When coming to use WordPress to make websites, I believe one of the most common questions is:
Should I use wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
In this article, I will mention some differences between these two, hopefully this will help you make up your decision.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS), a powerful open source tool which is written in PHP. This probably is the most easy-to-use platform for non-IT people. Thanks to a large pool of themes and plugins, people can make actually any kind of websites with WordPress. From simple blogs to e-commerce sites, from personal to organizational digital profiles.
One advantage of using this platform is that WordPress is free. You might want to purchase hostings, themes, and plugins but the pure origin source code is free and can be downloaded anytime from WordPress.org.
Another advantage is that WordPress is easy to use because it is visually understandable. In some themes, you can simply make up the content just by dragging and dropping elements, just like a game. Some other themes require more logic mindset to understand the content structure. But overall, building websites with WordPress is much easier than starting every line of code yourself.
Why there are wordpress.com and wordpress.org?
According to its official website, WordPress differentiates these two platforms by the words “fully-hosted” and “self-hosted“.
WordPress.com is fully-hosted, and wordpress.org is self-hosted.
Simply, wordpress.com is for people who want everything to be set up and ready to use. An example can be a blogger who only wants to write blog posts and articles and doesn’t care about the back-end sides.
In other hand, wordpress.org only provides the source code. One who wants to use this has to prepare own hosting and the installation themselves in order to make the site online, besides the content. Like WordPress say, “get your hands dirty, and host your website yourself.“
In short, WordPress separates these two concepts in order to serve the users better based on their needs.
Difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org
So, having the same source code, how can these two options different from each other?
You can read it on the WordPress website: https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/
Domain and hosting:
- In wordpress.com you can have one free domain with the form something.wordpress.com. However, you can buy your own domain name and map them later to your wordpress.com website. There are several hosting plans for wordpress.com, including the free plan. If you want to remove advertisements and gain more power of your site, you need to upgrade your plan to Personal or Business Premium Plan.
- In wordpress.org you have to buy the domain and hosting yourself. In addition, you need to do all the heavy work of installing and push them alive online.
Themes, plugins, what is included?
- In wordpress.com: Powered by Jetpack, users of this platform enjoy the social connection to a large number of other users on the WordPress blog network. There are plenty of beautiful themes to use; yet for the Free Plan, the use of plugins are not available. Also, you can see analytics and statistics of your blog’s performance.
- In wordpress.org: You have unlimited power to choose what themes and plugins to use. However, if you want a function (for example Jetpack and statistics), you have to install it yourself). WordPress simply does not provide you anything rather than source code.
How to use?
- In wordpress.com: Hit the button Get Started and register an account. Then you choose a domain name and type of website. 5 minutes and your website is alive ready to be filled with content. It is as simple as setting up a social media profile. Notice: To have a free domain, you need to wait a little until WordPress shows its recommendation domain with something.wordpress.com. I believe there is a little trick here as they always show first domains that are paid to have.
- In wordpress.org: Hit the Download WordPress button and have the latest WordPress version downloaded to your computer.
- With wordpress.com: You never need to worry about debugging, or if the website is down because WordPress takes care of that for you.
- With wordpress.org: All kind of problems and themes/plugins conflicts. You better know what you are doing.