It seems that everyone and their brother has written a WordPress.com vs WordPress.org article or blog post. I’m not going to do that (again).
Having thumbed through literally hundreds of comparison article and videos, the verdict is clear: WordPress.org is the choice for those who want more control over their content. The only thing holding me back for a while was the complexity of installing a MySQL database server alongside an Apache webserver. Why would I have to set this up by hand? Two reasons come to mind:
1) I’m a poor college student
2) Doing things yourself is more fun (however frustrating they may end up being)
The intended use of my WordPress.org setup has been and still is only a development site. I’ve used Dreamweaver and other design programs in the past, but the idea of a content management system that will allow you to customize a blog/website until your heart’s content while still keeping things manageable sounded too tasty to pass up. After a few weeks of browsing incomplete/outdated How-to’s, I managed to find a solution stack called XAMPP that has opened up the doors for me. A real epiphany.
I’ll post future developments as they come through while working with WordPress.org.