Hey there and welcome to WordPress Wednesday!

Today we’re going to be talking about a topic that’s confusing for beginners and people who just don’t know WordPress. And that is the difference between WordPress dot Org and WordPress dot Com.

I feel like everybody in the WordPress sphere has had this issue pop up in one way or the other. I remember back when I first heard about WordPress getting confused about these two different entities. And judging by the number of times this comment comes up in different spaces, it’s an issue for a lot of people.

So today we’re going to break it down — what dot org is, what dot com is — and really which one you should be using. So let’s get started.

What is WordPress.org?

So first we’re going to start off with WordPress dot org, and that is the open source version of WordPress. And it’s really what made WordPress WordPress. As I just said, it is open source, and that means you can go to WordPress.org and download it, and you kind of “own the code.”

Well, nobody really owns the code. But once you download it, you can do whatever you want with it. And that means you can, you know, put it on whatever web host you want and use whatever domain that you want.

And downloading it is free; however, the web hosting and domain are not free. But also, a lot of web hosts offer the one click installation now. And also, once you have that website running, you can add as many plugins and themes as you want, or at least as many plugins and themes as your web host will allow you. WordPress itself won’t limit you.

And you can change code, although I don’t really recommend it at all.

You can also change the database to fit the structure that you need. And you can create custom themes to create a unique looking website.

And because you’ve already purchased the domain, you already know that your domain is going to be your-domain dot com or whatever.

So really, WordPress dot org is the most robust version of the two.

What is WordPress.com?

WordPress dot com, however, is the hosted version of WordPress, and it is run by Automattic, which was founded by WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg.

You will have to sign up on WordPress.com to get a WordPress.com website, but out of the box, it’s free. You can have your website set up in just under five minutes or so. And you can start blogging very quickly.

But this is a business and there are costs that you are going to have to pay for in order to get other features. For example, you aren’t allowed to upload any plugins; you have to pay for that.

You also don’t have any access to the backend database or code. And while there are a number of free themes to choose from, if you want premium themes or other themes, you’re going to have to pay for that.

And your domain, at least from the start, is going to have a WordPress.com backend. So my website would be jacobmartella.wordpress.com. You can pay, however, to have jacobmartella.com if you wanted.

Which one is right for you?

Okay so, with all of this in mind, which one is right for you and your business?

Well, if you’re just starting out blogging and you don’t really do much writing but you just want to try it out, I would recommend using WordPress dot Com.

It’s quick to set up. It’s easy for non-technical people. And you can be writing very quickly. And really, you’re doing a low risk thing, so it makes the most sense to do the free thing.

However, if you’re doing anything more than that, I recommend going that self-hosted route with WordPress dot Org. I know it kind of stinks that you have to pay for web hosting and a domain, but as we’ve talked about in the small business website series, a website is an investment, and you need to invest in it. And domain and web host is an investment.

The WordPress dot Org version allows you the most freedom. You can do basically anything you want to do with it. That flexibility beats any price.

So I hope this has helped you figure out the difference between WordPress dot Org and dot Com and which one you need to be using.

Again this is still kind of a complicated issue, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out in comments below or on social media. And if you want to talk about your experience with WordPress dot Org or dot Com, be sure to share them.

But until next time, happy WordPressing!