Anyone who has one time or the other been privileged to scour through a website or two, manage a blog or maybe talk to a website developer, might probably have come across the term WordPress.
With a startling 660 million posts and 655 million comments on WordPress in 2015 and over 500 sites being created every day, it is no surprise that WordPress is the most prominent site building software platform out there, powering 26.4% of the web with a 59.4% market share.
Little wonder why WordPress has over 1,253,649,315 billion downloads already!
Now one well-known error that most WordPress users, both old and new, usually make is differentiating between WordPress .com and WordPress.org.
Similar names but performing very different functions. While one is an infamous Content Management System platform, the other combines both a Content Management System and a web hosting feature.
Not clear yet?
Here are the major differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
As one of the world’s most widely used site building software, WordPress features a free and open source platform that can be modified and shared by any user in the active WordPress community.
The WordPress software can be downloaded from WordPress.com, or it can be installed from a web hosting provider like WordPress.org as part of a hosting package.
So the major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is in their hosting status. One is accessed by self hosting (WordPress.org) while the other can be downloaded with free hosting (WordPress.com).
So selecting which one works for you is based largely on how much control you want in designing and managing your website structure.
This is self-hosted where the user has full access to site files and codes, customizing the website and adding functions as desired.
The site has its own dedicated domain name and is hosted by a web hosting provider who then supplies server space for the site.
This is a hosted platform that provides an easy-to-use, full-service solution for people who want to publish quickly, without having to contend with design, site maintenance, or any other future technical hassle.
So in summary, WordPress.com is a hosted platform that runs on WordPress software, while WordPress.org makes available for download the WordPress software through self-hosting.
Now, let’s look at their differences based on their key features.
WordPress.com: here you can choose from a variety of premade free WordPress themes.
But unless it’s premium, you won’t be able to add a theme from an outside source.
WordPress.org: Users here can install and change themes at will, without a restriction to the source.
Themes, whether they are premium or free themes can be modified by both beginners and experienced designers to fully customize the site.
WordPress.com : comes preloaded with a few plugin functions so users don’t need to worry about installing plugins.
The plugins available include social media sharing plugins, google analytics, contact forms, etc.
Note that external plugins cannot be installed on a WordPress.com site.
Self-hosted WordPress are known for their multiple access to both premium and free plugins which can be used for things like adding a gallery to the site, creating a contact form and building an online store.
Wordpress.org: Self-hosted WordPress sites like wordpress.org have custom domain names that show that the site isn’t being hosted by a third-party.
So the site can come with a purchased domain name to reflect your business concerns. E.g
WordPress.org: In this option, unless you’re upgrading to premium to acquire a custom domain, you are stuck with the extension “wordpress.com” after your domain name. E.g
In summary both WordPress.com and WordPress.org proffer different methods to access the influence of the power of WordPress in general.
If focusing on creating blog content is your intent, WordPress.com should be your platform of choice.
It absolves you of the responsibility of site maintenance and technical issues.
WordPress.org on the other hand simply makes the WordPress platform available to be used as deemed fit.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org?
The choice as to which one to use is locked in your plan for your website and how you want it to run.
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