.com is very restrictive in terms of customization and monetization options.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is open-source software that’s managed by the non-profit WordPress Foundation. Mullenweg, as it happens, is also the founder.  

Essentially, WordPress.org can either be self-hosted or hosted with the website hosting provider of your choice, e.g. Namecheap’s EasyWP. WordPress.org, when compared to WordPress.com, offers you far greater freedom thanks to a plethora of plugins, themes, and e-commerce options to choose from.

To sum it up? WordPress.com is a hosted platform that runs on WordPress software whereas WordPress.org makes a WordPress website available for download, either by self-hosting or with the website hosting provider of your choice.  

Now this, dear readers, is where Managed WordPress Hosting comes into play. 

woman working on her WordPress website on laptop

So, What’s Managed WordPress Hosting?

If you opt for WordPress.org and you don’t want to fuss with hosting your website yourself, you’ll need to choose a reputable website hosting provider who will take care of all the technical know-how for you, letting you dive straight in. 

This is called Managed WordPress Hosting, or for all intents and purposes of this article, Managed WordPress

A Managed WordPress host will, in essence, handle all the technical aspects of running your WordPress website. Here your WordPress website gets quickly published and you don’t have to deal with any design, ongoing site maintenance, or other technical issues. 

Still need that elevator pitch? Managed WordPress lets you focus on running your website, whatever that may be, without having to hassle with the managerial aspects. 

Because we’ve already explained how WordPress.org is the gateway to Managed WordPress, let’s discuss the top 8 differences between WordPress.com and Managed WordPress

compare WordPress.com to WordPress.org

#1 Target Audience

If you’re a student, blogger, or creative who isn’t really all that interested in customizing your website, WordPress.com is your ticket. 

But, if you’re looking to start a website that you can adapt and really make it your own, you’ll find it’s much easier to do with the help of Managed WordPress

Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for small business owners, startups, solopreneurs, and the like. Opting for a Managed WordPress host means you’re suddenly able to offload tasks that a small team would most likely be handling in-house. This redistribution allows you and your team (if you have one) to focus on growing your business. 

#2 Setup/Installation

To be fair, in terms of setting up WordPress, both WordPress.com and Managed WordPress make it very easy for you but there are key differences. 

With free WordPress.com, you simply sign up for an account and voila, you’ve got your WordPress website. No downloading or installing is required since this is part of the basic hosting service that free WordPress.com provides. 

With Managed WordPress, it’s more or less the same scenario. For example, Namecheap’s Managed WordPress solution, EasyWP, gets your WordPress website installed in under 90 seconds. And, with one single dashboard with one single login, this lets you create and manage your WordPress website with ease. 

#3 Price

Don’t get fooled into thinking that WordPress.com is 100% free. It’s not. 

Although there is, admittedly, a basic free account, it’s quite restrictive. That’s why WordPress.com offers multiple paid plans to choose from (Personal, Premium, Business, eCommerce, and VIP) so you can add customized themes, plugins, etc. 

Each of these paid WordPress.com plans allows for greater customization and control over your website’s operations so that it’s similar to a Managed WordPress hosted website, which lets you customize as you see fit (more on that in a bit).

If it’s affordability and customization you’re after, look no further than EasyWP. With its super quick installation (less than 90 seconds!), reliability, performance, built-in containerized cloud technology, and more, EasyWP’s Starter plan begins at just $3.88 per month, with the first month only $1.00. Compare that to WordPress.com’s eCommerce plan and you’re looking at spending around $50/month. 

man by signpost with .com and .net

#4 Domain Names

With WordPress.com, unless you upgrade to a paid plan that includes a customized domain name, your website will, by default, include the branded domain name, “WordPress.com.” 

Let’s say, for example, that I design earrings for a living and want to set up my own e-commerce shop to start selling them online. 

If I were to use free WordPress.com, my domain name would be something like: https://earringsbyerin.wordpress.com, instead of https://www.earringsbyerin.com. 

Something to keep in mind? A domain name that includes the hosting provider sends an immediate clue to the website user that they’re visiting a personal site or blog, not a professional website devoted to doing business or offering a service. 

Now let’s take a look at how Managed WordPress differs when it comes to domain names. Using EasyWP as an example, it’s now easy for anyone with a domain name, regardless of where it’s registered, to use that respective domain name with their WordPress website

So this means that even if you purchased a domain name from another provider, you’re still able to use it with your EasyWP website. Pretty great, no?

#5 Plugins & Themes

We hate to be the bearer of bad news here but with free WordPress.com, you can’t upload any customized themes, plugins, or even modify PHP code behind your website. 

Instead, free plan users are only allowed to install from the limited free themes collection. To use select premium themes from WordPress.org, for example, you’ll need to upgrade your plan to Premium or Business. In terms of CSS, though, if you’re a Premium or Business plan user, you can use it. 

Generally speaking, with Managed WordPress, you can install any theme or plugin of your choice. With EasyWP, this can be done through the EasyWP dashboard. We recommend you avoid untrustworthy sources, as well as illegal free downloads of premium themes and plugins, which can seriously compromise its security. 

man leaning against a large padlock

#6 Security

Speaking of security, WordPress.com and Managed WordPress are big on this one.

With WordPress.com, even if you wanted to make your website vulnerable, you couldn’t. Since the system itself is locked down, you don’t have to worry about any updates or backups. It’s all handled for you, which is a bonus. 

Managed WordPress is all about airtight security. And EasyWP takes it one step further by partnering up with Sectigo, the world’s largest commercial SSL Certificate Authority, to include free Positive SSL with their premium plans. An essential tool for securing digital transactions, increasing sales, and boosting SEO rankings, PositiveSSL gives an immediate cue to visitors that this is a website that takes security seriously. 

In terms of backups, this can be done from the EasyWP dashboard. All it takes is one click to back up and one click to restore. Because when your website is safe, your business has what it needs to grow safely in the digital world. 

#7 Ads & Analytics

Don’t forget that WordPress.com places ads on all free websites. This means your users will see them, unless you upgrade to a paid plan. 

With WordPress.com, you’re also not allowed to sell ads on your website, which definitely limits your ability to monetize your website (if that’s something you want, of course). But don’t despair. If you run a high-traffic website, check out WordAds, which displays WordPress.com ads and is compatible with Premium and Business plans. The catch? You share revenue with them. 

In terms of analyzing your website’s statistics, with free WordPress.com, you’re unfortunately restricted to their statistics. Meaning? You can’t add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Business plan users, however, can install Google Analytics.

With EasyWP, it’s easy to connect your Google Analytics account to your WordPress website without manually installing any lines of code. To connect, we recommend the MonsterInsights plugin for Google Analytics. Simply follow these steps listed here and you’ll be able to view your Google Analytics data, directly from your EasyWP dashboard.

woman stacking blocks

#8 Storage Space

Perhaps not surprisingly, free WordPress.com has a limited amount of storage space, up to 3 GB to be exact. After that, well, you guessed it. You’ll have to switch to a paid plan to get more space. (Just as a point of reference, if you purchase the Personal plan for $48/year, you’ll get 6 GB of space.)

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, EasyWP Managed WordPress’ Starter plan offers 10 GB SSD storage and allows for 50,000 monthly visitors. Turbo, the mid-level EasyWP plan, comes with 50 GB of SSD space and about 200,000 monthly visitors while the most advanced plan, Supersonic, has 100 GB of space and about 500,000 monthly visitors.

Final Thoughts

Ask anyone who’s familiar with WordPress and they’ll tell you it’s far more than just a CMS. 

It is, in fact, the perfect platform to publish practically anything you like. Whether that’s a simple blog or a complex media site, an e-commerce shop, or an extensive portfolio, the possibilities are endless with WordPress. 

So if you’re looking to create a basic blog or website, without any bells and whistles, WordPress.com may be the way to go. But by sacrificing flexibility for simplicity, you’ll have to learn to forget about monetizing your website, customizing it, and growing it. In other words? WordPress.com can be very limiting.

Managed WordPress, like EasyWP, offers complete flexibility at a super affordable cost. (Remember the $1.00/month to start bit?) By making the hosting side of things nearly invisible, you’ll enjoy a WordPress website that scales as the number of your visitors grows. And thanks to EasyWP’s underlying cloud technology platform, it won’t go down, either. Time is money and managed WordPress inherently understands this by eliminating the middleman (aka the regular backend of hosting).

So, did you make your choice? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Erin Huebscher avatar

Erin Huebscher

As a born-and-bred American who now resides in Germany, Erin brings her love of digital storytelling to Namecheap. With nearly 10 years of international copywriting experience from her time in Stockholm, Sweden, and an MA in Creative Writing, she has a penchant for all things fashion, film, food, and travel. More articles written by Erin.

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