Please note: this is an old post. I have been blogging for a really long time: since my childhood, in fact. Bear in mind that any opinions stated may have changed, any code snippets may no longer be considered safe or secure, and my personal circumstances are almost certainly different to what's contained herein. You have been warned...
I’ve seen a lot of fuss over the past month or so about (parent) bloggers who ‘have’ to go from a WordPress.com or Blogger account to a self-hosted blog. As a web developer, it’s obviously in my best interest for there to be lots of self-hosted blogs and sites out there because ultimately it means greater potential for work. However, the reality is that not everyone will need to, and here’s 5 reasons to stay put:
1. You’ll not have to worry about plugin or software updates
Although WordPress has made updates super simple with the implementation of the single click updater in 2.7 (we’re now on 3.5.1 to give that context) there’s no guarantee that a) the core upgrade is going to run smoothly or b) your plugins and themes are going to be compatible. Unless you’re running a local copy of apache or similar to test run your updates offline first, you can end up in trouble with conflicting versions of different things. WordPress.com handles all this for you.
2. You’ll not have to worry about hackers and bots
Because of the popularity of standalone WordPress, it has recently come under fire from “hackers” (I use this term loosely) brute-forcing installations relying on the default username ‘admin’. In some cases, the sites have been brought down by the sheer amount of attempts on the admin account username in what is effectively a denial of service attack. What’s more worrying is that security researches believe that compromised installs could be used to form a “super botnet” to attack even more sites.
3. It’s free
Free is my favourite cost :)
4. You get a community with no extra work
As a new blogger, one of the hardest things is keeping the motivation up to carry on posting with very little in the way of feedback (comments, subscribers etc). The advantage to hosted services, be that WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogger or similar is that you effectively become part of a community straight away, leaning on the identity of that service. Most hosted services have tools which allow you to ‘reblog’ posts, comment on them through your profile etc which builds up the momentum with little extra work on your side.
5. You get the stability of a massive network
Unlike a shaky little shared box, which is what the majority of personal blogs (and indeed many business sites) are hosted on, you get to be part of a massive network of servers which often have excellent uptime stats because they have “worst case scenario” traffic management and redundant hardware. To quote the WordPress.com FAQ directly:
WordPress.com runs on hundreds of servers located in several separate data centers in different parts of the USA. We’re not perfect and we do occasionally experience problems, but our network is designed so that sites continue working even when servers or parts of the network fail. Outages are rare and brief.
The great part is, this stability is all part of the service and you’re not tied in to any contracts (see point 3!)
Of course, there are advantages to going self-hosted, and I’ll follow this up with a 5 reasons to go self-hosted post just to present a balanced argument… but it’s not for everyone & you should not feel forced into it!