18 Important Things You Should Know About Self-Hosting

By: | December 12, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , |

Is Self-Hosting Your Blog for you?Are you considering self-hosting?

Are you split over whether to self-host or stay on a hosted blog site?

Have you heard there are advantages to self-hosting but are not sure what they are?

Have you already tried self-hosting but returned to the realm of the familiar, a hosted platform?

This post, which will weigh the pros and cons of a self-hosted blog site, will take a point-counterpoint format.

I will offer the advantages of self-hosting. I have invited Kaylaa from CommonsenseGal to present the disadvantages.

Are you ready for a blog post about self-hosting in the form of a debate?

Consider these comments from readers:

  • I am on WP dot com so I don’t think banners work on my site? Am I wrong? And also, if I wanted to make a banner, where do I learn to code it? I usually just make an image and email it to a person or have them cut/paste and put it where they like. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each way? ~Memee’sMusings
  • Is this also where you put the Pinterest web page confirmation? OR do I have to wait till I self-host? ~ Jem’sEclecticHome
  • Why are you migrating to a [self-hosted] blog, if the theme remains as before, if you don’t mind me asking. Just curious to know, since you will need to gather followers again, isn’t it? ~ SweetyShinde
  • I seem to still be following you, even with the change of address [to a self-hosted site]. When I tried moving, I lost all my followers and fled back to my original site. ~ NotesFromTheU.K.

Clearly there is confusion over whether or not to move to a self-hosted blog site. I hope this post will clear up some of the confusion, so bloggers can make an informed decision.

For the purpose of the point-counterpoint format, I will be referring to myself in the third person.


I have been self-hosting now for four months. I love it. I did not write a Thanksgiving post this year, but if I had, it would have been this post. I am that grateful I decided to self-host.

I originally blogged on Blogger, which I left after only one month. Then, I blogged on WordPress.com for nine months. I was so happy blogging on WordPress.com, I stayed there nine months.

I am even happier now that I am on WordPress.org for many reasons.

Reasons to Consider Self-Hosting Your Blog

  • The WordPress Calendar I realize people pay for CoSchedule‘s calendar, but I am not sure why. The ease of the drop and drag calendar to schedule posts keeps me organized. I heard CoSchedule’s calendar provides colors for further organization, but the WP Calendar works effectively for me.
  • Ahalogy Pinterest Scheduler My guest author Adrian recommended Viral Tag, but I am in love with Ahalogy, which is free. Since there is a nominal price for Viral Tag, I haven’t tried it. Pinners pin at certain peak times. Ahalogy schedules my pins to go on my community boards and my personal boards at those times. (Note: Our blog has a community Pinterest board. If you have subscribed to this blog, and you’d like to be invited to pin, please let me know in the comments section.)
  • Click to Tweet When I blogged at a hosted site, I had to leave the site to go to ClicktoTweet. Once I started self-hosting, I installed a plugin called Better Click to Tweet. It enables me to install a Click to Tweet without leaving my blog post. Since I can install a Tweet with a click of a button (it’s a Twitter bird), the plugin expedites my blogging.
[bctt tweet=”There are many advantages to #blogging on a self-hosted site.”]
  • Google Keyword Planner I’m now also able to use Google’s Keyword Planner without leaving my post while I am composing it. This saves me time while I am enhancing search engine’s ability to find my blog. I tag my post the keywords that the Keyword Planner recommends.
  • SEO Coach I installed a Yoast plugin which is a color-coded SEO coach.

Bloggers should self-host

You can see my SEO coach has suggestions for me before I can publish this article.

The red bullets indicate the weakest part of my post so far.

Since I am not finished, I have not included a snippet for search engines or any graphics.

The yellow bullets don’t indicate problems as severe, but are warning signs I should listen to before publishing. When WordPress.com hosted me, I needed to make these decisions on my own.

  • Google Trends The SEO coach also tells me what topics are trending in the Blogosphere.
  • Money-Making Potential I have partnered with Google AdWords and started a Blog Critique and Coaching Service. I also have space available for rent in my sidebar. I heard if bloggers using WordPress.com accept money, they could get in trouble by WordPress.
  • Rumors I have heard rumors that if WordPress.com, where I use to blog, doesn’t approve of what you are doing, they could shut you down. Jason Cushman was shut down for days.
  • Comment Luv CommentLuv encourages comments since the blogger’s headline shows up. I actually clicked on a headline tonight which I could see since I have CommentLuv on my site. This, of course, leads to more traffic. CommentLuv is a plugin. Hosted bloggers can’t install plugins.*
  • OptinBox I love my Sumo.me OptinBox. My MailChimp list has grown since I installed the plugin. Sumo.me also gives me statistics, so I know the optinbox’s effectiveness from week to week.
  • Other people say it’s a good idea** There is an expression that goes, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” Many people say self-hosting is the way to go, so it must have merit.


Why I Moved Back to WordPress.com from Self-Hosting on WordPress.org

Self-hosted WordPress.org gives a blogger a lot of flexibility and freedom to do what they choose with their blog. One of the main benefits of self-hosting is the ability to use a lot of open-source plugins, which can really give you access to all the bells and whistles. This helps improve the features and functionality of your site and can also work towards helping you to attract more readers in the process. Maxing out on SEO Tools, Sharing Tools and Tracking tools can really put a spin on your blog and help you to fire up your blogging platform. For a blogger like me, who is experienced with technology and loves the hands-on approach to change code, tinker, and experiment, it allows me to learn quickly on the fly. There are many more reasons why users choose to go with a self-hosted WordPress.org site, many of which Janice Wald from MostlyBlogging.com and other blog promotion experts such as Neil Patel can tell you more about.

I am new to blog writing and only began in June, after a prompt from a social media strategy class I was taking. After the class ended, I decided to get serious about it and keep the blog, so I could practice my writing. While I am new to the blog world, I do have in my arsenal expertise as an engineer, an ardent researcher with past success running my own web design and hosting company, as well as building and marketing my own ecommerce websites. So I jumped at the opportunity to self-host at WordPress, so I could start tinkering.

  • No longer had first-hand access to the WordPress Community and Reader

One of the main reasons I moved back was that I missed the WordPress.com blog community. As part of the WordPress.com community, when you publish a new blog post, it automatically gets published to the WordPress.com Reader, so all potential readers, who have not subscribed to your blog as of yet, get to see it. This allows engagement from interested readers, who may eventually follow or subscribe to your blog.

However, when you move to self-hosted WordPress.org, this does not happen. Only WordPress.com sites appear in the Reader, except for your subscribers who, if transferred to your new self-hosted WordPress.org site, will continue to see your posts in the Reader.

  • The Follow vs. Subscribe issue

While on WordPress.com platform, there are many WordPress.com users that may click “Follow” in order to Follow your blog when you were on WordPress.com. The mechanism of Following a blog and subscribing via email is also handled differently. Blog followers on WordPress.com are treated like an email subscriber, where they get notified of new posts when you publish new content. However, when you move to WordPress.org, you lose all the WordPress.com Followers, if they did not subscribe via email. So only email subscribers can be ported over, not blog followers. As a result, I lost a lot of my blog followers. However, when I moved back to WordPress.com, I was able to re-engage some of them, along with new people.
Consequently, both newbie bloggers just starting out and experienced bloggers significantly benefit from the WordPress.com community and the WordPress Reader to bring new traffic to their site. This is advantageous to any blogger at any level, but especially helpful when you are a new blogger. The WordPress.com community provides double exposure, while allowing new bloggers to grow their blog traffic organically.

I weighed the pros and cons of self-hosting, and felt that what I got on the self-hosted I could do without. So I went back to WordPress.com and opted for a premium package. This provided me with more flexibility to do a lot of what I wanted, to help my readers enjoy themselves and feel comfortable when they visit my blog. Plus, I could still work on SEO, while getting access to the WordPress.com community.

  • Tags and Categories Option in WordPress.com

Adding relevant tags and categories does have a significant impact on helping the blog post to reach more readers very quickly in the WordPress.com Reader. It’s like having your own in-house visual search engine on wheels. However, this does not work for the self-hosted WordPress.org site, because it does not have access to the community WordPress.com Reader. In general, careful categorizing and tagging can help with blog usability and search engine optimization for self-hosted WordPress. However, this does not provide immediate results, but will prove effective over time.

  • JetPack Limitations and Some Gotchas

Depending on what is important to you this may or may not be an issue for you, but its worth considering.

  • To Like or Not to Like

The default Publicize plugin on WordPress.com that controls the “Likes” and Sharing feature cannot be transferred to self-hosted WordPress.org sites. However, you quickly become unconcerned about this, because they offer a JetPack plugin to help you transfer your blog readers’ information. It also looks and works just like the Publicize plugin with more pizzazz and feature options. However, red alert your “Likes” cannot be transferred from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress sites.

You could have a zillion “Likes” by readers on your posts while your blog was on WordPress.com but when you move over to self-hosted, you lose them all.  The only thing that can be transferred with the Jetpack is user comments. While that is great, you and I both know that many blog followers show their appreciation more often with a Like, than a comment. So without that information showing up, your blog post visual popularity goes back down to zero and you look like you just got started. That means the credibility you built on your blog with the “Likes” is now gone.

  • Stats

Jetpack may not transfer the Stats to the self-hosted as you expect, but WordPress.com support will help you with the Stats transfer if push comes to shove . However, the Stat information is displayed separately. You may think that you are transferring your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, but it is not. What is really happening during the process is the transfer of the information only…that is then re-imported into a new blog created on the self-hosted WordPress.org platform. So the Stats from your WordPress.com blog cannot be combined with the Stats data of the new blog implementation on WordPress.org.

The problem with the Likes and Stats works the same way in reverse if you decide to move back to WordPress.com after your foray on the self-hosted platform. “Likes” and Stats that you gained on self-hosted will not transfer back to WordPress.com, as they are not interchangeable.

  • WordPress.com Premium or Business option

You might be told that if you are a serious about blogging then a self-hosted blog is your best route. However, as a very serious blogger (though a newbie) after moving my blog to self-hosted WordPress.org after a month I moved it back to the free WordPress.com platform. Yes I lost out on the great tools that I loved. But after extensive research I discovered that if I moved to a Premium paid package on WordPress.com, I would have some degree of flexibility that would suit my appetite for my purpose and I could live with the restriction of not being able add the plugins.

As bloggers, we are artists who live for the word and the mere joy of writing . If you ever consider later monetizing your blog or selling from an ecommerce platform as your reason for going to self-hosted, keep in mind you can still do that, by adding an ecommerce shop to your Premium or Business WordPress plan.

Please note: My choice may not suit everyone and self-hosted may be your best bet depending on the short and long-term goals for your blog.

Have you decided whether to consider self-hosting?

In conclusion, it just comes down to your immediate and long-term needs and what is more important to your personal and/or business goals for your blogging. Choosing self-hosted WordPress.org is still great, as it gives you a world of advantages and a myriad of choices. Staying on the WordPress.com will still provide you with a lot of advantages and great options to consider for the tinkerer or the enterprising or both. Upgrading to a WordPress.com paid plan, may give you the options you need. For example you can change the code or rebuild your WordPress.com site through CSS and satisfy the coder in you, like I have done. But you will still have access to the WordPress.com Community, which will provide you with a maintenance safety net. No need to worry about version upgrades and the possibilities of some plugins breaking your WordPress site. WordPress.com has that part covered.

About Commonsensegal:

Kaylaa T. Blackwell is an IT Professional working at Itron, Inc. and a student at Southern New Hampshire University with a penchant for writing, researching and helping others resolve real world issues. She has a great interest in technology, business, and psychology and how they impact each other. Learn more about her and check out her insightful and inspirational posts on her blog commonsensegal.com.

Bloggers should consider these factors when considering self-hosting.

Me again:

Tech trouble is a consideration when deciding to self-host since WordPress.com will not assist with tech trouble. Bloggers may be use to that support.

Merri Dennis provides wonderful tech support for my blog. You can access her information in the right sidebar and by clicking her link.

We really appreciate Kaylaa coming here today to share the virtues of staying on a hosted blog. Hopefully, between the two of us, readers who are considering self-hosting now have more information with which to decide.

Please share this post, so other bloggers weighing with the decision to self-host or stay on a hosted site can have more facts with which to make their decision.

Readers, what do you think? Are you considering self-hosting in the new year? Have you already tried it? Are you satisfied or considering going back? What platform do you use? I look forward to your views.

Related Posts:

How to Make Money Blogging Even if No One is Paying You

How to Make Money Blogging Even if No One is Paying You Part II




  1. Daniela Apostol

    Thank you for another great post, Janice. I switched to a self-hosted site about a month ago and l’m glad l did, l am now able to install many plugins and grow my food blog, so in my case l believe there are more pros than cons. I transferred the followers from wordpress.com and that worked really well. Yes, there is more work to do and getting the blog up and running after the transfer takes time, but it is also fun. Every day l learn something new and l enjoy it a lot.

    • commonsensegal

      Daniela, glad you liked the post and you are having fun learning a lot on your self-hosted WordPress site, while you build up your readership base. All the best with your food blog and business 🙂 .
      However, just for clarification when you said you “transferred the followers from WordPress.com” to your self-hosted setup…you mean email subscribers right? For as I outlined in the post, “followers” cannot be transferred from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.org sites, only email subscribers.

      However, if you were able to transfer WordPress.com “followers”, we would love to know if you developed new coding to do that, for WordPress current API and code does not allow that. Cheers 🙂

      • Janice Wald

        Hi Commonsensegal,
        I think the issue of followers vs. subscribers is a complicated issue. Like Daniela, my tech helper was able to transfer my WordPress subscribers to my new site. I don’t know about followers. She said all I lost was Google’s users on Blogger. By looking at the number transferred, that seemed correct.
        You are knowledgeable about tech and probably understand the Follower vs. subscriber situation better than many.

        • Kaylaa

          OK, let me clarify further Janice/ Daniela/other readers. When you backup your WordPress.com files and install the Jetpack, it will allow you to connect to your previous WordPress.com site, and copy over your html files to your self-hosted WordPress.org site, along with copying over your followers/subscribers. However, now for the main part I am referring to in the blog post above, when I say followers are not copied over only subscribers (this is really the function I am referring to). In that, although, you have the ‘followers’ copied over, along with your ‘email subscribers’ and they show up on your new self-hosted WordPress.org site. If these readers are just ‘followers that clicked the ‘Follow button’ while you were on WordPress.com and not also email subscribers’ that inputted their email to follow your blog; when you submit new posts on your self-hosted site, ‘followers’ that have not subscribed via email are not alerted via email or do they see the post in the Reader. While if you are on the WordPress.com platform both ‘followers’ and ‘email subscribers’ are treated the same and get alerts via email of your posts and see it in the Community Reader.

          However, on self-hosted WordPress.org site, the only way your previous WordPress.com “followers” can know of your new post is if they go out of their way to check your blog to see what’s new. Your WordPress.com email subscribers on the other hand, that are still on WordPress.com (though you have moved to self-hosted WordPress.org), gets notified of your new blog posts via email and it also shows up in the WordPress Community Reader for them, along with other WordPress.com blogs they have subscribed to. With that said, since ‘followers’ are treated differently when you move to self-hosted, I don’t count or consider being able to copy over followers that are non-email subscribers useful, as you cannot continue to update them/market to them, because you do not have their email. The only way you can get past this, is if you contact each of them and ask them to subscribe to your blog via email and if you have a lot of Followers that can be a real pain 🙁 .
          So my recommendation for WordPress.com users to avoid this problem later, is to remove the Follow button option and only use “Subscribe via email box” option to get all followers to subscribe via email. This way if you later decide to do any kind of marketing campaign that involve your readers while on WordPress.com or move to self-hosted WordPress.org, all reader subscription information that you copy, ‘you can actually use’ to increase your reach to WordPress.com readers and they are not just for show :). Hope this helps to put things into perspective 🙂 .

          Let me know if you have any further questions/comments.

          Best Regards,

      • Janice Wald

        You did a great job Kaylaa. By reading these comments, you can see that readers not only agree with you, but are giving additional reasons staying on .com is the way to go.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Daniela,
      Thank you for writing. Like your experience, my tech helper was able to transfer my .com subscribers to my new site. Like you, I discover new plugins every day that make self-hosting a more fun experience.

  2. Kathleen

    I have been looking for a good comparison like this post provides. I have always been self-hosted but I see so many bloggers who are not, it has been good to read some of the other side of things. For those sitting on the fence, not sure which way to go, this should help considerably.
    Thanks Janice,

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Kathleen,
      I’m glad you liked our pro-con approach. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for visiting me this morning, although I’m not sure if it’s still morning in Australia, LOL. Thanks for writing.

  3. Richard Schulte

    Other stuff to consider:

    If your hosted blog is a subdomain of wordpress.com, you have an instant domain authority of 96, which boosts you significantly in search engine results. If you self-host, you’d need over 100,000 backlinks to match that!

    I know for certain that you can link to your own cafepress and etsy stores (and others like them) from a wordpress.com blog and not risk suspension. That’s because the products you are selling in those stores are created by you. (I once asked about this on the wordpress.com help forum and received an official reply from a wordpress team member.)

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Richard,
      Thank you for giving additional reasons that WordPress.com is the better choice. I’m sure readers weighing the decision appreciate the information.
      If, at the time, I had known monetizing was a possibility on .com, I might have thought harder about switching. Now that I did, I’m thrilled because of the reasons I stated.

      • commonsensegal

        Ok Janice, maybe the reason why my comment to respond to Richard cannot post is because its too long…so I am going to try breaking it up 🙂 . It would have been better if it said that, than displaying the 404 page cannot be found error…so you may want to check into that later. Best Regards, Kaylaa

        • Janice Wald

          Would that cause a 404 error? Interesting. How would I fix that? Glad you can join the discussion now.

      • Janice Wald

        Hi Commensensegal,
        Your comment came through just fine! =)
        I really appreciate your help with the post. There seems to be definite interest. I love how the commenters are offering additional points for and against self-hosting. They also seem to be enjoying our pro/con format.

    • commonsensegal

      Thanks for your response and great input Richard.

      For clarification, though individual pages does benefit from being on a high-ranking root or primary domains, as well as some sub-domains on self-hosted sites. It is not always a given that sub-domains inherit all the awesome ranking of the primary/root domain. This is the case for sub-domain blog sites on ‘WordPress.com’ and some other free blogging platforms that (DOES NOT BENEFIT from the ‘WordPress.com’ sub-domain usage in this instance e.g. myblog.wordpress.com). This is why in this case if your site is on ‘WordPress.com’ and you have myblog.wordpress.com, it is better to purchase the domain name upgrade to have your own domain name on ‘WordPress.com’, so that you can start to build authority with your domain name and backlinks, even though you are on ‘WordPress.com’. This way you can have the best of both worlds, ‘WordPress.com’ built in SEO optimization and their powerful community, while building your own url authority for your blog outside of ‘WordPress.com’ and augmenting it with your own SEO marketing efforts.

      For example, though moz.com free or paid site explorer may give you an instant domain authority of 96/100 for myblog.wordpress.com, please keep in mind this only reflects the ranking of the primary domain ‘wordpress.com’. However, when more comprehensive calculation is brought into the metrics specific to your sub-domain, in your case, coolsandiegosights.wordpress.com, you have a lower url rating of “11” (despite the 96 domain authority), but a better domain rating of “38” for your sub-domain. Therefore if the user were solely banking on domain authority and the real url rating, they would suffer from the penalty of a lower url rating. However, in the SEO world though url and domain rating is important, a website inbound links and organic keywords are of higher importance to increase website influence in the search engines and more visitors traffic to your site.

      With that said, your domain popularity rating of “38” though really good it is not because of your high domain authority of “96” or your lower url rating of “11” and your blog address that is a sub-domain of ‘WordPress.com’. It is because you greatly benefit from many users finding your site from the ‘WordPress.com’ community, plus the 1.6K backlinks, 70+ primary domain referring links to your site, along with your 3000+ organic keywords. The culmination of all those is what is really helping you to boost your sub-domain in the search engines and bring 100+ monthly organic traffic to your site each month, while simultaneously boosting ‘wordpress.com’ domain name.
      This is helping your site to grow organically in the search engines which is awesome 🙂 . If you keep this up you are actually helping to boost ‘WordPress.com’ popularity instead of the other way around, but since you are getting boosted by the community intake and the organic positioning; the great advantages of being linked to ‘WordPress.com’ becomes reciprocal…so its win-win relationship.

      Richard/other readers, if you are interested to get this kind of market research insight at your fingertips, I would recommend you check out the comprehensive web analytics tool I use from ahrefs.com (they have a 14 day free trial if you just want to test it out). This is helpful for researching your own website and instantly see things like your url rating, page rank, domain rating, backlinks/inbound links, best worst key words performance. While it allows you to check out your competitors or your other fellow blogger’s sites 🙂 to see how they rank with all of the above. Plus what they are doing right or wrong, this includes the key words they are using to bring attention to their content, their content layout, the pages that have the highest page ranks, among other things.
      With this comprehensive information, you can quickly learn what needs to be done to improve your web or blog site whether it is on ‘WordPress.com’ or self-hosted.

      Regarding linking to external ecommerce storefronts from ‘WordPress.com’. Yes, you are right Richard, you can link to Etsy stores among others for free and benefit from being in that market place, while taking advantage of being a part of the ‘WordPress.com’ community. However, if you want to build branding and web authority with your own domain name and ecommerce shop, while being on ‘WordPress.com’. As well as, consolidate your search engine marketing efforts, it may be worth considering one of the upgrade options for ‘WordPress.com’ package, that will allow you to have your own ecommerce shop too. This helps you to deliver a total experience to the customer from one domain url, instead of them having to leave your blog, to go to another shopping site to interact with you, as you may risk losing them to the competitor for the purchase.
      If you prefer to have the Etsy store separate from your ‘WordPress.com’ blog, so you don’t have to pay for the ecommerce upgrade, you can always, drive traffic to your external shop from ‘WordPress.com’ with blog posts that show your product to readers and give them the ability to click and follow the link to your Etsy store.

      However, while you can do all that on ‘WordPress.com’ and more, one thing to keep in mind with the advantages of having a self-hosted site in this case, is that you can sell whatever you want and it is not limited to what you create personally. For you may be better at sourcing/reselling great products, but not necessarily making them yourself or even if you could, you may not want to…to each his own 🙂 . Lastly, with self-hosted you have the option of choosing a different ecommerce platform to build your shop on, that may provide you with more advantages for what you are selling and how you choose to sell it.
      For example you may want to integrate your ecommerce shop with your eBay store or other online marketplaces, to allow for a tighter back-end integration and marketing of your products online. However, some ecommerce platform allows cross-platform integration and some does not. So when considering a ‘WordPress.com’ site with an ecommerce option, check to see if their ecommerce facilitate the options you need both on the backend (for shop/marketplace management) and the front-end to cater to your customers well (design /navigation/website loading, powerful shopping cart etc.) because it makes all the difference with your online selling success.

      Hope this helps clarify a few things. Happy blogging or selling or both on either ‘WordPress.com’ site or your self-hosted site 🙂 .

      Let me know if you have further questions/concerns towards this end.

      Best Regards,
      Kaylaa 🙂

      • Richard Schulte

        Google the popular search term:

        cool san diego

        Look who’s on page one!

        I think your software is bad. I get almost 100 unique visitors a day from Google alone. Not per month.

        According to Alexa, your website commonsensegal.com has a global traffic rank of 7,289,630.

        My blog, coolsandiegosights.wordpress.com, has a global rank of 2,169,697. That is a very, very big difference.

        I also have about six times as many domains linking in. Including huge blockbusters like kpbs.org (plus lots of gigantic Facebook shares, like the Port of San Diego). Content is king.

        Thanks for the offer, but I’m okay for now!

        Best wishes,


        • commonsensegal

          Updated Response:


          Thanks for your response. However, if you look at my comment you will see I am agreeing with you, with regards to content and organic keywords. However, I still needed to provide clarification in some instances for correction to some of what you said, in your comments on site authority on a sub-domain, which does not apply to WordPress.com blog sites and urls, and is misleading as a result. However, at no time did I say you were not ranking well in Google or not on its first page. I specifically spoke of your advantage due to organic keywords and backlinks, but not due to having a sub-domain on WordPress.com, as you previously mentioned.

          Also, comparing my new WordPress.com blog site commonsensegal.com that I initially started as a class project, and now using to practice my writing, to your established site, is a faulty comparison. For it is not comparable at all, it’s like comparing a midget to a 500 pound gorilla :). Obviously my blog, has a very long way to go before it can compare in content and backlinks, I have less than 50 posts there and just started a few months ago and have not done any SEO on it yet. So though I have great tech and online experience/expertise with ecommerce sites and SEO, I am a newbie WordPress blogger as stated in the original post. Therefore my online business ecommerce sites (that were mentioned in passing in the original post) that are also on the first page of Google, they are not on WordPress.com platform. And for the purpose of this blog post and information sharing, we are limiting the conversation to WordPress sites and their sub-domains.

          Lastly, ahrefs.com UI that I am using is not bad at all, as mostly all the influential bloggers with several websites, tons of traffic and online clout like Neil Patel uses ahref.com and wholeheartedly recommends it. This is how I started using it for my ecommerce and client sites and recently added my personal wordpress.com blog site comonsensgeal.com to it for the purpose of wide-ranging research.
          Please note the backlinks and organic traffic info I gathered of your website is a current snapshot of your site traffic and can fluctuate from month to month and day to day. Before concluding it is bad or wrong I would suggest that you consider checking out the free trial of ahrefs.com to see for yourself. For having more useful and comparative/in-depth information about your site cannot hurt, especially when it doesn’t cost you anything.

          Hope this helps set the record straight and all the best with the great work you are doing with your blog 🙂

          Best Regards,

        • Richard Schulte

          I blog just for fun. That’s all! Have a nice rest-of-the-weekend!

  4. Gary Mathews

    I started out self hosting from the get go, I really had no idea how much control you have over your website until I was many months into it. The hundreds of free theme options and advertising control alone make it worth it.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Gary,
      Thanks for writing. Great to see you here today. I have an important question for you. What do you mean by “advertising control”? Since I am considering moneting my blog (I mean who doesn’t like money, right?), your answer may prove helpful to me. I am not sure where to advertise my Blog Critique/Coaching service.

      • Janice Wald

        Big smile =)
        I will take that as a compliment. Thank you.
        Definitely a goal for 2016 to look into advertising ideas.

      • Janice Wald

        By the way, I wanted to add “enough money to run a lemonade stand” would at least pay for your monthly overhead.

      • Janice Wald

        Hi Gary,
        Sorry to keep asking you about this but…
        Your comment yesterday morning inspired me. Any thoughts where I could advertise my blog coaching/critique service? I also rent space on my blog. After getting your comment, I tried Google some ideas but came up empty. Thanks for any ideas you can offer.
        I have already tried Twitter, FB Groups, Google Plus, and my Email list.

  5. Benjamin Carter-Riley

    Hi Janice,

    This is a good post, and I am currently using a wordpress.com and am aware that it much more limted than wordpress.org.

    With wordpress.org you have a wide range of plugin’s and great themes to choose from. And if you are comfortable with html, then you can have a lot of customization.

    Me personally, I don’t feel to make the move to wordpress.org (yet). But sometime in the future I most likely will (blog relaunch) 🙂 ).

    The points you have brought up are great, and may influence people to reconsider what wordpress platform to use for their blog.

    Thank you so much for another great post Janice.

    All the best,


    • Janice Wald

      Hi Benjamin,
      Thanks so much for the compliments on my post. I am glad you felt I raised valid points.
      Just one suggestion, I am not comfortable with html. I don’t consider myself tech savvy. The move, for many reasons, took a great deal of my time, and I didn’t even transfer my site! If you are going to do it, make the switch when you don’t have a busy schedule. I transferred during the summer when I was home from school.

    • commonsensegal


      Thanks for your response and glad you liked our post 🙂
      Keep in mind that if you stay on WordPress.com and upgrade to the premium or business version of it, you get access to a huge selection of premium templates for “free”, that you would have to buy separately each time on self-hosted WordPress.org. Or pay for a much more expensive hosting plan that include the premium templates. Additionally, as I outlined in the post above, if you upgrade your WordPress.com site, you can customize your template completely using CSS. All this can be done without moving to the self-hosted WordPress.org. However, with WordPress whether it is WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress.org, mostly everything you need can be done from the UI via CSS, without having to access the code directly via FTP. So if you are really comparing apples and oranges for the reasons you are considering the move, the only thing you are missing out on by staying on WordPress.com is the multitude of plug-ins and the ability to access/download and customize your website host and html files directly from the ftp server.

      Best Regards,

      • Janice Wald

        Hi Kaylaa!
        I just wanted to let you know your comment came through! Hopefully the frustration is over.

      • Benjamin Carter-Riley

        Thanks Kayla I agree with what you are saying. I think the main reason wordpress.org is so desirable to me is the large amount of great plugins to use. And if you have a domain (which you need for self hosting), it requires no extra cost for css customization.


        • commonsensegal


          Thanks for your response. Yes I agree, the plugins can be a deal breaker 🙂 . However, keep in mind that if you upgrade to premium or business WordPress.com plan you get a custom domain for free, along with CSS editiing. The Premium package only costs $99 year (or $8.25 monthly) which in my estimation is cheaper than reliable self-hosting with these options (excluding the plug-ins).

          Though I can tell you about this first hand WordPress.com Premium Plan because I am using it, for a quick summary, here is a snapshot below of what you get that I copied from the WordPress.com site. You can go here to look at it yourself and compare in greater detail. As well as, compare against their more expensive business plan if you want to go bigger: store.wordpress.com/plans/

          What you’ll get with the WordPress.com Premium upgrade:
          -The included domain credit lets you add a custom domain to your blog (so ‘wordpress.com’ won’t be part of your blog’s address). Or a domain you previously registered.
          -Upload HD videos directly to your blog with VideoPress. No ads, no time limits, no watermarks — just your video.
          -Choose custom fonts and colors with Custom Design, or go under the hood with the CSS editor.
          – The No Ads upgrade makes sure ads will never show up on your blog.
          – Extra 10GB of storage space will give you ample room for images, audio and video.
          -Save 40% by getting $166 worth of upgrades for just $99 a year
          -Peace of mind guaranteed. Get everything your blog could need with a yearly subscription that renews automatically.

          Hope this helps with the cost breakdown and give you better insight when comparing and deciding if you will still go with self-hosting or stay on WordPress.com based on what you get for your money.

          Best Regards,

          • Benjamin Carter-Riley

            Oh wow!

            You’ve got be thinking about different options when it comes to wordpress, I will consider both of these.

            Thanks for the support Kaylaa! 🙂

  6. Janelle (JEM)

    Great info. Any advice on how to relaunch? Does timing matter? Should I warn wordpress followers first?

    Thanks for the link back!


    • Janice Wald

      Hi Janelle,
      As far as timing, relaunch when your schedule is clear. It took a great deal of time. Fortunately, I chose to relaunch when I was home from school over the summer. By the way, I am investigating AdFly. Thanks for letting me know about it.
      Happy to provide the link to your site. I made up for the last time I quoted you, LOL. Look at how your comments consistently help me introduce my topic. Keep them coming! =)

      • Janelle (JEM)

        Okay, so do it before the move. Cool thanks. Lol

        I guess it’s the life coach in me coming out. I seem to always channel the good questions. ?


  7. John Doe

    Fantastic post. It was great seeing both the pros and the cons next to each other.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi John,
      I am glad you liked the format. Kaylaa was wonderfully supportive to help me with it.

  8. Mona AlvaradoFrazier

    What a great post! This came right on time for me since I had thought about self-hosting in the new year. This article gave me the pro’s and con’s and also provided additional info on what the premium pkg on wp.com could provide (plus I love infographics).

    I like the wp reader and people find me through the reader; I’d hate to lose that function. Since I don’t sell anything (yet) on my blog the wp.com with a premium pkg would satisfy my needs for another year. So for now, the pro’s of wp.com outweigh the con’s.

    Thanks for giving us clear info (and I mean non-techie ?). I’m sharing this post on Twitter & G+ since many people may be deciding on this issue in the new year.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Mona,
      Thank you for visiting me today and your comments. I really appreciate you sharing. Thanks. If I had known about the premium package that’s available, I might have thought harder about the switch. But, as I indicated, I am happy now. Now that I know about the plugins that make blogging easier, I am spoiled. I don’t think I could go back.

    • commonsensegal


      Glad you found what I wrote useful about the pros of WordPress.com with the option to upgrade to the premium or business plan.
      As Janice mentioned, in her response just now, the advantages of having the plugins can be important and a deal changer depending on what your needs are and how much you want all the extra plug-ins. However, in my instance after I weighed the pros and cons, I felt the plug-ins that comes standard with WordPress.com was enough for my purpose and marketing efforts.
      While the extra plug-ins I was using previously (that Janice also mentioned) with self-hosted WordPress.org e.g. Yoast SEO. Though they were exciting to customize and use them and they offer some advantages, they were not enough to stop me from moving back from self-hosted WordPress.org to WordPress.com and upgrading to the premium plan. As the premium upgrade provided me with all the advantages I needed. The only plug-in that I am yearning for is the cool CommentLuv plugin Janice uses on this site 🙂 …but everything else I have found to be interchangeable to a great extent based on my needs. As well as, additional tools if really needed, can be facilitated with web tools, many of which can be accessed for free or at a very small monthly cost. All this can add up to the equivalent or lesser cost of self-hosting, if you choose well 🙂 .

      At the end of the day it boils down to what is most important to you, that meet your administration/management/marketing needs, while making your blog more user friendly and search engine friendly.

      Best Regards,

  9. Jeanette Hall

    Going to look into: Ahalogy, Better Click to Tweet, Google Keyword Planner, and Yoast to see if they will work on my self hosted site. Thanks for the advice!

    • Janice Wald

      They should all work. Go to New PlugIns and type their names into Search. Oh, I just remembered, I had to get on a waiting list for Ahalogy. Go to their website. I’m guessing it’s Ahalogy.com. The others are plugins. Click to Tweet is called Better Click to Tweet. Have fun. They do make blogging more fun.

  10. Melissa

    This was such a great post. So happy you did this. I was really confused on what both options would offer and even how to approach it. This was so helpful. Thank you

    • Janice Wald

      Crazy Debby. So sorry.
      Try again. Then copy your comment. Then try again. If it reoccurs, paste the comment.
      Does it have outbound links?
      Did you notice this has become somewhat of a controversial issue?

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  15. Damita

    Thanks for sharing this because I have been trying to decide if I needed to move from self-hosting. I had the hosted before and did not feel it worked for me. The only reason I have even thought about it is because people have told me you want the domain name with the “WordPress” in the URL. It has not stopped people from viewing my online magazine. Do you think this is important? I feel if I can learn how to add plugins and the CoSchedule calendar I’m in good shape. Would love to hear others feedback. Thanks Damita

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Damita,
      Thanks for writing.
      I have happily self-hosted since August. I just found out this week that I can’t use MailChimp anymore to send my MailChimp subscribers my post from my Gmail account. It has to be from MostlyBlogging. My host enabled me to get @mostlyblogging.com account, so MailChimp lets me use their service. I hear all Email services do that now. I don’t think I could make a blog account if I was still on WordPress.com. In answer to your question, YES! It is extremely important if you want to continue blogging to have your own website and not use WordPress.com’s. Thanks for reading my article. I hope I helped.

  16. Natalie

    This is such a very informational post. I’ve learned a lot reading your post regarding stuffs that matters. I hope to read more great post on your blog in the future.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Natalie,
      Thank you so very much for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I’d love to encourage you to subscribe. I have posts like the 18 Tips About Self-Hosting article regularly. Subscribing means you would always be apprised of my posts. If not, thank you for the visit and the compliments.

  17. John Myers

    Try to use strong passwords to avoid the risk of a hack. And also change your password on a regular basis just in case not to get stolen by someone who is working at the hosting company.

  18. Shane Harrison

    Great article! Although some programs say that you can make money online without a website, the reality is that you absolutely need one if you want to maximize your earnings.

    That’s because people don’t take your business seriously when you don’t have your own domain and website.

    A website also allows you to get direct traffic, which means more sales and signups for your business.

    With a WordPress website you can easily create opt-in pages, build a blog, sell products and much more.

    If you think building a website is hard or expensive, times have changed.

    To help you get started, I’ve put together a tutorial series to teach you how to build your own WordPress website in less than 1 hour.

    Even if you’re an absolute beginner and don’t know anything about coding, you can do this.

    Sign up below to watch these step-by-step WordPress tutorial videos for free:


    Hope this helps!

  19. Paulconvery


    Great share,

    I really like your content.If you’ve considered starting a blog, you’ve probably run across the term self-hosted blog. Most people will tell you that a self-hosted blog is the way to go, especially if you’re looking to create a professional image.But what is a self-hosted blog? And why do you need one if you can just start a blog for free through other services? Below, we explain the details of free and self-hosted blogging platforms, the pros and cons of each, and which one you should choose.

    Keep sharing !!
    Have a great day

  20. James Parker

    This is an amazing post! I’ve been looking into going self hosted so I’ve come across this at the perfect time!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi James,
      I appreciate your kind words about my article. Thank you so much. I’ve happily self-hosted since I wrote it. Where did you find this, now rather-old, article? I always wonder. Thanks for commenting. Good luck with your move to self-hosted.

  21. Bella D. @ Self-Publishing Made Easy Now

    Thank you so much for sharing this lengthy but very informative article. I now have a better understanding of how self-hosting works. This will be helpful to every blogger out there who is planning to do self-hosting.

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