What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org? In this article, I'll be discussing the confounding terms WordPress.com and WordPress.org. They both have wordpress in the title, so you should use one of them to design and build a wordpress site yes? Well, kind of.
This article is one in a series written to help people new to the web design process understand the lingo and options available when building a website. More helpful articles are available in my blog archive, such as the difference between web hosting and domain hosting - check them out!
I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
WordPress is a free and open source content management software that is available to download from WordPress.org as a standalone package. It's basically a free framework for you to use to develop your own completely custom website (edit the code; pHp, HTML, CSS, JS etc.). There are other content management systems and services that do a similar thing and have their own pros and cons, i.e. Joomla, Wix, Squarespace etc. I like Wordpress as it is really customisable, but it does require some level of tech savvy to get it working well.
When you want to create a website, no matter what platform it's built on, you'll need both a domain host and a website host. Most hosting companies have recognised the popularity of Wordpress for building sites (or have their own simple custom website builder) and have what they call 'one-click' installation of Wordpress through the cPanel. This takes some of the annoying admin out of hosting your own instance of WP on your site (download from Wordpress.org, upload to your servers, set up
the database files etc.). Alternatively you can pay for hosting and have everything set up for you through a dedicated service like WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is a freemium service owned and operated by Automattic, Inc. They are a hosting company that allow you to publish a website run on a modifed version of WordPress. WordPress.org offer several tiers of subscriptions:
|Personal - $5/month
|Business - $33/month
|eCommerce - $59 month
With each tier, more services are offered, and for most basic business sites you will need to go for the Premium or above level service to be able to customise your website with a theme and also use plugins (Business and above only).
For someone looking to DIY their own website using WordPress, a more affordable, flexible option would be to use a shared hosting solution costing around $5 a month and install WordPress via the cPanel. This would ensure a fully customisable version of WordPress with the large catalogue of themes and plugins available for you to use. This option, however, requires some technical ability to set up.
Another option is Managed WordPress hosting, specialised services that come at an extra cost as compared to shared hosting (say $15+ a month vs $5), but are often a better for those with less technical ability and wanting to manage their site themselves.
I hope this article was helpful - if you have any other questions, please send me an email!