Hosted or self-hosted WordPress? It can be a difficult decision to navigate if you’ve never heard of the terms before, especially if you’re just starting your first blog. Don’t stress! I am here to ease your anxieties and help you make the best choice.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission from any purchases made through these links. For more information see my disclosure policy.
Note: Before I confuse anyone, there are two WordPress’: WordPress.COM (hosted) and WordPress.ORG (self-hosted). This post is focused on the latter.
Out of the two options I always recommend self-hosted WordPress, which is what I use, however, it’s okay to go with either. I’ll explain why in a little bit.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Hosted: Your blog is “hosted” if your files are stored on the platform’s servers and you don’t have access to them. Hosted platforms such as WordPress.com, Blogger, and Wix are free to join and come with a free subdomain and account.
Self-Hosted: Your blog is considered “self-hosted” if you paid to rent server space. You own that server as long as your paying for it, and as a result, have complete access to backend files and coding.
So which should you go with?
When people ask me which they should go with I always ask them:
ARE YOU A HOBBY OR PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER?
Professional bloggers almost always go with self-hosted platforms such as WordPress.org (for reasons listed below). However, for those that aren’t interested in making money online hosted is a perfectly good option.
For a great article on choosing a hosted platform go here.
If you’re interested in starting or upgrading your blog through a self-hosted server keep reading about the many benefits and how to get started!
THE BENEFITS OF SELF-HOSTED WORDPRESS
There are many reasons people choose to invest in a self-hosted website rather than go the free route. Listed below are just of few of the reasons that I have enjoyed the most.
You own your database and have more control
The biggest difference when paying for self-hosting is that you have complete access to the files stored on the server space you’ve rented. You can backup your files, access the coding and more. With free hosted websites, you don’t have access to these files which can pose a risk if the platform your using shuts down. You will lose all your files and have to start over (which can be devastating if it’s a blog you’ve built over years).
Better themes and plugins
My old theme was “okay”, it had the usual sections for blog posts, pages, and sidebar but it wasn’t as flexible and didn’t have as many features as my current theme. I also have access to the coding of my website, which means I can customize anything I want, even template themes. These themes look more professional and make monetizing much easier!
There are also many more plugins available to self-hosted users of WordPress. The free platform contains some basic plugins and is limited. With self-hosting, you have access to a huge library of plugins (55,698 of them!) that will allow you to do anything on your blog.
Infinite ways to monetize
Unlike hosted platforms, self-hosting has no limitations on how you can monetize your blog. For example, you won’t be able to earn revenue from ads on a free hosted WordPress site. Also, many brands and sponsored networks will only work with bloggers who are self-hosted.
Many of the themes created for self-hosted WordPress include an e-commerce store for sales. With a little creativity, you can earn revenue from ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored content writing and more.
Excellent tech support
One of the perks of paying for self-hosting is the availability of tech support. This website has been self-hosted with Bluehost during its first year, and currently with Siteground. They both have reasonable prices and excellent 24/7 support by WordPress experts that have helped me on many occasions!
Faster load speed
Lastly, self-hosted websites are usually quicker to load which offer a better experience for your visitors and improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Choose the right server for you based on the space you need and it will greatly improve the speed of your website. Free hosted websites normally have several users on the same server which slows down site speed.
HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED
So you decided that you want to blog professionally and earn some income from your work. It’s a great way to be more creative and earn money doing something you love.
To launch a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org, follow these three steps:
- Sign up and purchase hosting where you will store your website files. I recommend either Bluehost or Siteground, which offer easy setup, 1-click WordPress installation, and great tech support.
- Install WordPress.org and choose a WordPress.org theme (you can usually do this through your host provider)
- Start adding content or transfer your old site files to the new one!
These basic steps will get you started towards upgrading, creating and sharing content online.
For a more detailed tutorial on registering with Bluehost check out my blog post here.
Good luck! Share your success in the comments below!