I regularly encounter confusion concerning WordPress. I think most of the confusion has to do with what people call the two options. People talk about .com versus .org. This makes it sound like competing domain names, but that’s incorrect. So which WordPress is right?
Let’s start with a few definitions. What is WordPress? It’s open-source blogging software written in PHP. It requires a web server to run and is of little use without a web host.
Which brings us to our next definition. What is a web host? It’s an entity (usually a company) that runs internet-connected servers that are compatible with various web software like WordPress.
So when people talk about .com versus .org, they’re talking about web hosting versus the software that needs hosting. So we’re talking about 2 completely different things that work together:
- WordPress is the software, which you can download at wordpress.org.
- WordPress.com is a hosting service that serves sites running WordPress.
WordPress Code (wordpress.org)
WordPress.org offers open-source blogging software you can download and use however you choose. This means you can choose a web host, upload the code and do whatever you want with it. If you’re picky and have very specific requirements for the look and feel of your site, this is the option for you.
However, even though the software is free, you’ll need someone who knows how to customize it. If that’s not you, you’ll have to pay someone.
Choosing this option requires you to choose all the other bits and pieces. Hosting company, appropriate plan, etc. Options like SiteGround, Bluehost, WP Engine and HostGator are among a vast array of options.
WordPress.com Hosting Service
WordPress.com is a hosting service. They also manage the WordPress code base. Using the WordPress code, they offer an easy blog hosting service. You don’t have to think about the code or where to host it. Just sign up for an account and off you go. If you’re happy with the options they offer, this is the easiest solution.
The trade-off is that you have very limited control over how it looks and behaves. For a lot of people, this is satisfactory. And cheap.
Hopefully, this article has at least helped you understand the difference between the two main WordPress options. I hope it helps you determine which WordPress is right for you.