One of the decisions you’ll have to make when starting a blog is whether to use a hosted or self-hosted platform. Two of the most popular blogging content management systems (CMS) — WordPress and Blogger — offer both of these options. While many beginners automatically assume hosted is the best option, spending the extra time and resources to set up a self-hosted blog will prove far more beneficial in the long run.
You can always tell if a blog is hosted or self-hosted by looking at its domain name. Hosted blogs are restricted to subdomains, such as yoursite.wordpress.com or yoursite.blogger.com. Why is this a problem? Well, aside from the fact that it’s search engine-unfriendly, visitors will have a difficult time remembering your blog’s URL. If a visitor wanted to return to your site in the future, he or she would have to type in “yoursite.wordpress.com” into their web browser. Self-hosted blogs, on the other hand, give you full control over your domain name.
Another reason why self-hosted blogs are better is because they grant you file transfer protocol (FTP) access. Hosted blogs are often stored on servers with thousands of other blogs. To maintain a secure environment, the host (e.g. WordPress or Blogger) prevents direct FTP access. This is a huge disadvantage, at you’re forced to use plugins and other tools to download and upload media.
More Themes and Plugins
Still not convinced that self-hosted blogs are better? With hosted blogs, you are restricted to using a select number of plugins and themes. Granted, many blogging platforms allow users to buy additional plugins and themes, but it’s still only a fraction of the total amount available. This is in stark contrast to self-hosted blogs, which gives you unlimited freedom to use any third-party plugin or theme.
Run Your Own Ads
Want to generate revenue by displaying ads on your blog? This is typically prohibited with hosted blogs. However, self-hosted blogs give you the freedom to display anything you want, including ads and banners.
Disadvantages of Self-Hosted Blogs
The only real downside to self-hosted blogs is the increased cost. While the actual core WordPress files are free, you’ll have to pay for a web hosting service and domain name. The good news, however, is that both of these items are relatively inexpensive, with web hosting costing as little as $5-$10/month, and a “.com” domain name costing just $10/year.
Is your blog hosted or self-hosted? Let us know in the comments section below1