Free WordPress Versus Self-Hosted WordPress

wordpressorg-vs-wordpresscom

WordPress blogging platform is divided into two broad categories – free WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WordPress blogs. Self-hosted WordPress blogging platform needs you to manually install and host the WordPress software whereas WordPress.com blogging platform is managed by WordPress developer professionals. All the technical stuff is handled by the professionals and you just need to make some broad configurations to start and run your blog.

 

WordPress.com Blogs

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This is the type of blog you need to create if you are new to blogging and just want to take a trial of blogging to know whether it suits you or not. It is really easy to set up and you are ready to go online within minutes. You will also be provided a free sub-domain i.e. xxxx.wordpress.com where xxxx is chosen by you and depends on availability. You can also use your own custom domain by paying a fee.

Advantages:

  1. Free – Creating a hosted WordPress blog is absolutely free until you need visual customisation or more space. You don’t need to pay for hosting charges or anything until you need more space, theme customization or any customization which is not available by default on WordPress hosted platform.
  2. Easy to set up – You just need to create an account, create a WordPress blog, choose a name which will be your sub domain, choose a template and a couple of things more. You can do this without any technical knowledge. It only takes a maximum of 10 minutes.
  3. Easy to use – WordPress user dashboard is same in both hosted and self-hosted blog but there is no hassle of installing themes and plugins and uploading pictures in hosted blogs.
  4. Automatic update – WordPress is updated automatically with the new release of software and saves you from any kind of hassles in updating. This means you don’t stand any risk of damaging your blog in the process of updating it.
  5. Traffic – WordPress is already a hosted website and receives lot of traffic. It means that your blog is already linked to such a famous and big website that receiving traffic is for sure. But you are not going to receive loads of traffic. It’s just a little launch for your blog and nothing else. For constant traffic you need to optimize your blog.

Disadvantages:

  1. Design limitations – This is a big problem if you need to create a professional and unique looking blog because the theme is not customizable and all the blogs look somewhat similar. But you can purchase an upgrade to customize the stylesheet of the theme.
  2. Configuration limitations – Hosted WordPress blog provides less configuration that can be related to template/theme and logo/header and plugins. You can only choose from some themes provided by WordPress. You cannot add your own plugins and hence you cannot enhance your blog’s compatibility and flexibility with thousands of freely available plugins.
  3. Domain limitations – For a professional blog a suitable domain is needed. Without a domain a blog cannot be considered complete. With hosted WordPress what you can only get is a sub-domain which is longer and you don’t even own it but the fact is that it is free.
  4. Revenue limitations – The fact that your blog is not completely owned by you means that you don’t have complete freedom on earning revenue from your blog. You cannot display advertisements although you can introduce affiliate links in your post which will be the only way you can earn from your blog. You don’t have permission to show any of Yahoo, Adsense, Chitika or TextLinkAds networks’ ads.

Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs

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This is the type of blog where you need to need to download, install and host the free WordPress software yourself. This blog will have its own domain, hosting and all the responsibilities for the development and upgrading will lie on your shoulders. Although you will be provided support for your hosting service by your host provider but you will not get any support regarding WordPress from them. For WordPress related support you can visit codex.wordpress.org. But this is not the case with specialised WordPress hosts. For instance, WPWebHost provides technical support for WordPress also.

Advantages:

  1. Domain – You can choose the right domain for you. Benefits of an owned domain are that it becomes easy to remember, it gives a professional and unique touch and it is brandable.
  2. Customization – Self-hosted blogs are 100% customizable. You have to make all the choices from themes to functionality. For this you don’t need to know everything, you can hire an expert for you to do so. You get complete freedom on your blog and can customize your blog according to your niche. This is what makes your blog different from others.
  3. Hosting – Although you need to pay for hosting and domain, but you will have complete freedom over choosing the storage limits and bandwidth limits which you don’t have over hosted blogs. You can choose a suitable hosting service and plan.
  4. Revenue – These days blogs are considered a source of income. On hosted blog you don’t have permission to display any kind of advertisement like Adsense, Yahoo, and Chitika etc. This can fetch you huge revenue. With the self-hosted blog you can show advertisements, introduce affiliate links and write paid reviews. Everything you earn is going in your pocket. No one is earning a share unless you create a blog in partnership. With service by some hosting providers you also receive advertisement credits. This can fetch you a considerable amount of traffic for free.

Disadvantages:

  1. Difficult to set up – Self-hosted blogs are not as easy to set up as hosted blogs and you need some technical knowledge to upload files to the server and run manual installation. However you can opt for a specialized WordPress host such as WPWebHost which has one click WordPress installer, which you can complete the installation easily less than a minute.
  2. Difficult to update – WordPress is a famous blogging platform and constantly goes through development. Hosted blogs get updated automatically with the update of WordPress but you need to manually update the self-hosted blog with the new release. If you don’t follow the steps carefully you might also end up messing your blog.
  3. Cost – WordPress is available as a free download but the maintenance cost needs to be paid like domain costs and hosting costs. The cost depends on what type of hosting and domain you choose. If you need a professional blog then you will need a professional and unique theme. For that you need to buy a theme or hire a designer which you will need to pay for.
  4. Issues – Different hosts have different quality. WordPress is a great application and faces problems very less often. But it is common to see self-hosted WordPress sites down due to incompatibility of server with WordPress or any other hosting related reasons. So if you are serious about your WordPress blog, you are strongly recommended to choose a good webhost who specifically tailors made its hosting for WordPress.

Conclusion

If you need a professional blog for your company, your own profile or you want to earn through your blog then you must go for a self-hosted blog. When your blog expands you have the flexibility in your blog to suit your needs. It will be best if you choose a hosting company that supports one click WordPress install. It will make half of the process easier.

If you think of creating a personal blog for fun, trial, just for family and friends or if you don’t have time to deal with the complexities of self-hosted blog, then hosted blog is the best option for you. They take a maximum of 10 minutes to set up. Although they might not have the world class features and restrict your income, they are enough for a small blog.

About the Author
Vikas Vikas
He is a creative person with multiple talents—WordPress, blogging, Social Media, SEO, marathon running, cooking, fitness,, Sauna (Finland) and Political Science, to name a few. He lives in New Delhi, India with his wife.