WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

If you’ve searched for WordPress, you might’ve noticed that there’s two options – WordPress.org and WordPress.com. What’s the difference you might ask?

WordPress.org WordPress.com
  • Self-hosted – requires you to pay for hosting and a domain name.
  • You will need to install WordPress CMS yourself.
  • You own your own content, and you’re free to do with it as you will.
  • You can install plugins, premium WordPress themes, and customize your site to your heart’s content.
  • You will have to keep your WordPress and plugins up to date and patched.
  • Fully hosted solution with free hosting available, via a subdomain or you can purchase your own domain.
  • WordPress CMS is already installed and ready.
  • Limited customization options, limited number of website themes and no access to plugins.
  • Must abide by the Terms of Service or risk your blog being shut down if WordPress.com thinks you’ve violated them.
  • Your WordPress site will be automatically updated and patched.

Terms explained

Hosting

Hosting is where your blog ‘lives’. It’s the server where your blog files, images, videos, and content is stored so that you can share it with the rest of the world.

Content management system (CMS)

The definition of a CMS is an application/software (more likely web-based), that provides capabilities for multiple users with different permission levels to manage (all or a section of) content, data or information of a website.

Domain

Domains are web addresses used to communicate on the Internet. Once you register a domain name, you can use it as your website address or as an email address. Examples www.google.com, webtechmag.com, admin@webtechmag.com etc.

Subdomain

For example, you could create a subdomain for pictures on your site called “albums” that is accessible through the URL albums.yourdomain.com in addition to www.yourdomain.com/albums.

Plugin

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a your WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.

Theme

A WordPress theme provides all of the front end styling of your WordPress site. Here are the main differences between free and premium themes:

Free Themes Premium Themes
  • Easy to install from within your WordPress dashboard
  • Have limited or no support and may be updated infrequently
  • Limited or no options for customization
  • May not be compatible with all plugins
  • Costs usually between $30-$150
  • Must upload and install them yourself unless you pay for the installation
  • Comes with support and updates
  • Most have customization options for layout, colors, typography, and more.

The recommended option is to choose a premium theme from the start. You can do more with it, and you’ll also have support should you need help with anything.

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