Skip to main content vs. what's the difference?

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WordPress (opens in new tab) is one of the most popular Content Management Systems (CMS (opens in new tab)) out there thanks to its ease of use, extensive customization options, and unrivaled community support. In fact, it currently powers 40 percent (opens in new tab) of all websites. 

However, there are many differences between the two versions of WordPress – and, and it’s important to know the distinction when choosing the right platform for your project.

In this guide, we’ll compare vs to help you determine which service is the best to get started with.

(Image credit: Automattic) (opens in new tab) is a website platform that comes with a web hosting (opens in new tab) service included in all of its plans. While not as popular or powerful as its counterpart, it aims to make the website creation process easier for beginners.

Since is fully hosted, users can simply sign up for an account and launch their site immediately without worrying about a hosting solution. It also provides a free website address out-of-the-box.  

With, it’s possible to create a site at no cost and switch to a paid plan later for more resources. offers five premium plans (opens in new tab)

  • Personal – $4/month.
  • Premium – $8/month.
  • Business – $25/month.
  • eCommerce – $45/month.
  • VIP – starting at  $2,000/month.

Here are other advantages of using

  • Easy to manage – will take care of site maintenance jobs such as upgrading software, managing your web server, and securing your website.
  • Requires minimal effort to start a website – setting up a site is straightforward since it already comes with hosting and a domain name (opens in new tab).
  • Suitable for bloggers – has all tools needed to start a fully functional blog (opens in new tab), allowing users to get their site live and running in no time.

There also some negative aspects to consider before choosing, such as:

  • Ads on free websites – if you start with the free option, your site will display ads from, making your website look less professional. You’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan to remove these ads.
  • No monetization ability – users can’t monetize their site with’s free service unless they purchase its Premium option that costs $8/month.
  • Limited access to plugins – you need to choose either’s Business plan or a more powerful one in order to install plugins (opens in new tab) on your website.
  • Lack of customization options – when using the free service, you’ll have limited access to themes (opens in new tab) and customization options. 
  • Restricted access to the website stats – with the free plan of, users can’t install Google Analytics or other tracking platforms. is an excellent platform for beginners to start a website for free. However, the service is quite limited when it comes to features, even if you’re on one of its premium plans. Unlocking the more advanced features requires a Business plan, which costs $25/month.

(Image credit: is open-source software (opens in new tab) that’s free to download and install. This CMS is highly customizable thanks to its wide selection of themes and plugins and is fit for any type of website, from blogs to eCommerce stores (opens in new tab).

Making full use of the software still comes with a price tag, however – users need to purchase a domain name and hosting service to use it.

Luckily, many web hosts offer cost-effective WordPress hosting (opens in new tab) solutions. Some of them are:

  • Hostinger – a great performance web host with an intuitive control panel. Their WordPress hosting plans (opens in new tab) start from $1.99/month. Check out our Hostinger review (opens in new tab) for an in-depth look.
  • Bluehost – offers various hosting services, including WordPress hosting plans (opens in new tab) that start from $3.95/month. Our Bluehost review (opens in new tab) showcases the pros and cons of using this web host.
  • GoDaddy – provides one-click installations for WordPress and other popular CMSs. This hosting company also offers four WordPress hosting plan options (opens in new tab), starting from $6.99/month. Read our GoDaddy review (opens in new tab) for more information.

Unlike, won’t display any ads on your site, all while being completely free to use open-source software.

Here are more benefits of choosing

  • Flexibility – users are free to customize their site and improve its functionality using any themes and plugins they want. People with coding knowledge can also utilize their own templates and tools.
  • A wide range of third-party plugins – there are thousands of tools available that integrate with the software, supporting or expanding such features as lead generation (opens in new tab), SEO (opens in new tab), and email marketing (opens in new tab).
  • Monetization – unlike, lets you run ads and sell products directly from your website.
  • Supports scripts – users can add tracking scripts like Google Analytics on their site without limitations. This is a great advantage for those who want to use their site metrics to make data-driven decisions.

Before starting with, ensure you consider these aspects as well:

  • Purchase a hosting service – it’s essential to look for a web host if you want to use this self-hosted platform. Thankfully, many hosting providers offer affordable and beginner-friendly plans, coupled with a one-click WordPress installation option and support.
  • Responsible for website maintenance – users are responsible for their own backups and updates.

Although it might take longer to create a website with the software, this platform offers more flexibility to build any kind of site you want.

Which one to choose?

Both and offer robust features, but the right platform for you depends on your website’s goals, budget, and skill set.

Let’s compare vs. based on their pricing, features, platform flexibility, security, ease of use, support, and monetization options.


An important factor to look out for when picking your future website software is the price – it’s crucial to ensure that your budget can cover the upfront costs and long-term fees of using the platform. 

People who want to spend little to no money on their sites can start with’s free plan – they will get up to 3 GB of disk space and a domain name with the subdomain. 

However, this option comes with’s branding ads, and users have to purchase a premium plan to remove them.’s premium options for regular websites cost between $4-$45/month. All of these paid options include a free custom domain name during the first year.

The cheapest plan offers 6 GB of storage space, no branding ads, and the ability to upload audio files. also offers plans for enterprises that start at $2,000/month. These options include a content delivery network (CDN (opens in new tab)) hourly backups, and a GitHub repository.

As for using, you’ll need to look for a domain name and a web hosting provider (opens in new tab) before getting started.

Hostinger WordPress

(Image credit: Hostinger)

If you go with a popular web hosting company, such as Hostinger (opens in new tab), the prices will be lower than the premium plan

Hostinger’s WordPress hosting solutions range from $1.99-$11.59/month. With its lowest-tier plan, users will get 30 GB of storage space, 24/7 live chat support, and free WordPress themes and plugins.

It’s also possible to purchase a custom domain name from Hostinger, making it more convenient to keep and manage your hosting and domain registration in one place.

A custom domain name usually costs between $10-$20/year. But users can get a free domain if they opt for Hostinger’s WordPress Starter plan that costs $2.99/month. 

With, you’re free to start with the basic hosting plan and only upgrade it when your site grows and needs more resources.

If you’re a beginner and looking for a way to start a website for free, can be a good choice. However, if you intend to build a business website or any other large personal project without going over your budget, consider choosing 


When picking a website platform, look for a service that will provide you with all the necessary features for your project, such as customization options, analytics, and SEO tools (opens in new tab), for example, comes built-in with the essential features to build a fully functioning blog. 


(Image credit: Automattic)

Its free plan also includes Jetpack (opens in new tab), plenty of free themes to choose from, and the ability to make simple changes on your WordPress site template. 

However, you’ll need to upgrade to’s Premium plan to access more templates and advanced design customization.

Unlike, lets you fully customize a website regardless of the hosting plan you choose. Using this platform, you’re able to modify your site through code and plugins and make full use of the best WordPress themes (opens in new tab) available on the internet. users can also install and use Google Analytics straightaway to track site metrics like bounce rate, time spent on pages, and conversion rates.

Meanwhile, Google Analytics isn’t available on’s free plan and lowest-tier premium plan.

Both and have the same high-quality SEO performance. However, gives you more flexibility to make manual changes to improve your site’s SEO thanks to the many plugins available.

It’s worth noting that only includes advanced SEO tools on its Business, eCommerce, and VIP plans.

With, users can customize and add tools to their sites from the start. On the other hand, requires web owners to upgrade to a higher plan to acquire more features and customization options.

Platform flexibility

Another difference between vs. is how each platform extends a site’s functionality.

With, you have full access to the code that powers this software, allowing you to create custom tools or implement any extra functionality to fit your needs.


(Image credit: CreativeMinds)

The self-hosted also lets you install the best WordPress plugins (opens in new tab) to enhance your site’s performance. It’s also possible to use other free and premium third-party plugins from websites such as CreativeMinds (opens in new tab).

On the flip side, plugins are only accessible on’s Business, eCommerce, and VIP plans.

For a simple website or blog, the built-in features of’s free, Personal, and Premium plans might suffice.

However, for those who want the freedom to modify their site without any additional payments, is the go-to choice. 


To ensure that your site is safe from malware and other cyber attacks, pick a platform that offers security tools out-of-the-box.

With, web owners won’t need to worry about any maintenance issues, as they will be automatically taken care of. 

Moreover, users can’t access and modify their web server configuration, helping to protect their site from security risks. also includes a pre-built SSL certificate (opens in new tab) on all of its plans, which will protect the site’s data and its visitors’ personal information.’s system is also secure by default. However, users are responsible for updating the software regularly and taking care of backups on their own.

Thankfully, users can install some of the best WordPress security plugins (opens in new tab) to help with most security tasks.

Moreover, many hosting providers provide additional security features that help protect your WordPress site. For instance, Hostinger’s WordPress plan includes weekly backups, a free SSL certificate, and the Cloudflare DNS Firewall (opens in new tab) to safeguard a website from DDoS attacks (opens in new tab)

Using means your site will be secure and easy to maintain from the start. However, gives more options to secure your website further.

Ease of Use

A website platform should also be easy to use, ensuring that anyone can build a website without having to master its intricacies and spend hours coding. and offer a similar user experience and page builders for content creation. The difference is that setting up a site is quicker than starting a website.

With, users simply need to create an account from this platform’s official homepage. Then, they can pick a template from a collection of pre-made themes, make a few changes, and start adding content to the site right away.

Meanwhile, setting up a site with the software requires more steps, including registering a custom domain name and choosing a hosting plan.

Fortunately, many hosting companies like Hostinger provide a one-click installer, allowing users to install and create a site quickly. is an excellent platform for those who want a hassle-free way of setting up a website. If you pick the right hosting provider, however, it should be as easy to create a website with


Support is another critical aspect to discuss when comparing vs. – it determines how fast and efficiently a user can get help when facing a problem. offers different types of support for each of its plans. With the free service, users can only ask for help on the WordPress community forums (opens in new tab).

Those who sign up for any of the premium plans will be able to access the email support. However, gaining assistance via the 24/7 live chat support will require upgrading to’s Business plan.

On the other hand, offers no direct support from the platform itself. Instead, it provides a community support forum (opens in new tab) and extensive documentation (opens in new tab). users can also get help from their web hosting provider. For instance, Hostinger offers 24/7 support via email and live chat, ready to lend a helping hand whenever you need them. 

Other than that, users can learn from the many resources on the internet covering topics (opens in new tab)

Those who are new to web development should consider using and picking a hosting provider with a support team that is available anytime. The open-source platform also has a large support community, offering a lot of self-help resources. 

Monetization Options

If you want to generate income from your site, it’s crucial to choose a platform that offers several monetization options. 

With, the choices to make money from a website are limited. Users on free and Personal plans can’t monetize their sites at all. also places its ads on free sites without sharing the earnings with the web owners.


(Image credit: BuySellAds)

To integrate with monetization tools like Google AdSense and BuySellAds (opens in new tab), users also have to upgrade to the Premium plan at a minimum.

Before you get to sell online, it’s also essential to sign up for’s eCommerce plan. This option lets you accept payments in over 60 countries, sell unlimited products, and integrate with top shipping carriers. 

In contrast, the self-hosted WordPress version allows you to monetize your site in any way without restrictions, from selling physical items to embedding referral links into blog content. 

Although it’s possible to make money online (opens in new tab) with, it’s much more efficient to use when building an online store or selling ad space on a website.

Which do we recommend?

Knowing the differences between vs. is crucial for deciding which platform to choose for your online presence.

Remember that it’s also essential to know your goals, budget, and skill set before choosing between or to create a website.

Let’s recap the main differences between vs.

  • Price – the cost of creating a site can be lower than’s premium plans. 
  • Features – requires users to upgrade to a more expensive plan to get more features. In contrast, lets you use any feature and themes regardless of the hosting service you choose.
  • Platform flexibility – with, it’s possible to use custom tools or third-party plugins to improve a site’s performance. only gives this kind of ability to those on Business, eCommerce, and VIP plans.
  • Security – websites are secure by default. Meanwhile, users need to take care of their sites’ backups and updates themselves.
  • Ease of use – both platforms provide similar usability, but it takes less time to set up a site with
  • Support – when using, the kind of assistance you get from the service depends on the plan you choose. On the other hand, has no support, but it lets you pick any web hosting service with 24/7 support.
  • Monetization options – gives you the freedom to make money in any way, while requires you to purchase at least its Premium plan to make money from your site.

If you want to have the flexibility to build any website without being limited by the plan you choose, we recommend picking 

However, if you are looking for a simple website building process and don’t mind a higher price point, consider

  • Also check out our complete list of the best web hosting (opens in new tab) services
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.