WordPress.com Is Not WordPress.org

Summary: WordPress.com offers free, instant blogging but lacks the full features of the WordPress platform.

A lot of clients are asking me about WordPress and how it stacks up to other blogging platforms like Blogger or Typepad. Only problem is: There are two types of WordPress: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

If you go to WordPress.org you’ll see the site for the WordPress blogging platform. WordPress is an open source software project. Open source software is developed by a global community of programmers – anyone can contribute to an open source software project. Further, open source software is free to download, free to install and free to tweak as you see fit (there’s a lot more to open source than that, though). WordPress.org is for information about software – the blogging platform called WordPress.

WordPress.com is a hosted version of the WordPress platform. WordPress.com, like Blogger, offers anybody not just the software to manage their blog, but also the server space to host it. WordPress.com uses a slightly scaled down version of the WordPress platform – a version called WordPress MU, intended for multi-user sites with up to thousands of blogs. WordPress.com is intended to give interested bloggers a place to get started, the software to blog, the space to host and a flavor for the full-scale WordPress software that they could install on their own servers if they so choose.

WordPress.com is an instant solution much like Blogger. There’s no installation and no fees to pay – you simply sign up and start blogging. But WordPress.com lacks the full features of a blogging platform that you’ve had installed on your own server for full control over the functionality and look and feel of your blog. Plus, WordPress.com does not offer domain mapping yet so your WordPress.com blog’s URL is always going to look like something.wordpress.com.

WordPress.org is where you go to download the full-scale WordPress blogging platform that you install on your own web server for full control and functionality. To complicate things further, many webhosts offer 1-Click Install of WordPress so you don’t have to go through too much geeky rigamarole.

In retrospect perhaps they should have called WordPress.com WordPress Lite to help differentiate it. It can be a bit confusing. Usually folks call WordPress.org simply WordPress and then differentiate when they are referring to WordPress.com.