WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Difference? Which Is Better?


Unsure of the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (self-hosted WordPress)?

When someone says “WordPress”, it can mean two different things, which is naturally pretty confusing. It can mean WordPress.com, which is a for-profit blog/website builder. Or, it can mean WordPress.org, which is the home of the free open-source WordPress software that you can install on your own hosting.

So – what’s the difference, and which one should you choose for your website?

I’ll answer both questions in this post!

Note – in this post I will use the terms “WordPress.org” and “self-hosted WordPress” interchangeably. If I say “self-hosted WordPress”, I mean “WordPress.org”.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: An Introduction.

I’ll get into some more specific differences later on, but let’s just start with a general introduction to the differences between these two popular blogging platforms.

WordPress.org is the home of the free, open-source WordPress content management system, also called self-hosted WordPress. It’s a non-profit entity that thousands of people from around the world contribute to.

Anyone – including you – can go to WordPress.org, download the WordPress software, and install it on their own web hosting. Or, most web hosts also make it easy to install the open-source WordPress software with just a few clicks.

WordPress.com is one specific implementation of the open-source WordPress software. It’s a for-profit service that makes it easier for people to create WordPress websites. However, it also restricts the access that WordPress.com users have to the underlying WordPress software.

Instead of needing to purchase your own hosting and install the WordPress software yourself, you just register for a WordPress.com account and you can start creating content right away.

Normally, when people talk about “WordPress”, they’re referring to the open-source WordPress software (WordPress.org).

This can lead to some confusion. For example, the WordPress.com landing page says that “37% of the web is built on WordPress”. And while that is true, most of those sites are using self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com!

Why Do They Use The Same Name? It’s Confusing

In order to understand why there’s such confusion between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, it helps to go back to the beginning of WordPress.

In 2003, Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg launched the first version of the open-source WordPress software. As you know, WordPress is free open-source software – anyone can install and use it. This was WordPress.org.

Then, in 2005, Matt Mullenweg launched a company called Automattic, which is the company behind WordPress.com.




This article was written by Harsh Agrawal and originally published on ShoutMeLoud.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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