WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com – What’s the difference?

The wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org thing can be a bit confusing. Rather than providing a long and drawn out history of the company, let’s get straight to the facts and most common related questions:

What is hosted WordPress?

WordPress is the software that powers the website; it’s what the owner of the site uses to make changes to the content and often the design or layout of the site’s pages as well. We provide the hardware (servers) that run it: called WordPress Hosting.

What is WordPress.org?

wordpress.org represents the organization that is made up of both wordpress.com developers and other companies and developers that are responsible for maintaining and improving the open source WordPress code. Because it’s open source, anyone with coding experience can submit contributions to the project. The software provided by wordpress.org is what is used to power all WordPress sites hosted with us.

What is WordPress.com?

wordpress.com is the corporate entity that makes money from services relating to the WordPress software. Their parent company name is Automattic. They’re the primary software engineers behind WordPress’s code, with plenty of contributions from others outside the company.

Here’s just a few of their freemium (free to a point) or premium (paid) services: a freemium blogging platform, WordPress website backup services (Vaultpress), anti-spam services (Akismet), and premium functionality for WooCommerce through the WooComm Extensions store.

Here’s some examples of their free plugins for WordPress: WP Super Cache, WooCommerce, and WP Job Manager.

Is WordPress just for blogging?

The WordPress software was originally created to be a blogging platform available either as a blog you can host with us (using wordpress.org software), or as a service provided by wordpress.com (including their hosting and a limited version of the software). But that does not mean it is only good for blogging. In fact, it can and has been used to create extremely high end, configurable, and professional websites that either have a perfectly integrated blog component to them, or no blog at all.

Do I need WordPress.com if I already have self-hosted WordPress?

Need? No. But you might want a WordPress.com account for certain purposes.

You definitely won’t need to do anything with the hosted blogging platform that wordpress.com provides, because your self-hosted WordPress website will take care of all of the blogging functionality for you, and more.

That said you may still eventually run into cases where you are using or want to use premium plugins or services provided by WordPress.com/Automattic. In those cases a WordPress.com account is used to purchase licenses for those premium plugins and also to link plugins installed on your website (that are built by Automattic) to WordPress.com services.

I registered my domain with wordpress.com but I really want a self-hosted WordPress site. How do I point it to Websavers instead?

The folks at wordpress.com have a guide showing how to do exactly this.

You can read further details about the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org on the wordpress.org support site here.

About Jordan Schelew

Jordan has been working with computers, security, and network systems since the 90s and is a managing partner at Websavers Inc. As a founder of the company, he's been in the web tech space for over 15 years.

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