What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
If you’re just getting started with WordPress, you may not know that there are actually TWO versions of WordPress that you can use. There’s WordPress.com and then there’s WordPress.org.
Yup! I have no idea why WordPress made this so confusing by calling both of them WordPress, but they’re very different platforms.
This is something that soooo many people get tripped up on, because when you don’t know the difference, you may end up starting your website on WordPress.com when we recommend using WordPress.org for a professional, business website.
Let’s start with WordPress.com
WordPress.com is really a self-contained platform. You go to WordPress.com and you set up an account. You just put in your name or username and a password, pick a templates and start building your website. Easy peasy, right?
There’s a problem with that, though. When we’re using something that’s self-contained, the problem is that you’re building your website on THEIR space.
I like to think about that like you’re renting a house.
You’ve got your house, you’ve got your furnishings and your furniture and your clothes and all that good stuff, and you move all your stuff in, but you’re just renting. You don’t actually own it.
The landlord of the place that you’re renting doesn’t always allow you to do anything or exactly what you want to do. There might be some things in your house or your apartment that you want to change or update or add to, and the landlord says, “Yes,” or, “No, you can’t do that.”
That’s very much like using a self-contained platform like WordPress.com. You’re renting their space. Instead, when we use WordPress.org, which is software, and I’m going to get to that, you actually own it. When you own it and you’ve got the keys to your website, you can do whatever you want with it.
There are some benefits to using WordPress.com. Initially, it’s free to get started, and it’s super easy to set up an account. You to set up your account, you select a template you might want to use, and you are off and running.
It’s very tempting, I know, but there are some serious limitations to using WordPress.com.
The downside to using WordPress.com is that you need to pay if you want to use your own custom domain name. If I wanted to use MavroCreative.com, I would have to pay to be able to use that. Otherwise, it’s going to say MavroCreative.WordPress.com. I don’t want to have the word “wordpress” in the middle of my website name, especially for a business website.
It’s not flexible and it’s not very easy to customize. You can’t add additional functionality using plugins, which you can think of like an “app” for your website. The fact that you can’t use plugins on WordPress.com is huge. That in and of itself is a reason why we don’t recommend WordPress.com for a business website.
Instead, as I just mentioned, we recommend using WordPress.org. WordPress.org is actually software that you download and you install. You’ll purchase your own, custom domain name and you’ll also choose where you want your website to be hosted. Hosting is simply where your website will “live” and it’s where all of the files are stored. There are many great hosting companies out there that you can purchase your hosting from. One that I highly recommend is Siteground.
When you use WordPress.org, you’ll be able to add amazing functionality to your website by using plugins. You can customize virtually everything on your site to the way that you want it. Best of all, you have complete control and ownership of your website, which is so, so important.
Now you know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org!