General

WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online, and proudly powers millions of websites.

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Overview of Options

Using WordPress comes in three flavors:

  • Fully hosted with WordPress.com
  • WordPress.com with an upgraded plan, like our Business Plan that allows a lot of self-hosted functionality, like plugins and custom themes
  • the self-hosted version, whose software is available for free at WordPress.org. This requires purchasing hosting with another provider, such as Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc. and installing WordPress software on it.
WordPress.com
Focus on your beautiful content, and let us handle the rest.
WordPress.com Business Plan
Get the best of both worlds: the carefree ease of a managed platform while you focus on your content.
WordPress.org
Get your hands dirty, and host your website yourself.
Get Started Start with Business Visit WordPress.org
Premium hosting, security, and backups are included. You can even upgrade to a custom domain, like YourGroovyDomain.com. Your custom domain, premium hosting, security, and backups are included. As secure as WordPress.com, as versatile as self-hosted. You’ll need to find a host, and perform backups and maintenance yourself. We offer VaultPress for security and backups.
Choose from hundreds of beautiful themes. Make it your own with Custom Design. Choose and customize any of our hundreds of beautiful themes or install your own custom theme. Install custom themes. Build your own with PHP and CSS.
Integrate your site with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks. Sharing functionality is included, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. Install a plugin, like Jetpack, to enable sharing functionality on your site.
Popular features like sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included. There’s no need to install plugins. Popular features like sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included.
You can install plugins to extend your site’s capabilities (e.g. to create your own WooCommerce store).
Install plugins to extend your site’s functionality.
Personal support and the WordPress.com forums are always available. A personal setup session, live chat and email support 24/7/360. Visit the WordPress.org support forums for assistance.
You must register for an account on WordPress.com and abide by our Terms of Service. You must register for an account on WordPress.com and abide by our Terms of Service. No registration with WordPress.org is required.
Get Started Start with Business Visit WordPress.org

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Which Version is Right For You?

That largely depends on what functionality you need to have with your site!

Self-Hosted / WordPress.org

Hosting your own WordPress site can be fun and rewarding, but it also requires some technical knowledge and places more responsibility on you, the publisher. 

You can download the WordPress software for free at http://wordpress.org, but it must be installed on a web server before it will work. You will need to research and install your own themes and plugins

Many hosting providers offer a one-click installation of WordPress — here are a few examples. There are also many web development agencies that specialize in building WordPress sites.

Managed Hosting / WordPress.com

WordPress.com is different. Here at WordPress.com, you don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server. You can instead focus on creating wonderful content, and let us handle the rest!

Publishing your website is always free here at WordPress.com, and paid upgrades are available to help you supercharge your site. These upgrades let you use a custom domain (like my.blog), extensively customize the appearance of your site, upload HD video, and lots more.

WordPress.com is a commercial enterprise owned by Automattic, a company started by the founding developer of WordPress and staffed by full-time developers, designers, and support engineers. Automatticians (employees of Automattic) regularly contribute back to the WordPress software so that the entire community can benefit.

WordPress.com is a great choice for bloggers, photographers, artists, plumbers, doctors, restaurateurs — almost anyone. However,  techies that prefer to maintain full control over their code, should consider hosting their own WordPress installation. We provide a large number of themes and built-in plugin functionality so you won’t need to upload your own  – though you can, if you have the Business plan for your site.

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Do I Need to Self-Host?

You may have heard that you need to self-host because what you want is not available when hosting with WordPress.com. While there may be some cases where this is true, you can accomplish most of these things with your WordPress.com site. Below is an overview of many of the options available with sites you host here!

I need a Website, not a Blog

On WordPress.com, we use “website” and “blog” as interchangeable terms. All of our themes can be used for either a website or a blog. Our default layout is a blog-style format. Take a look at this video tutorial for a walkthrough on how to change your theme’s layout to a website-style format.

I need specific features like SEO and Social Sharing options

WordPress.com already includes the following features, so you don’t need any third party plugins:

We also have over 200 customizable themes to choose from in our theme showcase.

I need to install a Plugin or Custom Theme

Does your site need more functionality? Want to utilize a theme you’ve purchased elsewhere or had custom developed for you?

If the features above don’t meet your needs, you can install custom third-party plugins and themes you’ve purchased elsewhere by utilizing our Business Plan upgrade. You can read more about the features included in the plan here.

I need Stats and Google Analytics

WordPress.com stats are built into every WordPress.com site, from our free plan to our Business Plan.

If you want to use Google Analytics for more in-depth data, you can integrate it with a site on our WordPress.com Business Plan.

I want to earn money from my site

If you’d like to earn advertising revenue, we do have an advertising program, WordAds. You can apply for WordAds here; you will need a custom domain name, and your site must meet a minimum traffic requirement. Automatic enrollment in WordAds is also included in our Premium Plan.

Google AdSense and other outside advertising is permitted for sites on our WordPress.com Business Plan.

PayPal buttons can be used on any WordPress.com site. Simple Payments buttons are available on WordPress.com Premium or Business Plan sites.

Affiliate links can be used on WordPress.com sites, provided they are not the primary purpose of your site.

I need support for my site

WordPress.com is a company with dedicated support staff. “WordPress” itself is open source software and is supported by volunteers.

If you need help getting started, it’s best to host your site on WordPress.com where you can access support. Depending on your upgrade, we offer support via email, live chat, and/or support forums.

I need FTP or Server Access

We do not have FTP access on WordPress.com, nor do we have ways to increase PHP limits or make changes to core WordPress files. If you need these advanced features, or if you’re working with a developer who needs them, a self-hosted WordPress.org site would be the best option for you.

We do have alternatives for FTP access on WordPress.com listed here.

Still not sure which way to go? Find out more about WordPress.com and WordPress.org to see which is best suited for you.

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