The one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting your website.
With WordPress.org, YOU host your own blog or website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all of the hosting for you. You don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server.
Both WordPress.org and WordPress.com have pros and cons, depending on your needs.
If you’re not interested in paying for your own hosting, managing your own web server or paying someone else to handle that for you, you’ll probably want to use WordPress.com. It’s free and easy to set up and you have lots of options for customizing your site.
A few of the cons of using WordPress.com include that your domain will, by default, include “WordPress.com.” You also can’t upload any custom themes, plugins or modify the PHP code behind your site.
While WordPress.com is free to set up, they do offer several premium upgrades, including domain name registration (if you don’t want WordPress.com in your domain name), the ability to upload videos and if you want to use their premium themes.
Using the downloaded version of WordPress from WordPress.org opens up more control and flexibility for your WordPress site, but it also means more responsibility. Using a self-hosted version of WordPress means you can use your own domain name, upload and install themes and plugins, edit the code behind your site and have access to your site’s database (or files). Most of the showcase sites you see on the WordPress site showcase are the self-hosted version of WordPress, since many of them have unique functionality or a custom-made design.