If you’re thinking about starting a WordPress site, you may be wondering about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

They are different things… which is confusing, to say the least.

So what’s the difference? And more importantly, which one should you use for your blog or website?

Let’s take a look…

What Is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is the primary home of WordPress—a free, open-source blogging platform and content management system that you can install on your own web server.

The WordPress software is released under the GNU General Public License, meaning you’re free to use and modify WordPress for any purpose, with very few limitations. The software is managed by The WordPress Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Matt Mullenweg, the original developer of WordPress.

What Is WordPress.com?

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a fully-managed blogging platform operated by Automattic, a for-profit company founded by Matt Mullenweg.

WordPress.com runs a modified version of the open-source WordPress software, allowing users to build free blogs and websites. The service is supported by paid upgrades and advertising.

Which One Is Right For You?

WordPress.org and WordPress.com each have their strengths, and they fundamentally cater to different audiences.

Who Should Use WordPress.com

When you build a site with WordPress.com, you don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting or performing any of the maintenance that comes along with a self-hosted website.

The base-level plan is free for life—but it comes with some restrictions: you’re limited to 3 GB of storage space, you can’t use a custom domain (you’ll be using something like yoursite.wordpress.com), and your site will contain WordPress.com ads. You also can’t use custom themes or plugins without upgrading to the Business plan for $300 a year.

With that said, WordPress.com ensures that you’ll never lose your data due to unexpected problems or misconfigurations.

WordPress.com: The Bottom Line

If you’re intimidated by backups and security or if you just want to create a simple website or blog as quickly and easily as possible, WordPress.com may be the way to go. But if you want a more flexible solution that you can customize and monetize, WordPress.com’s limitations may be prohibitive.

Who Should Use WordPress.org

The WordPress software from WordPress.org must be installed on a third-party hosting provider, which you’ll have to pay for. Generally, this is a simple one-click process—and it’s really easy.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll have access to thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins that will help you customize your site’s appearance and functionality.

You’ll have your own domain name, and you’ll be able to monetize your site however you want.

The downside, of course, is that you’re responsible for things like security and backups—but those are fairly straightforward and can be handled pretty easily with plugins.

WordPress.org has a steeper learning curve, but it comes with a far greater upside in terms of functionality and customization.

WordPress.org: The Bottom Line

If you want full control and ownership over your site, WordPress.org is the way to go. It’s not as easy as WordPress.com, but it’s far more powerful.

Side By Side

WordPress.com

  • Allows you to build a website quickly, without a big learning curve
  • Only gives you control over some aspects of your site
  • Offers a free plan
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Doesn’t allow custom themes or plugins (except on the Business plan)
  • Updates, backups, and security handled for you

WordPress.org

  • Gives you full control over your website
  • Doesn’t limit how you can monetize your site
  • Requires a domain name and hosting account
  • Extremely customizable, both in appearance and functionality
  • Supports thousands of themes and plugins
  • You’re responsible for your own updates, backups, and security

So, What Do You Think?

WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

Let us know your preference in the comments below—and if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to answer them!

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