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...
If you weren’t convinced by my 5 reasons NOT to go self-hosted with your blog post, or indeed need a little shove to the world of self-hosting, here are my 5 reasons to go self-hosted with your blog:
1. Your service provider is unlikely to just close, taking down your data
Although I’m not suggesting WordPress.com or Blogger are going anywhere soon, years (and years) ago when everyone was building their websites on Yahoo! Geocities nobody could have imagined that it would eventually close giving users just a few months notice to move. In the event that your host were to close, you can drop a cPanel export and any decent host will import it giving you everything where you left off: mail, website, data, stats, the whole kit & kaboodle.
2. You get control over what adverts are shown (if any)
WordPress.com has rules over what links you’re allowed to put in your posts (no affiliate links, for example), completely restricts third party ads and shows its own ads to non-logged-in visitors. Blogger also shows its own adverts and allows you to add some ads but doesn’t give you the same range of adverts you could go for on a self-hosted system. This means that if you want to monetise your blog your options are severely limited.
Alternatively, if you’re like me and don’t want any adverts you’re stuck until you pay the $30 WordPress upgrade fee – and for not much more you can buy a year’s hosting.
3. Wider selection of themes and plugins
WordPress.com lists 219 themes at time of writing, which compared to the millions and millions available (free and premium) on the web, I find quite restricting. Blogger is more flexible in its theming but neither offer the true power of the themes or plugins you can add to a self-hosted website.
Plugins are hugely powerful – able to turn WordPress from “just a blog” to a content management system capable of anything from e-commerce for a little local shop to a multi-seller marketplace; contact and customer management; forum functionality & communities, etc. The list is endless (and this is the core reason why I personally stay self-hosted.)
4. It’s cheaper to buy separate hosting + domain than it is to pay for add-ons through wordpress.com
If you want to turn blogging into something ‘more’ – i.e. have your own theme, domain, remove third party adverts etc – by the time you’ve paid for the necessary WordPress upgrades you’re looking at a bill of $85 or more. You can buy a small hosting package and domain for similar pricing and get email and extras to go with it.
5. It’s cooler to be self-hosted
That’s what I keep telling myself anyway ;)