Using a self hosted WordPress instance has a number of advantages, but also a couple of disadvantages, over using a free hosted blog at WordPress.com.
The primary benefit of self hosted WordPress is flexibility. The primary drawback is cost and to a lesser extent complexity. In our opinion however, the pros of using a self hosted WordPress instance far outweigh the cons.
A self hosted WordPress instance will support any theme that’s compatible with WordPress. You can install the theme of your choice, or even have your own theme developed if you have more specific requirements.
A WordPress.com blog will give you access to a large number of themes from the WordPress theme repository – however these themes generally don’t compare to the paid themes at places like ThemeForest, and you’re not allowed to modify any of the code.
This is roughly analogous to the above. However, the selection of plugins in the WordPress repository is much greater, so you’re not missing as much.
However just that one plugin you absolutely need that’s not in the repository can tilt the scales in favor of a self hosted WordPress instance.
A hosted WordPress.com blog is virtually maintenance free. You don’t have to update WordPress, manage a server, or do much of anything besides modify your content when necessary.
A self hosted WordPress instance requires that you install WordPress and keep it updated (which is relatively easy).
It doesn’t get cheaper than free, and a hosted WordPress.com blog is absolutely 100% free (although you do have to pay to make your site ad free).
A self hosted WordPress instance has a couple of components you’ll have to pay for.
- The domain name. This will cost around $10 per year. This may be well worth it however, if you’d like to avoid having “.wordpress.com” appended to your web address.
- A web hosting account. Depending on the amount of traffic you need to be able to handle, this can cost anywhere from $5 a month and up. The vast majority of sites will be fine on a $5-10 plan.
A hosted WordPress.com blog has its limitations. This includes the above mentioned items pertaining to flexibility (custom themes and plugins), but also includes things like storage space. If you’re on a WordPress.com blog and decide you need more space, you’re at their mercy when it comes to pricing for the necessary specifications.
With a self hosted WordPress instance, not only do you have more flexibility, you have the ability to scale up by utilizing virtually any hosting service on the market. And since you control your own files and database, moving your blog from server to server is very easy to do, allowing you the ability to shop around to find the best deal for the specifications you need.
Again, the primary differentiating factor here is flexibility.
If you want power, flexibility, and the ability to scale up as needed, set up self hosted WordPress. In this case, take a look at our self hosted WordPress plans.
If you have a basic web site and want something extremely easy and want to spend as little money as possible, a WordPress.com blog may be the way to go.