Self-hosting or Free/Assisted Hosting?
When you are first starting out as a blogger it might seem tempting to sign up with a blog hosting service and use their free (or even their paid-for) hosting for your new blog.
Don’t do it.
If you are serious about creating a blog that is going to increase the visibility and credibility of your brand, you need to be self-hosting it. Think about it for a minute; when you sign up for a free blog with services like Blogger or Tumblr, or even WordPress you are (by default) going to get a domain name that shifts the focus from your brand to the brand of the service you are using. For example, a Tumblr blog would be yournamehere.tumblr.com – do you want to be a subdomain or the main event?
Free Blogs vs. Self-Hosted Blogs
This video makes an excellent point. When you use an alternative to self-hosting…who really owns and controls your content?
Let’s Say You’re Using WordPress…
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
Now this is where things can get confusing for new (or even experienced) bloggers. WordPress is a blogging platform. You can create a WordPress blog via the WP website and they will host it for you for free. Or you can purchase / obtain your own web hosting account and domain name and install WordPress on said hosting. The first option (the free hosting) is often referred to as using WordPress.com, while the second option is known as using WordPress.org. An example can be seen in the infographic below:
Click on this image for a larger version — See the original blog post here
To us, this just makes something pretty simple into something complicated. It doesn’t have to be. At its heart, WordPress is WordPress… the differences lie in the flexibility and freedom that you have when using it, and these things all depend on where you have chosen to host your blog.
Restrictions vs. Freedoms
One of the main differences between these two hosting styles is the level to which a blog can be modified / personalized / etc. A WordPress blog set up and hosted by WordPress as a free account is going to be much more limited; plug-in use is not allowed for blogs hosted by WordPress (which totally makes sense, it’s a security thing) and if you ask a few bloggers who see average or better traffic on their blogs they will likely tell you they use a few plug-ins to make things easier. So by going the “let them host it for me” route you might be taking some time and sanity-saving tools out of your arsenal before you even get started.
And this doesn’t just go for WordPress! Other popular and well-documented platforms that you can host yourself include:
Each of these has its own set of advantages and disadvantages so we urge you to do your homework before choosing a system to us for your blog.
Want to read more? Take a look at these posts:
- Goodbye, BlogSpot. Hello, WordPress: 5 benefits of switching to a self-hosted blog – by Vicky Torzsok
- 10 Reasons to Self Host Your Own Blog – by QuickOnlineTips
- Why Should I Self Host My Blog? [Podcast] - by Jonathan
Which system do you use for your self-hosted blog? If it isn’t one of these listed here please let us know what it’s called and why you like it!
Why Self-Hosting Wins
Generally speaking, self-hosted blogs offer greater freedom and flexibility than their counterparts that are hosted by the service itself (i.e. WordPress.com). When you self-host your blog, it is your canvas for self-expression, limited only by what the platform itself is capable of. If you want to change your theme, modify a theme, or create one from scratch, you can do that. If you want to pick your blog apart line by line in the code to optimize it for better on-page SEO, you can go all out. Want to embed a video / podcast / etc you just might be able to do it.