Do you know the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
There is often some confusion surrounding these two sites, the version of WordPress they offer, and what makes them different. It can become even more confusing if you’re installing Jetpack on a self-hosted WordPress site, and are then prompted to create a WordPress.com account to use it.
You may wonder why you need to make this account if you’re already using WordPress on a self-hosted website. So today, we’re going to dive in and answer that question, and explain how Jetpack uses WordPress.com to offer some of its best features to self-hosted WordPress sites.
Let’s start by taking a look at what separates WordPress.com and .org, and how Jetpack comes into play.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com: what’s the same and what’s different
WordPress.org is the home of the open source WordPress project. This is where you can download WordPress, as well as open source plugins and themes that have been contributed by the enormous community. Once you download the software, you can then install it on whatever hosting provider you’d like.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, offers this same open source software, but with two key differences.
The first difference: instead of picking out your own host and setting up a website yourself, WordPress.com provides hosting for you. You create a site for free using these hosted tools, but can pay for upgrades (like extra storage space or themes).
Second: WordPress.com offers features and functionalities that are unique to its hosted platform. But you can get these features on your own self-hosted site… and we’ll come back to that in just a second.
Where the confusion stems from
There is often confusion surrounding the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, in part due to their similar names.
The other piece of information that muddies the water is that the co-founder of WordPress.org is also the founder and CEO of Automattic, the company behind the WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, and many other products.
In articles written outside of the WordPress ecosystem, you’ll often see Automattic referred to as the owner of WordPress, but it’s really just the owner of WordPress.com.
WordPress.org, as an open source platform, isn’t owned by a single entity. It is contributed to by thousands of people. While many employees of Automattic are heavily involved in WordPress development, they don’t have any more influence over the project than other contributors.
Why you need a WordPress.com account for Jetpack
This leads us to the question you were probably asking when you clicked on this page: “if I’m hosting my own site and using the free WordPress.org software, why do I need a WordPress.com account?”
The answer to this is actually pretty simple. As you may already know, Jetpack is a plugin created by Automattic that brings a plethora of features and functionalities to your site, ranging from site analytics, SEO tools, an image and video content delivery network (CDN), security, monitoring, backups, and more.
These features were all originally created for WordPress.com. But we wanted to offer them to everyone — not just WordPress.com users. And that’s how the Jetpack plugin was born.
In many cases — for example, our content delivery network, which hosts your images on the WordPress.com servers — we already had the infrastructure in place to use Automattic’s servers for this feature, whether you enabled the feature from a WordPress.com site or a self-hosted site with Jetpack.
But you still need a WordPress.com account to access that infrastructure in the same way that WordPress.com users do. That’s why we ask you to create one when you start using the Jetpack plugin.
Jetpack gives you the best of WordPress.com on any site
With a WordPress.com account, you can get the features we originally built for this site on a self-hosted site. It gives you access to features that uses Automattic’s servers, like our content delivery network, backups, video hosting, and more.
Now that you’ve read about WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and how Jetpack relates to both of them, setting up your WordPress.com account for Jetpack might make a lot more sense. Whether you’re interested in just one or many of the features available, you can sign up for Jetpack right now!
Have any further questions? Let us know in the comments, we’re always happy to help.
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