Using Free WordPress Blogs Or Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs
A self-hosted WordPress blog is your own blog on your own domain with your own hosting or paid hosting account upon which you install the WordPress software. WordPress becomes the software to manage your site and your blog. You can download the software for free from WordPress.org. However, many hosting companies today have a push button installation available via Fantastico Deluxe or Simple Scripts.
So on to the question at hand: which is better for you, the free WordPress blog or the self-hosted WordPress installation?
Free WordPress Blog Advantages and Drawbacks
- setup is free
- easy to install and set up (software install is already done for you by WordPress)
- no worry system maintenance (setup, upgrades, backups, security are all done by WordPress)
- reliable servers (hosted on WordPress.com servers)
- possible extra traffic being a part of the WordPress.com community
- non-WordPress provided themes are allowed
- cannot change/update any php code (useful for additional features you may want to include)
- cannot upload any plugins. The WordPress plugin community is huge by the way
- no ad placements allowed. In fact, WordPress will place their own ads on your blog
- Blog will still be under the WordPress brand
- no true ownership of content. Site is still a WordPress site
WordPress Self-Hosted Blog Advantages and Drawbacks
- can upload custom made and third party WordPress themes. There are thousands of third party themes you can choose from or you can make a custom one.
- can edit php code if you so desire. There are many php code examples and plugins available.
- can add plugins! The WordPress and PHP development community is huge and you can get a plugin for just about anything including security, backups, marketing, and traffic generation
- as you can edit the code and themes, you can add your own ad placements and ad monetization. This is a huge reason people blog in the first place is to earn money through ad placements
- your own brand/domain name
- ftp access to your site
- you need to install WordPress on your own. This has become much easier, though, as many hosting accounts now offer push button installation of WordPress.
- costs involved to setup. You have to pay domain registrar fees which is about $15 a year. Hosting fees can be $5 to $10 a month.
- you need to do your own site maintenance including spam control, security, and backups for example. There are plugins to help you but it is a process you still need to do on your own
- make sure and find reliable servers. You don’t want the website to load at a slow speed or crashes to cause problem to your site. Most hosting companies these days to stay competitive offer some pretty good server reliability
In summary, if you want just the most basic blogging features of the traditional blogging sense, a free blog is for you. If you plan to monetize it even with AdSense, then you will want a self-hosted paid blog. Moreover, if you want to add your own custom look and feel, you will want a self-hosted paid blog. You also have access to many free WordPress themes as well.
And finally the world of plugins is the big kicker. Think about apps for the iPhone. There is a quote that whatever you want,.there is an app for that.. Plugins are much the same from security to SEO to driving traffic to membership sites to just about anything.
That is why in most situations, I recommend a self-hosted paid blog, though again there are still many situations where the free WordPress blog will be helpful as well! So now it’s just up to you to go through the points and figure out which is best for you! Have fun!