Many bloggers, especially those new to the whole blogging thing, get confused by WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. In fact, many don’t even realise that there are two different kinds of WordPress and those who do, don’t know the difference between them. So, that’s what we are going to talk about today, plus I am going to give you my recommendation for which to use.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform that allows users to create a blog using basic WordPress functions. While it has the advantage of being free (which is very attractive to many new bloggers) and offering you the ability to use your own domain name there are some negatives, such as WordPress.com does not support plugins and is fairly limited when it comes to customising your blog/site’s design. Yet the most important thing to understand with WordPress.com is that WordPress hosts you site AND owns the content on your site. You do not own any content that you publish using a WordPress.com site. This means WordPress can do whatever it likes with your content and you have no say over it. Not ideal!
WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server. Often known as Self-hosted WordPress, WordPress.org requires you to have purchased a hosting package with a web host company as well as your own domain name such as www.yourblogname.com. Most web hosting companies will either install WordPress.org onto your host server or will have easy step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
The advantages of using WordPress.org are numerous:
- You own your content. You have all rights to it and can monitor who else has rights to use it.
- You will be able to use plugins on your site to enhance its functions and usability.
- The designs options for your blog or website are almost endless.
- Your site is more flexible and the opportunities to expand and add more function to your site is increased
- WordPress.org sites are generally perceived as being more professional
From my almost 6 years’ experience with blogging and many years working with bloggers on designing their site, I absolutely recommend using WordPress.org. It simply offers more function and design flexibility and owning your own content is the only way to go.
Be aware though that obviously there is some cost involved in going down this route and it does require more technical understanding than free blogging platforms, but it is still the options I will always recommend.
The majority of bloggers end up transferring their blog to a self-hosted WordPress.org site in the end, so you could save yourself a lot of fuss and trouble if you just start out this way and learn to blog with the platform.
If you are unsure of the meaning of any of the terms used in this post, take a look at the Blogging Glossary for definitions. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.