Thoughtful – The Pros and Cons of Self Hosted WordPress

Posted April 9, 2015 by Emily in Blogging / 11 Comments

thoughtful

Whoa, it’s been a while since I written a “Thoughtful”… but anyways today I want to talk about the pros and cons of self hosted WordPress. And when I say self hosted, I mean WordPress.org, not WordPress.com (WordPress.com is free and similar to Blogger). I recently, if you count last June recent, moved from Blogger to WordPress because I was starting to take blogging a lot more seriously and Blogger just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. But more about that later. Let’s get started.

Con

Self hosted WordPress is not free. You usually have to pay somewhere between $5 and $15 a month to host your blog on someone else’s servers. That being said…

Pro

Because you’re paying, there are less restrictions on what you can and cannot post. No, you don’t have to worry about posting too many blitzes or participating in blog tours. No, you don’t have to worry about your blog being yanked off the internet because someone (cough, Blogger/Google) decided it was inappropriate or because it was violating the terms of agreement. Yes, you can embed things like Rafflecopter unlike cough, WordPress.com.

Think of it like you’re renting a space out to store your blog. It’s kind of like renting an apartment. You pay the landlord (the hosting company) for a space to live and store your stuff (to host your blog). Hosting your blog on Blogger or WordPress.com is more like sharing an apartment (server) with your boyfriend (Blogger or WordPress.com) that he pays for. Everything is fine when your relationship is all hugs and kisses. But when things start to go south and you guys go splitsville, that’s when you are in trouble. Technically, the boyfriend has the right to kick you (and your stuff) out of the apartment because its his and not yours. But if you were the one renting, you wouldn’t be in that position.

Con

Once you start paying a company to host your blog on their server so you can use WordPress.org, you have to keep paying them. If you stop paying your host, you need to start paying another. That’s the only way you can insure that you keep your content online. If you stop paying, they have the right to pull your stuff off their server, and thus off the internet. Just like if you stop paying your landlord, he/she has the right to evict you from the apartment. So if you want to take a hiatus, you still have to pay the hosting company. Just like if you go on vacation, you still have to pay the landlord.

I think this is the most annoying aspect for me. Paying isn’t really a problem for me – I just sacrifice some of my book buying money to host the blog, but it bothers me when I feel like I’m wasting money. And I feel like I’m wasting money when I take hiatus. Life (cough, school and college preparation) gets in the way of everything and blogging is no exception. There are a lot of times when I feel pressured to post something because it feels like I’m just throwing away $8 if I decide to take a hiatus for a month.

Pro

Plugins! Plugins, plugins, plugins. What would I do without plugins. If I’m being honest, the idea of being able to use plugins like the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin was one of the major reasons why I decided to switch from Blogger to WordPress. Plugins just make life so much easier and make the process of writing posts (and yucky reviews) go so much faster.

Let’s Recap

Pros and Cons of WordPress.org
Pros Cons
Less restrictions Costs money
Plugins! You have to keep paying, even when you’re on hiatus

NOTE: This is purely based on my experience (and knowledge) of self hosted WordPress so far. Like I mentioned earlier, I really haven’t been using WordPress for that long, less than a year.

What do you think?
Is there something you would add?

Emily

Tags:


Leave a Reply to Emz Chang Cancel reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started. :)

11 responses to “Thoughtful – The Pros and Cons of Self Hosted WordPress

    • Yes and no. Domains are much cheaper (usually $5-10 per YEAR) but you do have to keep paying to keep a hold on your domain. Also, buying a domain is really just buying the URL so it won’t give you the same benefits of buying hosting (like the ability to use plugins or having less restrictions). I think. Sorry, I don’t really know a ton about this so I can’t really help you that much.

      Thanks for stopping by Gracie! 🙂

    • Since Emz said she wasn’t totally sure, hopefully I can help you out. 🙂

      WordPress.com uses the same platform as self-hosted WordPress.org. They both use a software (blogging platform) called “WordPress”.

      But when you’re on WordPress.com, you’re blogging for free. The company Automattic (owner of WordPress.com) is hosting your content on their servers and is not charging you for it. Since it’s their server and not your server, they own it and they’re in charge of it. That’s why they can shut down your blog whenever they want and for no reason.

      Now, since WordPress.com is a free platform, they strip a way some of the features on the WordPress platform in order to make it safer for a free environment. Examples of features they remove are:

      1. The ability to use custom themes, or themes that are available in the WordPress.org repository.

      2. The ability to use plugins. You can only use whatever plugins they have added for you. You do not have access to the huge range of free and paid plugins.

      3. The ability to use JavaScript code.

      Now, on the other hand, if you use self-hosted WordPress.org, you pay for your own hosting. That means YOU are in control and YOU own your content. You install the full WordPress blogging platform on that hosting space. There are no restrictions or features stripped away.

      You can kind of think of it like renting a locker.

      If you put your stuff in a friend’s locker, it’s THEIR locker. They can do whatever they want with it. They can decide that your stuff is ONLY allowed on the bottom shelf. You’re not allowed to put your stuff on the top shelf because that’s theirs only. And if they decide that they don’t want your stuff in there anymore, they can just take it out and throw it on the floor. It’s their locker and their rules.

      But if you rent your own locker, you have so many more rights and more freedom. You can use all the space that’s available. There are no shelf restrictions. And as long as you make your payments, the locker company isn’t going to suddenly kick you out whenever they feel like it. You have a paid agreement with them and they want to keep your business.

      Buying a domain name on free WordPress.com doesn’t change any of this. You’re still using their server for free, you’ve just purchased a custom name. Your content is being stored on WordPress.com—that hasn’t changed. You’ve just changed what the URL looks like.

      So if you want the full benefits of WordPress, you have to pay for a custom domain name AND you have to pay to rent the hosting space.

      I hope that helps! This comment ended up being so much longer than I intended. O_O

  1. Emz, Great info! Thx for posting! I tried book blogger plug in and didn’t like it too much maybe I should try it again 🙂 the only thing I’d add to your post… Widgets, widgets, widgets :):):) I’m addicted to them 🙂

      • Hi Ashley! Thanks a lot for your reply. Let me start by saying you are one of my favorite bloggers around! Loooove your content (especially the tips for bloggers) your book blogging community and your designs. Getting one of your templates and working with you to make my blog as pretty as the ones you’ve made is in my wish list. I think I mispoke when I said “I didn’t like it” I should have said “I wasn’t ready for it” I spent a lot of time figuring it out so I moved to other things I needed to get done with the blig BUT I thought it was really me 😉 thats why I said to Emz I’d try it again. and I will! Thx again for replying! Great customer approach:)

        • Thanks so much for saying that, Daniela. 🙂 I’m so glad you like my blog!

          If you have any questions about the plugin, please feel free to get in touch with me. I offer free support if you purchase the plugin, and part of that means helping you figure it out if you’re confused or can’t get it working.

          You can fill out a support ticket here if you want me to help you figure it out or if you have any questions: Submit a Ticket.

          I also have some documentation that explains part of the set up process, etc. Docs: Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin.

          Have a great day!!

  2. This is a wonderful comparison post! I’m a huuuuge fan of WordPress and I honestly can’t imagine using any other platform.

    I know it can suck to feel like you’re wasting money if you ever take a hiatus. It totally makes sense from a business standpoint (they can’t rent out their space to you if you’re not paying them), but you’re right that it can feel like a waste.

    I think it’s okay to let a month slide, but if it gets to be longer than that you probably won’t want to have to keep paying! Luckily, you don’t have to lose all your blog content. You can save copies of all your files and your database then cancel your hosting. Then, if you decide to come back in the future, you can re-install your site using your backups.

    It’s kind of a technical process and there are a lot of steps, but at least if you have those backups saved you could hire someone to do it or try to figure it out yourself.

    Just one more reason why backing up is very important! 🙂

    Have fun with WordPress and I’m so glad to see you using and loving the Tweak Me theme and UBB plugin!