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Did You Know There Are Two Different Versions of WordPress?

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

January 26, 2023 | Posted in: Web Design

It can be confusing, but “WordPress” can actually be used to refer to two very different content management systems. WordPress.com and WordPress.org are both platforms for creating websites, built by the same company, running very similar-looking software… but there are some major differences between the two. One version of WordPress gets flack for being inflexible but applauded for its simplicity; the other version is difficult for newcomers but gives web developers unlimited control over their projects. Do you know which version your website was built with?


WordPress.com is a “hosted platform,” which means that the servers are managed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress). This means that users do not need to worry about purchasing their own hosting or managing their own servers. This version of WP provides a user-friendly interface and a variety of templates to choose from. However, customization is limited and there are some restrictions on the use of plugins (third party apps).

Easy Setup “No Code” Content Editing Limited Aesthetic Control Low Compatibility


WordPress.org, on the other hand, is an open source self-hosted platform that anyone can download for free. Users most purchase their own hosting and install the CMS on their assigned server. Since the files are located on their own server, users of this version have unrestricted control over their website and can customize it to their liking. The user has full access to the vast library of WordPress plugins, and can create and/or install custom themes and plugins.

Infinite Customization “No Code” Content Editing Supports 3rd Party Tech Choose Your Own Server Complex Setup Requires Advanced Coding Knowledge

Using WordPress for Professional Website Development

WordPress.com is a hosted platform that is easy to use and great for beginners, but is much too limited for professional web designers. The “dot org” version provides the necessary flexibility and control for developers who have the skills to handle their own hosting and management. At Range Marketing, we exclusively use the open source version of WordPress for clients and internal tools. Our proprietary technologies and advanced coding methods are unsupported by the hosted version.

Do I Really Need WordPress?

In short: Yes. WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system). Almost 42% *of all of the websites on the internet* are built in their platform. Over thirty millions sites rely on their technology. While it may be imperfect, WordPress supports more third party connections than any other platform. Web designers have almost no choice but to be familiar with WordPress! Building websites in any other system will inevitably limit your client in terms of connectivity to other technologies. According to BuiltWith, no other CMS has anywhere near the usage that WordPress does:

CMS Technology Live Websites Market share
WordPress 30,462,105 41.28%
Wix 4,565,423 7.03%
Squarespace 2,750,270 4.24%
Joomla! 1,580,832 2.44%
GoDaddy Website Builder 1,624,154 2.50%
Weebly 1,019,509 1.57%
Duda 705,120 1.10%
Blogger 672,560 1.05%
Drupal 562,655 1.03%
Jimdo 486,843 0.76%

Mobile Content Management

Another (often forgotten) feature of WordPress is that the CMS is fully responsive: It works great on mobile! If you want to publish a blog post, remove a coupon, mark a product as “out of stock,” or edit text on your homepage, you don’t need to be sitting in front of a computer. You can log into the WordPress editor from any smartphone or tablet to take full control over your content. Your updates will instantly publish to the front end of your site. Managing content on-the-go is a great feature for small business owners who need to make unscheduled changes.

What Do WordPress.org Sites Look Like?

Quick answer: Anything you want! Unlike the “dot com” version, developers using WordPress technology on their own servers have unlimited control over website aesthetics. WordPress simply powers the content editor, some of the security functions, and database management behind their own custom designs. All of the visual elements can be coded by your web designer allowing your website to look and feel however you choose. Here are a few examples of custom-designed websites our team built around the world’s most popular CMS:

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