What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Understanding the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is important when you are sorting out how and where you will create a new blog. Learning what your options are can help you avoid needing to change where your blog lives down the road. This article will help you understand the difference between two commonly misunderstood options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The two options sound quite similar; however, they are actually quite a bit different. This article provides a basic overview of what these two options are.

There are two main ways to set up a WordPress blog:


If you choose to go with a hosted wordpress.com site, there are three plans you can choose from (ranging from about $0-$25/month):

  • Basic ($0/life)
  • Premium ($99/yr USD)
  • Business ($299/yr USD)

If you choose the “Basic” plan, your domain will be something like https://yourblog.wordpress.com/. If you want to use a custom domain on a free wordpress.com account, you’ll need to pay about $13/yr (USD). A custom domain name is included in both the Premium and Business plans. Currently, the following Top Level Domains (TLDs) are available for registration: .com, .net, .org, .co, .me, .info, .biz, .mobi, .com.br, .net.br, .mx, .es, .nl, .be, .fm, .tv, and .in.

Regardless of which hosted wordpress.com plan you choose, your site will be hosted on WordPress servers spread across multiple data centers, so it will be fast and always available.

You can also see a list of features or upgrades in the wordpress.com store. There are hundreds of free themes you can use on wordpress.com (with any plan), or you can purchase premium themes for $20+, or purchase unlimited themes for $120/yr.


The other alternative when working with WordPress is to go to wordpress.org and self host your WordPress blog. This option generally requires more technical skill, but will reward you with a lot more flexibility and options as to what themes, plugins, and features your blog can support. Getting started with a WordPress.org install requires two steps:

WordPress also maintains a list of a few suggested hosting companies at wordpress.org/hosting. Many hosting companies offer an easy 1-click install process to help get your WordPress blog set up, but other hosting companies require a more technical/manual installation.

If you choose to go the self hosted wordpress.org route, you’ll also want to make sure that you keep your blog updated regularly, as new versions of WordPress are released every 3-4 months, and WordPress blogs can be likely targets for hacking, due to the popularity of the WordPress platform.

Author Jen deHaan

Jen deHaan is a freelance graphic and web designer, fascinated with great layout and usability. She has been working in the software industry since 2001, and has held positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Motorola in the Silicon Valley area near San Francisco. Jen has written and contributed to over 20 print publications on web design that have been published by Peachpit, Adobe Press, and Wiley. She now lives on a farm with her family and dogs in central Vancouver Island, Canada.

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