WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different platforms, but they are both based on the open source WordPress software. Here’s how they differ:

Hosting

WordPress.com is a commercial platform where your site is hosted for you. You don’t have to worry about purchasing hosting or maintaining the server. It’s a form of “managed” hosting.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is where you can download the free, open source WordPress software. You then install this software on your own web host and manage it yourself. This is referred to as “self-hosted” WordPress.

Cost

WordPress.com offers a basic level of the platform for free, but charges for additional features like using your own domain name, removing WordPress.com ads, extra storage, and premium themes or plugins.

WordPress.org is free to use, but you’ll need to pay for your own hosting, domain name, and any premium themes or plugins you choose to use. However, it can potentially be more cost-effective if you’re making use of many premium features.

Customisation and Control

With WordPress.com, your customisation options are limited, particularly on the free plan. For example, you can only use the themes and plugins provided by WordPress.com.

WordPress.org gives you complete control over your website. You can use any theme, install any plugin, and even modify the website’s PHP code.

Maintenance

WordPress.com takes care of all the technical aspects for you, such as updates, backups, and security.

With WordPress.org, you’re responsible for updating your website software, plugins, and themes. You’re also responsible for backups and website security (although many hosting providers can help with these tasks).

Monetisation

WordPress.com places its own ads on free websites. To remove these or to place your own ads, you need a paid plan. eCommerce features are also limited to higher-tier plans.

WordPress.org does not place any ads on your website, and you’re free to monetise your site in any way you wish, including running your own ads, selling products, accepting donations, etc.

In summary, WordPress.com is an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform, but it’s less flexible than WordPress.org. WordPress.org requires a bit more work and technical knowledge to set up and run, but it provides much more flexibility and control over your website.