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Blogging Tips – 5 Reasons For Self Hosting

Posted by on Jul 15, 2012

Last November I presented at a conference on the topic of business blogging. It went over really well, and I had more than 50 people crammed into a small space to hear me talk.

by John Morton via Flickr

At some point I was asked whether it’s better to use a free service or to self host. Of course I always promote self hosting whenever I can, but I gave pros and cons of each during the presentation. However, here I almost wholly support self hosting. There’s way more reasons to go this route than the free route. So I don’t go overboard, I’m only listing 5 things here.

1. If you don’t own it, then it’s never really yours. Free sites get your stuff, and I’ve heard from so many people how hard it is to move their content to their new space when they decide they want to go that route.

2. Do you have being censored? I’ve said this here often, but I’ll say it again; there’s no such thing as free speech. I’ll add to that and say there’s no such thing as free speech if you use a free service. You can be blocked and dropped if either too many people complain or the right person complains. You could be dropped if no one complains but the owners don’t like what you have to say. Why risk it?

3. Why let another site get the benefit from your words? By self hosting, you get all benefits from what you do. And if you attach it to your website by popping it into a subdomain you help your website grow as well.

4. You can’t always market or sell anything on free sites. I don’t mean you can’t set up a business blog on your site or maybe throw in an affiliate link here and there, but most of those sites don’t like it if you want to sell stuff in sidebars of pop affiliate images in the middle of your posts.

5. Design, design, design. With WordPress, the self hosted version, there are literally thousands of different themes out there that you can use and modify for your purposes. With other themes you can alter them as well. You can pay for someone to create a unique theme for you. With free you don’t get as many choices.

There’s lots more one could say but I’m keeping it simple. If you’re going to be serious about blogging long term you should think about going this route.

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Hi Mitch, I think the free version of WordPress is a good jumping off point, especially for someone who is undecided about the topic or focus of their blog. Blogger is good to use for a trial period too. I still update my Blogger blog a couple of times a month.

But once you are clear about the goals for your blog, the only way to go is self-hosted WordPress!
Ileane recently posted…Why New Bloggers Should Not Give Up Blogging SoonMy Profile

July 15th, 2012 | 10:11 AM

Hi Ileane. I think either of those are fine if someone needs to see if they can be any type of consistent writer but like you, after maybe a couple of months I feel that going the self hosting route is the way to go, whether the intention is to make money or not. I just love the control I have over it all.

July 15th, 2012 | 8:44 PM
Michael Belk @workplace issues:

Yeah Mitch, I agree with Ilene. Free is good for someone unsure of their topic choice.

I probably should have gone free at first because I changed my topic at least twice.

July 15th, 2012 | 5:04 PM

Hi Michael,

First, I thought I’d tell you that your comments always end up in the spam filter first because you’re typing in more than 2 words in your name area; notice the comment policy above the comment box.

Second, I think everyone’s correct on going free if they need to test things out. Lucky for me, I always knew I’d have something to share, even if it took me some time to get it all going correctly on my business blog, so I didn’t even worry about it.

July 15th, 2012 | 8:49 PM
peter davies:

There’s also the traffic thing. If your free hosted site suddenly got hit by large amounts of traffic its going to eat the hosts bandwidth costing them money which they will need to recover from somewhere.

I can imagine they will not like that.

I watched on the BBC a few year an interview with a blogger who had his blogger account shutdown by google for nothing more serious than using a few copyrighted images – it was a high traffic blog which had 2-3 years work put into it, there was no appeal or no way of recovering the data.

For the sake of $5 a month get a self host and register your own domain name. I can help if anyone reading this needs one.

July 16th, 2012 | 2:37 AM

Good share Peter; I’d forgotten about that kind of thing happening, but I do know many people that have their blogs snatched away for frivolous reasons otherwise.

July 16th, 2012 | 9:25 AM

I went free right from the beginning. I have a blogger blog and I’ve posted there a few times but just to trial it out. Never really liked it. I also have a WordPress blog but don’t remember ever posting in it.

I also used to post on several other free blogs, like WritingUp but they’ve all pulled the plug for one reason or another so all that time has gone to waste. Certainly a good reason to host your own.
Sire recently posted…How Blogging Is A Little Like A Chess GameMy Profile

July 16th, 2012 | 8:35 AM

Sire, we originally met on one of those free vanity blog systems, but I had been blogging before then on my own. But I’ve never had either Blogger or, and I’m glad because I’d have been giving my best stuff away to others.

July 16th, 2012 | 9:26 AM

Not me because I post the best stuff on my own blogs 😉
Sire recently posted…Using Images To Make Your Posts Stand OutMy Profile

July 16th, 2012 | 9:58 AM

Sire, everything I write is my best stuff, no matter where it is. 😛

July 16th, 2012 | 8:03 PM

OH yeah, me too 😉
Sire recently posted…Is There An Alternative To ClickBank?My Profile

July 17th, 2012 | 9:42 PM

I don’t think that this question exists nowadays. When I started with online marking a decade ago a domain price was somewhere close to $100 and the cost for web hosting ways about 3 times more per year. Well at that time, you had to be tech savvy to have website and even there were no more than 10% of the businesses that used to have website. Nowadays, anybody can handle the expenses and everything is so easy. About 10 year ago, there were not many guides online, now everything is described in details somewhere.
Carl recently posted…Finding a Reliable SEO Services FirmMy Profile

July 16th, 2012 | 8:49 AM

Unfortunately I’m afraid it does still exist Carl, which is why so many people still use the likes of Blogger etc. Perhaps it has something to do with the economic crisis or perhaps it’s because they don’t know any different. It could even be because they fail to see the benefits of a self hosted blog.
Sire recently posted…Spam Alert! How Many Emails Does It Take?My Profile

July 16th, 2012 | 9:56 AM

Hi Sire, well may be your are right to some extends, few of my social network members mentioned that they can not afford to pay for hosting, however they use their own domain names on Blogger. Major part of bloggers do not have a proper vision and doesn’t set up any achievable goals. I think most fail just because this reason. However, I know many companies that have external blogs on Blogger or WordPress, so I suppose that there are some benefits which comes from “Google Blog Search” which was told that take about 3% of whole Google traffic.

July 16th, 2012 | 10:17 PM

Really? I would never do that use one of the free hosts as it would make me seem unprofessional.
Sire recently posted…Is Pinbutton Attraction Plugin As Good As They SayMy Profile

July 17th, 2012 | 9:46 PM

Honestly me too and actually all my projects are host on at least VPS, however you will be surprised that may be 50% of fortune 200 companies also have external blogs on Blogger or WordPress. I guess they have more resources to waste.

July 18th, 2012 | 6:18 AM
Kharim Tomlinson:

Awesome post man.

When I started blogging, before my main blog, I started on free hosting. It was going so great until one morning I woke up to check my blog and it was deleted by the host owners.

This pissed me off. I didn’t have any back up of my post or anything. I had to start new.

When I started again, I started paying for hosting.

Getting paid hosting is really important especially if you are doing it as a business.

Thanks for the timely reminder, Mitch. Keep up the great work pal.

July 16th, 2012 | 6:01 PM

Thanks Kharim. I’d have been irked to have all my content suddenly gone like that, but truthfully you could have recovered it, as I wrote about here a couple of months ago. It’s a slow process but that’s how I recovered all my content in 2006 when the host I was using crashed and lost all files.

July 16th, 2012 | 8:10 PM

As a newbie in blogosphere, I tried different free hosting to see whats works best. These are some great tips Mitch, thanks for always providing informative post. It helps a lot for me.

July 16th, 2012 | 7:50 PM

I do what I can Becca.

July 16th, 2012 | 8:11 PM

I started out with FREE ones blogger and WordPress and one went POOF! WordPress took it down without warning because I had links to our storefront website. It happened the same week I was deciding to go self-host. I now have 2 self hosted sites and 2 fun bloggers. I don’t like commenting on FREE WordPress sites either. I remember you did a piece on it. They are NOT easy to leave comments on. Self host is the best way to go.
Lisa recently posted…Are We More Distracted by Technology Today Than Ever Before?My Profile

July 16th, 2012 | 7:59 PM

Lisa, for those few people whose blogs I do comment on, I’m using my Gmail address, which I’m not crazy about but it’s not associated with anything else and thus at least goes through.

July 16th, 2012 | 8:12 PM

hello mitch,
nice article about the hosts. i was quite confused about these two but then i preferred the self hosting as it assures your safety. and you should spend money if you want to get benefits from your blog.there is nothing as ”free”
prabhat recently posted…The Dark Knight Rises Reviews OutMy Profile

July 17th, 2012 | 12:09 PM

At least nothing free for long Prabhat. Really though, most people should at least consider self hosting to protect themselves.

July 17th, 2012 | 1:21 PM

Hi mitch
nice post
As many of the blogger here commented, I too tried blogging with free blogspot blog. There was no professional feel to my blog. Looking back, I feel it was a good learning opportunity for me. At present I have 3 blog all hosted by me.
I believe every serious blogger should host their own blog
Thanks for sharing this post
Bryan recently posted…Top 5 Ways to Get Quality Backlinks In 2012My Profile

July 17th, 2012 | 12:57 PM

Thanks for your comment Bryan. Although I have seen a few people who have figured it out, you’re right, the majority of blogs on Blogger or do share a similar feel and format. Yet, it’s a good place to learn or practice the craft before moving in this direction.

July 17th, 2012 | 1:25 PM

I’ve never liked free hosting services. They pop some ads and banners into your website. They have limit in the storage space. They also have limit in monthly bandwidth. Free hosting often does not support PHP or other scripting languages. The are bad for SEO. There is lots more to say against free hosting…
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July 18th, 2012 | 8:18 AM

I’m not sure I’ve seen either Blogger or pop ads onto people’s blogs, but maybe it happens and I just don’t know about it. I do know that at a certain point they’d be limiting.

July 18th, 2012 | 9:26 AM

Hi Mitch,

I love reading this great article. You have a very nice idea here about self hosting. Free sites are getting what you have. I definitely agree to that.

-Bill Orton

July 19th, 2012 | 10:53 AM

Thanks Bill; that’s how I see it, why give free sites your juice?

July 20th, 2012 | 12:58 AM

I feel totally ambivalent when it comes to self hosting, these tips will surely entice me to go for it. Thanks
Allen recently posted…How to Design a Successful Photo Contest for your BrandMy Profile

July 26th, 2012 | 5:03 AM

Allen, if it helped then go for it; you’ll never look back.

July 26th, 2012 | 9:51 AM

I personally want to go one step forwarder, self host, like in the real sense of the word, building my own server in my own house. Its not that difficult if you think about it, I personally have a really great internet connection for a really great price, I can even sell some hosting packages to pay my expenses…
Cristian Balau recently posted…Iron Products for HomeMy Profile

July 31st, 2012 | 8:39 PM

That’s ambitious Cristian. I thought about doing something like that, but a friend talked me out of it saying it would be more work than I wanted to deal with. I think he’s right. lol

August 1st, 2012 | 2:09 AM