As you probably already know, WordPress is a CMS – a Content Management System. That’s a system to manage content for online purposes, such as building a website. “Content” covers a broad range of content types such as text, audio, or video, which tied together using the CMS code, make it possible to construct websites (or blogs, or apps…) showing various types of content on a single page.
The WordPress code is published under the so-called General Public License (GPL), which basically means that it’s free to be used, copied, changed, run, studied, or shared by anybody. The code is public and you can do with it what you want.
Meet Matt Mullenweg. This is the guy who, at age 21, developed the code and released it for everyone to enjoy and go build nice things with it. Next thing he does is establish a company called Automattic, which subsequently develops the WordPress.com brand (as well as JetPack, Gravatar, VaultPress and Akismet – Chrisbizz.com uses that latter service for spam protection).
WordPress.com is Matt’s own commercial version of WordPress. Here’s where you can go to get a free website, or pay a reasonable sum of money for a premium plan with more possibilities. Depending on your plan, you get a full suite of products that include hosting, themes, plugins, security, and the option to link your own domain name. That being said, there are some restrictions that sometimes you just have to accept (for example, it’s not possible to link your website with Google Analytics).
This is the community of users where you can go to find anything related to WordPress and it’s use. That can be about code, about themes, about plugins… and it’s also where you can find support in forums that can be generic or very specialized. It’s where you can go to find information about WordPress jobs, hosting plans, where you can get ideas to move you forward… but if you’re just looking for a website, it’s probably not the place where you’ll be spending a lot of time.
If you want a website, what you need is 3 things (or 4):
- a theme
- a domain name
- (and someone to tie it all together if you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself).
This is where commercial parties come in – like me. There’s plenty of WordPress developers around, and they very often offer the full range of services you need to get online – like me. I work with theme developers, plugin developers, and hosting companies, which are the people who are the main users of WordPress.org because they work with the code itself and discuss ideas about how to develop the CMS further. And if you want to have a site at WordPress.com but don’t have the time to develop it (or if you need help doing it), I can help you with that, too.