If you are thinking of starting a WordPress blog, normally your first decision is to either put up a free blog at WordPress.com or choose to self-host it on a paid server.
I used to try to explain it as a WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org kind of thing but, honestly, that is just way too confusing.
Okay, here’s the deal.
When you start a site on WordPress.com, it’s free—and it’s on their platform.
But choosing WordPress.org has nothing to do with where your blog is. WorddPress.org is where the free, open-source software sits and you install it on a hosting company’s server, like Bluehost or Hostgator.
So, how do you decide whether to host your blog on the WordPress.com site or use the WordPress.org software and have control of the space you rent with a hosting service?
What is the better route to go?
Here are 7 issues to think about before you make the move:
WordPress.com is free. If you choose to self-host, using WordPress.org, you will need to pay a monthly hosting fee. Maybe even a whopping $6 – $8 a month! Is it worth it? Read on.
2. Ease of Installation.
With WordPress.com, it’s simple to get started. It’s just a matter of signing up. When you installed WordPress on a hosting service, It used to be a process because you had to manually install it and set up the databases, but those days are gone. Now most “good” hosts have one-click WordPress installs.
3. Theme Choices.
On WordPress.com, you have a limited number of free themes to choose from, and even fewer premium ones. With self-hosting, you have thousands at your fingertips. Although the choices may be overwhelming, you are more likely to find that perfect theme.
4. Widgets and Plugin Options.
Again, on WordPress.com, you get what is pre-installed. But when you self-host, your choices are amazing. You can usually find the plugin that fits your specific need and install it. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a cool widget on someone else’s site, only to find you can’t add it on your WordPress.com site.
5. Ease of Updating Your Site.
WordPress.com automatically updates when the new version comes out. With your self-hosted site you will need to do this yourself, but WordPress has made that easy with a one-click update button.
6. Options for Backing Up Your Site.
WordPress.com keeps backups of your site but the problem is, they are not in your hands. Yes, you can export your content, but that doesn’t help with backing up the actual structure of your site. So as important as backing up is, if you are self-hosted you can backup manually. Even better, there are plugins out there that will do it for you automatically. And if anything should ever go wrong with your site, you have your backup you can re-install.
7. The Content Control Issue.
As with any choice is life, there are always pros and cons. And, of course, you need to find the sweet spot for yourself.
Myself, I am a fan of self-hosted. What’s your choice?
Have you found your own challenges with either WordPress.com or a self-hosted platform?