WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: a Tale Of Mistaken Identity

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: a Tale Of Mistaken Identity

What did you know about WordPress before you first started using it? I knew it was ‘free’, I knew the difference between a plugin and a theme and thought it all sounded pretty easy to use. I basically thought it was a website you could use to build other websites – and that’s how I ended up on WordPress.com…

Because I’d used other CMS platforms in the past, I thought a quick scan of an article or two was all I needed to get me up to speed on WordPress.

Oh, how wrong I was.

WordPress.com is always going to be top of the Google charts compared to WordPress.org, as WordPress has a commercial interest in promoting the .com. This meant that I was on WordPress.com and halfway through creating an account before you can say “but you have to pay to use plugins!”

I had no idea that there were two ‘versions’ of WordPress, and it quickly became clear that I’d just started to use the wrong one for my needs.

This article aims to explain the difference between the two, as well as answer a few things you might be wondering along the way (how does WordPress.org make any money if it’s free??)

Hopefully, I’ll help you avoid the same fate as me…

Before we continue though, most WordPress users (we would hope!) know the difference between the two, so if any WordPress aficionados out there have stumbled across this article, I recommend checking out one of our many other ‘you gotta know this’ blog posts.

If you’re still reading, it probably means you’re new to WordPress and want to find out more about it, which is great!

So, let’s start with the basics – why choose WordPress for your site build?

WordPress, King Of The CMS

There are two main ways of building a website.

The first is creating it from scratch with a series of text files in HTML/CSS/JS, and then publishing it to a web server to be hosted. This route requires knowledge of these coding languages, so it would only be suited to someone with the right skills.

If you’re not wanting to become a web developer any time soon and your goal is purely to create a website for your hobby or business, then the second option is probably more up your street – a Content Management System (CMS).

A CMS alleviates the need for technical knowledge when building a website – it has the interface and tools to allow you to create and organize your content without needing to write a single line of code.

There are a number of CMS you can use to create your website, but WordPress is by far the clear favorite. It boasts over 60% of the market share of CMS websites and is a wise choice for beginners.

Below are some of the reasons WordPress is the cream of the CMS crop:

  • You can create any type of website, from a small blog to a thriving eCommerce site
  • WordPress doesn’t care if your site gets



This article was written by Kirstan Norman and originally published on WPMU DEV Blog.

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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