What is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

WordPress.com and WordPress.org (self-hosted WordPress) are similar some ways, so it’s easy to get them confused. Our themes are only compatible with self-hosted WordPress.org.


WordPress.com is a free, hosted blogging service run by a company called Automattic. You’ll get a domain that looks something like this: http://yourname.wordpress.com (it is possible to purchase a custom domain on WordPress.com, but that does not give you the ability to upload themes).

WordPress.com does not any allow themes, plugins, or advertising. You have limited control over what you can do/add to your blog. It’s possible to purchase a custom domain and CSS editor upgrades through WordPress.com, but custom/third-party themes (like ours) are not allowed – which is why our themes cannot be installed on WordPress.com.

Self-Hosted WordPress.org

WordPress.org is open source software that gives you complete control of your site and allows you to use themes and plugins – the best parts of WordPress! 

WordPress.org is often referred to as “self-hosted WordPress" and is by far the most popular/common form of WordPress. Self-hosted means that you host your domain with a third party hosting company, such as SiteGround, DreamHost, or Hostinger. Once you sign up for a hosting plan, you'll install WordPress software on your domain through your web host (a very simple process requiring just a couple clicks).

Tip! WordPress.org does not mean that your website needs to end in a .org domain, a common misconception.

Get Started

Ready to get started with WordPress.org? Visit our in-depth Getting Started Guide, which will walk you through every step of purchasing your domain, selecting a hosting plan, and installing WordPress software on your site. You can have your WordPress website up and running in less than 10 minutes!

Or, if you'd like to transfer your existing site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, visit the  WordPress Moving Guide.