It’s true, there are two types of WordPress, and yes this is confusing for anyone new to WordPress. The good news, I can quickly remove the confusion.
WordPress.com, is a hosted version of WordPress.org where you can start a blog in seconds without any technical knowledge. WordPress.com is free to use, but does have fees for some extra features. WordPress.com is a great way to go for personal blogging.
If you’re a business and need to create a website with a professional presence you’ll want to go with WordPress.org. Here are the top five reasons most businesses go with WordPress.org:
1) You own it. You can do what you want when you’re using the dot org. In contrast, with the dot com they own it and your site is on their server. With the dot org you can host your website anywhere you want.
2) You can upload themes. You can choose from (and upload) over 1,500 themes with the dot org. The dot com only offers limited number of themes. If you’re wanting a custom designed website make from a blank-canvas theme like Thesis, you’ll need the dot org.
3) You can upload plugins and widgets. There are now nearly 20,000 plugins and widgets made for the dot org. In comparison,the dot com only offers about 30 of the 20,000. The plugins and widgets available through the dot org will greatly extend the functionality and look of your website. One of the plugins you can take advantage of with the dot org is Google Analytics, the most sophisticated website analytic tool on the planet.
4) You can run ads on your site (or not).
5) You can have a custom-designed website. If you have a very specific design that you want created, the dot org is the only option. Much of the customization needs to be done in the php files, which can’t be accessed with dot com.
So if you just need a personal blogging site, the dot com version will probably meet your needs. If you need a website to grow your business or brand, or to become a serious blogger, the dot org is definitely the way to go.