Self-Hosted Blogging Platforms
My interest in blogging spiked in 2008, while I was in the Marine Corps. I read a blog post that explained the process one would have to take to set up a blog and start making money online. Before I read this blog post I had no concept of how powerful blog platforms really are. I had no idea that it was possible to turn a blog into a business model.
I immediately began searching for more information about starting a blog. I had questions like:
- What blogging platforms are available?
- How do I setup a blog?
- Is it better to pay for hosting and setup my own blog, or set up an account with a free blogging platform?
I quickly came across a blog platform called WordPress, and it changed my life forever. WordPress offers two main strategies to start a blog. You can either start up a free account on their server or download the software and install it yourself. So many bloggers use WordPress. So it was an obvious decision for me to go with their software. If so many people before me speak so highly of it, then they must be doing great things.
But which path did I want to take? Do I want to set up a hosted (free) blog or a self-hosted blog of my own? I ultimately chose to go with my own, self-hosted blog. Here are some advantages and disadvantages I have learned, both through research and my personal experience, about self-hosted blogging platforms.
- You get full control. The main benefit is that you get to control every little thing about your blog. How it looks, how it works, the colors, everything. The full code is available to you for editing. If you know how to do that, this is right up your alley.
- You get your own URL. You can customize the URL of your blog to be anything you want (yourblogname.com). On the hosted version, you are limited to a subdomain of the host’s domain (yourblogname.wordpress.com). Having your URL makes your blog look much more professional.
- They are more flexible. You can install any plugin you want to use. Plugins increase the functionality of your blog. There are thousands of them available. You cannot install plugins on blogs hosted by WordPress.
- The software is free. You can download the software whenever you want, as many times as you want. You don’t have to pay a dime or provide any credit information.
- You have to set it up on your own. Getting your blog up and running is your responsibility. Fortunately, most hosts have a 1-click installation process that simplifies this process. But if not, you will have to upload the files to the server and install it manually. If there are issues, you either have to troubleshoot it yourself or possibly hire someone to help.
- You have to troubleshoot hosting issues. If there is an issue with your hosting account, you will have to contact your hosting company to find out what is wrong. On a hosted blogging platform, all these issues will usually be taken care of for you.
- Hosting is not free. While the blogging platform software is free, the hosting and domain name are not free. These are expenses you will have to plan for.
- Software updates are on you. Whenever there are updates to the blogging platform, you have to install them yourself. While WordPress makes the update process easy, you may run into compatibility issues with plugins, themes or other things. Especially if you have heavily customized your blog.
There are several key advantages and disadvantages to self-hosted blogging platforms mentioned here. Some of the disadvantages are slowly being chipped away at. For example, it is becoming much more easier for bloggers to install WordPress on their own. Many hosts provide a 1-click WordPress installation. There are also new plugins being developed daily. This is chipping away at the need to develop custom code that may interfere with updates to the platform. Hosting is also very cheap these days, because of all the heavy competition.
The choice is up to you. If you are interested in a self-hosted blog platform, you now have some more information to help you make your decision. I wish you the best of luck.
If you have any further questions about self-hosted blog platforms, please feel free to ask in the comments.