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What's the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

4th January 2016

Did you know there are actually two versions of WordPress? Most of you will know of 'WordPress' but not everyone is aware that there are two versions, commonly known as the '.org' version and the '.com' version.

What's the difference between these you ask? Let us break it down for you.

WordPress.com is the version that you can set up for free through the WordPress website - everything is managed here; your hosting, content, styling. WordPress.org is the more technical version - this would be hosted somewhere by you, domain names would be registered somewhere and pointed at your chosen servers, styling would be controlled by you as would content. Take a look at the table below to see a quick comparison:

WordPress.com

WordPress.org

  • Hosting, security, and backups are included. You can upgrade to a custom domain with their paid version.
  • You’ll need to find a host, and perform backups and maintenance yourself.
  • Choose from many free (and paid) templates. Bespoke designs not available with the free version.
  • Implement bespoke designs. You can build your own with PHP and CSS (or hire a professional).
    You can also choose from many free (and paid templates).
  • CSS and PHP cannot be edited.
  • Full editing permissions for CSS and PHP.
  • Plugins are not included with the free version.
  • Ability to install plugins for additional features not included with the standard release of WordPress.
  • Very limited abilities for making money via advertising.
  • Complete freedom over website monetisation.
  • You must register for an account on WordPress.com.
  • No registration with WordPress.com is required.

If you're still not sure after reading the comparison above, here are the essential things to bear in mind.

WordPress.org requires a certain degree of technical know-how - you will need to download the CMS from the WordPress.org website, source some website hosting, upload the CMS to the hosting account and point your domain names at your servers. You will then need to sort the design and any additional plugins yourself. If you are having a website developed by a web development agency, most will source this for you, but if you're seting it up on your own a considerable amount of research and prep will be required before undertaking this task.

WordPress.com is the quick and easy way of doing it, and is the better method for someone with little to no tech knowledge. It requires no web development skills, and can all be setup through your browser in a step by step process. Due to it being free, you do not get the freedom and flexibility you have with WordPress.org, so may not be a permanent option as you may have to look at expanding in the future.

If you have any questions about WordPress, get in touch with our experts on 0845 094 6108 or tweet us on @Cosmic_UK!