I would say that most of the time you’re going to have to pay for a host for your self-hosted blog. There are free options out there, but you want to be able to trust whoever’s in charge – and be able to contact them if there’s a problem. Self-hosting costs can vary – I got a special offer for my other blog (College Student Magazine) with BlueHost and I pay just $3.95 a month. But I had to pay for that all in one go.
Ease of Use
If you’re using WordPress.com, Blogger.com or any hosted option then you simply sign up, choose your blog name and you’re away. If you’re self-hosting you have to choose a host, choose what platform you want, pay, install the platform, set up your blog how you want it and then you can start blogging. Now with some hosts this is much easier than with others, With BlueHost (the only host I’ve paid for) I had a great experience and I was up and running in about 20 minutes, but I knew what I was doing.
I’m talking here about the time you spend doing things other than writing posts and publishing, etc. You will have to update your platform and any addons yourself, possibly spend more time tweaking settings, etc. Now you can still spend quite a bit of time doing that with the hosted options (I mean, I definitely don’t… honest!) but everything is pre-optimised for you. If you use WordPress.com as an example then you have several addons pre-installed and set up, and some other settings are different.
Can you think of any other disadvantages?
Yesterday we looked at what self-hosted is, now I want to look at the advantages of a self-hosted blog.
This isn’t unique to a self-hosted blog, but if you’re self-hosted then you will usually have your own domain such as “myblogname.com”. This is an advantage because if you decide to move your blog for any reason then you will still be in the same place. Think of it as moving house but keeping the same phone number.
This is a biggy. You are completely and utterly in control of your blog. Do you want to have adverts? Go for it! How about affiliate links? A customized theme? All 100% possible if you host your own blog.
This comes under control, but you can customize your theme however you like with a self-hosted blog. With WordPress.com you have to pay $30 a year to customize your theme with CSS, and that’s providing you can get a theme that looks pretty much how you like in the first place. You can buy your own theme, create one or choose any free theme on a self-hosted blog.
If you’re choosing WordPress.org or most other Blogging Systems to self-host you get a lot of extra flexibility. For example you can install plugins to add a forum to your website, add a shop, improve your search engine optimization, or do pretty much anything you like! You could even create your own social network.
Those are pretty much all the advantages of self-hosting a blog, check back on Tuesday for the disadvantages!