What’s the Difference Between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

18th June 2019Web design

WordPress is pretty cool. Because it’s popular, free and open source it’s supported by a vibrant developer community and continues to grow and evolve. There’s a lot you can do with it, depending on how you have it set up.

Here’s a lovely little illustration

WordPress.com is like renting a house – you pay monthly and the landlord limits what you can do with it but it’s the landlord’s problem to fix the boiler.

WordPress.org is like owning a house – it could cost more to develop but if you know what you’re doing it will be way cheaper, especially in the long run. The biggest plus is you can do exactly what you like with it, but it’s also your problem to fix the boiler.

People like us can be helpful because we’re not a big international landlord like the .com host but we can build you a much more bespoke .org house at a decent price and keep the boiler working.

So, the one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.

WordPress.org can be downloaded for free. You can then hack it about and extend it however you wish but you’d need to find someone to host your WordPress website yourself.

WordPress.com is the same except it’s hosted by the company that lead development of WordPress – Automattic. On WordPress.com you’d have to pay them to host your website and your functionality would be limited by what they allow, but they’re experts when it comes to WordPress.

A Few Stats about WordPress

  • 27% of the web is built with WordPress, the majority of that being the WordPress.org flavour [source]
  • WordPress enjoys 59% of the market share among Content Management Systems, with the second most popular CMS (Joomla) trailing behind at 6% [source]
  • 60,500,000 new comments are posted on WordPress blog posts every month [source]
  • At the time of writing there are 55,166 free plugins available for WordPress.org [source]
  • WordPress is behind 30.3% of the top 1000 websites [source]

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

WordPress.com WordPress.org
Set up Requires you to sign up for an account, but you could have a basic website set up in 5 minutes. You’d need to arrange web hosting yourself (or appoint someone like us to host for you). Many web hosts provide prety easy one-click installations.
Pricing Basic website is free but you’ll pay for additional features like your own web domain or to customise the website’s design Totally free due to open source nature but you’ll have to arrange your own hosting
Functionality Plugin uploads only allowed on more expensive tiers Upload your own plugins to extend functionality (over 56,000 free plugins available online)
No access to back-end database or code Full control of back-end database, code and files
Choose from a limited selected of free and premium themes Choose from a massive array of free and premium themes, or create your own

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