Many people don’t know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This results in confusion. For your information, the two are very different. Your choice depends on your needs and budget limitations. Both let you build websites and blogs.
Free Vs Paid
WordPress.com is a free site while WordPress.org is a paid one. Both are the creation of a company known as Automattic. If your budget is tight or you are not ambitious regarding your blog/website then choose WordPress.com. And, If you can afford the charges and have ambitious goals then WordPress.org is the right choice.
Domain and hosting
If you don’t mind a subdomain and don’t desire or require much space for hosting your website then go to WordPress.com. The domain name you will get, will in the form of xyz.WordPress.com. If you want a unique domain name such as xyz.com then you have to go with WordPress.org. For the latter, you will need to find a separate hosting provider to host your blog/website.
Range of themes and plugins
WordPress.com offers a limited number of themes and plugins while WordPress.org offers a large number of themes and plugins. If you are particular about having a unique looking and attractive site use WordPress.org. You can do much more from a WordPress.org powered site thanks to a large number of plugins that enhance as well as extend the site’s functionality.
If you are looking for an eCommerce store choose WordPress.org. WordPress.com lacks eCommerce features as well as integrated payment gateways.
Responsibility for maintenance
If you don’t want to take care of the support and maintenance of your site then choose WordPress.com. The staff of Automattic is responsible for all site-related maintenance. This includes periodic backups, updates as well as optimization. In the case of WordPress.org, you are fully responsible for site maintenance.
Ease of use and speed of deployment
If you want a relatively easy way to launch your website/blog and want it up and running in minimum time go for WordPress.com.
Risk of deletion
A major disadvantage of WordPress.com is that your blog/website can be deleted anytime by Automattic if they perceive it to be violating their terms of service. If you are okay with this then go for WordPress.com. Otherwise, you have to select WordPress.org where there is no danger of your site being abruptly terminated.
If you don’t have the goal of making money from your website use WordPress.com. If you want to make money use WordPress.org. The latter offers freedom as well as the flexibility to expand your website in the manner you desire.
Only WordPress.org lets you show as many ads as you desire from any ad network which gives you revenue. WordPress.com does not allow ads from third parties such as Google AdSense while WordPress.org allows the same.