Build your website with (the right) WordPress
Everyone said you should get a WordPress site, so off you went to Google how to actually do that.
And this is where things quickly go sideways. You’re looking at the search results, and– wait, which WordPress is it again? Why is there a .org and a .com? Are they the same? Are they different? What in the website-fuckery is going on here?!
So. Many. Questions.
It’s all WordPress.
Yes, there is a WordPress.com and a WordPress.org.
Yes, this confuses a whole lotta people.
WordPress .org is the home of the open source software behind every WordPress website. It is a free software that you need website hosting in order to use online.
WordPress .com is essentially a website hosting company owned by the creators of the WordPress software. It is an all-in-one platform that connects the pieces together for you, at a price.
But what even is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source software that you can download, use, modify, and even redistribute as long as what you create maintains the same GPLv2 License that WordPress uses.
Open-source software is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
WordPress is free.
You can download WordPress software, themes, and plugins for free in the WordPress.org repository. Before you run off to start downloading – there’s an even easier way to get the software.
- Choose a website hosting company
- Use their free WordPress installation feature
So, what’s up with WordPress.com then?
It’s still WordPress. It’s a platform owned by the creator of the WordPress software, Matt Mullenweg. His company, Automattic, provides the WordPress software pre-installed on their platform, even including a (very limited) free option. They offer several different plans that limit access to the full software at various degrees. Plan options range from $0 to $25 per month.
With WordPress.com, the choices you have are limited by the price you pay. It is similar to other hosted website platforms and services like Wix, Weeby, or Squarespace. The choice of themes is limited, and you’re not able to add custom themes or extra plugins without paying for an expensive upgraded plan.
Go Your Own Way
Using WordPress – just the software – works a bit differently as it’s not an all-in-one platform.
Step 1. Purchase a domain name
Step 2. Purchase a website hosting plan
Step 3. Update the DNS settings in your domain account
Step 4. Install WordPress
Let’s back up a few steps –
What’s a domain name? It’s basically an address that is used to locate specific files stored online.
What’s a website hosting plan? This is rented server space where all of the website files are stored and can be accessed online.
HINT: While you can purchase both your domain name and your hosting account from the same company, I don’t recommend it. Sure, it’s one less login – but, having your accounts separated makes it much easier to get back online quickly if something goes wrong.
If you’re brand new to WordPress, or even just to creating a website in general, I have a free course to walk you through step by step.
The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress will walk you through creating a plan for your site, choosing your domain name, selecting the right hosting company, and getting online. You’ll find videos and transcripts that take you step by step through the entire process.