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

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  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    I had a wordpress.com blog… Bought my domain through them… Then realized that’s not SELF HOSTING… And I couldn’t get all the cool widgets, etc… And it was just insanely hard to figure out. Well I just recently switch to self hosting as well as redid my whole layout for my web site and BAM, I am SOOOOO much happier now as are my readers!! :) Wahoo to self hosting! It took me a year, but it’s worth it. I also hired someone to transfer everything for me because I DO NOT TRUST MYSELF ONE BIT! LOL!

  3. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta says:

    I started with blogger. I bought my own domain name while still there. I moved to wordpress.com, but found it very restrictive. No ads are allowed and there are a lot of limits to what you can do with the look of your site. I became self-hosted (using wordpress.org) about a year and a half ago. It is simply the best way to go. I love the creativity that I have with my blog.

    Thanks for the tips. Very helpful for those who are not sure which way to go.

  4. Ericka @ The Sweet Life says:

    Well, I use blogger but easily bought my own domain name (sweetlifeericka.com) and plugged something in so the original address (erickaandersen.blogspot.com) just transfers over if anyone goes there and I only use sweetlifeericka.com on business cards, when telling people, etc. So…does that mean I am self hosted? I have no idea! All I know is I need the fastest, easiest thing and what I have is just that.

  5. Beth @ Miles and Trials says:

    I started off being self hosted with Bluehost so I could have my own URL. I am by no means technically savvy so it has been a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure somethings out, but am kind of amazed with myself for getting this far!

  6. Heidi Nicole says:

    I self host and I did it for the flexibility it gave me – being able to add plugins to send emails to commenters when there are replies was a huge part of it. Although, if you just want your own domain name that is totally possible too. I didn’t like the look of runaroundaroo.WORDPRESS.com and if I hadn’t wanted the added plugin flexibility I would have just bought my domain and redirected through wordpress.com – a whole lot cheaper and still made me look/sound cool!

  7. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries says:

    I switched over to self hosted fairly quickly too. I blogged with WordPress for a few months to see if it’s something that I truly wanted to do, and by the end of those few months, I had no doubt in my mind. I didn’t like the money I had to fork over at first, but it’s been so worth it in the end!

  8. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More says:

    I made this the longest drawn out process ever: I started with Blogger, moved to WordPress.com, bought talkless-saymore.com but stay hosted by WordPress.com, THEN just a couple months ago moved to being self hosted…could I have made it any more complicated? ;)

  9. Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian says:

    I moved to self-hosted after about 6 months on WordPress hosting. I luckily have a computer programer friend who did the move for me, making it much more simple and painless. I highly suggest reaching out to your personal network for computer help or your blogging network – someone always knows someone who can help with technical things. Also, bluehost has been a dream so far.

  10. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning says:

    Very informative, Lindsay- wish I had seen a post like this a year ago!
    I bought my domain name through GoDaddy and am hosted through Bluehost and POST through WordPress. It was SO confusing to figure out, but now I think I’ve got it down. God forbid something doesn’t work though- I wouldn’t even know where to look!

  11. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    Hey Lindsay! Just discovered your blog and I love it! You’ve got yourself a new subscriber :D

    I recently just moved my blog over to self-hosted so that I could have more control over it, and it was a paaaaaain. I had a little bit of experience with all the html and css stuff so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, but I was rusty and the process had me wanting to throw my computer off the balcony. That being said, I’d never go back to being hosted… I’d rather have all the control and what not, even if I have to rip out a few hairs to get things the way I want :)

  12. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says:

    I’m self-hosted through Bluehost (and have been from the beginning because of recommendations by other bloggerrs) but using a WordPress template. Seeing as I didn’t know what a widget was, or the definitions of HTML, CSS, or even the true meaning of code before I started, I figure I’m doing alright. Like Katie, I can’t afford to have anyone modify things for me at the moment. But I’ve arranged things to my liking so far and am trying to learn how to update the changes I want to put in myself. To me, having a pretty site is awesome, but learning how to do it and executing the changes myself make it so much more fun!! :)

  13. Cait @ Beyond Bananas says:

    I followed a path similar to yours – wordpress hosted to wordpress self hosted. THe issue that I have had is that some people cannot access my blog – as it is identified as malware. I suppose this is what you are referring to above. I tried to fix it.. and then just got tired of putting in the effort to figure it out – because I really had NO idea what I was doing. It can certainly be frustrating!

  14. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    I just became self hosted and it was (is) definitely a pain . Granted I’m doing everything myself since I can’t afford to hire anyone. It’s definitely taking a lot of time and patience to figure things out, my next goal is to figure out how to back up my site!

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