It’s all over the blogosphere, the constant chatter of bloggers unsure on their next move! I moved my blog from wordpress.com to self-hosted at the beginning of this year! I think instead of writing a post solely dedicated to going self-hosted, to write the pros and cons.
Pros of Being Self Hosted
On wordpress.com you are unable to integrate your own ads to your website. This is particularly frustrating for anyone wanting to monetize their website. One of the first steps I took after moving my website over was applying for Google Adsense. That’s another post in itself as it isn’t really as easy as you would think! If you’re bringing in enough traffic to make money from ad’s (you need a hell of a lot to make decent money) then self-hosted is the best option! WordPress.com does have its own ad scheme but you need to be getting a certain amount of page views monthly. Although they won’t disclose this amount many people have come out with the figure of 50,000 per month. I can’t comment on that as I haven’t the slightest clue on the real figure!
Themes and Customisation
The freedom you gain when becoming self-hosted is unreal. You are able to upload your own themes from places like the infamous pipdig! You’re able to customise everything you could ever want to change. This is one of the main reasons I’ve seen people want to change to self-hosted. People want to change the layout and appearance of their blog. It’s understandable, wordpress.com is extremely limiting when it comes to themes. Even if you find one you kind of like, there aren’t many options to customise text, colours or other elements of the theme!
You can install any plugin you like with a self-hosted site! Many people find that with wordpress.com there are one or two plugins they’d like but cannot install. WordPress.com has very strict policies with what you can integrate into your website. Break the rules and they may even be able to shut you down! Of course, you do need to be careful when installing any old plugin. Make sure it’s completely safe and compatible. You want to make sure you’re constantly backing up your website, just in case!
Self Hosted Sells Better
If you’re not in it for business then you probably won’t care about this. Websites mean business and when it comes to selling them, self-hosted sells best. Not only will you have more interest but also much better offers. With your self-hosted site, there are no middle men and you are the only person involved. This makes it much easier to pass on!
Cons of Moving from WordPress.com
Having to look after your own Website
One of the luxuries of being with wordpress.com is having a protected website. Not having to worry about things like hacking and bugs is a huge weight off your shoulders. When you move to self-hosted you have to make sure all of these risks are taken care of. It can be a big task at first, searching through websites and how-to articles.
Backups and Losing Content
One of the worst things to happen to a website is losing your content. There can be many different reasons that it could happen. For instance, you may download something new like a plugin, update the website, uninstall plugins… Whatever the reason, it’s disastrous. WordPress.com have your back with this and if your website does go down, you could have it up again within no time. When you’re self-hosted, it’s your own responsibility to back your own website up. Most people recommend once weekly but it depends on how much you post!
Leading on from above, you don’t need to worry about updates. WordPress.com takes care of that for you! When you’re self-hosted you are responsible for updating the website and making sure you’re running the newest version. When updating, as said above, you run the risk of losing content. Make sure you’re backed up before you update your site.
It’s not Beginner Friendly
One of the best things about wordpress.com is how easy it is to use everything. Building your website is super simple and if you’re a complete beginner it’s great to learn on there. If you aren’t particularly confident with building a website then wordpress.com is the best place for you. There are so many tutorials and ways for you to get help. Everything is so simple you don’t need to worry about a thing. If you make a mistake it’s also very easily reversed which isn’t always the case with self-hosted websites.
The big one. WordPress.com is free, you can pay for plugins and themes but, the majority is free. Being self-hosted comes with a hefty bill. I currently pay around £300 a year to run my website and that doesn’t include extras I may add such as themes and other options. The big deciding factor for a lot of people is the price. My advice is, don’t go for the cheapest just because it is inexpensive. Make sure you really research into moving over and seeing who you want to host with. I personally use iPage. I find them just great and am with them until next year, which is when I’ll decide if I want to stick with them. They’ve been perfectly helpful so far. They’re also pretty affordable.
Of course, there are so many more points you could put in this post. I’m not a website whizz and don’t claim to be a genius so I won’t go into technical things many of us won’t understand. The general consensus is, if you’re just starting out then stick with wordpress.com, it has everything you need. If your blog is progressing and you want to grow even more, self-hosted is probably your best option! Let me know your opinions below!