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What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

If you have a website or have ever considered creating one, you’re probably familiar with WordPress – after all, it powers an incredible 30 percent of the world’s top 10 million websites, and among its notable users are, well, virtually every major company on the globe.

But even if you’ve used WordPress, you might not understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Now you might be asking, wait…there’s a difference? You’re not the only one who’s confused.


What is WordPress?

Simply put, WordPress is a type of software called a content management system (or CMS) that’s used to create and manage websites. The home of this particular software is WordPress.org. You can download the software free and create your own website, but it will be “unhosted,” meaning you’ll have to acquire a domain and find your own Hosting provider.

With WordPress.com you’ll receive a wordpress.com domain name and allow you to host it on their servers. With this comes restrictions and limitations though.


Hosted vs. Unhosted: Eating at a Restaurant vs. Eating at Home

Think of it this way. If you use WordPress.com, your website is literally “hosted.” It’s the equivalent of going to a restaurant for a meal where you can order anything they have on the menu. That sounds pretty good, but you’re limited to what’s on the menu, as well as the general setup of the place. You can’t go into the kitchen and start creating new dishes, or switch up the decor, or change much of anything at all. You also can’t package up the restaurant’s meals and sell them to third parties. You certainly can’t hire an outside chef to go into the kitchen and create something new.

Paige Wiese, owner and creative director of Tree Ring Digital, points out one of WordPress.com’s limitations. “They don’t offer support via phone (and really only deal with hosting issues via email), so you have to rely on the forums for support….and good luck with that, because the people answering questions in the support forums are pretty savvy coders and it’s hard to understand their lingo if you don’t have experience designing a site.”

On the other hand, WordPress.org is the equivalent of cooking at home – your meal (or website) is “unhosted.” You’ve got the capability to do the same stuff they do in the restaurant (plus a whole lot more), but you’ve got to do it yourself. While that may not sound great if you’re just really hungry and don’t like to cook, the trade-off is a lot more freedom. You can make literally anything you want (to the limits of your skills and the money you have for ingredients). You can also bring in professional chefs to help – or even create a whole new menu. In terms of your website, those “chefs” would be like the experts at WPSupportandMaintenance.com.

“While WordPress itself is a great platform,” Wiese says, “the .com version is still very restricted, especially when it comes to customizing the site the way you want or for your business. We specialize in the .org version because the options are endless, and we can really customize the functionality to work with your process instead of an out-of-the box, pre-packaged solution.”


Which is Right for You?

That depends on what you want from your website, but for most businesses, Wiese recommends WordPress.org because of its customization. The goal of most businesses is to grow, and with WordPress.org, you have the flexibility and freedom for your site to grow as your business continues to grow without having to start over.

Worried you may have made the wrong choice? Don’t worry, you can move your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, and the experts at WPSupport and Maintenance can help you do that, as well as help with all other aspects of your website. Let us be your WordPress chefs.