One very common question from WordPress beginners is what is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org? And what is a self hosted WordPress?
To keep it simple, WordPress.com is a blog hosting service. Basically it’s an online service just like blogger.com or tumblr.com which enables you to register and create a simple blog quickly. You do not need to have a server to host the blog since hosting is provided with the blog hosting service. There are limitations though when compared to WordPress.org
But what is WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the website and home to the most popular open source CMS in the world: WORDPRESS. As at 2016, WordPress powers over 25% of all websites of the world. On WordPress.org, you can basically download WordPress (open source codes) and install it on your own server, or even on your localhost (your own pc) to test. It is important to point out that WordPress.com uses WordPress at its core to offer a hosted blogging service.
With WordPress.com, you have a limited amount of themes, and cannot install new plugins and do advanced customizations (Forget about monetisation). If you only wish to have a little hosted blog and do not want to deal with servers, domain names and customization of your website/blog, then WordPress.com should be enough for your needs. If you wish to have a customized blog/website with almost unlimited amount of options via plugins, then WordPress.org is the way to go.