The difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com


I get a lot of questions about the difference between WordPress.org and .com, and it seems that people are often confused—and rightly so. WordPress is WordPress, right? Well, sort of.

Usually when people talk about “WordPress,” they mean blogs that people run on their own domain on their own host, i.e. “self-hosted.” This traditional WordPress-powered site is very powerful, has tons of features, thousands of plugins & themes to choose from, and is almost infinitely customizable—Wordpress powers sites that don’t even have blogs. WordPress is definitely a content management tool as much as it is a blogging platform. This fully-featured WordPress program is found at WordPress.org.

But recently WordPress started offering free blogs on WordPress.com—the key here is to note that the free blogs are on WordPress.com. It’s the WordPress equivalent of Blogger, and it’s the perfect solution for casual bloggers (or even more serious bloggers who simply don’t need the extra bells & whistles of the standalone WordPress). You can even buy a domain through WordPress.com and have it attached to your free blog. However…these blogs, since they are free, are limited in many ways, such as a limit on media uploads, you can’t install plugins, and you can’t customize your theme overly much.

So the difference comes down to this:

  • WordPress.ORG = a self-hosted blog. This is the full program that you install on your own hosting account. You have full control over all aspects of your site. You need to buy hosting and a domain. Your web address will be whatever your domain is (www.yourdomainname.com).
  • WordPress.COM = where you get a free blog (like Blogger). You cannot use plugins or run many ads or do too much customization to the site. Your web address will be yourusername.wordpress.com.
    • You are able to buy a domain and use that with your WordPress.com blog, but this does not give you the advanced features that having a self-hosted blog does.

So, if you’re wanting to blog right away for free but still want to use WordPress, head to WordPress.com and jump in. If you’re wanting a blog that you have full control over & can pretty much do anything with (including using ads or turning it into a complete website and adding ecommerce functionality), then WordPress.org is what you want (and is what I install for clients & what I use).

Happy blogging!


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