Which is better for WordPress -Hosted or self-hosted?

I’ve hosted my blog on my own server since 2004. I’ve tried a number of other blogging platforms (Typepad, Tumblr, etc.), but I like the features and customization available with themes and plug-ins with a self-hosted site. (I know I’ve already lost most of you, but for you blogging nerds, hang in there.)

I convinced Aaronwordpress-logo.jpg last year to move from Blogger to WordPress.com, and he has shared with me that it’s been a great transition – especially bringing added interaction (blog comments) and more followers than he had over on Blogger.

Then I stumbled across this article from 2013 which says:

Self hosties are missing out on the community side of wordpress. Sure, we’ve got our own thing going on, and we tap into communities like facebook, twitter and DISQUS, but we don’t seem to have any way of readily tapping into the rich and fascinating community over on the hosted side of the fence.

It’s got me thinking.. should I move my blog to WordPress.com? I can still use my URL of journeyguy.com and just forward it there.

Thoughts?

On this day...

4 comments

  1. Aaron says:
    Do it! I’ve made so many friends through blogging with WordPress. In fact, I was asked to be one guy’s best man when he gets married in August. And we’ve never even met face to face.
    1. Jeff says:
      That is amazing! Do you have a comparison of your stats before and after? And would you recommend just importing a blog or reposting entries?
  2. Andrew says:
    I’ve been asked that question before and here’s 4 things I would consider…

    First step, you have to know their ad policy. This can be a deal breaker for many thinking it’s free. Know that your visitors may see ads if you as the owner don’t get at least their personal (currently $3/mo) service. That includes other features (like a custom domain and more storage) but without it you have to know ads may be shown you don’t control, so know the ad policy https://en.support.wordpress.com/no-ads/

    Second, you have limited theme and plugin options, so you have to be good with that. It’s easy enough to get a free account and test that out to see if it has enough to make you happy.

    Third is maintenance. It’s one less thing to do which is nice, and if you do pay them for anything (see above) then you get pretty good support from what I hear.

    Last is what you bring up here, which is traffic. Do you like the idea of reading WordPress.com to find new blogs? If so, your content may appeal to others like you. If you blog about the same thing as a lot of others there, how can you stand out? Don’t expect a magic increase right away but know it’s there if you work at it. The Jetpack plugin offers some of this, so check into that and see if it’s enough or if you want what only WordPress.com provides.

    To me it usually comes down to two things… control and intention. Are you a micro-manager or control freak about every piece of your site, or can you channel your inner Elsa and “Let It Go” and just focus on one thing, the content? For intention, you have to identify the purpose of your blog/site … is it more about personal branding or more about building a community? If it’s about you or your brand, you probably want the control of self hosting, but if you want to focus on building a micro-community around your content, then you may have more success doing that as part of a bigger community.

    If you take the plunge, I know they have support that will help you go from WordPress-hosted to self-hosted so I’d guess they can help you get your content back to them. If you do go with Personal or higher https://wordpress.com/pricing/ then you can get a custom domain so you can use journeyguy and URLs and everything should stay the same (plus you get the no ads) if you can and want to migrate existing content to them.

    Long, but I ope it helps you or someone else down the road!

    1. Jeff says:
      Andrew, great stuff here. Thanks so much for bringing up the ads! It’s something I haven’t thought about. $36/annually is probably worth eliminating ads, but it stinks to think about having to pay to NOT get something rather than TO get something (everything else I can already do on my self-hosted blog).

      I do like the idea of focusing on content instead of maintenance and design. On the other hand.. 😉 I love design. So I’m not sure if I can turn loose of that.

      However, the biggest thing for me is if going to WordPress.com would increase traffic and community.

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