In technical abilities, I would say there is quite a chasm between the two types of WordPress.
This is not always noticeable, as quite often blogs look very similar. But if you look closer there is a distinct difference, as the .org versions have a lot more applications at their disposal, and therefore are able to perform to a much more advanced level.
But – saying that, I am amazed (and pleased) to see how far WordPress.com has come over the years. So many of the applications previously only available as plugins have become standard, and are more easily accessible and activated due to all the hard work the developers at WordPress have put in.
I suppose the main difference is hosting. WordPress.com provides a free-hosted package so all you have to do is to decide on what your blog is going to be called, and then create it. You can make as many blogs as you like under your username, which you can create by opening a WordPress account (even without a blog).
WordPress.org, on the other hand, requires you to purchase your own domain name and hosting account for each blog. Getting a suitable URL is quite easy, but acquiring a suitable host is where advice is necessary.
Many hosting companies will happily say they are compatible with WordPress, but then there are two versions of being compatible. There are those that require technical knowledge to prepare your hosting server ready to receive WordPress, and those that make it very easy for you through just one (or two) click(s).
When searching for these ‘easy’ hosts (WordPress has a selection which they recommend), they will probably include an application called Fantastico, which takes all the stress out of the preparation for WordPress by doing it for you in advance. These hosting companies also will happily advertise that fact that they use Fantastico for WordPress.
Once you’ve done the necessary clicks and WordPress is installed into your hosted space, it will be in its default form, just like as for WordPress.com. But unlike WordPress.com who has everything ready for you to use in its sidebar instructions, you need to add in your own applications to your WordPress.org blog.
This is where having a FTP viewer platform like FileZilla comes into play. Right, explanations are probably needed here.
FTP stands for file transfer protocol, and it allows the transfer of files to different platforms on the internet. You will need to transfer your WordPress.org theme into your host’s server, into WordPress which you have set up, to be able to activate it.
You can see what is going on by using FileZilla, an FTP viewing browser or application that shows what is already set up in your host’s server, especially your WordPress files, and allows you to transfer (via FTP) your new files and plugins into your new WordPress.org blog. By putting the necessary files into your blog and activating them, your blog will start to become alive.
But all this extra technical stuff isn’t necessary for WordPress.com. It has been carefully formulated to take out any technical stress and angst for the novice blogger, and yet still provides an extensive amount of applications available for blogging use. These have been made as easy as possible to activate, providing extra time for actually writing posts and reaping the benefits they provide.