WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

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What’s the difference between WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com?

WordPress.org is available for download through WordPress.org. Anyone is able to download and install the software on their own web servers, as well as activate themes and plugins of their choosing (i.e. whatever you can find on the open web).

Running a Self-Managed Model, you would:

  1. Visit WordPress.org
  2. Download WordPress
  3. Install WordPress on your own web server
  4. Request a stand-alone UBC Common Look and Feel WordPress Theme from the Public Affairs Office
  5. Configure and build your site (select and activate Plugins, configure settings, make Theme modifications, write or migrate your content)
  6. Continue to manage and maintain the software, Plugins, Themes, and content

Given that you are managing your own installation of WordPress, you are able to select and activate the Plugins of your choosing, thereby adding additional functionality beyond what is available in the “core” of the software. You also have direct access to the source code of WordPress as well as the Theme (template), and hence can make modifications or extensions that are specific to the needs of your website.

WordPress.com is the fully hosted version of WordPress. With WordPress.com you do not need to download the software, host or manage a web server. WordPress.com has a good collection of themes and built-in plugin functionality which you can use to enhance your site’s appearance or functionalities. Publishing your website/blog with WordPress.com is free but upgrades like getting a custom domain, customizing the theme, etc. require a paid upgrade. With the paid upgrade you will also get premium support, hosting and security.