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How are and Related?

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process. and are two different platforms. We, and many other WordPress-related resources have detailed explainers on that topic.

However, the next question that comes to a user’s mind is: why do they have similar names and what is the relationship between the two platforms? and are different platforms but are related in several ways, with a long history of working together.

Here, we will talk about the relationship between and We will tell you the story of their beginnings, the split between the two, and how both platforms collaborate.

How are and related?

Here is a quick overview of the topics we will cover in this article:

The Birth of was first launched on May 27, 2003. It is an open-source website builder that allows anyone to easily create a website with no coding skills.

The story behind its launch is quite interesting. Before WordPress, there used to be another popular open-source blogging software called b2/cafelog.

However, it was not getting any updates, and many users were considering alternatives. One of those users was Matt Mullenweg.

He wrote about it on his blog, and in the comment section, another user called Mike Little joined the conversation.

Mike Little's comment on Matt Mullenweg's post

The two of them got to work together and released the first version of WordPress on May 27, 2003.

It became an instant hit among the users of b2/cafelog who started adopting it. Other folks began joining the development. And that’s how got started.

Source: The Complete History of WordPress

The Arrival of co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s company Automattic launched for beta testers on August 8, 2005. It was later opened for signups on November 21, 2005. in November 2005 - Source: uses open-source WordPress core software and offers a hosted solution to users who want to try out WordPress but don’t want to host it themselves.

The launch of helped the engineering team, along with the rest of the WordPress community, learn how WordPress core software can be scaled for a massive number of users. is a for-profit company. Like many other WordPress companies, they use open-source WordPress to create products and services.

However, their usage of the WordPress name raised questions about the ownership of, the open-source project.

Ownership of the WordPress Trademark

Automattic, founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, filed the trademark registration for WordPress and the WordPress logo on March 1, 2006.

Trademarks are important for businesses, organizations, and for open-source projects.

Free software licenses like GPL (used by only protect the terms under which a program can be distributed, but they don’t grant trademark rights.

Automattic, holding the trademark, protected the WordPress project.

As a company, it had the money and resources to register and protect the trademark, which the open-source project didn’t have.

However, in order to safeguard the open-source project, the trademark ownership was transferred to the WordPress Foundation in September 2010.

Unlike Automattic, the WordPress Foundation is a non-profit organization. Its mission states:

The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support. People and businesses may come and go, so it is important to ensure that the source code for these projects will survive beyond the current contributor base, that we may create a stable platform for web publishing for generations to come.

WordPress Foundation

The transfer of trademark ownership to the foundation ensured that the open-source project would continue to run even if Automattic and were sold to a different company.

However, as part of the ownership transfer, was granted the right to use the WordPress trademark in its name.

To summarize, and the WordPress trademark are owned by the WordPress Foundation.

However, is given exclusive permission to use the trademark in its name. That doesn’t mean owns WordPress.

Further reading: Who Owns WordPress and How Does It Make Money?

What’s the Relationship Between and and are two different projects that benefit from each other greatly.

As a company, Automattic, the company behind, donates significant resources and manpower to the development of the open-source project.

On the other hand, they benefit from the WordPress code used in their services and products, not to mention the advantage of having WordPress in their name. This lets them borrow the good reputation and recognition of the open-source software.

However, it is important to note that or Automattic are not the only companies benefiting from

Thousands of other businesses are selling products and services based on the code.

The open-source, free software license grants those permissions to anyone who wants to use the software, even commercially.

How Does Benefit From Automattic and

Automattic, the company behind, sponsors 109 contributors to the open-source project.

These contributors spend a total of 3,969 hours per week across 21 teams. (Source: Five for The Future)

Automattic contributions to open-source project

They help contribute code, translations, documentation, support, marketing, testing, and more.

Each new WordPress release contains significant contributions from contributors who are sponsored by Automattic.

Matt Mullenweg himself, the CEO of Automattic, also spends a significant amount of his time contributing to the open-source WordPress project.

How Do Automattic and Benefit From

The most significant benefit is having the right to use WordPress in its name.

It helps them borrow the reputation of the open source project for their brand, which helps them sell more products and services.

They also use open-source WordPress code on their platform.

However, is not the only product that uses or relies on the code. Here are some of their other notable products that benefit or rely upon the code:

  • WooCommerce – The world’s leading eCommerce platform that runs on top of WordPress as a plugin.
  • Apps – Mobile apps that allow users to manage their blogs but can also be used to manage blogs.
  • Jetpack – A suite of add-on features combining the functionality of several WordPress plugins.
  • JetPack Mobile Apps – A replacement for the apps, allowing users to manage their WordPress websites on mobile. It requires the Jetpack plugin to be installed.
  • Akismet – The leading antispam WordPress plugin.
  • WP VIP – WordPress development agency targeting enterprise clients.

Why Is There a Naming Confusion Between and

Many beginners who want to make a website come across WordPress as the #1 recommended choice.

Now, if they Google WordPress, then they will find and

WordPress in search results

Generally, a .com website is considered official in most cases. However, in this scenario, is the official one.

Another reason for the confusion could be the booths at WordCamps or other tech events where / Automattic booths and WordPress foundation booths could look very similar.

This confuses new users.

A lot of users end up signing up for However, after a while, they realize the limitations of

There is an option to pay for upgrades on, but switching to a self-hosted is much cheaper and more flexible for most users.

Quick Summary of Similarities Between vs.

Here is a quick summary of the similarities between the two platforms.

WordPress in NameBoth platforms use WordPress in their name.
Ease of Website CreationThey both allow users to make websites easily.
Use of WordPress and both use the WordPress open-source software.
Matt Mullenweg’s InvolvementMutt Mullenweg is the CEO of Automattic (behind and also the co-founder of
Mutual BenefitsMatt Mullenweg’s involvement
Community SupportBoth benefit from and contribute to the WordPress community.

For a more in-depth discussion of each platform’s differences and pros and cons, take a look at our vs. WordPress comparison.

Which One Is Right for You?

We recommend as the perfect platform for most users. It gives you access to the full capabilities of the free website builder.

Why we recommend

  • It gives you access to all features of WordPress website builder out of the box.
  • You can use it to create any kind of website you want, including eCommerce stores.
  • Install any WordPress plugin or theme you need.
  • Complete ownership and control of your website. You can take it to a different hosting company, shut it down, own all your data, and more.

For a detailed overview, look at our comprehensive WordPress review with its advantages and disadvantages.

On the other hand, offers a customized website hosting service based on WordPress core software. You don’t have to worry about managing software, installing updates, and security.

Additionally, you can pay for upgrades to use a custom domain, remove ads, install any themes you want to use, or move to an eCommerce plan to set up a store.

However, this also means you don’t get access to all the features that a self-hosted WordPress website offers.

For example, with, you can start with Bluehost for a discounted price of $1.99 / month and a free domain name.

Bluehost website

At that price, you get a free domain, full control of WordPress, the ability to install any theme or plugins, and even use it for eCommerce.

And Bluehost is not the only provider. You can choose any of the top WordPress hosting providers, like Hostinger and SiteGround, and get the same flexibility.

We hope this article helped you understand the relationship between and You may also want to see our article on the history of blogging or our expert pick of the must-have WordPress plugins to grow your website.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

23 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
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  2. Mrteesurez says

    We appreciate this information regarding the two products. Matt has really done a great job and lead the foundation well.
    Because of trademark issue, I can see many WordPress resource sites or products only use “WP” in their domain names, WPbeginner included. Thanks, this is an insighful article that shed light on some confusions.

  3. Moinuddin Waheed says

    Very informative and insightful article regarding wordpress dotcom and WordPress dotorg confusion.
    it is good to know that the founder of both the WordPress is Matt Mullenweg himself.
    Such a fantastic job that he registered wordpress foundation to make sure wordpress remains available open source for generations to come.
    Great respect for this man and thousands of contributors around the world to make such fantastic products and make available as open source.

  4. Illonda says

    I began writing a few years ago on However, upon reading this I’m thinking should I move to because I desire to be recognized and turn my writing into a business through other creative ideas. And if so can I transfer my page and writings already published from to

  5. Michelle Barrios says

    It’s 2020 and this article is from 2013 and it’s the clearest about this issue. Thank you very much!

    It’s perfectly normal to think that they are all associated if the logos of .com and .org are exactly the same and the brands are one next to the other at a fair, as you have shown in the photos.

  6. Frances A. Garcia says

    This was a very helpful article. I have a blog site with and I am looking to migrate to I would like to know if I have to pay the registration of my domain and the Premium Plan that I have at May I switch the domain?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hi Frances,

      You will have to pay for the WordPress hosting. Once you have moved your website, you will change the domain name settings and point them to your new hosting provider. You can choose to keep your domain name at and manage it from there.


  7. Gary says

    I was looking into the collaboration of Automattic and to see if Automattic has power over it. I noticed that over at the site, their theme review team seems to have been taken over by an Automattic employee named Tammie Lister and was wondering how that can happen if the two are separate. Regardless if it’s Tammie or another from Automattic, do they have say as to what happens at .org ?

    • Editorial Staff says

      Hey Gary,

      While in theory Automattic as a company doesn’t have any power over, the CEO and founder of Automattic is Matt Mullenweg who’s also the chairman of the WordPress foundation (which handles everything related to I will let you come to your own conclusion there.

      Having that said, the list of Theme Review team is listed here:

      Out of the 6 Active Admins, only 1 is an Automattic Employee (Tammie Lister).

      Also if you look at the Make WordPress page for Themes, you will see that no one person has taken over and other admins like Chip, Emil, etc are just as active.

      Hope this answers your question :)



  8. Myrna says

    Thank you for this excellent explanation. I thought self hosting would be much more complex and now I see that it’s not the right way to go. I do have a lot to learn though before I can contemplate creating my site.

  9. Pamela says

    I still have one question. I started one blog through and moved it to self-hosted. Another blog was begun self-hosted.

    Yet every year, I get an email from WP with my annual stats. I access it for one blog using the original sign in. But how do I get the annual stats for the site that has always been self-hosted? If the two WPs have nothing to do with each other, I wouldn’t expect to get a stats email for the always self-hosted blog.

    • Editorial Staff says

      If you are using Stats or Jetpack plugin, then you connect your site with (thus giving them access to your data). This is how they can send you those annual stats email.


  10. Jeannette Paladino says

    I’m often asked why a self-hosted website. I now have a thorough explanation for them. There is also a lot of confusion when you mention WP because people think “blog.” And many organizations still do link their non-WP site to a WP blog (a blog is simply an article, another point of confusion). However, as you mention in your post, IS a content management system that functions as a website. It’s difficult for newcomers to understand this. Thanks for this very informative post.

  11. Mathew Stephen says

    OK:) But the logo? Both looks same… Only Color Difference is there… No legal problems?

    • Editorial Staff says

      No there are no legal issues. Here is the history that will explain:

      The WordPress trademark was first registered by Automattic parent company of (remember both and was started by Matt Mullenweg). To keep controversy out, and really make WordPress (open-source), the WordPress foundation was established by Matt. The trademark was then donated to the WordPress foundation. is the only business that is allowed to use WordPress in their domain name.


      • Jessica Klassen says

        The part about this that confuses me is when you say “ is the only business that is allowed to use WordPress in their domain name.” Isn’t using WordPress in the domain name??

  12. shane says

    The thing about using for me is the community behind it. If you just love to write, and you love to read other blogs, is great because it kind of puts you in connection with other bloggers.

    Of course, as the post says- you can’t modify the blog and not really monetize it either (at least with ads) and you are only allowed so much drive space for content.

    But if you just want to write and have other fellow bloggers easily come across your posts, isn’t bad for free.

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