4 reasons why I won’t be switching to self-hosted anytime soon.

Digitally generated My brain has too many tabs open

Not very long ago, Opinionated Man migrated his popular blog, HarsH ReaLiTy, from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I remember reading his stream-of-consciousness posts while he climbed WP.org’s very steep learning curve, and I got headaches and felt twitchy just reading them. Although OM was often frustrated and sometimes seemed ready to give up, he didn’t, and he now claims that becoming self-hosted was the best blogging decision he ever made. I don’t doubt he’s telling the truth, as being self-hosted allows you all sorts of options and freedoms you do not have as a WordPress.com blogger.

But you can count me out, at least for the foreseeable future. I’m a serious blogger, yes, but WordPress.com suits my needs just fine. Here are four reasons why I have no intention of ever becoming self hosted.

1. The community.
When you become a WordPress.com member, it’s easy to find a community of like-minded WordPress bloggers via the Reader, which makes suggestions based on your interests, and posts all new articles by blogs you’re already following. For new bloggers, this feature is a godsend. ALl you do is “follow” blogs that are suggested to you based on your interests and voila! Instant community! When you follow blogs you like, they’re likely to follow you back too, and before you know it, you are commenting on each other’s blogs.

When you self-host, you lose all that. You have to be more concerned about things like your Google page ranking and be a lot more careful tagging posts, otherwise your blog may not get seen by the people you want to see it. Or not at all. And if you’re self hosted, you don’t have access to the Reader; you have to find related blogs on your own. Your posts also won’t be automatically seen by other WP bloggers, since WP.org hosted sites do not show up in the Reader. If you prefer to spend time writing new content than recruiting an audience for your blog, then being on WP.com saves you a whole lot of time.

2. The steep learning curve.
Wordpress.com is simple to use, compared to WordPress.org. While it does have a learning curve, it isn’t very steep. After 3 – 4 days I was comfortable using the features. I felt like a pro in a couple of weeks. There are plenty of options for customization even if you use a free theme and don’t upgrade. For this blog, I wasn’t satisfied with the font used for the free Twenty-Ten theme (one of WP’s most popular free themes), so I upgraded to Custom Design, so I had the option of changing the font to one I liked better. Custom Design is cheap and gave me a few other options too, but CSS (which is available with Custom Design) still eludes me. I know nothing about coding and fortunately, really don’t have to worry about that anyway, since everything I want to do is available to me without knowing any coding at all.  For a small price, you can also have a custom domain (which is necessary if you want to run ads)–all that means is you get a URL without the “wordpress.com” in it.

If you self-host, be prepared to have to learn not only coding, but also you need to know all about about plug-in installation, Jet Packs (whatever those are), software upgrades, bandwidth, backups and troubleshooting, analytics, and SEO, among many other things.   Features we take for granted like Likes and Comments aren’t automatically there; you have to install them yourself.  Have a problem? You’re on your own. There are no support forums to turn to as there are for WP.com users. You either have to try to figure things out on your own and fix any problems yourself, or you have to hire an outside party to do it for you. For someone who isn’t especially tech-savvy, the idea of running into a problem and having no idea what to do about it is very scary indeed. And I really don’t have much desire to have to learn all these things.  I’d rather be writing.

overwhelmed

3. The expense.
Being self-hosted isn’t cheap. If you advertise, while you can make more money from advertising (WordPress.com only allows Wordads) and can choose the ads you run, to me that isn’t worth it, because of the payout required from you just to be self hosted. You have to buy your domain name, then pay for someone (like GoDaddy.com) to host your blog (in leiu of WordPress, which hosts all WP.com sites). Expect to pay about $250 and $450 just for the first year.

WP.com is free and so are many of its themes. Even if you decide to upgrade, the expense is very small. I paid $18 for Custom Design, and it’s good for a whole year. Even without knowing how to use the included CSS feature, I still think it was worth it. The themes available on WordPress.com are all attractive and there are so many free ones available that no blogger should have any problems finding one they love and that suits their blog. If you want to make some money from your blog, and you qualify, Wordads will post the ads for you and keep track of your earnings. All you need to do is set up a Paypal account. While you certainly have the potential to make more from a self-hosted site, the amount of work involved in gaining enough traffic to earn anything more than pocket change is daunting for the average blogger, who just wants to write.

4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I have no problems with WordPress.com, so why would I want to take the risk of losing everything I’ve worked so hard on for almost two years, or messing everything up beyond repair, by “importing” it to WP.org? Unless I start getting massive amounts of traffic (unlikely) or run out of space and can’t post anything new (and even then I understand it’s possible to buy additional storage on WP.com), I have absolutely no reason to be self-hosted.

Why you might prefer self-hosting.

roman_fountain

With all that said, if you’re the sort of person who is challenged and excited by learning complicated new things, or if you want the sense of achievement and pride that someone like Opinionated Man experienced once he mastered the process of being self-hosted (at least the basics anyway, as he says you never stop learning and are forever having to tweak and make adjustments), then being self-hosted may be the right choice for you.   It may also be the right choice if you prefer to own your domain name (and hence, your blog) rather than just rent it from WordPress.   When you own your own home, you have the freedom to tear down walls (and run the risk of the whole house falling down and crushing you to death), paint the exterior shocking pink, build a sarcophagus in the bathroom, or install a Roman fountain in the living room.  If you rent, you are probably limited to neutral colored walls and you can’t install freaky things or tear anything down.

I’ll stick with my plain white walls, thank you.   I can still hang pretty pictures and decorate my abode the way I want, and I know my landlord will come fix anything that breaks.    I prefer my WordPress dumbed down so I can just write and leave the complicated tech stuff to others.

Further reading:
7 Reasons Why Novices Should Not Self-Host WordPress

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About luckyotter

This blog is my journal. I just choose to share it with the world instead of keeping everything inside my head. I'm a recovering Borderline and have also struggled with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I also have Complex PTSD due to having been the victim of narcissistic abuse for most of my life. I write mostly about narcissism, because I was the child of a narcissistic mother, and then married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist for 20 years. But there's a silver lining too. In some ways they taught me about myself. This blog is about all that. Not all my articles will be about NPD, BPD or other personality disorders or mental conditions. I pretty much write about whatever's on my mind at the moment. So there's something for everyone here. Blogging about stuff is crack for my soul. It's self therapy, and hopefully my insights and observations may help others too.
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23 Responses to 4 reasons why I won’t be switching to self-hosted anytime soon.

  1. Deb says:

    Wow,this has so many important points. I am not planning on switching to self hosting any time soon,but I am glad to know I can buy more space on .com if I end up needing it. I did not know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Burgess says:

    I want to blog and customize my site every now and then. I don’t want the headache of the self hosted thing. Community connections at WP.com are valuable and that is important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey! how are you? Im so glad you wrote this because Ive been wanting to switch over for some time now so that I could have more control in how I structure my site. I use WordPress.org and a selfhosting service to manage th website at work, but at home I use wordpress.com. WordPress.org is useable to me and I think Id get the hang of it but the cost of the self hosting service will break my bank account! so for now, Im struggling trying to find a new theme and find ways of improving my .com website. I need to figure out how to use the reader as I’ve not used it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nowve666 says:

    I have a web site at Just Host. I hand- coded it in plain text. I use an ftp client to upload my files. I like the freedom to design it as I please. The learning curve was easy because I started the site years ago. It grew as I grew. But I also have my Word Press blog. I enjoy the community.

    You mention Paypal. I call then Payfoe and I call them crooks. I have reported them to the Better Business Bureau. The whole story is at https://kiasherosjourney.wordpress.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dr Ruth 2point0 (Anna) says:

    That’s why I’m PAYING someone to move me to self-hosted lmao. I know my limitations tyvm

    Liked by 1 person

  6. katiesdream2004 says:

    Thank you this is good information– all these reasons are good enough for me to not think about trying to do self hosting. I want to learn more about blogging and site development but find it has to be very graphical or visual for me to get it. Word press even in its simple form is quite the struggle for me because I learned to blog on Weebly. Weebly in my opinion is 10 times easier to shape the way you want it, to learn and personally I think it looks much, much more elegant. The problem is that Word press in set up in such a way I can’t make comments unless I have an WP account. Thus I created one in order to connect with people.

    Weebly doesn’t have quite the same community access or connection or feel of connection but I vastly prefer using it because it is far easier to customize and create something really beautiful. You can be a complete novice there and still make a very attractive site because the templates many of which are free or gorgeous and very professional looking. Much about Word press looks and feels very un-elegant.

    You can always create an account for free and try it out without publishing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      That’s funny, because lot of people who comment on my blog don’t have WP accounts. I’ve heard of Weebly but never knew what it was. Initially I tried to set up a blog on Blogger, but when it forced me to use my real name (because at the time that’s what my Google account was under), I scrapped that idea and opened up a WP account, even though I expected it to be difficult (from what people had told me). I’m glad I did too, because I find the community here a lot friendlier and the themes are a lot more attractive, in my opinion.
      I never though WP themes were in-elegant, but maybe they’re just kind of basic. I really like the theme you used–much more attractive than this one, but no way am I going to change the theme now. It might mess everything up! Maybe I’ll check out Weebly sometime though.

      Like

      • katiesdream2004 says:

        Weebly is pretty fun and when you switch a template it shows you what everything looks like before switching so you can say yes or no. Its like rearranging furniture in the living room with the push of a button. I photograph for a hobby, basic point and shoot stuff so I appreciate the galleries that weebly lets me post. Its all what you are used to though.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. katiesdream2004 says:

    Here is a chart comparing weebly to WP pros and cons of each and demonstrations http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/weebly-vs-wordpress-comparison-chart/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Great points, I totally agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Trudy says:

    Sorry to disagree with you but there are some errors in the post about being self hosted. WordPress.org has a huge forum for support and answers. It hsould cost a basic blog more than $50 a year for web hosting especially when you are doing it through the WordPress recommended host of Blue Host, GoDaddy was also less than $50 when I was there.You are definitely not on your own, that’s what you pay hosting services for, tech help. I don’t know coding and the plugins like Jet Pack are very easy to use and is owned by WordPress so the same happiness engineers that help you for WordPress.com help you for Jetpack/Wordpress.org and they’ve been amazing to me. Also I am following people through the reader and I am followed the same way. I just wanted to clarify so you don’t see self hosting as some scary monster. It just allows you more freedom, to monetize, full ownership and more customization.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Thanks for the information!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Trudy says:

        No problem. Before Jason went to self hosting, he asked a lot of questions as well. It is scary from the outside when you are used to something totally different and it’s not for everyone. I do believe he is doing a high volume hosting which would be more expensive but I’m not on that level since he has over 60,000 subscribers. Anyway if you have more question I would be more than happy to answer them, whether or not you move to self hosting.

        Liked by 1 person

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