the business of blogging – self hosted vs. hosted

September 11, 2012 in Blog, Popular by lindsaymwright

First, I want to apologize to anyone who tried to come to my site yesterday while it was down (PLEASE go back and read yesterday’s post – there’s a fitmixer giveaway!!)

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Actually, you may have noticed that MANY of your favorite blogs were down yesterday, one estimate put it at 48 million sites!  I’d like to thank GoDaddy for that.  Umm…guys, might I suggest something like Norton for keeping hackers out (GoDaddy and everybody else!)  Instead of wasting my time, reading and commenting on my friend’s blogs, I was forced to write this post and get some laundry folded.  Eh – it happens.

I’ve actually been wanting to write a little series for quite sometime about the BUSINESS OF BLOGGING.

What it looks like from the inside.  Numbers.  Advertisements.  Pageviews.  Writing styles.

All of that.

I find this industry SO interesting, especially as more and more companies are seeing bloggers as a great advertising source!

Yesterday’s little blog crash made me think about just one aspect of blogging:  SELF HOSTING vs. HOSTED.

First let me define these terms:

When you are self hosted, you rent space from a hosting company and install a blog application (for me WordPress) in this space and store all your own content.

When you are hosted, you simply post to a company’s server (such as Blogger or WordPress) and your files are kept there.

See the difference?

I started out as a hosted blog with WordPress.com.  My URL was www.lindsayslist.wordpress.com.  This was back when the only readers were my mom and Janetha.

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Just for giggles

But why would I want to be self hosted??

According to Spyres, self hosting with Wordress.org is the way to go!

PROS:

Complete control and flexibility.
You can do whatever you want with your website. Hack the WordPress code, upload files to your web space, rearrange folders however you want, and basically just make your website installation as flexible as you want. And since WordPress is open source, there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of themes and counting that are created for it. Ones that drastically alter the appearance of your website, from a magazine style to a membership forum-type place to a e-commerce online store to a portfolio to anything else you can imagine.

Maximum extensions via plugins.
WordPress, being open source, has a massive developer community, perhaps the largest of any CMS. As a result, you have thousands upon thousands of plugins—most free—that you can use to extend your website. Add a shopping cart, membership option, and whatever else. Cheesy but true: if you can dream it, chances are you can realize it with WordPress + some plugins.

Pure autonomy.
Since the WordPress installation is self-hosted, it’s your own. You don’t rely on any company’s service or policies. With the exception of your hosting provider’s rules (nothing illegal, no porn, etc.) you can pretty much do whatever you want with your website and know that it’ll stay up indefinitely. When you use some company’s solution, while it’s unlikely that anything bad will happen (lest a user revolt happens), there’s always the chance that there could be a service or policy change that you’re not happy with.

CONS:

Requires more time and work to maintain.
Since your WordPress installation is self-hosted, you have to manually update and maintain it (if something goes wrong or it’s not performing as fast as it can ex. installation of a caching solution to minimize bandwidth usage and speed up performance). No company or service is going to do it for you for free. So you need to take time out of your day to update to the latest version – which, admittedly, is getting simpler and faster. The same goes for all the plugins you use. And due to human error and/or laziness to update, this leads into…

Greater security risk.
Malware (malicious software) targets self-hosted websites because it has potentially the lowest security. If you neglect updating to the latest version of WordPress, you can potentially expose yourself to malware. Then you have to spend even more time and energy fixing the problem or backing up and re-installing WordPress.

Most expensive.
Services that are hosted by a company are often offered at a flat-rate. Usually, you pay X dollars a month whether you get 1 visitor or 1 million. That’s not the case with most hosting providers – you have a bandwidth or traffic limit. Translation: as your website traffic grows, so does your bill. You’ll need to upgrade to a larger hosting plan, or move to a dedicated server, or whatever else to accommodate your larger traffic (admittedly, a good problem to have of course). And that makes it the most expensive option at hundreds of dollars a month for bigger sites.

For me, the change was a no brainer.  I actually moved QUITE fast, in that I started blogging in July and bought lindsayslist.co in late August!!!  Must’ve known it would stick!

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So that’s the run down on the difference between self hosted and hosted blogs.  I HIGHLY suggest that if you’re serious about blogging and want to be noticed, think about buying your own domain name and dropping the wordpress.com or blogspot.com from your URL!  It might seem like a trivial thing, but it makes a big difference!

QUESTION:  Are you self hosted?  Any perks/troubles that you’ve run into?

splendid…lindsay