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WordPress.org vs WordPress.com vs WordPress VIP: What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What is the difference between WordPress and WordPress VIP?”

The truth is WordPress VIP is WordPress plus so much more.

But before we get to that, let’s start at the beginning.

What is WordPress.org?

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). It powers more than 40% of the web, and is used for everything from personal blogs to small business websites to some of the biggest digital properties in the world. As you might expect for something that can cover that many different use cases, WordPress is extremely flexible and can be set up, configured, and used in many ways. 

WordPress isn’t a company. It’s an open source project, some might even say a movement. This project, as opposed to commercial services built on top of WordPress, is often referred to as WordPress.org—the website where anyone can download the WordPress code. There are many contributors to the project and a plethora of plugins, themes, and other extensions built on top of WordPress.  

WordPress is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This means anyone can download WordPress, install, and run it where they like and even modify the code for their own use. WordPress is free both in the sense of “free beer” (no cost) and “free speech” (unrestricted use and modification). But running vanilla WordPress required paying for hosting and managing the installation. This led many users to seek other options. 

What is WordPress.com?

In 2005, Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders of WordPress, started a company called Automattic to make WordPress easy to adopt for anyone. Many of the core contributors to WordPress work at Automattic today. The result was a service called WordPress.com, a fully hosted version of WordPress. There’s no software to install or manage. You can just sign up and start publishing content today.  

WordPress.com made WordPress accessible to a whole range of individuals and businesses that might have struggled to run their own web infrastructure. When paired with WordPress’ intuitive content creation tools, including the Gutenberg block editor, WordPress.com made creating a blog or website incredibly simple and accessible to millions of non-technical people, writers, content marketers, small businesses owners, and others.

Automattic’s stated mission is to democratize publishing and commerce. In many ways, by building WordPress.com on top of WordPress, it succeeded. Soon, enterprises caught wind of how amazing and user-friendly this software was, and saw the benefits of WordPress. In response, Automattic started WordPress VIP, a dedicated platform catering enterprises’ unique needs.

What is WordPress VIP?

WordPress VIP was purpose-built for the highest volume, most security conscious, and most demanding digital properties. If you check the web to learn about a major world news event, visit the website of one of the largest companies in the world, or access information from a government site, there’s a reasonable chance that WordPress VIP delivers the content you find.

Content agility

WordPress VIP is built on top of WordPress. While many enterprise products have a reputation for being clunkier than consumer tools, that isn’t the case with WordPress VIP, which features the consumer-grade usability of WordPress at its core. As a result, WordPress VIP customers benefit from the intuitive content creation tools WordPress is famous for.

Security and scalability

The WordPress VIP platform makes running larger environments easy. Enterprise authentication, code scanning, vulnerability protection, and advanced auditing enable it to meet the most rigorous security requirements. In fact, WordPress VIP is the only version of WordPress to have earned FedRAMP “authorized” status, a standard for US government use.  WordPress VIP runs in a fully containerized environment that automatically scales up when needed and fully isolates customer environments from other organizations, preventing performance degradation. 

Developer-friendly

Enterprise organizations typically have large development and content teams, adding complexity to both code and content deployments. WordPress VIP adds a layer on top of WordPress that makes it easy to control and manage complex environments. This makes it easy for enterprise development teams to manage their code base, support continuous delivery and continuous integration, and roll back if there is a problem.  

Enterprise-grade support

Beyond the product itself, WordPress VIP delivers the sort of services and support enterprise programs demand. WordPress VIP’s support team, which includes many of the world’s top WordPress experts, provides both tactical and strategic services to ensure customers avoid risk, accelerate timelines, negate tech debt, deploy best-in-class solutions, and resolve issues quickly. Furthermore, WordPress VIP goes beyond supporting just the CMS itself, to customer code and plugins that may be deployed as part of the digital experience.

Powering growth

WordPress VIP offers additional services that go beyond simply scaling, to directly improve the effectiveness of digital marketing programs. For example, WordPress VIP’s content analytics product helps enterprises understand which pieces of content perform best across channels, so they can optimize their marketing programs. Its enterprise commerce campabilities make it easy to use content to drive e-commerce purchases. 

In short, WordPress VIP is the all-in-one solution for enterprises that want to build on WordPress.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com vs. WordPress VIP: Which is right for you?

All of this can be daunting for people choosing between these options. However, good rules of thumb are:

  • If you are highly technical and want to spend the time and money managing a WordPress instance on your own, self-hosted WordPress might be the right choice.
  • If you want fully managed website maintenance, as either an individual or small or mid-sized business, WordPress.com might be a good choice.
  • If you are a large enterprise with many employees, complex security requirements, and high traffic, a custom application to deploy, or a need to simply contain costs and risk, WordPress VIP is probably the right choice.

To learn more about WordPress VIP, contact us.

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