When setting up a blog – or growing an existing blog – the question of whether to host or have your blog hosted for you often arises. The host is the infrastructure for your blog. You can choose to have a blogging service host your blog for you, or you can pay to host your blog on someone else’s web server. Each option has advantages and disadvantages as shown below.
Hosted vs. self-hosted
A hosted blog is an inexpensive way to get started quickly. A hosted blog is stored on the servers of the blog platform. Blog platforms such as WordPress and Blogger (now owned by Google) offer free sign up. There are a number of pros, but there are also a few drawbacks to a hosted blog.
Hosted Pro’s and Con’s
- Sign up is Free, offering up to 3GB of blog space on WordPress and few limits on Blogger (they limit you to 1GB of photos).
- Getting started is quick.
- The host handles automatic backups of your blog
- The blog host handles software upgrades automatically for you
- The host handles spam filtering.
- The host handles security issues.
- Customization is limited to default themes offered by host
- Most hosts won’t allow you to add plugins
- With the exception of Blogger, you can’t use Adsense
- Most hosted blogs won’t allow features such as shopping carts
- You can’t use Google Analytics (except for Blogger)
- You can move your blog content, but you don’t own it – the host can remove it at anytime or drop support for your blog platform
Self-hosted blogs are not free, but if you like to be in control, this may be an option for you.
Self-Hosted Pro’s and Con’s
- You own your blog
- Complete control over your blog.
- Ability to upload custom themes and plugins.
- No need to know web design or coding, but if you do, you can completely overhaul the look of your site.
- Access to custom analytics and tracking tools
- Freedom to monetize your blog as you see fit
- You’ll need to find a hosting package.
- You are responsible for backups and security.
- You are responsible for upgrading your software when the blogging platform announces updates.
- Costs for hosting range from $3 to $7 per month or more depending on the size and traffic levels of your blog.
The Self-Hosted Blog
Blogger and WordPress.com users have a host built into their platforms and only need to sign up for an account to begin setting up a blog. However, if you’ve decided to host your own blog, the next step in building your own soapbox is to find a host. Here are a few popular and reliable hosting providers:
With hosting starting at $3.99 for up to 100GB of disk space and unlimited bandwidth (traffic), GoDaddy offers excellent support by email or by phone. They also offer free, one-click installation of WordPress and several other blog platforms. You can also register and park a domain with them.
I’ve used Little Oak for hosting websites and my blog for over five years. If you’re a Mac user (and even if you’re not), Little Oak is a great place to park your website or blog. They also offer easy installation of WordPress (and a few other blog platforms). Hosting starts at $80/year, and you can register domains through their site. They do offer Live Chat tech support, as well as support by email.
Offering support by phone or email, Blue Host is another popular web host. As with GoDaddy and Little Oak, you can use their control panel to quickly and easily install your WordPress blog. Hosting starts at $4.95 per month.
Starting at $3.95/ month, Dream Host offers one-click WordPress installation and tech support by email.
These are just a few of the available hosting options, and all of those offer quick and easy installation of your WordPress blog – a process I’ll cover in the next post.