If you are new to blogging you may not be aware that there are two WordPress platforms. They are WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org. They are very different and you need to be aware before you choose what you are in for. I will attempt to explain the difference.
The most important thing to know is that WordPress.com is free. Although, they put a lot of pressure on you to choose some paid options. Will discuss that later. When you sign up, you will be given a sub-domain on wordpress.com. For example, my website suzzanet.wordpress.com. So, you will choose what goes before wordpress.com in the url. A lot of names are taken, so be careful what you choose.
You will also be given a small selection of free themes to choose from. You do not get to choose from the WordPress repository. It is very limited but you will most likely find something that works for you. With Full Site Editing you are able to customize aspects of your website to make it more unique.
They may also place ads on your blog which you don’t earn revenue for!
There are paid options for you if you choose. They just introduced a $5 plan that allows you to use a domain of your choosing. Which is highly recommended for SEO purposes. For $15 a month, you get access to plugins and premium themes.
Basically, WordPress.com would be your blog host. Instead of using a website like WP Engine, Siteground, or Blue Host. Not recommending any of these. This is just for comparison. Hosting is another rigmarole that you will need to figure out before you start with WordPress. That is why you should know the difference between WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org. Let’s talk about Org now.
Let’s Talk Code
WordPress.Org is the WordPress software. That code which actually runs your blog, website, app, or shop. WordPress software is open source and free to install on any server! You can even contribute to the code if you are a developer. That is what is meant by open source, the community around the software contributes to its development. It can also be modded by individuals if they choose. You can do what you want with the code.
To use WordPress you will have to install it on a server. There are WordPress Hosts that make it easy to install and get started. I use Digital Ocean because I like to maintain my own VPS. There are other sites that will provide shared hosting (cheaper) or managed hosting. It is one of the decisions you will have to make.
Along with hosting you will also need a domain name
The most important difference between WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org is that with access to the software you get unlimited themes and plugins. Free and paid ones. Those from the official WordPress directories or Third Party. It is yours and you can do what you want with it. That freedom is priceless.
That is why I always recommend that you install your own WordPress software on a host. WordPress.Com is good for beginners. When you don’t know what you are doing or don’t need robust features. WordPress.Org is for professionals. People who want to build a business or need a personal branded website.