There are two different types of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Confusing, right? In this post we’ll look at the difference between the two and which is the best option for you.
The .Com Version
WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you create a blog on WordPress’s servers instead of having to find your own host. It’s very quick and easy to set up a new blog and WordPress.com offers a variety of templates and other features including security, stats and backups. You can even use a custom domain, which means you can change the URL of your WordPress blog from the default ‘yourname.wordpress.com’ to ‘yourname.com’. This helps with your branding and gives you a more memorable URL to share as you promote your blog. WordPress.com is free unless you buy any of the additional services offered there.
The .Org Version
Alternatively, with WordPress.org you’ll need to buy your own web hosting and install the WordPress software there. If you have to handle this manually this can be more difficult than setting up WordPress.com, but there are plenty of online tutorials to help you and you can pay a web designer or freelancer to do it for you if you prefer. Plus, most hosting companies offer a “5 minute install” version of WordPress which is as simple as filling in a couple of details and pressing go. WordPress.org is also free of charge although typically it’s easier to customize than WordPress.com with more themes, plugins, etc.
Why bother with WordPress.org?
So why would you dig in and get your hands dirty with WordPress.org when you can set up a blog in seconds with WordPress.com? Control. With WordPress.com you need to stick to WordPress.com’s terms of service and hope they continue to offer hosting services. If anything happens to WordPress.com or you happen to break their terms of service you could lose your blog.
Another reason is giving the wrong impression if you’re blogging / running a website for your business if you use WordPress.com. If your clients know that it’s cheap and fairly easy to set up a self-hosted blog then it could look unprofessional to use a hosted blog such as WordPress.com, especially if you haven’t set up a custom domain. If you already have a business website then it’s often easy to add a blog to it, so it’s worth discussing this with your web designer before you create a blog at WordPress.com.
There’s a huge choice of themes and plugins which means you can choose almost any feature you want for your site from design features such as fonts, colors and layouts to functional features such as shopping carts and email sign-up boxes. This offers more room for your blog to grow, for example if you’d like to sell advertising, memberships or products in future. Further, it’s easy to find web designers and developers that work with WordPress to create custom websites that suit your needs exactly, or who can repair any problems that crop up with your site.
When is it better to stick with .com?
If you’re just dipping a toe in the blogging world, perhaps for pleasure or to promote a cause, then a WordPress.com blog could be a great choice. You can switch from a hosted WordPress site to a self-hosted WordPress site later on if you need to, so this doesn’t need to be a big decision.
No matter which option you choose, WordPress itself is a fantastic framework which makes adding content, blogging, and maintaining a site easy for non-technical owners and business people. For some more insight into how WordPress works, check out this post on Why People Like Using WordPress.