Free WordPress Versus Self-Hosted WordPress

wordpressorg-vs-wordpresscom

WordPress blogging platform is divided into two broad categories – free WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WordPress blogs. Self-hosted WordPress blogging platform needs you to manually install and host the WordPress software whereas WordPress.com blogging platform is managed by WordPress developer professionals. All the technical stuff is handled by the professionals and you just need to make some broad configurations to start and run your blog.

 

WordPress.com Blogs

wordpress_com

This is the type of blog you need to create if you are new to blogging and just want to take a trial of blogging to know whether it suits you or not. It is really easy to set up and you are ready to go online within minutes. You will also be provided a free sub-domain i.e. xxxx.wordpress.com where xxxx is chosen by you and depends on availability. You can also use your own custom domain by paying a fee.

Advantages:

  1. Free – Creating a hosted WordPress blog is absolutely free until you need visual customisation or more space. You don’t need to pay for hosting charges or anything until you need more space, theme customization or any customization which is not available by default on WordPress hosted platform.
  2. Easy to set up – You just need to create an account, create a WordPress blog, choose a name which will be your sub domain, choose a template and a couple of things more. You can do this without any technical knowledge. It only takes a maximum of 10 minutes.
  3. Easy to use – WordPress user dashboard is same in both hosted and self-hosted blog but there is no hassle of installing themes and plugins and uploading pictures in hosted blogs.
  4. Automatic update – WordPress is updated automatically with the new release of software and saves you from any kind of hassles in updating. This means you don’t stand any risk of damaging your blog in the process of updating it.
  5. Traffic – WordPress is already a hosted website and receives lot of traffic. It means that your blog is already linked to such a famous and big website that receiving traffic is for sure. But you are not going to receive loads of traffic. It’s just a little launch for your blog and nothing else. For constant traffic you need to optimize your blog.

Disadvantages:

  1. Design limitations – This is a big problem if you need to create a professional and unique looking blog because the theme is not customizable and all the blogs look somewhat similar. But you can purchase an upgrade to customize the stylesheet of the theme.
  2. Configuration limitations – Hosted WordPress blog provides less configuration that can be related to template/theme and logo/header and plugins. You can only choose from some themes provided by WordPress. You cannot add your own plugins and hence you cannot enhance your blog’s compatibility and flexibility with thousands of freely available plugins.
  3. Domain limitations – For a professional blog a suitable domain is needed. Without a domain a blog cannot be considered complete. With hosted WordPress what you can only get is a sub-domain which is longer and you don’t even own it but the fact is that it is free.
  4. Revenue limitations – The fact that your blog is not completely owned by you means that you don’t have complete freedom on earning revenue from your blog. You cannot display advertisements although you can introduce affiliate links in your post which will be the only way you can earn from your blog. You don’t have permission to show any of Yahoo, Adsense, Chitika or TextLinkAds networks’ ads.

Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs

wordpress_org

This is the type of blog where you need to need to download, install and host the free WordPress software yourself. This blog will have its own domain, hosting and all the responsibilities for the development and upgrading will lie on your shoulders. Although you will be provided support for your hosting service by your host provider but you will not get any support regarding WordPress from them. For WordPress related support you can visit codex.wordpress.org. But this is not the case with specialised WordPress hosts. For instance, WPWebHost provides technical support for WordPress also.

Advantages:

  1. Domain – You can choose the right domain for you. Benefits of an owned domain are that it becomes easy to remember, it gives a professional and unique touch and it is brandable.
  2. Customization – Self-hosted blogs are 100% customizable. You have to make all the choices from themes to functionality. For this you don’t need to know everything, you can hire an expert for you to do so. You get complete freedom on your blog and can customize your blog according to your niche. This is what makes your blog different from others.
  3. Hosting – Although you need to pay for hosting and domain, but you will have complete freedom over choosing the storage limits and bandwidth limits which you don’t have over hosted blogs. You can choose a suitable hosting service and plan.
  4. Revenue – These days blogs are considered a source of income. On hosted blog you don’t have permission to display any kind of advertisement like Adsense, Yahoo, and Chitika etc. This can fetch you huge revenue. With the self-hosted blog you can show advertisements, introduce affiliate links and write paid reviews. Everything you earn is going in your pocket. No one is earning a share unless you create a blog in partnership. With service by some hosting providers you also receive advertisement credits. This can fetch you a considerable amount of traffic for free.

Disadvantages:

  1. Difficult to set up – Self-hosted blogs are not as easy to set up as hosted blogs and you need some technical knowledge to upload files to the server and run manual installation. However you can opt for a specialized WordPress host such as WPWebHost which has one click WordPress installer, which you can complete the installation easily less than a minute.
  2. Difficult to update – WordPress is a famous blogging platform and constantly goes through development. Hosted blogs get updated automatically with the update of WordPress but you need to manually update the self-hosted blog with the new release. If you don’t follow the steps carefully you might also end up messing your blog.
  3. Cost – WordPress is available as a free download but the maintenance cost needs to be paid like domain costs and hosting costs. The cost depends on what type of hosting and domain you choose. If you need a professional blog then you will need a professional and unique theme. For that you need to buy a theme or hire a designer which you will need to pay for.
  4. Issues – Different hosts have different quality. WordPress is a great application and faces problems very less often. But it is common to see self-hosted WordPress sites down due to incompatibility of server with WordPress or any other hosting related reasons. So if you are serious about your WordPress blog, you are strongly recommended to choose a good webhost who specifically tailors made its hosting for WordPress.

Conclusion

If you need a professional blog for your company, your own profile or you want to earn through your blog then you must go for a self-hosted blog. When your blog expands you have the flexibility in your blog to suit your needs. It will be best if you choose a hosting company that supports one click WordPress install. It will make half of the process easier.

If you think of creating a personal blog for fun, trial, just for family and friends or if you don’t have time to deal with the complexities of self-hosted blog, then hosted blog is the best option for you. They take a maximum of 10 minutes to set up. Although they might not have the world class features and restrict your income, they are enough for a small blog.

About the Author
Vikas Vikas
He is a creative person with multiple talents—WordPress, blogging, Social Media, SEO, marathon running, cooking, fitness,, Sauna (Finland) and Political Science, to name a few. He lives in New Delhi, India with his wife.

25 thoughts on “Free WordPress Versus Self-Hosted WordPress

  1. gagaukon - December 24, 2009 at 10:25 am

    i read this post thru my mobile and currently switching my free blogger blog to wordpress seld hosted. this should be a fun time

  2. Vikas Gupta - December 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Here are my observations on this post.

    1. The author says: “With hosted WordPress what you can only get is a sub-domain which is longer and you don’t even own it but the fact is that it is free.” This is not true. You can buy a domain mapping option and direct your free WP blog to that custom domain and your blog address will no more be a subdomain of WordPress (the wordpress.com TOS continues to apply despite the custom domain). It costs 10 dollars only per annum (the writer has mentioned this in the beginning and still goes on to say that it will always be a subdomain). Also it is not very advisable to call the free WP blog as hosted blog; In WP lingo it is free WordPress blog vs self-hosted blog or wordpress.com blog vs wordpress.org blog (the writer mentions this in the beginning though).

    2. The author writes about the free WP blogs: “You cannot display advertisements although you can introduce affiliate links in your post which will be the only way you can earn from your blog.” 😮

    This not very correct. The WP TOS bans any ads in any form though they tolerate Amazon affiliate links. This is what a WP staff has written in the forums:

    Adsense and ads in general aren’t allowed and won’t work on WordPress.com blogs.

    There are some good ways to make money from your WordPress.com blog, but advertising isn’t one of them. (Few blogs make any significant profit from ads anyway). Some examples:

    * Write a book, and publish portions of it on your blog (with your publisher’s permission)
    * Sell stuff you made yourself on Etsy, Redbubble or a similar site
    * Write original and substantial book reviews and include Amazon affiliate links

    Things not to do on WordPress.com:

    * Copy other people’s stuff and use it to post affiliate links
    * Ads, banner ads, get rich quick links, $$$ style affiliate links
    * Casino, porn, traffic booster, pay-per-x sponsored/affiliate links
    * Junk that has no purpose other than to try to get people to click on affiliate links

    3. In the advantages of WordPress.com blog the author writes: “But you are not going to receive loads of traffic. It’s just a little launch for your blog and nothing else. For constant traffic you need to optimize your blog.” Isn’t this true of all blogs: free blogs or self-hosted blogs?! This statement is prejudiced against the free wordpress blogs as if self-hosted ones get a lot of traffic by default (and without optimization). The author has not mentioned the wordpress.com global tags pages which send you a lot of traffic. Free wordpress.com blogs have many ‘world-class features’ (in fact many advanced WP options are first introduced on the free wordpress and then later introduced in the WP software).

    P.S.: I was with free wordpress.com since Jan 2009 and have recently moved to self-hosting.

    3. The greatest disadvantage for a self-hosted blog is backup and security issues (hacking tension).

  3. bloggerspeed - December 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Yeah, self-hosted blog is the only choice if you are serious about blogging. Every professional blogger knows.

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  5. deteksi - December 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    yes i agreed with your reason for choosing free wordpress or self-hosted wordpress..

    it’s all depending on the objective of creating a wordpress blog

  6. Kenn Chin - December 27, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Self hosted WordPress is the way to go. You need to build your own brand and have total control in the long term, although you don’t realise it initially.

  7. Evon
    Navjot Singh - December 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    One more observation – You have written that Self hosted blogs are difficult to install and update – infact..you have quoted it completely wrong. The Famous 5 minute install does not even take 5 minutes. Moreover there is huge community support and some people also help install WP for you for free. So installing is not a problem anymore.

    Regarding Update, WP provides AutoUpdate which is completely safe and easy.

    The only problem you might face is checking compatibility of themes and plugins with each update.

  8. Garf1eld - December 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Just syok syok browsing around ppl’s blog. So just to say hi and let you know I got come here before. 😛

  9. Evon
    NSK Punk - December 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    @Vikas Gupta
    Thanks Vikas, I just loved to see you clarify the points and furthermore telling the errors. But I have some clarifications for your comment.
    1. I’ve written on the free wordpress blog as a blog with default options enabled and considering that no upgrade has been bought yet. And according to that what you get is a free sub-domain. And I’ve mentioned that you can pay extra fee for your custom domain.
    2. By affiliate links I meant Amazon affiliate links and the affiliate links of your own products and paid reviews too. Sorry, I didn’t mention it properly.
    3. I’ve written that on free wordpress blog you get some free traffic as your website is already linked to wordpress and its tagging system. As this is mentioined in the advantages of “free wordpress blog”, it means it is contrary to the “hosted wordpress blog”. My point was receiving free traffic and not the amount of traffic. This point shows that in terms of free traffic, free wordpress blog is a better choice. It’s just how you interpret the statement.

    @Navjot Singh
    Thanks to you Navjot too for pointing out that observation. But I’ve written this post with newcomers in mind. For newcomers it’s a bit difficult installation. For professional, obviously, it’s an easy task. And if it had been an easy task why would I have mentioned that. And furthermore I’ve mentioned one click install too which means installing on some hosts is easy too. But thanks anyway. This helped me clarify the points and people will not interpret them wrong if they read this comment. Thanks a lot to both of you. God bless you.

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  12. Epictrafficsystemsbonus - June 9, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I am a big fan of self hostet wordpress blogs and there is a good reason fore that. You have the complete freedom over you’re blog and the power to change everything on it. You actualy own that blog and domain and you can’t get shut down by wordpress. It is more saver in the longterm especialy if you want to keep you’re blog fore years to come. A free wordpress blog is more a short term ore backlink strategie, that cane help you support you’re main self hosted blog, but everybody who is seriouse about his business, should invest in a domain and get his blog selfhosted.
    Eric Ojukwu

  13. SEO blogger - June 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

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  14. James Grissom - June 30, 2010 at 8:30 am

    It is going to be free for starters to use free hosting.

    And if you decied to go world favous you will need to pay for hosting.

    WordPress hosting is for those who are not willing to spend 10 minutes to work throu some technical stuff. That is why it is more expensive.

  15. Free Blogger Template - July 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Free blog hosting is the best when we start a business, but it must bee premium domain and hosting when it growth more.

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