WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

Do I need the Full Version of WordPress?  (wordpress.com or wordpress.org? )

There are actually two very different versions of WordPress, and understanding how they’re different is something you’re going to want to wrap your head around before you get too far down the road and realize you wanted to do it the other way. 

WordPress.com is the simple, free version.  Wordpress.org is the more complex, more customizable, but NOT free version.

wordpress.com (The Simpler, Quicker and Probably Less Expensive, but WAY less powerful Version)

If you have a ton of pictures to post and stuff to say and your message is more important that you having a lot of control over how your website looks, this might be the best way to get up and running.  I don’t mean to sound snotty when I say this, but if overall professionalism is less important, and it just being free is SUPER important, then this is what you probably want.  You’re not going to be able to use the full version for free.  If you’re looking for free website, wordpress.com is your play.  

As a professional website designer / developer I can say I don’t have a ton of experience with wordpress.com.  wordpress.com does not require your own hosting package or any understanding of coding.  However, the major thing that you’re giving up is access to / the ability to use the plug-in library.  Make sure you understand that.  You can NOT use Plug-Ins on WordPress.com.

What are Plug-Ins?

I don’t want to oversell this thing, but the WordPress plug-in library may be one of the most comprehensive libraries web development tools every created, and it grows every day.  When you see people do amazing things with their WordPress sites like slideshows with HTML 5 video in the background or pictures moving in and out with amazing effects, those are usually plug-ins.  There are a million of them and I’ll explain how they work on another page, but for this part, just know that WordPress plug-ins are very powerful, and you’re going to want access to them. 

WordPress.com creates very simple, and free blogs

WordPress.com is sort of like what blogging was like back in the early 2000’s, if that helps.  Where you’re logging in to someone else’s site and it’s being hosting on someone else’s server.  You CAN still have  customized look, and you CAN still have a custom domain name (for a fee), but there are so many things that you can NOT do that it’s worth the extra effort and investment to get the full version, especially when Bluehost makes it as easy as they do.

WordPress.org – The Full Version of WordPress.

WordPress.org takes all of the powerful software that was originally developed to run a simple blog (like you could on wordpress.com) but allows you to customize it and use the plug-in library.  When you see an amazing website that was built on WordPress, it’s going to have been built on the full version.  For a long time, to run the full version of WordPress you had to manage the entire set-up process, which can be difficult.  Now, with hosting companies like BlueHost, you can have them set it up for you, and buy your domain with them as well so you have zero set-up.  Plus, if you run into any trouble, their customer support can help you work through it.