WordPress is one of the most popular websites on the Internet. From blogs to major websites, the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) is favoured by over 70 million people worldwide. But with all its popularity and features, can WordPress offer your business a serious website with everything you need? And what are the benefits of self-hosting over hosting it on WordPress servers?

If you choose to host your site on WordPress.com (not a self-hosted site, but on WordPress’ own hosting) then you get all the security and backup support that you could wish for.

Self-hosting – what’s involved?

What are the benefits of self-hosting a WordPress site

Self-hosting simply means hosting your website on a server other than WordPress’ own service.

If you self-host your WordPress site then you'll need to

  • Source a host or put the site on your own server.
  • Be responsible for updates including WordPress updates.
  • Update plugins. Updates are aimed at combating security flaws and issues.
  • Have good CMS or FTP skills to make the most of your site, or hire a professional to take care of it for you.

So why wouldn't you take a perfectly good offer like the WordPress hosted option? Why would you go and find your own hosting company and then look after all the updates and security issues yourself?

Why would you self-host a WordPress site?

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For us there are some very big reasons to self-host and here are the top five!

  1. Personalisation :

    When you host your own site you get all the functionality of WordPress.org. Endless themes, php and FTP and the ability to make your website professional looking and completely individual to you.

  2. Plugins :

    Plugins are what make WordPress great. Need to add a social share bar? Want to include an image gallery right there in the side bar? Live chat? Flashy contact form? Anything you need, there’s a plugin for that. Although time-consuming, looking for a new plugin can really develop your site into a great user experience for your visitors. Plugins are only available on WordPress.org (self hosted sites) and although the free WordPress.com has plugins, they are the choice of WordPress, not you. http://en.support.wordpress.com/plugins/

  3. Custom themes :

    Themes are what make WordPress sites look really professional. Changing them is quite simple. But again the WordPress.com sites have a limited resource. Self-host and you get the option to shop around, find a great theme, or, if you or someone you know can, you can create your own custom theme in CSS. They’re totally customised to you and your needs with only your imagination as your limitation.

  4. Individuality :

    The one sure thing that popularity brings is clones. There are so many WordPress sites out there that you can often tell in an instant that they’re… well… WordPress sites! And not just because the owner has left the tagline as ‘Just another WordPress site” either (a common error). By hosting your own site you can become truly unique and create a website that does what you want, and doesn't look like ‘just another WordPress site’. Don’t blend in, or worse look like a part-time blogger when you’re a trying to be serious business online.

  5. Future-proof :

    The world of web is changing at a phenomenal speed and it seems that every week Google change the way they trawl, rank and show websites. If you limit your website to the safe but closed market on WordPress.com then you’re missing the opportunity to use great plugins, themes and the wealth of support from the marketplace on WordPress.org. Plugins like Yoast which are superb for SEO tools and keeping your site optimised are only available on self-hosted sites. We’d self-host just for the plugins!

Our choice?

Our Choice

So, What are the benefits of self-hosting a WordPress site?

There’s a fair amount of work with self-hosting a WordPress website, but the final product speaks for itself. If you’ve got the time or the money to pay someone else to do it, then self-hosting from WordPress.org is the place to go.

I’m not sure if it’s the extremely user-friendly CMS used by WordPress that keeps people flocking to it, or maybe it’s the simple transition from blogger to website owner, or the brilliance of plugins. Now everyone has one, it’s also really easy to find help. I just know that most of our clients use it for a reason. One of the biggest reasons is the awesome and intuitive CMS, but it was also recently hailed by Google as the most SEO-friendly website CMS on the market(1). If Google likes it, then I like it… a lot!

Your thoughts

  • Are you using WordPress.com?
  • Are you already self-hosting WordPress?
  • Why did you choose one over the other?

About the author

Graham Todd is a tweeter, blogger, social media trainer and SEO junkie. You can find him on Twitter


(1) WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)" Matt Cutts - 2009


Thursday, January 2, 2014

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