What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between the two flavors of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While each of these platforms allows you to create a website that may include a blog and static pages, there are some critical differences to comprehend between the two.
The best analogy which I can use to help you understand the difference is that of housing choices.
WordPress.com is a landlord
Imagine that you own a very large house and you choose to rent out rooms in this house. For the safety of your residents you need to limit the types of permissible tenant activity. While it might be acceptable for a tenant to have a well-behaved pet dog or cat, it may not be acceptable for a tenant to have dog that bites or a poisonous snake as a pet.
Establishing a controlled environment is (in this example) done to protect — because either a bad dog or a poisonous snake may get loose and cause injury to tenants. This is exactly the type of limitation that WordPress.com places upon blogs and websites it hosts.
Let’s extend this analogy just a bit further. Perhaps you don’t want to rent and prefer to own a home. However, you don’t wish to bear the cost of design, and time selecting finishes, you may purchase a new home from a volume home builder. You get a new home, but much of the difficulty has been removed and you get to go straight to the pleasure of enjoying your new residence. On WordPress.com this is like paying for your own domain, and selecting one of the approved themes and moving in, arranging the furniture (your web content) to suit you.
Control your own space
Conversely, if you choose to build your own house you might like to select your architect, your builder, and your interior designer so that you may create a home that is most well-suited for you. In this case, you must specify exactly how many bedrooms and bathrooms are to be built, whether you want brick or lap siding, etc. The cost of a custom built home is more than a volume builder’s new home, just as a full-custom website is more costly than the earlier example of WordPress.com.
WordPress.com offers a handy table outlining the differences between the two flavors of WordPress which we have reproduced below (click the table to view the original, including links on WordPress.com.)
WordPress help for either flavor of WordPress
Don’t be overly concerned regarding the WordPress.org notations about “getting your hands dirty” by digging deep into code, that’s why we’re here. We do the heavy lifting or in this case the arranging of electrons to help you gain the home most well suited for you.