A few months back I was at a day-long conference for realtors and dropped in on a beginning WordPress session. The focus was on starting up a blog and the questions were pretty typical. As often happens, some of the same questions cropped up. One was, what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
As the speaker began to explain it, I saw some puzzled faces. People were clearly confused, especially three beginning bloggers.
Then, about a week ago, a start-up blogger sent me an email. She was totally confused. Someone had told her that it “was better to use .org,” but didn’t tell her what that meant. Of course, she thought he was talking about .org on the end of her domain name (as opposed to .com). So she ended up buying the .org extension. When I asked her why, she said, “He told me I should be using .org instead, and that’s all he said.”
Now I will admit I have used that same line for a long time. All of us WordPress peeps do. But several months ago, I realized that it’s confusing to new bloggers, when we describe it as “WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org.”
So, I took it upon myself to change it. Now I explain it as:
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org a self-hosted WordPress blog
This explanation makes much more sense. WordPress.com is a platform that allows you to build your blog for free. Your site then resides on WordPress.com.
If you go for a self-hosted blog, you are taking the free software from WordPress.org (that is the only time I mention .org, as the WordPress site where you get the software) and install it on your own hosting service, such as Bluehost, Hostgator, or God forbid, GoDaddy. And, of course, you pay a small monthly fee to whichever hosting service you choose.
There are major differences, of course, in what you can do with a free WordPress.com blog and a self-hosted one. These can all be sorted out and you can decide for yourself which is best. After, that is, you understand that going the WordPress.org route does not mean that your blog will be on the WordPress.org site.
Just like all the themes, plugins and widgets there, you are simply grabbing and putting them on your own self-hosted site. I actually heard from a colleague who had discussed moving her blog to WordPress with her current webmaster. And he insisted that her site would sit on WordPress.org. Yikes!
So let’s settle this confusion once and for all, and tell it like it is. Got it?