WordPress or Not

November 11, 2008

This blog had its humble origins at wordpress before moving on to this new self hosted location. Since then, many suns have set, many Biharis have got beaten up in Mumbai, a Black man has been elected US president, India has found an Olympic champion, and the global economy has gone into the crapper.

How has our experience been? A wise old man said, “Think before you Leap“.
Our words of wisdom: “Think before you Host“.

For people contemplating moving to their own hosted blogs, here’s our reflections on the experience and on the pros and un-pros of going it alone.

Hosting on WordPress.com

1. One word. FREE!

What can i say? That’s an important one.

2. Convenience of setup

Setting up your blog on wordpress is as easy as blinking your eye, and some more. You can pick from a number of themes and have the blog up and running in no time.

3. No Downtime

WordPress does a great job of maintaining its servers, and your blog will be up and available pretty much most of the time. We rarely observed accessibility issues while on wordpress.com.This could be an issue once you move to independent hosting providers.

4. Traffic

WordPress also does a great job of providing a steady stream of traffic to your blog through subscribers looking for your tags/categories. There’s a huge community that wordpress has built up, and being on wordpress helps in getting your blog some publicity.


Self Hosting

1. WordPress Dot Kaun?

A blog on wordpress is not really your own website. The coolness quotient goes up a notch once you are running your own show.

2. Migration is a Breeze

To make it a seamless move, you can export the contents of your existing blog including posts and comments, onto the new blog. You would typically use the wordpress.org software which means that you blog the same way and using the same interface.

3. Plug into Flexibility

WordPress.org provides thousands of plugins that you can use to provide a much richer functionality on the blog. Some of these plugins let you setup ratings for posts, polls on various topics, enhance the commenting functionality, send thank you emails to users who comment, allow users to recieve email notifications on follow up comments, have tags appear on a virtual sphere, add flickr integration, and do pretty much anything you could think of.

If a plugin that does what you want does not exist, you can write it! Its all super flexible and extensible. A post on our favorite plugins coming up.

4. Do your Makeup

You can completely customize the look of your blog if you are comfortable with scripting and web development. WordPress.com would charge you for custom upgrades to the blog stylesheet.

5. Script Away

WordPress.com would not let you add any Javascript code to your blog, which limits what you can do with the blog. Examples include  code to install statistics counters (google analytics, statcounter) or fancy widgets that some sites provide.

This limitation is eliminated when you self host.

6. Get some Kool Aid

You can setup your own favicons, which are the tiny icons that browsers such as firefox display in the address bar.

Its like your individual stamp in the world of websites. Certainly made our chest swell with pride upon seeing the amreekandesi favicon up there.

7. Share the Love

You can do cool things such as joining the dofollow movement, and share linklove with your readers.

8. Quit Your Job

If you are a blogging god, you can actually make money out of the blog by putting up ads. WordPress.com would not let you do that.

1. Hole in the Pocket

Not all good things in life are free! You will have to pay money to a hosting provider who may eventually not provide the reliable service that wordpress.com does. We are running on Bluehost and so far it has been a smooth ride. One great feature is that we pay for hosting once, and can host any number of websites on our account.

Currently in the process of setting up a technical blog. Watch out for a formal announcement soon.

2. Traffic Jammed

You lose out on all the traffic that wordpress.com used to send to you. You were getting 25 million hits a day, and now you are down to just 10k. How much does that suck?

3. Ranking Goes for a Toss

You lose the pagerank on the old blog.

You were the most popular kid in school, and suddenly your parents decided to move to a new city. You were force to move to a new school where no one knew who you were, and you have to start afresh to establish your coolness.

4.  Readership in a Warp

You will have to work hard on retaining your old readers, and moving existing backlinks to your new blog address.

Self hosting is like a rope that you could hang yourself with, if not careful enough. We would say it is like running your own business as against working at a stable fortune 500 company; so much more excitement and so much more uncertainty. If you are keen on establishing your own personal enterprise on the internet, we would recommend self hosting, but be prepared to put in some extra work.

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22 Responses to “ WordPress or Not ”

  1. Wordpress or Not | Legal Webmastering on November 11, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    […] the rest here: WordPress or Not Posted in Online Business on Nov 11th, 2008, 8:19 […]

  2. » Wordpress or Not on November 11, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    […] Some of these plugins let you setup ratings for posts, polls on various topics, enhance the commenting functionality, send thank you emails to users who comment, allow users to recieve email notifications on follow up comments, … Original post […]

  3. Web Hosting Providers on November 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Review of web development and web design companies. Web Hosting Providers

  4. Dinesh on November 12, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Good write up on this topic. I just blog as a hobby so people like me would be satisfied with wordpress.com blog. Simple, easy and free!

  5. rahul on November 12, 2008 at 6:05 am

    I have been blogging for almost a yr, and this thought has crossed my mind, but I won’t be able to put the kind of time & effort it would need so am still with blogspot.

    Wat was ur motivation for hosting, earning money, sailing on your own boat(entrepreneurship) ??

  6. Reema on November 12, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Nice and helpful write up. Thanks.
    Are there more than one author of this blog?

  7. Susan on November 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    A very good comparison – thanks for posting this for newbies!

  8. Shefaly on November 12, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    @ AD:

    Ruhi had a long public discussion before she decided to host – and to move back pronto.

    I now run a private blog and a public blog on WP.com and I am hosting my own (work related) blog too. I can concur with most of these points although I must say the trade-off (flexibility and better SEO) with hosting costs is hugely in favour of flexibility.

    The tech work needed is a bit much (I am not in the same line of work as you, AD, so my learning curve is a bit steep but I have a kind friend who is very helpful and I am learning too).

    Cross-promo (crucial) can keep traffic levels at a good level with one’s old readership (I recognise this is not an option where you have only one web property). In fact I have gained new readers – nearly all my clients have me on reader feeds!

    The aim of self-hosting however will vary hugely from person to person. Mine is part of a longer term plan (as you know I have worked independently for 8+ years) so I am willing to take it all in my stride. Ruhi’s experience may have been different :-)

  9. amreekandesi on November 12, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    @Dinesh – Thanks! Indeed, wordpress is a great medium to get up and running. For people like me who need some extra control, hosting their blog might make more sense though.

    @Rahul – Welcome to my blog. My motivation for moving from wordpress was more on the lines of entrepreneurship. Also, many times i used to feel frustrated about little things that wordpress wouldnt let me do. The idea of running my own website seemed too thrilling to ignore.

    @Reema – Glad this was helpful to you.
    As of now, i am the only writer of this blog. I suppose you noticed the ‘us’ tone of this post – we like doing that sometimes ;)

    @Susan – Thanks. Happy to be of help.

    @Shefaly – True, the added flexibility is well worth the effort and cost. As for the extra tech work, i would say it is a handy option that you have but dont really need to undertake. I dont have much experience with web development so it doesnt come very easy to me, but still as a techie i can work my way around things. I am sure for non techies, it must be a big pain working with stylesheets and scripting.

    Cross promo certainly helps. I still maintain my old blog, and add links to my posts over there as well. One of the little things you can do to keep your readers.

  10. amit on November 15, 2008 at 1:21 am

    I have been toying with the idea of moving out of WordPress but I never get a clear cut picture of how much is it going to cost. Is it pretty expensive?

  11. Shefaly on November 15, 2008 at 8:23 am

    @ Amit

    That depends on the hosting company and the traffic. Dreamhost and Bluehost (which WP recommends) are pretty good and they have offers on all the time. It is not the price but the value you put on the freedom, flexibility and control you get :-)

    I am sure AD will respond when he wakes up.

  12. amreekandesi on November 15, 2008 at 11:23 am


    Check out these links to get an idea of the diferent hosting companies and plans


    The hosting plans vary from 4 to 8 dollars per month. With this you could potentially get extras such as free domain registration( about 10 dollar value per year), ability to host unlimited websites, your own email address, and even money for advertising on adsense/yahoo.

    I went with bluehost, and it cost me about 90 dollars for a year. This included my domain registration, unlimited bandwidth and space, and advertising extras. Going in for a 2-3 year plan would bring down the monthly cost.

    Like shefaly mentioned, there are special offers all the time, if you manage to find some online offers/coupons, you could bring down the cost even further.

  13. amit on November 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    @Shefaly & @Amreekandesi:
    OH!!! That’s pretty expensive for me. I am still earning in Rupees. :)
    Thank you for the links and the info. I’ll surely use them in the near future! :)

  14. […] Continue Reading […]

  15. Danny on November 19, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks for the links and info. Pretty expensive i must say.

    Stream Host

  16. Paul on November 19, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Server Room offers pretty good prices i though. Check em out

    Stream Host

  17. Shefaly on November 21, 2008 at 5:22 am

    @ Amit

    About a US$100 a year is INR 4500 or less than INR 400 per month or 4 coffees at Cafe Coffee Day or Barista. No? :-)

    As I said it is not the price, but the value you see.

  18. Rambodoc on November 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Great post, AD! I enjoyed this one, word for word, as I did learning about Shefaly’s blogging.
    Shefaly, do you think it would be a good thing to start a blog which I use to show cases and operations or discuss surgery for my patients and for prospective ones?
    How much google visibility would you get?

  19. Rambodoc on November 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I meant a self-hosted blog, of course!

  20. amreekandesi on November 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks Doc.

    If i may throw in my two cents about your question, i would say that a professional blog is an excellent medium to promote/publicize/discuss/collaborate with your clients/colleagues/researchers. I would be happy to help if you have any specific questions about the logistics of the website setup.

  21. Gonzalo Gierisch on September 3, 2010 at 6:35 am

    also the live support is perfect. thank you paypalvcc.com

  22. sabit telefon ba?vurusu on April 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Dear Sir / Madam

    Great information and Good posts , Wish i saw this blog before.
    This wonderful writing helped a lot. Have a nice day.

    Thank you.

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