Whether you opt to use WordPress.com (“Hosted”) or WordPress.org (“Self Hosted”) is entirely a choice of your own preference, but I genuinely believe that Self Hosting is always better and as such I always self host. Here’s a list of 21 top reasons why based on lists from 17 other websites.
1. Thousands of free and paid themes.
When you use the hosted version you are limited to a relative handful of themes. With the self hosted version you have thousands of themes and if you, or someone you know, is handy with HTML / CSS then you can write your own. Almost all of the sites surveyed mentioned this as an advantage.
2. Your Own Advertising
If you want to display adverts then you can (you can’t display most with the hosted version). You can choose where to take them from – whether that be Google Adsense or advertising your own connections. Three quarters of the sites mentioned this.
3. Plugins to extend the site
Over half the sites surveyed liked the fact that with the self hosted version you can install a huge variety of plugins, including security, social networking, stats and many more!
Being able to make your own changes to the source code was also mentioned by over half the sites. Whether that’s a major rewrite or just a simple tweak to remove something from the theme that you aren’t happy with, you are in control.
5. Own domain name
This is possible, but as an “extra” on the hosted version. But with wordpress.org you always use whatever domain name you want to use. You register it, you won it and you control it fully! A third of the sites suggested this.
6. Total freedom
It is possible to trip up on the hosted version by accidentally crossing a line and not sticking to a T&C. When you host it yourself, as long as you are legal you can do whatever you want.
Because you can install plugins (or if you prefer you can do it through the code itself) you can install any type of analytics tool you want, including Google Analytics. You can monitor anything and everything about the traffic on your blog. 4 sites including janefriedman.com gave this as a good reason.
Using your own domain name rather than a subdomain and being on obviously free hosting makes your blog look better. A different 4 sites to the previous suggestion recommended this, including blogging.org like this
9. Can’t be closed
As long as it’s all legal and above board you won’t find one day that your blog has vanished and everything been deleted without there being anything you can do about it just because you didn’t appreciate something in the terms, such as no advertising. This was raised by wpfreesetup.com, seedpod.com and boostblogtraffic.com.
10. No hidden fees
Free isn’t always free, but when you pay for your hosting you have an agreement as to what is provided. You avoid suddenly being hit with the prospect of paying for more bandwidth, more space, ability to upload media, removing adverts… boostblogtraffic.com and tsohost.com pointed this out.
11. SEO advantages
Because you can customise the code and use plugins you get the chance to search engine optimise your site better. You can also choose from themes that are written for search engines etc. shoutmeloud.com and tsohost.com liked this feature.
If your blog grows that so can your hosting, very easily. Both wpmudev.com and tsohost.com came up with this as a valid reason for self hosting.
If you own and manage your domain name then you can create email addresses within that domain name, brilliant for newsletters, contact addresses, setting up social media accounts, contacting other bloggers etc. boostblogtraffic.com and tsohost.com pointed this advantage out,
14. Unlimited space
No emails telling you you are 95% full and then having to work out what you can delete. You just buy the space that you need and go for it. Both wpfreesetup.com and bloggingbasics101.com came up with this suggestion.
15. No unwanted ads
Free isn’t free without something in return and here it normally means third party advertising. And it’s advertising in which you get no revenue! Plus you don’t have to pay to get rid of these adverts. This was suggested by both inkthemes.com and and diythemes.com
16. Web store
If you want to sell a product you can do so. Either use a plugin to create a site that’s a web store, or just have odd items for sale (e.g. an Ebook) throughout the site. Two sites suggested this – slbloggersupport.com and michaelhyatt,com
17. Your own data
You own it all, everything that you create whether it’s media or text. No-one else decides it’s not suitable and it’s up to you if you ever want to move or delete it. wpbeginner.com were the only site to mention this.
18. Affiliate links
No affiliate links allowed when you are hosted, but go for it if you are self hosted and see if you can make a living through your blog if you wish. Both inkthemes.com and boostblogtraffic.com suggested this reason.
19. Extra features
There are loads of extra features that are only available to self hosted bloggers, some of which might be relevant to you. Both yoexpert.com and wpinterns.com recommended this.
20. Free / cheap
Ironically, given all of the extras you might end up paying for on the hosted version the self hosted version could be cheaper when paired with a domain for a few pounds / dollars and basic hosting. wpbeginner.com & yoexpert.com suggested this.
21. Sell your blog
Not many will do this but if the site really takes off someone might want to buy the blog – url & content – from you. I have done this myself and it can be very profitable. But it’s only possible when you are self hosting. However, only shoutmeloud.com suggested this reason.