Differences Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
People often wonder and ask about the differences between having a blog on WordPress.com and having a blog through WordPress.org. I recently watched a video interview with Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress. He gave a very unique, yet fitting analogy that I really liked, and wanted to capture in this post where I attempt to explain some of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
He basically equated the differences between the two to renting an apartment versus owning a house. When you rent an apartment, you can’t necessarily choose where you’ll be living as you have to choose from what’s available, but all you really need to worry about (generally) is rent – everything is taken care of for you (for example, appliances, water, electricity, etc. can be included in the cost of rent, if something breaks down, you call your landlord, etc.). On the other hand, when you buy a house, you have more freedom in choosing exactly where you want to live, and everything is your responsibility, between the extra bills for water, electricity, acquiring your own appliances, maintenance costs such as fixing things that break down or regular maintenance, and you also have to worry about property taxes on top of it all!
WordPress.com is the equivalent to renting an apartment, and everything is taken care of for you:
All you need to worry about is the initial design options (from a list of available designs), and then content. You can’t necessarily choose your domain, you have to take what’s available, but it’s maintenance-free.
WordPress.org is the equivalent to owning a house – you have to take care of everything yourself
- choosing a hosting provider and buying a hosting package
- installation of WordPress to your hosting provider
- choosing your own domain
- designing the site or blog
- maintenance and updates
As with renting versus owning, though, there are advantages (and disadvantages) to running your own WordPress site/blog with WordPress.org – you have a lot more freedom to do what you want with your blog, such as turning it into a full website and using it as a CMS (Content Management System), having a custom design (whether you design one yourself or you hire someone to design it for you), using plugins that add functionality to your WordPress site/blog, etc.
As always, though, with freedom comes responsibility, and it comes in the form of keeping things up-to-date, and making sure certain costs are covered (domain name cost, hosting, potential site/blog design costs, etc.).
I think this was an awesome analogy to comparing the two, and wanted to share the information! It’s a popular question, and one that is important to understand when you’re thinking of starting a blog. For most people, it’s better to start off with a WordPress.com blog to become familiar with the setup, the process, even the aspect of blogging itself. From there, you can decide to take it one step further and have a more personalized blog or website using WordPress, and it’s easy to export blog posts from WordPress.com and important them to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation, so there’s no need to worry about any kind of hassle in that regard.
I hope this has given you a better understanding of the differences between working with WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Which blogging platform do you use (whether WordPress or not)? If you’re using WordPress, which one do you work with? If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and ask away! If I don’t have the answer, I will find it out for you!