There Are Two Versions of WordPress, Which One Does My Business Need?
Someone tells someone else, “You should use WordPress!” and what is routinely confused by end users is not only that there are two versions, but what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org actually is. Typically they had no idea what exactly there is … and why would they? By Googling “WordPress” one will return both WordPress.com and WordPress.org in their top results … and so, is it the same thing OR are there huge differences?
WordPress.org is a free, open source website software that anyone can download and install on their web server. It’s mostly because serious marketers will inevitably want or need customization in design, development and ongoing support. There is no standard paid support for hosting services inherent to the .org site. It is maintained by the WordPress open source community, with a very organized talented group of “core contributors” who decide what makes the cut for new updates; when to release updates & upgrades, etc. It’s fairly meritocratic in that no one is paid to do the management or development. In fact, hundreds of volunteers contribute code, offer free support in forums, produce themes and add-on plugin applications. It is the SaaS (e.g. Software as a Service) model, and most of a developer’s day job includes managing and customizing WordPress in the commercial world, but at the end of the day upkeep of the core software is an all volunteer effort that serves the means of everyone involved.
Be assured: ‘the power of many’ is at work here, all with the common interest of the core software being ‘best in class’ anywhere for those who may need it. ‘Open source’ software, managed to the degree WordPress.org is, has proven to be a best option for those interested in controlling their tools and/ or their brands.
And to confront any skepticism: having world class open source (core) software affords great opportunity for many to develop (paid for) plugin application and theme design options for the software. For instance, the no. 1 e- commerce application in the world (Woo Commerce) is a plugin application for WordPress.
WordPress.com does offer a free version of their website product. It was originally a basic blog with a wordpress.com URL (i.e. biz.wordpress.com), albeit it has also evolved over the years to a full- fledged website solution. Free usually means some compromise, for instance some limitation in terms of what can and cannot be customized. Advertising running on those website pages is standard as well. The platform is offered by a company (Automattic Inc.) started by one of the original developers of the WordPress open source project. Automattic is a business; they charge for additional services and extended support. They also employ some server level customization to accommodate the fact they have 76.5 million users running websites spread out over 1000’s of servers across the world. They can offer some services and they develop their own custom features; however, at it’s core, .com is still running the same software that is freely available for download from WordpPress.org. It, again, is just not open to do anything you may want. Employees of ‘Automattic’ do even contribute code back to the WordPress.org project as “core contributors”, most having done so long before Automattic was ever formed.
Kinetic Knowledge Advocates And Serves WordPress
Here at Kinetic, we use the open source WordPress.org software to build and also webmaster host & manage our client websites. We manage our own servers, tuned specifically for WordPress.org software in order to maximize performance and the visitor experience of our clients. We can deploy custom functions or code to provide features specific to a clients need or, better yet, research a seasoned/ vetted (for security and performance) application from the community to serve the need.
Note: the trademark for WordPress was transferred to the WordPress Foundation, which can confuse the situation a little more. WordPress.com, the ‘Automattic’ business entity, was grandfathered in that transfer; however, no other business or website can use the trademark of WordPress legally in their business name, logo or URL. Only non-profit sites meant to promote the open source project and it’s endeavors.
Ultimately what this all means is that yes, you can get a free website at WordPress.com – with a subdomain URL of example.wordpress.com or begin paying for custom services beyond that. Or you or can download WordPress, the software for free from WordPress.org. In this latter case it does not necessarily mean you have a free website for your business. Not unless you are fully capable with websites and hosting, updates support, customization & design. These will all cost money, regardless of the underlying platform. Using an open-source project such as WordPress.org for a website can not only reduce or eliminate development cost, as a part of the equation, but it places its’ user in control as owner! In this case a business can affordably focus its investment on the things that ultimately help grow the business. This is what Kinetic Knowledge focuses on, it is our ongoing goal. Let the platform to get out of the way; let us do the heavy lifting, leaving you to focus on your core business.