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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:

  • When it comes to hosting a website built on 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.
  • wordpress.com is the corporate entity that makes money from WordPress. Their parent company name is Automattic. They’re the primary software engineers behind WordPress’s code and they also created and maintain a lot of free and premium plugins for WordPress, like WP Super Cache, WooCommerce, and a number of WooCommerce Extensions.
  • wordpress.org is the website for the organization (made up of wordpress.com developers + others) 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.
  • Yes, the WordPress software was originally created to be a blogging platform available as a blog you can host with us using wordpress.org, or as a service provided by wordpress.com. No 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.

Because the WordPress software is free, along with plugins like WooCommerce, their way of making money is twofold (probably more, but two that you’ll run into):

  1. Providing premium level plugins, like extensions for WooCommerce that provide more advanced functionality (as found in the WooComm Extensions store), as well as WordPress service enhancements, like cloud backups through JetPack, and advanced Spam filtering via Akismet.
  2. Providing a hosted blogging platform that runs on a modified version of WordPress + JetPack combined where the base level is free, but adding functionality costs more per month, much like the miriad of free website builders out there.

When your website is hosted with us, you won’t need to do anything with the hosted blogging platform that wordpress.com provides, but you’ll probably eventually run into cases where you are using or want to use premium plugins provided by WordPress.com, like enhancements to WooCommerce, Akismet spam filtering, or JetPack (not our fav, but some like it!)

To use a lot of these premium plugins you need to have a WordPress.com account, and so that is how you’ll most likely need to reconcile you wordpress.org based website with having a wordpress.com account.

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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