I wanted to write this post because the distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org could cause some confusion for people. We receive several inquiries about whether our WordPress themes can be installed on WordPress.com or not. So for the benefit of anyone seeking for answers, I wanted to give an overview to clear things up.
If you don’t understand the difference between self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com, then this post is definitely for you. This post will also provide advice to anyone who cannot choose between self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
WordPress is an open source blog tool and publishing platform. WordPress is available in two forms. WordPress.com and WordPress.org both come from the same company, Automattic. WordPress.com uses the same open source blogging software which you can download at WordPress.org.
With WordPress.com, the hosting and managing of the software are taken care of by the guys at Automattic for you. You never have to mess with installations or upgrades. You never have to deal with domains (unless you want to). All you have to do is create your blog, pick a theme (the look or design of your blog, sometimes called a template), and start posting.
It is a safe sandbox to set up your blog with approved plugins and themes. WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to install your own themes or plugins. They do have a vast collection of themes for you to use and they update the list often, but if something you want is not on the list, you just have to make do without it, period. The safety is a trade-off for extendibility and purpose.
With WordPress.org, you need to install the software you’ve downloaded on your own server or on a hosting provider’s server, and this is what we call self-hosting. WordPress.org with a paid hosting service provides maximum flexibility and customization. Only by self-hosting your WordPress site can you have the ability to upload themes and plugins.
Which one is for you?
Is it better to pick the self-hosted WordPress.org, or go with free WordPress.com?
We believe that WordPress.com is only good for personal bloggers who are not looking to monetize their sites. Business blogs, CMS, or any other usage of WordPress requires a self-hosted WordPress platform. Even though one can pay WordPress.com to upgrade and get a lot of features, it is much more cost effective to find a good web host and run your own business blog powered by WordPress.org software.
In the end, who can resist the unlimited customization possibilities you can do with a self-hosted platform? 🙂
If there’s anything you don’t understand or if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below with your general questions.