Thinking about setting up a WordPress website or blog?
The online space is full of people raving about the wonders of WordPress. Unfortunately, beginners often get confused between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, and this can cause a few hiccups when you are starting out (we should know, we had to transfer our entire website across from one to the other when we were starting out!)
This month, our guest expert Meg Appleby works some more of her WordPress magic, helping you get clear on the difference between the two … and to choose which option is best for your business.
WordPress is an open source blogging platform.
In simple terms, this means that there are hundreds of people all around the world developing and improving it, and that it is available for free for you to use from WordPress.org.
If you are considering using WordPress software, you will need to install it onto your hosting providers server. From there, you can use the WordPress Codex – the definitive guide to how it all works – and the fabulous WordPress forums, to get all the help you need to put your site together.
WordPress.com is a hosting platform that uses the same software that you can download at WordPress.org. It is brought to you by the company Automattic, the same good folk that are behind WordPress. All the hosting and management of the WordPress software is taken care of by Automattic for you.
Here's a quick summary of the differences between the .org and .com options….
Find your own hosting
You need to pay for your own hosting and install the WordPress files on the server. You will need to register and pay for a domain name.
Hosted on Automattic’s servers
You do not need to install WordPress, register a domain name or pay for hosting. WordPress.com users get 3GB of space for free.
Use any theme
You can use any theme you choose from a huge range of free and premium themes available for WordPress. You can modify your theme however you like – or even build one yourself!
Limited theme options available
WordPress.com have 160+ free themes for you to choose from. You cannot modify the CSS or any other code within the theme.
Boost functionality with plugins
Add any plugins you like to boost your site’s functionality to better suit your needs.
Cannot use plugins
You can’t upload plugins. WordPress.com offers some great features, but if you want your site to do more, you’re out of luck!
Want to run ads on your site? Go for it. You can use any ad service you like. There are even plugins that will help you manage your site’s ad space.
WordPress.com does not let you run ads on your site. This includes affiliate links & sponsored posts as well as the likes of Chikita, Google Adsense and more!
All the freedom of WordPress.org does come with some responsibility. You are responsible for filtering spam, upgrading plugins and themes, as well as WordPress itself. You are also in charge of making sure your site is backed up. Fortunately none of this is overly difficult.
|* WordPress.com does have some paid upgrades available that extend its functionality.|
If you think that using WordPress.org, the free & self-hosted version, sounds a bit daunting, don’t be put off.
You'll find that many hosting providers offer an easy WordPress installer like Fantastico Deluxe that will have you up and running in no time. And there is a great community of WordPress enthusiasts that are happy to help when you have a question. You can find some really useful free tutorial videos to help you make the most of what WordPress can offer at iThemes. And remember, you can also outsource the parts you don't know how to do (or don't enjoy) to a wordpress expert!