5 reasons why you should not shift from a wordpress.com blog to wordpress.org

Written by vik

Topics: Blogging

WordPress blogI have shifted to self-hosting from the free WordPress.com blog. :)

Please visit the website to check the new look and feel if you are reading this post in your feed reader or mailbox.

The internet is full of tutorials on the tremendous benefits of shifting to a self-hosted blog using the free WordPress software and how to shift from the free wordpress.com to the self-hosted wordpress.org blog (read the difference here).

Though the wordpress.org blog has a lot of benefits, this post is primarily to highlight the issues that a hitherto wordpress.com user like me found while shifting to self-hosting. If you never had a free blog on WordPress or BlogSpot/Blogger and/or if you are a techie, then you will have problems understanding the sentiments here and may think that I am being unkind to the WordPress software or a self-hosted website! Ok, here goes. Image credit.

1. Huge time waste on research and learning tech issues

Learning blogging on the free wordpress was itself a challenge for somebody like me  who used to think that you need to be a web designer or a software engineer to set up a web page and a major part of my time was spent learning the ropes on the free WordPress (though it was a lot of fun and pleasure to be honest). WordPress.org will challenge you even more because you are setting up your own website. A self-hosted blog is a whole new ball game and you will often feel so incompetent with the installation of your blog (especially if you do not use the Fantastico auto-installation and want to learn more; the former leaves some security loopholes)! Jargons like phpMyAdmin, FTP access and MySQL database will give you sleepless nights, so to speak! The famous “five-minute WordPress” installations is only a tag line; do not take it seriously!

2. Finding a nice, reliable web host is not so easy

There are so many web hosts out there and they all claim to be genuine. You will have a hard time finding the answer to the question: Which web host to choose for your WordPress blog hosting? I have even written a post on it earlier explaining how to find a nice, reliable web host. My web host is Hostgator, one of the world’s biggest web hosting companies. I have tested them in many many ways through chats, sending emails from various accounts and noting the response time, seeking recommendations from blogger friends and others with Hostgator and even a direct mail to the CEO Brent Oxley (which of course got a quick reply) among other things. If you want to shift your blog to self-hosting or start a new one, I recommend Hostgator. I did all the shifting myself because I wanted to learn things though Hostgator would have willingly done it for me without charging me a penny! Read this very interesting and humorous account on the origin and evolution of Hostgator written by the CEO himself!

3. The wordpress.com free lunch is missing

It is all free with WordPress.com! But once you are hosting on your own servers you have to pay a good sum to your web host (my baby gator plan of Hostgator, for example, is 8 to 10 dollars per month) and a fixed amount per annum for domain name registration and renewal ( dot com domain usually costs 10 dollars). Apart from this, you may be tempted to buy premium themes like Thesis or any of the Woo Themes (I am using the free Thrilling theme presently) and may even want to donate some amount  to a plugin or theme developer. Also your ordinary slow internet connection may need more teeth because you will need to download back up of your website(s) regularly.

4. Back up, Security, downtime and Hacking tension

On WordPress or Blogger/BlogSpot all this tension is for the WP staff or Google team to handle. But with a self-hosted blog only ‘you’ are responsible for running your website. Your blog can get hacked (it is not very uncommon; your theme, plugins or installation may have some vulnerability) and you may lose all your contents if you do not back up regularly and religiously. Put simply you are on your own; there is no WordPress or BlogSpot team to iron out things for you and you will often feel insecure if you have recently shifted from WordPress.com like me! You have to keep yourself up-to-date about the latest softwares updates, issues, bandwidth and CPU usage on your shared server, threats and developments and act accordingly. You will constantly worry about uptime of your blog despite being with a reputed host (worrying about things is human nature!) and will use many host-tracking and uptime monitoring services.

5. Free WordPress blog is not so bad after all

All the basic functions obtain in your wordpress.com blog and it is quite nice. You can even get a custom domain so that your blog is not a subdomain of WordPress. Google AdSense and money-making dreams for most self-hosted blogs is a chimera. Also when you shift to self-hosting you may have many technical glitches including missing links, 404 errors and showing comments on pages, a feature WordPress.com bloggers really like. Automattic is regularly introducing new features on WordPress.com and in some ways it is ahead of a self-hosted blog. WordPress.org forums do not have a helping community of bloggers unlike the WordPress.com forums. I am happy I have more than 10 active blogs still on the free WordPress including the popular Delhi zoo website and the campus Holi celebrations documentation.

Summing Up

My advice is that if you are happy with the free wordpress.com or BlogSpot blog and think you do not need to shift to self-hosting then you really do not need to. The grass looks greener on the other side of the hill and the sound of the drum is pleasant but only from a distance! :o

I have moved to a new level in blogging just the same and I like it. A self-hosted site using the wordpress software has many benefits indeed provided that you feel the need and desire for learning, flexibility and freedom. It is not very difficult but you need to devote a lot of time reading and learning things (or hire somebody who will do it for you if you have money to spend on this).

Feel free to seek my help if you want to shift your blog or start a new self-hosted blog. And yes, I will soon put some unobtrusive ads on this blog just for some trial, testing and fun and make it a permanent feature if it works. If you are wondering how popular this blog is, I get some 500 to 600 hits (views) daily most of which is Organic (through search engines).

34 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. I cant agree with most of them. Why shouldn’t u learn tech things. If u r in wordpress.com u are always gonna be a non techie and not able to solve even smallest of Internet issues in future. You dint had a dream of making money while u r in wordpress.com but why should u blame it now that its all a dream to make money. Be patient sometimes, you can make those dreams true.

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Senthil,

      You have not stayed for free blogging long enough to be able to compare the two; I even wrote a disclaimer to that effect in the beginning itself. I mostly mean here personal blogging. I was more happy and satisfied there though I know I will be comfortable here as time passes.

      You are a tech guy so whatever tech things we learn on the free wordpress/blogspot may appear small to you. For me and others even that was a lot.

      Above all, I have absolutely no dream of making money with blogging. However I do have a desire to test things by putting ads here. I am not thinking of making big money here; this is a personal blog after all.

  2. timethief says:

    Thanks for sharing your observations and personal experience. I have made the same transition with one blog but I’m not considering making it with my other blog at this time.

  3. While there are thousands of articles about the advantages of WP it was nice to come across something like disadvantages of it. I myself have thought of hosting with WP a hundred times, but due to lack of money I am keeping with blogger. Tell me, how good is Blogger when you have at least your own domain registered (through blogger itself)…? Bandwidth is unlimited, security is good… Does Blogger really have disadvantages on SEO front? I need to know that because SEO is too important to be ignored… If you have time kindly have a look at my blog in the signature… My major chunk of visitors are from Google… I worried, am I losing out on more visitors because of NOT being on WP?

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Here Be Answers,

      I could not find links due to lack of time presently about BlogSpot blogs that are earning name, fame and money. Not everyone is with wordpress.org. I have read about many blogspot blogs being very good and making while being with the free blogspot/blogger.

      Yes I have read that wordpress.org is awesome and whatnot with the SEO thing but it is not like your page views will sky rocket if you shift to WordPress. But if you are willing to spend the money and time for it and if the blog is part of your long-term project then you may consider shifting to wordpress.org.

      I saw your blog; I had seen it before too. It is a nice blog with great look and feel. If you have huge plans for your blog, then you may shift to wordpress.org

      Don’t worry much on the SEO thing I would say. Focus more on content they say. See all posts on One Cool Site http://onecoolsite.wordpress.com/post-index/ ; you will find many good resources there.

      I have another great suggestion for you. Your blog is rather new (since August). Do not shift to wordpress.org software if you are not willing to spend the time and resource but do shift your blog to the free wordpress.com Get a free blog on wordpress.com ,migration from Blogspot is very easy and your blogspot has the option, If I know it correctly, to automatically forward it your new site. There are some things you cant’ do on free wordpress (Like javascript and custom themes) but it is great SEO wise (they say WP is very SEO amenable). SO shift to wordpress.com right now (WP will charge you 10 dollars per annum for custom domain). Hope this helps. Or just stay with Blogspot.

  4. Deborah says:

    Hi Vikas – I really enjoyed reading your experiences about changing your blog. WordPress.org was all very mysterious to me – but your very well-written article has helped to explain what it’s all about. Knowing what you know now, would you have stayed with WordPress.com? Deborahx

  5. Deborah says:

    PS – I didn’t look like that the last time I looked in a mirror!

  6. Deborah says:

    Hi Vikas – I am so naive when it comes to tech things that I didn’t even realise about linking a gravatar to my google email address. You learn something every day – especially on your blog! Deborahx

  7. Pritam says:

    Hi Vikas,

    A WordPress-powered self-hosted blog has lots of advantages, which completely deserves some effort that goes in creating and maintaining it. You have yourself admitted it in your post.

    And WordPress installation is actually 2-minute, if you have a good internet connection.

    Finding a reliable hosting service is also easy. There are a lot of good hosts that offer single-click WordPress installation, good for those who have no idea about web hosting.

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Pritam,

      I do agree it has advantages but if the needs are not pressing then the free wordpress.com is not so bad.

      You are a tech guy Pritam so the installation looks easy to you. People like me have to spent days understanding it especially if you do a manual install.

      Yes many offer single click install though such installs are the ones that are often attacked by hackers.

      Yes finding a good web host is easy but it can be very difficult at times. I myself at one time was going to Justhost, a bad host! And I know many who had to change hosts in no time after learning their lessons. Many bloggers go to Godaddy because they are so big; try visiting http://nodaddy.com (you may be knowing it already).

      You see people who are not technically efficient and have spent a lot of time on free wordpress will more easily understand it.

  8. Thanks, Vikas. The information is helpful. However, after much thinking about it I guess unless I am going with WP.org with self-hosting (for which I have no budget at present) it won’t help me, since I want to place Adsense also. WP.com doesn’t allow it… Think I will stick with Blogger for now :)

    Thanks all the same :)

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Here Be Answers,

      That’s a good decision. If you have to shift, shift to wordpress.org only. All the best. Ads/affiliates of any kind are strictly not allowed in wp.com and that is a main reason why it is virtually spam free unlike Blogger.

  9. Archana says:

    Hi Vikas,
    Thanks for this post. I never quite understood why WordPress had two sites for blog-making. After reading your post it is clear to me now. I agree with you, unless one is in IT industry and uses blogpages for expanding one’s business, there is no need to leave a reasonably good and free site and go to the complications of blog-hosting. Most people like me only want to write their thoughts on a blog at frequent intervals – it’s something like a public diary and WordPress.com is giving enough good options to such people. So the logic of taking the trouble to shift to blog-hosting is not evident to me.

    I wrote on your contact page. I meant it as a comment, but it has gone into your mail. You may paste it somewhere on your blog if you like.

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Archana,

      There is also a third site: WordPress multi-user where you can run hundreds and thousands of blogs with a single install and is suitable for newspaper and magazines, universities, networks and the like. For basic needs wordpress.com is quite fine.

      There are no comments on wordpress.org pages. The contact page is actually a contact page meaning the comment goes to my mailbox. I am thinking of adding a guestbook here. I had more than 100 comments on my about page and I know wordpress.com users like to leave comments on the about page.

  10. Fazreen says:

    Congratulations! at last you have your very own blog. It’s quite tough when someone try learning about wordpress self hosted but it is at early time only.

  11. Kikolani says:

    I guess I’m into techie challenges, which is why I would rather shift than stay on such a limiting platform. But for those who would rather not mess with all the backend work and are ok with the limited templates, cost to add any customization, and other lack of functionality compared to the full version, I’d say stick with the WordPress.com. (Although I’m actually a little more of a fan of Blogger over WordPress when it comes to the non self-hosted options).

    ~ Kristi

  12. Nita says:

    You have just given the reasons why I have not shifted! I guess you need the time to do all the self hosting and right now I don’t have it. A lot of people have tried to persuade me and I have had long conversations with them but I am glad I have not done it. Even on my blogger blog it is simply a custom domain, redirected so I don’t have to bother with tech issues. Its not that I don’t want to learn about tech issues. But my baby steps and what I need to learn to self host are two different things.

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Nita,

      I hope someday you will shift to wp.org. Your blog has a huge monetary potential. You are actually doing a service to the free wp community because it is high-traffic blogs like yours that bring a lot of revenue to WP which keeps things free.

  13. Tinh says:

    If you do not want to switch toi wp.org, that is easy, pay to get premium account and you are free to tweak on wp.com as wp.org. There are a lot of reliable hosting out there like hostgator, justhost…

    • Vikas Gupta says:

      Tinh,

      Sorry your comment had gone to spam queue! Not anyone can get a premium account on wp.com; it is only for VIP blogs and not everyone can get it (only those with millions of page views are eligible).

      Yes there are reliable hosts; Justhost is not a good host FYI. See the article on web hosting linked here to know more.

  14. Tom says:

    I agree with you on JustHost, I have had nothing bet problems with them!

  15. Adam says:

    There is so much more you can do on WP.Org

  16. dhan says:

    thank for that information, but how i can make it?

  17. decay says:

    Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your info.

    And this is Hosting site/blog.
    It pretty much covers Hosting related stuff.

  18. A good article Thank you!

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