WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Joan | Blog

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

There’s a big difference. 

This post gives you the information based on user experience. It is not full of the usual comparisons and statistics about the different kinds of software to use for a website. I’ve used WordPress since 2006. I am not a developer but I found WordPress is an excellent software to power a website. Especially if you don’t know how to code.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the abstract concept of the Web writes in his book Weaving The Web, “I never intended HTML source code (the stuff with the angle brackets) <href> to be seen by users. A browser/editor would let a user simply view or edit the language of a page or hypertext as if they were using a word processor.”

The WordPress end product is a word processing content management system intended for the user. The code operates in the background and you’re interacting with the commands and using the content management system known as WordPress. 

WordPress.com Explained

WordPress.com is a hosting platform. This means your website is hosted on WordPress.com servers.


WordPress.com offers you a free startup site with a website or blog with a free theme. 

A free platform has limited uses. One of these limitations is you have WordPress ads on your site. Another is restricted memory and technical service. 

Anytime something is free, it means upgrade to WordPress.com plans.


Eventually you’ll come to the point where you want to do more with your website.

You can upgrade your free account and stay with WordPress.com. Within the WordPress.com environment you are subject to what is specific to WordPress.com

WordPress.org Explained

WordPress.org is the information resource website. It is NOT a Hosting Company.

WordPress.org provides the codex information. Codex is a library of information for developers.

WordPress.org is Self-Hosting

This means you are going to manage your WordPress website yourself, but you’re going to need the services of a Hosting Company to occupy space on their servers to store your website files.

Self-hosting implies you download WordPress to your computer and start using it and then publish it to the web. This is what developers do. This is NOT what you should do.


WordPress is Open Source Software

Open source means developers from all over the world contribute to the WordPress core code. WordPress has become one of the most widely used software applications to power a website.

WordPress.org recommends hosting companies that meet the requirements of WordPress. WordPress.org provides the codex information. Codex is a library of information to help developers and designers with using code to build WordPress websites. The entire website uses this core software code to operate. 


Self-hosting means having your own website hosted on a Hosting Company’s server. Your website must have a domain name.

Your website is independent from a platform and you can use any WordPress Theme and any Plugins you need for your website. 

The Hosting Company will have a WordPress install feature in the back panel. This is where the WordPress core software is imported into your website, from the WordPress.org repository, the official, updated WordPress core software.

About WordPress Themes

All themes come with a GPL license, (general public license) valid for one year.

WordPress Themes

Theme Developers have created gorgeous themes. Depending on the arrangement with the Theme developer, you may have to purchase an upgrade to continue to use the Theme, or worse, find another Theme.


Theme Checklist

  • When was the theme developed?
  • Is it updated regularly?
  • Is there tech support?
  • Are there tutorials?

Follow the Designer's Lead

Something I learned; follow the designer’s lead and you’ll have a professional website.

Following the Designer’s Lead

The designer is the one who thoroughly understands the framework of WordPress and the design element to complement the content within your site. I found one such designer, Nick Roach. The lead designer and CEO of Elegant Themes.

With each Theme I have used in their Theme repository, I find the element of clean, open design. From this vantage point you’re using the Theme for your website’s intended purpose

In 2013 Elegant Themes produced the Divi Theme.

The Divi Theme is for every type of user. A beginner, a designer, and a developer. Here’s a little known secret; designers and developers use the Divi Theme to build professional websites.

I’m not a developer, but I designed my websites using Divi, without having to know code and I followed the designer’s lead with the premade layout packs that come with the Divi Theme.

To answer the question: which theme should you use, my recommendation, the Divi Theme.

Elegant Themes is a reputable company. The Divi Theme is updated regularly. There is sufficient tech support and built in video tutorials for every module.

I have been a member of Elegant Themes since 2010. In 2015 I found out about Elegant Themes affiliate program (this is my affiliate link).  I’m comfortable recommending their Theme and services based on my experience with them. They deliver excellence and more.

If you’re still not sure

about what do do about your website…

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