What’s The Difference Between WordPress.com And WordPress.org?

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? I hear this a lot. Many beginning bloggers get hung up on this big-little difference.

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

Simply put, there’s WordPress the website (WordPress.com) and WordPress the Content Management System (WordPress.org).

WordPress.com is a website; a commercial enterprise that is designed to look and feel just like WordPress the content management system (which is available through wordpress.org).

WordPress.com is a website that looks and feels almost exactly like WordPress the content management system.

So that’s it, really. One’s a free content management system that millions use around the world, and the other is a website that gives you a free website under their umbrella. This is really the long and the short of it.

Got it? Great!


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


WordPress.com lets you put in a semi-customizable domain name and gives you a lot of different functions that really give you a lot of control over how your website looks and feels. A lot of big names maintain a blog on WordPress.com:

And there are many great, smaller blogs out there too:

…and many more. As you can see, you can accomplish a lot with WordPress.com. So… with so many big fish on WordPress, what’s not to like?

Well, one thing to note about these blogs I just mentioned is that they all have custom domain names, which is something that WordPress.com offers, you just have to pay for the upgrade (price depends on options and for how long you’d like to register the name).

And while WordPress.com is great for many many things, problems come along when, after a while, you want to make custom changes to your site and you find out that you simply can’t do that through the available tools.

Like what, you ask?

Well, WordPress.com does some great things and lets you play around with a lot of different things. You can switch themes, change the color and background image, add a logo, etc.

BUT, If you want to get your hands dirty and edit the CSS files of your site – you can’t. If you want to add plugins (more on these later), you can’t. Plus, you have to pay for storage upgrades if you cap out the free space offered. Also, WordPress.com (and WordPress the CMS) do a pretty good job of SEO out of the box, but with WordPress.com, you’re very limited on what you can do, since you don’t have access to all the website’s files.

You could pay for all these upgrades, OR you could investigate WordPress the content management system.

WordPress.org (the CMS)

WordPress the content management system is an incredibly powerful and very user-friendly system that millions of people around the world have chosen to use as their interface with their website.

Who uses WordPress, the CMS? Here are some examples:

WordPress (the content management system [CMS]) is the most popular content management system in the world.  A few quick stats for you:

  • WordPress is the world’s most used Content Management System (CMS)
  • As of March 2012: 72.4 Million users
  • 48% of the top 100 ranked blogs use WordPress as their CMS (other 39% are self-hosted)
  • Over 352 million people view more than 2.5 million pages every month on WordPress
  • WordPress has 53.8% of the marketshare of CMS services. The number 2 spot goes to Joomla with 9.2%

Wrap Up:

If you’re just cutting your teeth and want to try your hand at blogging, I recommend going over to http://www.wordpress.com and starting your own blog there. Play around a bit and get a feel for how to make posts, pages, and customize your theme.

Once you’re ready to move forward and get your hands dirty, you’ll want to pick a domain for your new site, choose a hosting provider (I recommend Bluehost), and install WordPress (the CMS).

Many hosting providers offer one-click installs of WordPress, so the technical trouble is minimized.

But before you do this, though, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of how the internet works. It’s a rough, quick synopsis, but it’s designed to make sense of this crazy web world!

Got any more questions for me? Drop me a comment!

-Hudson Hornick
Alchemy On Demand

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