If you’ve had anything to do with websites there is a strong chance that you will have heard of WordPress. We use WordPress to build websites, as do many web designers. See our post about What WordPress is and why we use it. We love WordPress!
But there can be some confusion as to what is meant by “WordPress” because there are two different ways in which you can use it: WordPress.org or WordPress.com. They both ultimately result in having websites based on the WordPress software, but how they are set up and what you can do with them is different.
Let’s start with WordPress.com. This is a site which provides hosted WordPress websites. You create an account on the site and you are provided with a pre-installed WordPress website. You can customize the site using themes and plugins available through WordPress.com, but you can’t upload your own custom theme or use anything that’s not made available directly through the site unless you upgrade to the Business Plan. You also need to upgrade to one of the paid accounts if you want to use your own domain name, rather than have wordpress.com in your site’s address.
WordPress.org on the other hand, is a self-hosted version of WordPress. You download the software from WordPress.org and install on your own web hosting using your own domain name. This gives you a lot of flexibility, allowing you to use any theme for your site, whether it’s a free or premium theme, or one that you’ve had custom-built. You can also install any plugins you wish, allowing you to add in the functionality you need and create a website that does exactly what you need.
There are pros and cons of each approach. WordPress.com is a very quick and cost-effective way to get a website up and running. We consider this to be a ‘self-build’ options as you can get up and running very easily. If you’re happy to roll your sleeves up and have a go yourself this could be a very good option for you. On the other hand, WordPress.org ultimately gives you much more flexibility and control over your website.
WordPress.org is the approach we use because it allows us to do so much more for you. We provide domain name management and web hosting. We source the right combination of plugins to create the website that you need. We can use an off-the-peg theme or create a completely custom-built design so that your website very much reflects your business or organization. And, finally, we offer an ongoing service to keep your website backed up and WordPress updated to ensure your website continues to run smoothly and securely over time.