Learning WordPress: WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – Which one is right for you?

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wordpresslogo-300x300Learning WordPress: 
Which Versions Of WordPress
Is Right For You? 

Didn’t know that there was more than one WordPress out there?

If you are just learning WordPress, it’s important to know that there are two options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Which one you use depends on your needs: personal blog, simple website, business website or total website control.

With this WordPress tutorial, you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache. Armed with the knowledge here, you can get your blog or website up and running in no time at all.

What is WordPress?

For those new to publishing on the Internet and learning WordPress, it is an open source content management system and also a blogging tool. This means that you can publish posts and articles through a system that allows you to control how and when your readers see new information.

And, it’s all FREE.

While there is a very special relationship between wp.com and wp.org, when you are first learning WordPress, the most important factors lie in the differences. 

So, what’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?


WordPress.com is primarily a blogging/simple website platform and a good place to begin for people learning WordPress.  Blogs are set up in minutes. Simply visit the site’s sign up page at www.WordPress.com/signup to get started.

The entire process is easy to follow. Choose your domain name. Because this is free, all names are followed by “dot WordPress dot com.” You can upgrade and remove the last part from your domain name for a yearly fee.

You can also change your theme. This governs how your pages are laid out and styled. With WordPress.com, choose from a list of pre-selected themes. Again, for a fee, you can upgrade to customize these themes even more. Plugins are not included in the wp.com system. 

Best of all, hosting is supplied by WordPress.  While upgrade and maintenance of the hosting server is taken care of by WordPress.com, there is no access to full data backups or other protections that would allow you to move a site if you were ever terminated for any of the many rules in their terms of service. 

So, if you have the vision, the content and the time, you can publish your blog or simple website as soon as you are ready.


So, what about the other option? If you’re learning WordPress and you decide you want more control over your website, then you might want to consider a self-hosted blog or website using the WordPress.org software.

In fact, if you plan to do ANY list building, monetizing, or marketing, WordPress.org is your only available solution courtesy of the non-promotional rules in the terms of service at WordPress.com

You will need separate web hosting. Once you find a good web host that supports WordPress, visit the website to download the free software. Even if you are not “technically minded” don’t worry, setup is straightforward.  Don’t want to tackle it alone, contact me for information on my setup services.

WordPress.org has many benefits. You can download custom themes. For the pre-selected themes, you can customize the code to suit your needs. Also upload popular plugins that will enhance your website.

WordPress.org gives you control of your data, control over how your site is run, access to many tools (such as plugins) that are not available on WordPress.org as well as the flexibility to develop a site that can make make money!

Learning WordPress 

Ready to learn WordPress? You’ll find a variety of free WordPress tutorials throughout this site!

Want to take it further? Be sure to check out the WordPress Tutorial Library to help you not only get started but also assist you in developing the skills to maintain your site!

If you are trying to learn if WordPress is right for you, here are some reasons you might consider WordPress for your site

Still uncertain? Take a WordPress.com site for a test drive! Try out the content creation tools and kick the tires then move to WordPress.org when you’re ready to get going!


Do you use WordPress.org or WordPress.com for your website?   What made you pick one or the other when you was learning about WordPress?

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing 

Post originally published Oct 10th 2012 and updated July 8th, 2014.

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  1. says

    I have tried a few times to get along with WordPress dot com, but have never managed to make a go of it. But now that I have used WordPress dot org a few hundred times, I find it much simpler to use than the dot com version.

    There is plenty for me to learn, and I doubt I will ever be considered an expert at WP, but frankly, it is one of the best things I have ever done to get my business up and on track. I did make a ton, maybe even a couple of tons of mistakes the first time setting up sites, but now, it really is a lot simpler for me.

    I would recommend that anyone thinking about using wordpress for their site, use the dot org version on their own site and get themselves a set of tutorials that make setting up a site with wordpress even easier.

    I think Kim has a set of WP tutorials, and if they are like anything else Kim has put together, they are going to be fantastic and easy to use.

  2. says

    Right now I’m on .com. My reasons: I needed to start writing and find out if blogging suited me at all. Plus with a day job and a family including a two-year-old, I decided .org was probably going to be too much hassle at this stage. I wrote my first WP post about my choice!

  3. Tyler Whitehead says

    I even didn’t know the difference between these two versions of wordpress, the king of blogging. Thanks a ton for this post. I have learned the things I need to learn. I am using wp.com service.

  4. says

    Thank you for your article (and please excuse me, English is not my mother tongue), do you write a second part to cover the subject entirety? In all cases, it’s a topical issue that will have to be treated in this way more often. Regards, Roger .

  5. says

    This is the best description explaining the difference between WordPress.com/.org that I have ever read! I wish I had written it… Personally, I only use the .org version and have built hundreds of sites. Will be returning to this site I’m sure. Thanks Kim!..

  6. says

    Hi Kim,
    you are giving a great overview of both options.

    I love WP.org because of the plugins etc.

    Recently I had a play with Blogger to start a free blog for someone and I must say that I much prefer the WP.com option, it seems more user friendly.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  7. says

    Hi Kim,

    I’ve been using WordPress dot org since I started blogging. If I want to blog, I want it all the way. The plugins, all the features. WordPress dot com is great for those who want to test the waters, but then, how can they really test it without all the features?
    My 83 year old mom uses dot com to write her memoirs. She doesn’t want to connect with people, but rather keep it like a diary. So that’s good for that purpose.

  8. says

    Great overview Kim. I have been using wordpress.org for years. The feautures and control you have over this platform is second to none. I think that for beginners or for people that do not plan to connect with others wordpress.com is fine. But if you want to connect with others, have total control over your website, or run a business then wordpress.org is the way to go! Thank you for sharing.

  9. says

    Hi Kim, What a great overview of both Wordresses. I sure wish I would have found you a when I first got started online in Dec 2010 WOW You my dear friend are Awesome!! You offer so much value right here why would anyone go and pay for it elsewhere..

    Thanks for all you do, Chery :))

  10. says

    I enjoy using wordpress.org. WordPress.com is ok too for blogging, but it’s so hard to customize, so for a free blogging platform I perfer something else. But WordPress.org is second to none when it comes to making websites. Their platform makes everything so easy!

  11. says

    I’ve been on WP.org for years now but recently I contemplated setting up a basic site to promote my fundraiser and so I revisited WP.com. The basic version is still free of course, but I was surprised to see how many options are now available at a fee – a rather high monthly fee I might add. In the end I decided not to go that route but the update was educational.

  12. says

    Honestly, WP.org isn’t anywhere near as difficult to handle as people make it out to be. There’s plenty of plugins to help you back up your stuff, and you can also simply export your database as well.

    I like to view WP.com as the training wheels for your own WP.org blog. You get to learn the basics and have some say in how your blog appears, but eventually, you’re going to want something greater. Then again, perhaps some people just want to blog for the sake of blogging, and have no wish to be an expert or monetize their content. That’s perfectly fine, but again, it’s not that much harder to step up to wp.org

  13. says

    Hi ,

    Thank you for Great overview of using WordPress.org vs WordPress.com It is a good way to improve our audience and engagement with our readers. I’ll surely give them a try.


  14. coach2coachguy says

    Thanks Kim!

    I’ll definitely have o start studying your WordPress tutorial library.

    In the meantime, I’m glad I was told the basic differences between the two
    free versions of the WordPress blogging/website platform.

    And I chose (like most) the self hosted WP.org version.

    Thanks for your excellent tutorial, as I just added further to my knowledge base!

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