This is a question we get asked all the time. What is the difference between the two? We believe it’s important to know the difference, so lets take a moment and lay it out for you!
WordPress.com is a free hosted blogging solution. You simply go there and sign up, and you have a blog! Simple as pie! You can use any of their available themes (templates) and you’ll have a spiffy new blog up in no time! That’s the good news!
The bad news is that you have limited space, you cannot edit the themes to your liking, and you also have limited widgets and plugins to use. Moreover, you cannot put any advertising on your site, or affiliate links (While WordPress can, and does!). If they find you are, or are using the site as a doorway page to your affiliate offers, your blog will be deleted without notice or recourse. It’s their sandbox; their rules!
They have an apparent dislike for certain markets, such as the “make money” niche, and will take them down very quickly. So, for this reason alone, WordPress.com is NOT a good choice for hosting any sort of business site!! It’s just too chancy.
These WordPress.com blogs can be useful for pointing visitors to your sites, as they do get some love from Google. Just be aware that they can and do frequently disappear, so you need to determine if you can live with that.
WordPress.org, however, is another matter entirely. This is where you can download the WordPress blogging platform that you can then install on any domain you wish. (That you own!) This blogging platform is state of the art, and has more features than we can reasonably talk about here and now. If you’re looking to put up a blog, you won’t find an easier solution or more functional software than this! There are literally thousands of themes and plugins to make your blog look and operate exactly how you like it to!
You can download the blogging platform from WordPress.org, and either take advantage of their famous “5 minute install,” or, if you have a web host that has the Fantastico script library on your cPanel, you can literally have a new functional WordPress blog installed in about 3 clicks. You can then customize to your heart’s content!
The main difference to stress here though, is that any WordPress blog you install on your own domain will be all yours, and no one will be able to tell you what you can or can’t do with it! If you are planning to set up a business blog, this is imperative to know! No one wants to wake up one morning and find your business deleted!