Disclosure: Some of the links mentioned in this article may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you’ve been playing around with the idea of setting up your own website or blog, chances are that you’ve heard of WordPress. But something a lot of people don’t realise is that there are two very different WordPress platforms available, WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
It’s important that you make the right decision on which platform to go with from the beginning to set yourself up for success. Below I’ll outline some of the key differences to help guide you in the direction that works best for you.
Chances are that if you want to have complete control over your website then WordPress.org is the solution you’re after.
WordPress.org is a free, open-source version of the WordPress software. It is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering tens of millions of websites.
Unlike WordPress.com which we will get to shortly, WordPress.org needs to be paired with a domain name that you register self-hosted with a web hosting provider. These days many hosting providers, such as WP Engine, Flywheel and SiteGround, specialise in WordPress hosting making it simple to get WordPress.org up and running without the complexity that often comes with traditional web hosts.
Once you have WordPress.org up and running with your chosen hosting provider, you have full control to start building your website with WordPress. Web developers can build you a custom solution to fit your needs or there are many premium DIY page builders that you can get started with such as Elementor and Divi.
WordPress.com no-frills version of the WordPress platform hosted on WordPress.com itself. Instead of setting up and managing your own hosting and domain name registration, it’s all managed within WordPress.com. It gives you a simplified version of the WordPress platform to get a basic website or blog up and running pretty easily with a premade template, but it doesn’t have the flexibility for customization in the way that WordPress.org does.
If you’re a business owner and want to use a custom domain name with WordPress.com, you’ll need to pay for one of their premium subscriptions.
In short, if you’re just looking to quickly start a hobby blog or website then it might be worthwhile considering, otherwise, WordPress.org paired with a web hosting provider and a domain name registration is most likely the solution you’ll need to best set yourself up for success online.