Episode 001: What’s the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

There’s one small, but major, difference.

Hi my name is Jay and this is The Ask Jay L A Podcast.

On this podcast I answer all of your tech questions about launching and growing your online business.

In today’s episode we discuss the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

So, what is WordPress?

Well, WordPress is a publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish online.

WordPress is THE top Content Management System on the internet.

According to W3techs, WordPress has 61.8% of the CMS market share.

Plus, 36% of the web, as in, the ENTIRE internet, is built on WordPress. That’s almost half a billion websites. 

With that being said, let’s delve deeper into what people mean when they refer to WordPress.org versus WordPress.com

When internet users mention WordPress.org, they are referring to the self-hosted version of the WordPress software. 

So why do they refer to it as WordPress.org

Well, the software for the self-hosted version of WordPress is available for free online at WordPress.org

Now, unlike WordPress’s self-hosted software, WordPress.com is the fully hosted version of the WordPress platform. 

It’s worth mentioning that there is a free version of the WordPress.com platform and also a few paid options for upgrading. 

In addition to that, there is also the WordPress.com Business Plan.

An Overview of the Differences

Now I’ll review the ideal clients for each of these WordPress products:


WordPress.com is the perfect choice for you if you want to focus on creating beautiful content, without worrying about everything else that comes along with managing a website.

Premium hosting, security, and hosting are included with the free version. With paid upgrades you can add a custom domain name and choose from hundreds of themes. You can also upgrade to create a custom design.

The non-business WordPress.com plan allows you to integrate your site with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks.

In also includes popular features like sharing, stats, comments, and polls, without plugins.

Personal support and WordPress.com focus are also available.

WordPress.com Business Plan

The WordPress.com Business Plan is similar to the WordPress.com non-business options. However, it gives you the best of both worlds: the carefree ease of a managed platform while you focus on your content.

Included in the WordPress.com Business Plan is your custom domain name, premium hosting, security, and backups. This option is as secure as WordPress.com and as versatile as self-hosted.

Unlike the non-business WordPress.com plans, you are able to install your own custom theme with this WordPress.com Business Plan.

You can also install your own plugins, to extend your site’s capabilities, this includes plugins like WooCommerce to create your own online store.

In addition to the support given in the non-business WordPress.com options, the WordPress.com Business Plan includes a personal setup session, live chat, and email support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 360 days a year.

You must register for an account on WordPress.com and abide by their Terms of Service for both the business and non-business WordPress.com solutions.


Finally, we have WordPress.org self-hosting software. The WordPress.org pathway is ideal for you if you want to get your hands a little dirty, and host your website yourself.

You’ll need to find a host, and perform backups and maintenance yourself. While WordPress offers VaultPress for security and backups, ultimately, the security of your site is your responsibility.

Since WordPress.org officers you maximum flexibility, you are able to install themes and even build your own using PHP and CSS.

To enable sharing capabilities like WordPress.com, you would need to install plugins, like Jetpack—a WordPress product.

WordPress.org offers limited support through their support forums.

Unlike the WordPress.com solutions, you are not required to register with WordPress.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

So let’s dig a littler deeper and review some common questions and answers that are shared by WordPress, to will help you determine what pathway would be the most ideal option for you.

I need a website, not a blog, should I even use WordPress to get started.

Although WordPress is known as the go-to for a lot of bloggers, you are able to create a website without a blog using the WordPress software. 

Next Question: I need to install a Plugin or Custom Theme

If you purchased a theme from elsewhere, or if you need unique functionality then you would need to utilize the WordPress.com Business Plan or choose the self-hosted WordPress.org option.

Next Question: I need statistics and Google Analytics on my site.

WordPress.com stats are built into every WordPress.com website however, if you want to use Google Analytics, then you need to purchase a WordPress.com Premium plan or higher.

Next Question: I want to earn money from my site

WordPress has a WordAds platform that you can apply to for site monetization. However, you will need a custom domain and your site must meet a minimum traffic requirement. 

If you purchase a WordPress.com Premium Plan or higher then you will be automatically enrolled in WordAds.

Google AdSense and other outside advertising are permitted for sites on the WordPress.com Business Plan.

A special note: PayPal buttons can be used on any WordPress.com site and affiliate links CAN be used on WordPress.com sites, provided that they are not the primary purpose of your site.

Next Question: I need FTP or Server Access

SFTP access is currently available for sites on the Business or eCommerce plans. However, WordPress does not have ways to increase PHP limits or make changes to core WordPress files.

They also have alternatives for FTP access on WordPress.com

WordPress.com Gamechanger

Something that is noteworthy about WordPress.com solutions versus WordPress.org is that WordPress.com has millions of users and the WordPress.com Reader helps them find you. 

This is a feature that is not included with the self-hosted platform. Due to the solitary nature of the software, all traffic that you get on your site will be traffic that you attract to your site through various marketing strategies.

What WordPress Platform Would You Choose?

So, with all of this information, which one will you choose? WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

Connect with us on social media @jaylabastien and let me know or leave your answer in the comment section. 

In the meantime, if you have follow-up questions about this topic or tech questions that are totally unrelated to WordPress, please send an email to ask@jayla.co or leave a voice message by visiting jayla.co/vm.

Maybe the next episode will be an answer to your question.

Thanks for listening, be well, and stay empowered! 

1 comment
  1. Hey–Jay here!
    It’s official; I published the first episode of the #ASKJAYLA Podcast! Whew.

    There’s a saying that the first step is the most difficult. Well, that proved right with launching this podcast—mainly because I also had to get the website ready to feature the podcast and future posts.

    Is it the perfect first episode that I imagined? No. 🥴

    However, it’s a solid episode that can help bring clarity to listeners who might not be familiar with the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

    Besides, that’s what pivoting is for; the podcast will improve with each episode!

    Sidebar: If you’re also waiting to release the prefect, podcast, website, product, xyz…borrow a page from my book and launch already!

    I also used Anchor.fm to manage the publishing process of this podcast. The Anchor.fm app is legit!

    Should I do an article on how to create a podcast using Anchor.fm? Respond to this comment to let me know.



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