Skip to main content

So, you want to start a WordPress blog?  And you’re wondering how to choose between and in order to find the right platform for your needs.Although they share the same name and are built on the same software, your choice will impact on your site and its future.

We take a look at the differences between self-hosted vs to provide you with insights into which option will be best for your brand.

To start off, let’s take a look at each platform. is an open source, content management system.  The software is free for anyone to use and is managed by the WordPress Foundation.  As it’s self-hosted, you install it and manage it on your own web server.

The software provides customization options, allowing you to make the necessary modifications to represent your brand.

This is a hosting service run and owned by Automattic which is owned by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg.  It is based on a modified version of WordPress and manages all the hosting of your website.

So, what are the pros and cons of each platform?

Cost is free. However, as with all websites you will need web hosting to store your website files on the internet.  While commercial WordPress themes do have a cost, has thousands of WordPress themes which you can download for free.

Although the cost may vary, depending on the complexity and purpose of your site (e.g. a simple bog vs eCommerce store).  Other factors which impact on cost are your choice of plugins and templates – where you have options to use free or premium versions. provides their hosting service around 5 plans:

Starting off with a free, limited option – the hosting service also has paid packages of Personal (annual fee $36); Premium (annual fee of $99); Business ((annual fee of $299); VIP (starting at monthly fee $5 000)

Set Up

Using is only a little more involved then, taking 4 steps to create your website as follows:

  1. Download WordPress 
  2. Create a database on your web server
  3. Unzip the downloaded file and upload WordPress to your server
  4. Run the installation script

Additionally, there is also a one-click option from many hosting providers or software such as Softaculous App Installer, available on a hosting control panel like cPanel.

Setting up is a click away – either via Facebook or setting up your account.  The hosting service sees to the rest, from hosting to automatically creating your site.  There is no interface like a hosting control panel or technical features such as FTP.  Your involvement extends to customising your site and adding the content to the infrastructure provided.

As is self-hosted, you are responsible for site maintenance like backups and security, while takes over those responsibilities.


Your website is an online representation of your brand.  As such, it needs to be designed according to your brand specifications.  While WordPress is customisable – the extent of control over your customisation depends on your choice of package to unlock certain features.

The self-hosting platform allows you to customise your website according to your needs.  This means you can completely customise designs or functionality and modify the software.  You can also use third party software such as plugins not developed by or make use of the WordPress directory which has thousands of free themes  and tens of thousands of plugins from which to choose. does not provide the option of custom themes.  If you are using the free plan, you only have a very limited choice of under 100 themes with limited customisation options, compared to the thousands of free themes from with customisation options.

The Premium and Business packages provide a selection of premium themes with the added feature of having access to custom CSS.

Control vs Flexibility

As long as your site and its activities are above board, does not have terms of service which if ‘violated’ could mean that your site is turned off.  As website owner, your website and all its content and data belong to you and are under your control.

You can decide on the resource (such as Google Analytics) for obtaining custom analytics and tracking options. enforces a large amount of control over what you are allowed to include and use in your website.  You cannot install any tracking platform.  Only Business plan users can install Google Analytics, restricting you to the stats given to you by the hosting provider.

If you contravene their terms of service, they can delete your site.  You have to upgrade to Business plan in order to remove the display of the ‘powered by’ link.

When it comes to plugins – free plan users get built-in JetPack features which are pre-activated.  On the other hand, Business plan users have a selection of compatible plugins, while users with a VIP package have more flexibility and are able to install plugins.

Monetise gives you flexibility to monetise your site any way you want.  You can build an online store, accept payments directly on your site, create courses and even run adverts, keeping 100% of the revenue generated.

When it comes to monetising, has a lot of rules and controls.  The hosting provider does not allow you to use your website to generate income through advertising.  If your site does have high traffic, you can apply for their advertising programme, WordAds, which provides a revenue sharing option of income generated. However, WordAds is immediately accessible to those using the Premium and Business packages.

As customisation is limited, you are not able to build a membership site.  Additionally, eCommerce features and payment gateways are also unavailable.

Technical support

Although you are responsible for support and sorting out issues, support can be found on support forums from a community of volunteers and users.  Additionally, there are helpful resources such as WordPress Codex and developer handbooks.

WordPress software is constantly updated every few months with new features and modifications, while maintenance and security updates are automatically updated.

Free plan provides access to the help section community forums where staff members and volunteers can provide a solution to your query. Paid plans receive additional support via email, live chat and initial help when first setting up the site.


Building traffic through leveraging SEO and social media is the lifeblood of your site.

As is based on the same WordPress software, it has the same benefits as, but with greater flexibility.  You can install any SEO plugin, tracking service, Google Analytics and customize your domain name.

All themes on are search engine optimised. Additionally, is based on WordPress software, which facilitates the backend technical SEO. produces an XML sitemap which allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.

Content updates are communicated to Google. has default integration with social media, which facilitates building website traffic.

Free plans have a sub-domain which is not good for ranking.  On the other hand, The Business plan provides access to more advance SEO features. can also be installed which further helps to optimize SEO.

Which to choose?

When it comes to choosing between and – your needs will guide you in your choice.

Personal blogging involving creating content for your family or if you have a static website, then the free option of will probably suit you.  If you think the Business plan cost is justified by its value for your site and brand, then this choice will give you the best of both worlds, bringing you the security of  and the flexibility of a self-hosted website (which is available free on

However, if you want a WordPress Foundation, then is your best bet – with many advanced features on only accessible through their payment packages, available to you for free via

WordPress have you lost in the woods?

Let us take care of all that boring technical maintenance stuff for you.
Get started now and let your worries take a hike.

Get started now

Leave a Reply