I am constantly reading inaccurate information and myths about the two versions of WordPress — WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Sometimes it’s innocent confusion, sometimes it seems like people who only use one version simply having an inaccurate or out of date view about the other version.
To me, it’s horses for courses: both versions are good, but both have their strengths and weaknesses.
WordPress.com doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of WordPress.org. But a lot of people don’t need them, don’t want them and don’t have the technical skills that you need to run a more complex site on WordPress.org.
The beauty of WordPress is you have a choice, and you can migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org later if you find you need the extra facilities. And of course it can be free (or extremely low cost).
So here’s my attempt to debunk some of the myths.
Myth 1: You can’t use a domain name (‘www’ address) with WordPress.com
This site is built on WordPress.com. So is another one of my sites www.leytonstonetoday.net.
When you first create a site in WordPress.com you automatically get a name ending .wordpress.com, but the site address will start with ‘http’ not ‘www’. You need to buy a domain name to get ‘www’ from whatever is available.
But it’s nonsense to say you can’t connect a ‘www’ domain name to WordPress.com!
Myth 2: WordPress is only for blogs
You can use WordPress.com or WordPress.org for blogs, for websites and for hybrid sites (which are now becoming the norm) where you have a website combined with a blog. WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but it’s moved on in a huge way. WordPress powers some of the largest websites in the world. If someone is convinced you can only use WordPress for a blog, they are many years out of date.
Myth 3: You can’t use WordPress.com for business sites
You can run a business site from using WordPress.com providing you don’t breach their terms of service.
The main point is you don’t use your site directly for making money: you can’t charge people for putting ads on your site, nor can you sell from your site in the sense of e-commerce or monetise it in any way.
WordPress.com even has specialist business themes:
- for cafés/restaurants/hotels
- portfolio themes for photographers, designers and other creative people
- general business themes for just about any business
Read more in the WordPress.com terms of service
Myth 4: If you can’t do it on WordPress.org you can’t do it on WordPress.com
With nearly 30,000 plugins (like apps) there’s not much you can’t do on WordPress.org. But some WordPress.org users are very keen on code and the technical side of running a website and won’t go near WordPress.com as most of the technical stuff on WordPress.com is done for you.
In fact WordPress.com often introduces trials new features before they are rolled out to WordPress.org.
WordPress.com introduces new themes almost weekly and new features every few months. Updates are automatic (a bit like Chrome), so you don’t get new versions to download. That means new features can often slip through if you’re not a regular user (regular users get emailed with update information).
WordPress.org used to be different, you and versions and you had to download them to get new features.
September 2014 however saw the launch of WordPress 4.0, which is supposed to update automatically too.
WordPress.org comes with the ‘JetPack’ plugin (you have to click to install it). JetPack is essentially a collection of plugins that bundle up basic features that come built in to WordPress.com. As with other plugins JetPack isn’t updated every week and you have to install updates yourself. So you can see that WordPress.org users can be falling behind their WordPress.com colleagues who are getting these updates automatically as they are introduced.
That doesn’t mean WordPress.org users are necessarily at a disadvantage — they have nearly 30,000 plugins to choose from and can replicate most of the JetPack functions easily using plugins. But they have to find the plugin and install it!
Or sometimes WordPress.org users will go off and write some code to create a function … while the WordPress.com user goes to make a coffee, smug in the knowledge they are already using a function WordPress.org users haven’t got yet!
Share your myths
If you know any myths about WordPress, feel free to share them in the comments box below.