What is WordPress.org?
When you hear the term “WordPress” generally people are referring to the software called WordPress, and the WordPress software is used for both WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org allows you to download the software “WordPress” and install it to any server you like, to change, edit and edit files however you wish to make your website yours. The WordPress software when installed on your own or paid for server has no limitations to the customization options you may want to include. If you have the coding knowledge and expertise to do so, you can turn the WordPress software into whatever you want it to, in terms of website design and functionality.
What is WordPress.com?
As mentioned above, WordPress.com uses the exact same “WordPress” software, the difference is WordPress.com is a hosted solution with limitations based on the type of pricing plan you choose to unlock certain features. If you were to create a free WordPress.com account and follow the setup instructions, you would see a significant difference between installing your own “WordPress” software available for download from wordpress.org; and what’s given to you by WordPress.com.
So now you may be asking “What’s a hosted solution?” Well a hosted solution is where another company has the WordPress software installed on its’ server and they offer you a membership to use that software and depending on the type of “Plan” you have, you are entitled to more or less features. See below for the pricing plans offered by WordPress.com
As you can see if you chose a “Free” plan, you wouldn’t have access to your own domain name. It would have to be a subdomain of WordPress.com (example-domain.wordpress.com). And in order to have access to the feature of using your own themes and plugins you would need to purchase the “Business” package at £20.83 p/m. You can learn more about “Themes and Plugins” within this series and understand the huge advantages of both premium themes and plugins. You may be thinking that having a website built on WordPress.com isn’t worth it, but on the contrary there are substantial benefits if you just don’t have the time to build and maintain your own “self-hosted” solution. A WordPress.com account gives you access to many tools for editing, support channels to get advice and help with building your website; as well as the peace of mind knowing your website is backed up and safe.
Wrapping it all up
- A self hosted solution with WordPress.org gives you a lot of freedom in terms of design and functionality
- WordPress.org alleviates fixed monthly costs just to have the ability to install your own plugins and themes
- WordPress.com offers great support and peace of mind with website backups
- WordPress.com offers premium support and community access for complex questions and problem solving
It all boils down to your own personal needs. If you just don’t have the time to setup your own self-hosted WordPress installation and want something simple and quick, then WordPress.com is for you. If you want as much control as humanly possible, don’t mind getting your hands dirty and enjoy a challenge, then WordPress.org will suit you better. It really is a case of what you are prepared to spend monthly to have a website. Even a self hosted website costs money, but what WordPress.com offer for even their most expensive package (which has it’s own limitations); you can do for half the price with a WordPress.org website. (Provided you’re prepared to do the work).