Many people are confused about the difference between “WordPress” and “WordPress.com,” but the differences are important and huge!

“WordPress” is a piece of web-based software that can be installed on a server computer, much the same way that you can install a piece of software like Office on your home computer. The WordPress software is a popular method of creating and managing a website. It’s highly extensible, flexible, and easy for most people to learn. The basic WordPress software is free, though hiring a technician to install and configure it, or a designer to make your site match your brand may not be.

But there is also a company that calls itself “WordPress.com”. The difference between the company, the software, and other companies offering hosting products with “WordPress” in the name is the source of endless confusion for many.

The company WordPress.com is essentially a hosting provider. They did not invent (and don’t own) WordPress any more than a store calling itself “Tire Warehouse” invented or owns the concept of tires! WordPress.com sells server-space with the WordPress software pre-installed. They don’t give you many options to update, expand, or change the software once they’ve done that. This can be very convenient for the non-technically inclined, because setup and support is handled for you, and there are fewer ways that you can accidentally break your site.

But WordPress.com is not the only company that provides pre-installed copies of WordPress! There are hundreds of others. For example, GoDaddy offers a product called “Starter WordPress Package,” that again, is the WordPress software pre-installed on a server. However, instead of locking you out from editing the software, they then give you the keys and say “go nuts!”

To summarize:

  • WordPress is a piece of software useful in creating websites.
  • WordPress.com is a company that sells server space with the WordPress software pre-installed on it.
  • There are a lot of other companies that will offer a similar pre-installation service.
  • If you want to expand on the most basic WordPress software and do something truly unique or robust, we’ll recommend a hosting provider other than WordPress.com that gives us complete access to your site’s files and configuration.
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