WordPress vs WordPress
So you’ve decided you want or need a blog on the interwebs where you can publish your news, views, words of wisdom or wacky opinions which will change the world or get you in trouble with the boss/wife/mother-in-law. Now you are faced with an important decision to make – which blog software to use?
Currently you are somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to blog software and hosting but in broad terms there are two routes to choose from..
Self-hosted means you install the blog software on your own web server (dedicated or shared) and manage it all yourself which means setting up the database, keeping the software updated, doing regular backups and keeping it all secure. This option gives you more control over your own blog and you are not limited by the terms of service of a blog service provider, for example you can place adverts on your blog. Popular blog software for self-hosting include MovableType and WordPress, both of which are open source and entirely free to use.
Blog hosting service
A blog hosting service or platform does all the hard work (on the technical side) for you. You simply signup online and you have a blog instantly setup for you and ready to use. You just need to select a theme and set some standard blog options such as title, who can comment, etc. These platforms are very convenient and almost effortless to use – you dont need to install anything, you don’t need to update the software anytime, you don’t need to pay for hosting or setup your server, you don’t have to deal with server security issues.
Blog platforms typically give you a subdomain for an address, in other words the url for your blog would take the form http://yourblogname.theirdomain.com which is fine for many uses but you can usually add your own domain name for a fee if you don’t want to use theirs. Commercial uses of such blogs are restricted – you usually can’t put adverts on your blog unless you are using blogger (which belongs to Google) and then you can put Google ads.
Popular blog platforms include Typepad, Livejournal, Blogger and WordPress.
The observant among you may have noticed that wordpress is under both the self-hosted and blog service sections and as wordpress blog system is arguably one of the best around you are often faced with choosing between wordpress(.org) or wordpress(.com)!
Which one you choose depends on a number of factors, for example..
- Are you comfortable installing & upgrading blog software and doing backups yourself or do you have someone who can help?
- Do you need to have full control over your blog including the database, the users list, the ability to place and adverts you want and more?
- The ability to customize your blog beyond just installing themes of approved plugins?
- Are you prepared to pay for your own hosting and domain name OR to pay for a premium package on a blog platform which gives you some more freedom?
These are questions you must consider before starting your blog and are even more critical if your business will in any way depend on your blog. You could start with a free account on a blog platform such as wordpress.com and learn the system there then when you are ready to go for it you can switch to a self-hosted wordpress.org system instead, however this will entail changing your blog url so don’t leave it too late to make the change or you could confuse your readers and lose traffic.