Week 7- Self Hosting or Ready Made?
Choosing between a self hosting site or a ready made hosting site requires research and knowing what you want to get out of both. First I will discuss an outline for a self hosting site, as well as an outline for a ready made hosting site, the pros and cons of each, and the decision that I made for myself and why.
If I were to use a self hosting site, it would be WordPress. Why, you ask? I am familiar with using WordPress. Although I have only used the free version of WordPress, I am still familiar with the site. In researching “self hosting sites”, WordPress always comes up first, or at least close to first. I think this is a good sign; WordPress is popular.
WordPress allows complete theme and plugin control. These themes and plugins are customizable, easily modifiable, and some are free. There are themes that have an annual fee, if you prefer a nicer theme. WordPress allows marketing control. Many free sites contain a contact form, but with WordPress you can have sign-up forms for subscription to your site, or account creation capabilities that allow people to purchase your products. WordPress also allows the user to choose how much space they want for their site and how fast the server will be, as well as how email is handled, and the amount of security the site will have. WP101 says the following about managing hosting:
“An additional benefit is being able to set up WordPress managed hosting. Managed hosting provides servers built for WordPress sites, 24/7 security, updates your version of WordPress and your plugins, backs up your site automatically so nothing is ever lost, and repairs problems if they ever arise.”
Using WordPress as a self hosting site allows a primary domain rather than a subdomain. A subdomain will contain “wordpress.com” in the URL as opposed to your own personal domain in the URL. WP101 continues to say that:
“Data shows that subdomains and free website platforms do not perform as well as primary domains…While having a free site as a subdomain on the wordpress.com network does drive traffic to a site thanks to the exposure the wordpress.com domain brings, it is rare when a subdomain out-ranks a primary domain website.”
Self-hosted websites are also fully customizable. Every page of your site can be made more attractive to search engines by certain keywords that you like. You are also able to advertise any way that you like with a self hosting site. This ability to implement advertising can make your site more profitable.
While researching ready made site hosting, there did not seem to be as many reasons as to why use a ready made site host except for a main one: simplicity. Again, I looked to WordPress because it offers self hosting and ready made, which is easy to compare. The list of reasons to use WordPress ready made option is short, but effective.
Ready made WordPress is first and foremost simple to set up. There is a support staff ready to help with any needs you may have. It is always up-to-date, so there are no worries of having to deal with updates, and it has a managed server. There is also the possibility of connecting with other blogs.
Connecting with other blogs is pretty irrelevant because my site will not be used for blogging. I do not hate blogging, but I feel as if I don’t care enough to share my opinions with others as much as I care about sharing my work. The rest of the list seemed like a nice and easy way to go. I am not the most tech-savvy, so having a support staff almost had me sold.
With all of the reasons to use self hosting or ready made hosting sites, I searched why not to use these two different hosting options, again using WordPress.
The cons of ready made WordPress are:
Limited themes and plugins
No code-level access
No uploading themes and plugins
The cons of self hosted WordPress are:
Manage your own server
Install and upgrade platform
Forum support only
There are some trade-offs for each. It really just depends on what you want to do, how much you want to do, and how much you are familiar with.
What about costs?
Based on my research, I had decided on using the ready made option of WordPress. While determining costs, I found that I could have a one-month free trial of WordPress for $50.
I stopped right there. I looked no further. I am a college student with a very tight budget. I was too scared to see how much the annual fee for WordPress was if the one-month trial was so expensive. This brought me to my next phase of research — cheaper hosting.
Since I was already using Wix to host my blog, I wanted to find something different. Just to stick my nose somewhere I was unfamiliar with. I landed on Weebly. I also found an article comparing the two (Weebly and WordPress): Website Builder Expert
This ready made hosting site allows you to literally drag and drop content onto your site. This makes the building process relatively easy and quick. It is unrestrictive for the most part, about where you want your content to go on your site. Weebly contains all of the basics for site building: pictures, paragraphs, videos, buttons, maps, contact forms, etc.
The article continues by listing reasons of why to choose Weebly:
You want to build a website rather easily and quickly
Don’t have time to learn and become proficient with WordPress
Don’t want to spend a lot of money
Don’t mind having a simple, yet elegant website that you can build by yourself
I was sold. Since I first started reading about having a host for my domain, etc. etc., I just knew I wanted to use WordPress. After comparing the costs, I quickly and pretty easily changed my mind.
$50 for a one-month trial with WordPress vs. $14 monthly charge for Weebly.