WordPress.com versus WordPress.org

When you are first considering using WordPress for your website and blog, the inevitable question of .com or .org comes up. What’s the difference and why would I choose one over the other? Let’s break it down.


What is WordPress?

WordPress is a piece of web software that you can use to build your website and blog. Some call it a content management system, because it’s basically the brains behind all the information you put on your website – the images, the text. It’s a free piece of software, reliable, powerful and there’s a huge community behind it. I believe that it’ll grow with your needs and that’s why I use it.

What’s the difference between .com and .org?

So what are people talking about when they say .com or .org? Well, the software is still WordPress. No difference. Using .com means you are signing up for an account online comparable to other blog platforms like Blogger, Tumblr, Typepad, etc. Basically, the WordPress.com team handles the hosting and technical backend stuff… you are just using their service.

However, .org means that you are going to go out and purchase your own web hosting, install a copy of the WordPress software and use it for yourself. Don’t get scared away though, installation is simple and most hosting companies have a one-click install. The difference from .com is that now you have absolute full control. You can do whatever you want.

Pros and Cons

Obviously, there are pros and cons in both versions. For those who don’t want to deal with the technical backend, .com might be the answer. Maybe you are just starting out and have minimal requirements of what you want. It’s fast and easy, just sign-up and start blogging! But if you want more control, you’ll either have to pay for the services on .com or break out one day and move to your own hosting.

It all depends on if you can live with the limitations of the .com version. Here are things you cannot do on the .com service:

  • you cannot install your own plugins, there’s a limited set they allow
  • you cannot install your own themes, there’s a limited set they allow
  • to edit the css style coding there is a fee
  • you cannot sell advertising (basically, monetization) unless you use their WordAds program

Suffice to say that WordPress.com is your generic blogging platform service. It doesn’t give you the full power of the WordPress software, obviously because they are creating a common ground basic service for users.

If you want more customization and a professional look – full control over you web presence – then you are better off going with .org. Get yourself a good developer or follow my guide to DIY. I truly believe it’s worth the extra effort.