The other day, a blogger friend of mine asked me whether she should shift to a self hosted blog or not. She’s currently using WordPress.com and since I’ve been self hosting for 8 years, decided to ask for my advice. Hers is a person blog.
My answer. Stick to WordPress.com – don’t self host! So why do I do it?
Disadvantages of Self Hosting
Apart from the expense, ask yourself the question – what happens to your blog when you’re no longer around the pay the hosting costs? You’ve put in (or will put in) so much time and effort into lovingly crafting your personal blog. All of that will vanish when you die. Wouldn’t you like your content to live on forever? I would! Staying with WordPress.com will ensure that your words won’t vanish into the ether the second your hosting or domain expires.
On top of that, there’s a lot of effort in setting up and maintaining a self hosted blog. You have to worry about security, page speed, database backups, plugin maintenance, renewing your domain and hosting plan, and of course the cost itself. If your blog becomes popular, you’ll need to move to more powerful servers with even more management headaches. And you’ll need to shell out more as well. Choosing what kind of web hosting plan can itself be a herculean task, with many factors to take into consideration.
By contrast, WordPress.com is a completely no hassles solution. Their servers are protected by state of the art technology – you don’t have to worry about getting hacked. They scale up their server power to be able to handle any number of loads, it’s free, and you have zero maintenance.
If you’re starting a blog for your own personal pleasure to pen your thoughts, go with WordPress.com. Don’t even think about self hosting. So why do I have my own domain and blog?
Advantages of Self Hosting
If so many people are self hosting their blogs, there must be a reason right? There is! Actually, there are many.
The first is if you’re creating your site for business reasons. Any commercial enterprise that wants itself to be taken seriously needs to have its own domain. My personal blog is linked to my professional site www.bhagwad.com and it helps me as a writer to have my own domain. It builds credibility and trust.
The second is if you have a big ego and want the pleasure of having your own name in the top level of your URL :) . Most personal bloggers will be just fine with xyz.wordpress.com. But if you want to get fancy, you can think about buying your own domain. Just keep in mind the downsides listed above and ask yourself – “Do I really want to go through all that?”
Third, a self hosted WordPress blog is far more customizable than one on WordPress.com. You can install plugins, select from a wider variety of themes, insert your own code, change the CSS, create a shopping site, and much much more. Again, this is mostly for businesses or for those personal bloggers who really want to make as statement.
But if you’re just writing a blog for your personal use, don’t sign up for a self hosted site. It’s not worth the effort and all your precious work will go down the drain once you’re no longer around. If your content is useful and helpful to others, why deprive them of that benefit? With WordPress.com, you’re immortal. With a self hosted blog, your words will die one day.