Hi, friends! I’ve noticed that many of you are considering the switch to self hosted on WordPress.org. I was afraid to take the plunge and spend money on my blog, but a few months ago, I finally did. It was so worth it! I love the freedom that self hosted provides. Making the switch is a big decision, so I wanted to help those who are still on the fence. Here are a few reasons you should consider the switch to self hosted.
Still on the fence about moving to self hosted? Here's why I think you should go for it! Click To Tweet
Your content belongs to you.
When you’re on WordPress.com, your content belongs to them. You are at their mercy in that they can deactivate your blog at any time if they believe you have violated their terms of service. When you are self hosted, your content belongs to you and only you…
You can monetize your blog.
WordPress.com strictly prohibits any monetization of blogs on their platform. If you want to make money off your blog, WordPress.com is NOT for you. On the other hand, with self hosted, you are free to include as many affiliate links, ads, or products as you want. Self hosted gives you the freedom to make money off your hard work.
I never had a problem with ads on my WordPress.com website because thankfully, if any ads were present at all, they were few and placed in reasonable locations throughout my site. But on self hosted, the only ads that will show up on your website are the ones you put there. In other words, YOU will be the one making money off the ads, not WordPress.
On WordPress.com, you can only use the few features they give you. On self hosted, you can download extensions/additional features called plugins. Everyone who’s on self hosted LOVES plugins (myself included!). I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “There’s a plugin for everything”, because honestly, it’s so true. Plugins let you do pretty much anything you want with your blog. For example, I use the MailMunch plugin to produce a cute lil popup and that banner up there ^^ asking you to sign up for my email list. I couldn’t do that with WordPress.com! Find out more about plugins here.
WordPress.com requires you to have their in your blog’s URL. For example, xxx.wordpress.com (or in Blogger’s case, xxx.blogspot.com). On self hosted, you have your own domain, which looks much more professional. Having your own domain makes you seem more serious to customers and to brands who might want to work with you. Some hosts will even let you get a custom email address to go with your domain!
On WordPress.com, you are limited as to what you can do with your blog’s visual look. You can only change certain things about your blog’s theme. On self hosted, you have full access to your theme’s style sheet HTML, so you can do whatever you want with it. (Although I wouldn’t recommend messing with it unless you REALLY know HTML. One mistake in your style sheet can mess up your blog completely.)
You are responsible for your blog’s maintenance.
On WordPress.com, WordPress is responsible for protecting your blog from spam and for backing up your blog. On self hosted, you are responsible for these things. Thankfully, there are plugins that can help you!
You are responsible for your blog’s loading speed.
WordPress.com makes sure your blog loads lightning fast. On self hosted, things such as large images and an excessive amount of installed plugins can cause your blog to load slowly. You are in charge of making sure you don’t fill up your server. As usual, there’s a plugin that can help increase your blog’s speed by using cache!
You have to protect yourself.
When you buy hosting, the hosting company gives you the option to buy “domain security.” This is important because on websites like Whois, people can search for any site and see the full name and address of the site owner. However, buying domain security will block this information, so when someone goes on Whois, they won’t see your personal info!
You actually have to pay.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The financial investment isn’t big, but I’m including it because it’s a factor worth considering. You have to pay for the domain name itself, the hosting, and the domain privacy, so it may appear to be more than you originally thought, but please don’t be scared off by this. In the end, it’s not very much anyway.
If you’re a blogger who wants to make money, appear professional, or you just feel limited by the few features offered on WordPress.com, then you should definitely consider the switch to self hosted.
The switch to self hosted is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take your time to think about it, weigh the pros and cons, and do whatever is best for you.
Have you made the switch to self hosted? If so, how was your experience? What advice would you give to someone who is still undecided about it?
Note: This post only applies to WordPress.com (not to Blogger), because WP is the only platform I’ve had personal experience with.