WordPress is the preferred CMS (content management system) for many websites today. It was first released in 2003 and has been growing every since. Its popularity has spawned two dedicated sites, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. What’s the difference? Which one do you need?
When WordPress was released, a website was needed in order to host the software and a forum for developers and users to share information and tips. WordPress.org was born. Anyone using WordPress who has a question, comment, or suggestion can go on this site and find an answer to their question. If your answer isn’t there, ask someone. There is a team of developers on the site at all times; they are willing to answer any questions that you may have.
The program WordPress itself is available for download on WordPress.org. By downloading the standalone software, you will be responsible for finding a host, theme, installing any plugins, and backing up your site. WordPress assumes no liability with the download of software.
After a few years, many people started asking for a site where their blogs could be hosted and many features could be provided for them. Thus WordPress.com was born. When your site is hosted by WordPress, there are some features and limitations to consider:
- Backups are provided for you
- Sharing, stats, and comments are included
- Full social media integration
- Not very customizable
- Cannot use plugins
- Terms of Service and content rules
- Register with WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a valuable tool for small-time bloggers, but not appropriate for a business website. The main drawback of a site hosted by WordPress is that plugins are not supported. This limits many customizable functions of WordPress. For example, email subscription popups and sliders are not permitted on WordPress.com.
So where do you go – WordPress.com or WordPress.org? As a business owner with a professional website, you would go to WordPress.org. If your webmaster is unavailable to answer a question, that’s the place to go to satisfy your curiosity. Plugins are available for download and reference from WordPress.org as well as many third-party sites. However, be cautious which plugins you use. Your webmaster will know which ones are safe.