I once read that WordPress runs at least a third of the internet. That’s a lot of blogs and websites. I use the WordPress software to run 3 sites, including this one.

If you’ve done any research on it, you may have noticed that there are .com AND .org “versions” of WordPress. This can be confusing, especially for the less technically-inclined. Here, I’m going to briefly explain the basic differences.

First of all, wordpress.org and wordpress.com do NOT have the same functionality. Let’s talk briefly about hosting.

When you build your website, you need someone to “host” it. (That is, unless your want to build your own servers, which, unless you’re my super-nerdy hardware-knowing-genius kiddo, NOBODY wants to do.) A hosting site has the servers and hardware and security needed to run the software that your site runs on.

This is where wordpress.com comes in. It’s kind of an all-in-one setup. Here, you can build your website, and host it all at the same place.

There are two different things going on here. The first one is hosting and the second is the software used to build your site.


There are many different hosting sites, including wordpress.com, SiteGround, BlueHost, and many others. These are the companies that, like mentioned above, have the servers needed to run your software and website.

For example, you can use SiteGround to host your site, and still use the WordPress software to build/maintain your site. SiteGround will download the WP software and keep it on their servers while you build and edit your site.

WordPress.com does both. You use the WordPress software to build your site, while hosting it on wordpress.com.

(Here’s how and why I use SiteGround to host my sites.)

So What Is WordPress.org?

WordPress.org is the place to download the WP software and get information about it. (You don’t want to download it yourself, you’ll want to do that through your hosting company. Most make it an easy one-click step.)

At WordPress.org, you’ll also find tutorials and instructions how to use the software, and information about the different themes and other customizable components. WordPress is easy to navigate and you don’t have to know any coding or programming to build an attractive website.

Remember: WordPress.org has the software you’ll use to build your site, but you’ll need to find a company to host your site. (I recommend SiteGround.) WordPress.com IS the hosting site (and uses the WP software.)

WordPress.com has different hosting plans, including a free one. The free plan does NOT include a custom domain address. That is, your domain (website address) will be something like yoursite.wordpress.com. If you opt for one of the paid plans, you can register for a custom domain name (like yoursite.com) for free for the first year (as of this writing). The free plan also has other limitations.

In a different post, I explain how to obtain and register a custom domain name. Some hosting sites allow you to register one when signing up for hosting. If you already have one through a company like GoDaddy, you can point that name to your website wherever you are hosting it.

I hope this was helpful. Pleas feel free to leave a comment or question below.