Web Design Glossary: WordPress.org vs WordPress.com

The well known WordPress blogging and website development platform is a very powerful and popular platform today that is used by expert web developers, bloggers, and major corporations. However most people don't realize there are two very different ways you can use the WordPress platform which are important to understand so you know which one to utilize for your next website project. In this Web Design Tips post I will describe the major differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and when you should use one versus the other.
 

WordPress Web Development Engine

WordPress is a software platform engine that is developed as an open source software, so anyone can contribute to improving its code. Both the WordPress.com and WordPress.org utilize the WordPress software framework. The core the open source WordPress software is constantly being worked on to improve functional performance and security as well as add new features. These updates are released in officially announced updates which are tracked by using versions, such as 4.3, 4.4, etc.
 

WordPress.org: Self Hosted Web Design Solution

WordPress.org is a free software and web design platform built on the open source WordPress software program that anyone can download for free and use on their own privately hosted website server. The WordPress.org website allows anyone to download the WordPress platform and upload the files to their own privately hosted web host server where they can then easily install it and begin operating their website using the program. Once downloaded and installed, a user will need to create a new database instance on their server and add the corresponding access information for the database into WordPress' setup pages to quickly launch their WordPress website. Professional web developers can also manually add this information to the appropriate files on the web server to activate WordPress. There is no cost associated with WordPress.org, however users should be aware that WordPress will need to be auto-updated as new versions of the software are released and possibly update third party plugins that are used to implement additional add-on features in WordPress.
 

WordPress.com: Third Party Hosted Web Design Solution

WordPress.com a private hosted blogging system akin to Blogger, or Wix which requires either payment or agreeing to advertisements to use. WordPress.com provides limited features and customization for free accounts and allows customization of code once payment is submitted. However using WordPress.com even as a paid user will still not provide the same level of freedom of customization that WordPress.org allows. WordPress.com is owned by a company called Automattic which makes money from advertising, sales of accounts upgrades, and VIP services.
 

When to use WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

It is possible that WordPress.com could be an appropriate web design solution for some individuals, the benefits of this would be that an account could be created for free and without any knowledge of web design an individual could create an account and start blogging or building a basic website. The distinction between the two platforms of WordPress.org and WordPress.com however so great that as a professional web designer, I would only recommend using WordPress.com if you have no money or time to invest in creating your own self-hosted website. A self-hosted WordPress.org website only requires the cost of a monthly hosting plan which normally runs between $5-$30 per month. Domain names cost $10-$30 per year but this cost is independent of which WordPress platform you use.
 

The Many Benefits of WordPress.org

WordPress.org has a myriad of benefits to anyone who uses it. The benefits extend beyond comparisons with WordPress.com, but also with other 3rd party web development frameworks. WordPress continues to stand as the premier web design platform for professional web developers because it allows full customization of all files and features including editing every aspect of the database and core files of the WordPress software. While in WordPress.com you can only edit certain aspects of the software's code with an upgraded paid account. Yet even then, you still cannot fully control and edit all aspects of the code or features. As a result there are a variety of limitations that WordPress.com carries which are not present in WordPress.org. The primary reason why anyone would want to use WordPress.com is that they do not plan to add any specialized features to their website or want to pay WordPress.com their monthly hosting fees instead of working with another website hosting company.
 

WordPress.org is Best for Web Design

We highly recommend using WordPress.org's platform in all scenarios, with the only except being when a person is unable to, does not want to pay any monthly hosting fees and has no time or energy to invest in building a fully functional website and/or only want to have a basic website or simple blogging site with limited capabilities. WordPress.org not only stands above WordPress.com, but it also is arguably still the best website development framework for any web designer to use who wants to build a database driven website without using having to write programming code from scratch.
 
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