WordPress LogoWordPress.com is a communal version of WordPress that has limited functionality.  WordPress.org is the site behind the software that is free for anyone to use.

If you have an account with WordPress.com, I highly recommend moving your site to your own installation of WordPress.  The good news is that most website hosts offer one-click installation of WordPress (Which comes originally from WordPress.org.)

  WordPress.org WordPress.com
Installation Takes 2 minutes with a website host that offers “one click” installation.
(such as www.hammock-hosting.com)
Extremely quick and easy
Cost of Domain Name approx $10 to $30 per year $18 per year
Cost of Hosting Site $5 to $30 per month depending on web host Free to $25 per month depending on the plan
Get Rid of Advertising n/a $25 per year
Functionality Unlimited Limited.  No ability to install any of the thousands of plugins available to you.
Ability to Customize Unlimited Limited.  Premium Themes are $50/year extra.
E-Commerce Many free shopping cart plugins. One shopping cart available

http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/  is a thorough explanation from WordPress.com.

http://wpmu.org/wordpress-org-vs-wordpress-com/  is another clear comparison.

How To Set Up A Site At WordPress.com

  1. Go to http://wordpress.com/
  2. Click on Get Started Here and continue through signup process
  3. Register a domain name from within your Dashboard

How To Set Up Your Own WordPress Installation

  1. Register a domain name with  www.hammock-registration.com or any of the thousands of other domain name registrars
  2. Sign up for a website hosting account with www.hammock-hosting.com or any of the thousands of other web hosts
  3. Point your domain name to your web host server (your web host can help with this)
  4. Install WordPress in your web host control panel (your web host can help with this)

So, the bottom line is, if you set up your site on WordPress.com, it’s extremely quick, easy, and cheap.  But very limited.   If you’re a blogger with no plans to sell anything, then WordPress.com is fine.  The price is right.

If you you’re planning on selling things, you need WordPress installed in your own web hosting account.