WordPress.com vs WordPress.org What's the Difference?

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What’s The Difference?

There’s a lot of confusion out there surrounding WordPress, what exactly it is and the proper way to set up your website.

Many bloggers sign up with WordPress.com simply because that’s what they found first and they make it very simple to sign up (even for free).

Simply put: WordPress itself is a free open-source software that allows people to publish content and build websites. 

  • WordPress.com is a hosted platform that makes use of the WordPress software.
  • Self-hosted (or WordPress.org) refers to purchasing your own hosting and then installing the WordPress software.

What is WordPress.com

WordPress.com is similar to SquareSpace or even Wix. They take care of all the technical stuff and all you really have to do is build your website with the tools they provide.

As long as you have a WordPress.com account you can go in and create a new website. It’s that easy! But on the free version and even some of the premium plans you’re going to have a lot of limitations.

You’ll only be able to use certain themes and plugins and you won’t be able to monetize your website. You can’t add scripts for email marketing tools and you will have a limited amount of space to use.

They also place ads on your site if you’re using the free plan.

However, you can get more freedom by upgrading to one of the higher paid plans. For example, just to be able to monetize your site you will be paying WordPress.com $8/mo. At that price you might as well go with Siteground hosting.

WordPress.com plans and pricing
WordPress.com pricing as of April 2019

The ability to upload your own plugins and themes at WordPress.com will set you back a whopping $25 per month!

That’s nearly the same price as Kinsta’s managed hosting, which is one of the fastest and highest quality hosting companies.

For some bloggers or business owners who want to get started right away or just want to use a free platform, WordPress.com is a fine choice.

But if building an income from your website or having access to all the tools you need is important, you’re better off going with self-hosting from the start.

What is WordPress.org, or self-hosted?

WordPress.org refers to the open-source software that you download and then install on your hosting.

WordPress.org open-source blogging software

If you don’t know what web hosting is it’s the place that houses all your website files and technology.

There are many different ways to build a website once you obtain hosting but WordPress is the most popular.

While you do have to pay a monthly or annual fee for website hosting, the WordPress software is always free.

Finding the right web hosting company for your needs and price range can be a daunting task.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there that can entice you into going with a bad company.

You’re in luck though because I have tons of experience working with different web hosts over the years. Check out this detailed guide about choosing the best web host for your needs.

If you’re looking for the cheapest option available or need something where you can pay by the month, I recommend Namecheap shared hosting or EasyWP by Namecheap. You will need a Namecheap domain to use EasyWP though.

But my #1 recommendation for hosting is Siteground. The support is great, they’re easy to use and help you manage your WordPress install, and it’s pretty affordable when you first sign up.

While you can download WordPress directly from the .org site, it’s much easier to do so through your hosting.

Check out this tutorial on how to install WordPress in just a few minutes to get your site started. That guide uses Siteground and there’s a video tutorial using Namecheap, but the process is typically similar for most hosts.

For example, if you just Google “your host name install WordPress” you can find a guide from your host!

If you’re familiar with WordPress.com then you’ll notice that the interface is a lot different and you have full access to everything WordPress can do, like install themes and plugins and add any scripts and ads you want.

Can you move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Yes! Whether you already signed up for WordPress.com because you didn’t know or you already have an established site it’s never too late to move.

Most hosts will be able to migrate your content over for you but it’s very easy to export your posts and pages from your old WordPress.com site onto your new self-hosted website.

Your theme, widgets, and any plugins won’t be able to be copied but you can always just reinstall them. My guess is you’ll want to use a new theme since you’ll have access to way more options!

Do you still have questions about the different WordPress options? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about WordPress? Join the Free WordPress Course for Beginners!

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Web Host

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Web Host

This post was last edited on March 2019 and may change as my experience with different web hosts grows.

Finding the perfect website hosting for your needs can seem impossible. There are so many choices and recommendations, different price points and options!

Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of different hosting companies on behalf of my clients and it didn’t take me long to figure out the good from the bad. So I’m going to try and keep it simple and easy for you to choose the right one for you and your needs.

Want to know the best picks?
Most Affordable: Namecheap
Best Choice: Siteground
Highest Quality: Kinsta

Shared vs Managed

While there are more types of hosting than these two, shared and managed are going to be the most common.

Shared hosting is the most available type of hosting and likely what most bloggers and website owners will choose. “Shared hosting” just means that you are sharing a web server with other customers.

While this means cheaper costs for you, it also means you’ll be sharing resources with other customers who are on the same server as you.

This is why it’s important to choose a high quality web host. A bad hosting company will cram a ton of people on the same server to pinch pennies while their customers have a bad experience with downtime and slow speeds.

Majority of shared hosting companies include a set amount of disk space and bandwidth along with a certain number of FTP users, databases, addon domains, email accounts, backups, etc.

Managed hosting is a bit more fancy and generally used by high traffic websites that consume a lot of resources.

Managed hosting typically comes with extra features like staging sites and developer tools but often lacks some simpler things like email accounts.

These hosts are usually more hands on and provide better support, keep your website up to date, monitor security and take daily backups. Managed hosts also tend to “ban” certain plugins that interfere with their processes, such as caching and security plugins.

Some hosts, like Siteground, have the best of both worlds – the affordability of shared but the perks of managed.

It’s up to you to decide what route to take but I recommend shared hosting for new websites and managed hosting for larger, popular sites.

What You Need From Your Host

After you decide if you want to go with a shared or managed host, you’ll need to decide what needs your website has so you can look for them in hosting plans.

Since most hosts offer about the same tech specifications you’ll mainly be looking at disk space and bandwidth.

Disk space is like the hard drive on your computer. Your web host will allot you a certain amount of disk space for your website and files.

If your website is just starting out or you don’t plan to have a lot of images and content then you can probably go for the lower tier plans.

But if your website is going to be very image heavy (like a food or fashion blog) you’ll quickly burn through your disk space. You can either choose a host or plan with more disk space or choose to use somewhere else to store your images (like Amazon S3).

Bandwidth correlates to how much traffic your website is receiving. The less hits your site gets the less bandwidth it will use.

Again, if your site is new and you don’t have much traffic yet you’ll be fine with the starter plans. But if your website is already getting a lot of traffic, you’ll need to make sure the bandwidth your host provides will cover that.

The Worst of the Worst

Let’s just get into the bad hosts. These are the companies I do not recommend under any circumstance as you’ll likely be dealing with sub par support, slow loading times, and random downtime.

Ready? Any Endurance International Group (EIG) owned hosting company is a bad choice. This is a large company that owns a ton of different smaller web hosting companies.

So you might think you’re moving hosts when you’re really just changing the name. Some of the most popular EIG companies are BlueHost, HostGator, A Small Orange, and FatCow.

But the list is actually pretty huge. And all of these hosting companies suffer from the same issues that make people want to run for the hills after they’ve paid for years of service.

Not included on the list is one of the hosting companies I loathe the most – GoDaddy.

Every time I have the displeasure of working on a GoDaddy hosted website, I’m shocked by how difficult some things are. Their control panel is a mess and you can’t get in touch with their support unless you get on the phone (news flash – I hate phone calls).

And if you find yourself already with one of these companies then it’s never too late to migrate.

Most Affordable: Namecheap

Let’s start with the most affordable web host on this list – Namecheap.

Namecheap is most known for their domain names but began offering hosting in the past few years. They’ve been my domain company for as long as I can remember and I’ve never had a problem.

So I bit the bullet and moved my website to their hosting in 2018. Before that my website was on Siteground and while I was very pleased over there I needed to cut back on my expenses, and Siteground’s renewal isn’t exactly cheap. So with a special promotion at Namecheap I was able to get a year of the Stellar Plus plan for less than $30.

Some of the things I like about Namecheap‘s hosting:

  • they aren’t skimpy with disk space, bandwidth, or things like email and ftp accounts
  • the cPanel is easy to use and you get Softactulous for quick WP installs
  • it’s incredibly affordable and you can pay by the month
  • an SSL certificate is included for the first year

There are a few problems I’ve had though… I’ve noticed sometimes my website is very slow to load or gets hung up. I’ve also had a few occasions where it doesn’t load at all and gives me an error, but refreshing the site fixes it.

In my opinion, you get what you pay for so I accept that’s the quality I’ll get for using a cheaper host. I still think it’s better than going the Bluehost or GoDaddy route as you’ll consistently have issues there rather than seldom.

Because my website is small, well optimized, and doesn’t get a ton of traffic I can get by without a high powered web host. But if I ran a popular blog or had a lot of different plugins running I probably would see more performance issues.

Namecheap also offers a “managed” solution called EasyWP that’s also very affordable (starting at $3.88 if you pay monthly) but it isn’t as advanced as true managed hosts like WP Engine. And you can only use it with a Namecheap domain.

It’s essentially easy mode for WordPress and doesn’t include Cpanel but it does offer some decent specs for the price. You’ll likely be on a less crowded, SSD drive compared to their shared hosting plans.

If you’re seeking other affordable hosts you might check out A2 Hosting. They have comparable prices and features to Namecheap and tend to have good reviews – even my aunt uses them!

Namecheap affordable shared web hosting

Try Namecheap and save 50% on your first year!

Best Choice: Siteground

Siteground is my number one hosting recommendation to pretty much anyone who asks and I even wrote an entire blog post about why I love them.

I used Siteground hosting for two years before migrating over to Namecheap, and I only did so to save on expenses. During that time I was never unhappy with their service and my site was always online and fairly speedy.

Since migrating I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my website performance (which you already know if you’ve read about Namecheap above).

The best things about Siteground are:

  • Incredible support and response time, they always solve my issues
  • Fast loading times and site speed, plus extra caching tools
  • “Managed” approach to shared hosting with daily backups and auto-updates
  • Free SSL certificates for all your websites

Siteground web hosting is perfect for small to medium sized blogs and websites but they do have their limitations. I’ve seen a lot of clients with popular shops or multiple websited outgrow what they offer.

Their top plan, the GoGeek Plan, tops out at 30GB of disk space and 100K visits. That should be sufficient for most sites but you might find yourself getting performance issues or even maxing out your resources.

Because it is a shared web host, Siteground restricts you from using an excessive amount of CPU and resources. If you exceed that amount they can (and will) shut down your site temporarily.

Don’t let this scare you though! Siteground is a perfect host for most bloggers and you can get started with their lowest plan for $3.95. You do have to pay for the entire year upfront however.

Siteground Tip: Purchase as many years as you can at the introductory rate! Because the renewal price is nearly 3x the promo rate.

If you’re new to Siteground and wondering how you can install WordPress easily (in under 5 minutes) then check out this guide.

Get Started with Siteground for only $3.95/mo

Highest Quality: Kinsta

If you decide to go the managed hosting route or just want the literal best of the best for your website I hands down recommend Kinsta Hosting.

I discovered Kinsta simply through their extensive WordPress knowledge and articles. My job requires a lot of Googling and learning about new WordPress or development changes and Kinsta was always coming up first.

Being so impressed with their level of tech knowledge I was quick to learn more about their web hosting packages. Kinsta Hosting is aimed at higher traffic sites who need more resources and the fastest speeds you can possibly imagine.

Previously, I recommended WP Engine as my favorite managed host. And while I still think they are a good choice if their packages fit you, Kinsta honestly blows them out of the water.

Recently a client (on WP Engine) was experiencing performance issues and odd CPU spikes even though his site was generally well optimized. We moved it over to Kinsta and the pages started loading instantly. No joke, you click on a link and the page was just there, no loading or hang ups or waiting.

Take a look at some of the features included with their hosting plans:

Kinsta managed hosting features

Kinsta starts at $30 a month or $300 for the year and is well worth the price if the best performance is your number one priority. They also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee, 24/7 support, free migrations, and even a staging area to work on your website.

You can tell that attention to detail is important at Kinsta. All of their control panels and pages are expertly designed and branded. You won’t get any cookie cutter corporate dashboards, just the easy to understand custom control panel for your website.

Kinsta managed web hosting for lightning fast websites

Try Kinsta Managed Hosting and get lightning fast speeds!


Here’s a quick comparison of each of these hosts’ starter plans:

NamecheapSitegroundKinsta
Starts at $2.88 a month
20GB SSD-accelerated disk space
Unlimited bandwidth
Up to 3 websites
30 email accounts
Backups twice a week
Migration from another cPanel host
30 day money-back guarantee
Starts at $3.95 a month ($11.95/mo after promo)
10 GB SSD storage
Bandwidth up to about 10K visits
Only 1 website
Unlimited email accounts
Backups daily
Professional migrations only on higher plans
30 day money-back guarantee
Starts at $30 a month
5GB SSD storage
Bandwidth up to about 20K visits
Only 1 website
No email service
Backups daily
At least one site migration
30 day money-back guarantee

And there you have it – my detailed analysis of the best web hosting companies for bloggers and business owners. Depending on your website needs and what you can afford, there is an option out there for everyone.

Who is your current web host? Let me know in the comments below!

Why I Love SiteGround Hosting

Why I Love SiteGround Hosting

I know a thing or two about web hosts. Not only have I used several companies for my own websites, I’ve worked with numerous other hosts on behalf of my clients. So you can imagine that I’ve gained some opinions over the years on what is best and who really sucks.

Truth be told, I’m a pretty frugal person so I’ve always went with free or very cheap hosting. Last month I had to renew my SiteGround hosting and it was a whopping $119 for the year!

It was certainly more than I wanted to pay and my aunt said I should just switch to her host (which was a lot cheaper).

But I thought more about it and realized that I didn’t mind paying more because I was getting what I paid for:

  • amazing up-time
  • quality support and service
  • a company who cares
  • free SSL
  • an easy to use dashboard
  • great security and speeds
  • plus their extra caching!

I’ve always had various problems using cheaper hosts and I always recommend my clients and readers to SiteGround, so I’m sticking with them 🙂 Just take a look at some of these comparisons to other popular web hosts.

SiteGround is the best web hosting

You don’t know what you have till… 

But unless you’ve worked with some (really) bad hosts you probably wouldn’t realize just how amazing SiteGround is. For example, simple things like setting up a fresh WP install, adding a new domain or email, and finding certain things takes a few seconds on SiteGround.

If I try to do those things (and I have) on GoDaddy or BlueHost… well it’s not fun.

GoDaddy has an incredibly terrible dashboard and I still find myself clicking all over just trying to get to the hosting section. Plus they are SLOW and will charge you a lot of fees for things you can get for free elsewhere.

Bluehost is a terrible web host

BlueHost seems to just break itself, constantly. Trying to do the tasks I mentioned above almost always leads me to an “error” message or page missing error.

Sometimes features are just completely down! Once I had to contact support only to be told “We know it’s not working and we have no idea when it will be fixed”.

Last week I even took a screenshot of issues I was running into on a client’s site. The only thing I was doing was opening up the backups page.

But I guess those don’t exist in the world of Bluehost!

I could keep going but this post isn’t about why Bluehost and Godaddy suck, it’s about why SiteGround is amazing and should be your website’s host! So I’ll talk more in-depth about my favorite things SiteGround offers.

Free migrations and SSL

One thing that really sets SiteGround apart is that they don’t hide everything behind an up-sale like many hosts. Every person who signs up gets one free migration from their old host (on the GrowBig and GoGeek plans only).

This has been a lifesaver for me because when my clients sign up all I have to do is give SiteGround the old hosting info and they magically copy every thing over. So if you’re worried about how to transfer your website, don’t be! They will take care of it all.

Lately we all know how important SSL is. Google is favoring sites with it and even puts out warnings when a site isn’t secured. Plus your site will need SSL if you plan on selling through Paypal this year.

It takes about 10 seconds to setup the free SSL certificate on SiteGround. Freaking easy! 

Lightning fast speeds and caching

So far SiteGround has been the only host I’ve ever used that has had built-in caching, which they call Supercacher. Even if you’re just on the cheapest plan they have you’ll be able to access the first level of optimization.

They even have a free plugin they recommend adding to your website to use with Supercacher and Let’s Encrpt.

Support with a brain

Doing tech support work I often have to reach out to hosting support for various reasons. You know what isn’t fun? Dealing with support reps who know less about hosting and technology than you do.

I’ve gone in circles for hours with certain hosts trying to get them just to even understand what my problems were. More often than not they have to escalate my issue to another department and I’ll hear from them when I hear from them.

SiteGround has been some of the most knowledgeable people to get help from. My questions are answered quickly and usually my tickets are resolved on the very first response. 

Great customer service isn’t anything to sneeze at!

Web Hosting

If you’re ready to boost your loading speeds or just start your website out on the right foot, I highly recommend SiteGround web hosting!

Why You Should Not Use GoDaddy

Why You Shouldn’t Use GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain registrars and web hosts on the internet. Unfortunately, they suck. It’s easy to be enticed by their 99 cent domains, cheap hosting, and “award-winning support”. But do yourself a favor and don’t get sucked in.

They’ll Sell Your Domain

demeter-aurion-com

I’ll admit, a few years ago I was tempted by their 99 cent domains and I purchased one. I used the domain name for a personal blog for a while. Eventually I closed the blog and decided not to renew or transfer the domain since I didn’t really need it.

Almost immediately after it expired, it was sold to some Japanese business/person.

Now this domain wasn’t anything popular. In fact, it is my online alias that I have used for a very long time, Demeter Aurion. Check it out for yourself, it looks like spam or nonsense content.

It’s been like that for years so no chance of getting my own username’s domain back.

Previously, I’ve had five or so domains through 1&1 and never once were they sold after they expired. I now use Namecheap for all my domain services.

Your Site Will be Slow

WordPress sites on GoDaddy are joke; believe me, I work on them often. While the front-end of the website might seem to load at an ok pace, the WordPress back-end struggles to load up items.

Often times the server will simply time out because it’s been loading for so long.

For a developer, this leaves you with a headache while trying to refresh the same page multiple times. Things that should take minutes to do often take much longer.

Also, their user interface is horrible. If it takes me 15 minutes to figure out how to change a domain’s DNS, I weep for the business owners struggling to navigate their admin area.

Good Luck with Their Support

I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about their support. Last year GoDaddy removed their email and ticket support systems in favor of phone and live chat. Evidently they only have phone support now; I can attest from recently having contacted their support.

From my experience with equally nightmarish host, Rackspace, live chat employees often can’t fix a lot of major issues. That’s if you can get connected to a person. While some people may prefer to call in for support (and wait), I don’t fancy talking on the phone and would rather use a ticket system.

The Big Guys are Corrupt

The CEO of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons, isn’t a beloved fellow. He evidently gets his kicks by slaughtering elephants in Africa.

GoDaddy also originally supported SOPA, which caused many of their customers to boycott the service.

Most online companies were against the act and some even went “black” to protest the act. Still not convinced?

They have a history of exploiting women and creating sexist advertisements. Just take a look at this one:

Everyone Hates Them

If you are a tech person – be it a designer, developer, or freelancer – you probably stay away from GoDaddy. Unfortunately, most of GoDaddy’s customers seem to be oblivious business owners just going with what they think is the most popular option.

But if you do a bit of research you can find that there is a huge community of GoDaddy haters.

You could literally read a novel’s worth of horror stories by ex-GoDaddy users. Some would argue that GoDaddy is making strides to better their service and tools in the past year but with far better options, why waste your time?

The Good News

The bright side is that you aren’t damned to suffer GoDaddy’s services your entire life. You can let your contract run out, transfer your domains, find a new host, and move your site there.

If you need help removing yourself from their system just let me know! I’ll help you ensure your site has a smooth transition to a quality host.

And if you’re looking for a better host, see why I love Siteground.