The 31 definite reasons why you should be self-hosting WordPress

While I was presenting the arguments against the most popular reasons people have for not self-hosting their own blog,  I’ve been proposing WordPress as the software people should be using for that purpose. However I haven’t actually explained what’s so great about WordPress in the first place nor have I specificed the benefits self-hosting provides over free hosting like WordPress.com or Blogger.

Of course one can just look at the features as given by the devs themselves or check what popular blogs on blogging have to say but I thought that since you’re with me until now, you might be interested in my personal take on it.

Disclaimer: Some of these may look obvious or be already available for your free blogging platform of choice but that does not mean they are available for all. As an example: Blogger does not support trackbacks while WordPress.com does not allow ads.

For simple or casual bloggers

1. Having your own domain name means that if you ever change your mind about how popular you want to be, you don’t have to go through the hassle of redirecting your readers to a new location.

2. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of possible themes to choose from. Practically a guarantee that your blog will look fresh and unique to visitors without any effort on your part.

3. The WordPress software is gratis and will always stay that way. As a result the only costs you have, is your web host which generally provides you with much more benefits over simply having a blog.

4. You can have pages that exist outside of your blog timeline. No need to have your “about page” be a normal blogpost you need to link to, or other workarounds like that.

5. You’ve got free stats integrated into your blog. No need to go through the hassle of opening, verifying and installing google analytics or any other third party software.

6. It takes just 38 minutes to set up, including registering with a new host.

7. Installing new themes of plugins is as simple as it gets. A one click process.

8. Autosaves and revisioning so that your sanity and nerves are spared from both PC crashes and wrong saves.

9. With the widgets setup, you can easily change the layout of your sidebars or add custom and obscure scripts with two clicks, without editing any files.

10. You don’t have to be technical. You don’t have to know anything about dns, ips, mysql or apache to install and maintain it on most popular hosts

For the Technical and Web2.0 oriented bloggers:

11. You can have your OpenID being your own domain name and know you won’t have to change it in the future.

12. You can customize your theme as much or as little as you want and this is made much easier by the modular design of wordpress themes.

13. Where in other platforms you can only use whatever plugins or gadgets they provide or allow, in wordpress you have a choice of hundreds of plugins for almost any purpose your might think off.

14. You also have a choice of Categories and Tags. None of that googly “labels” that no-one else uses. Having both categories and tags allows better categorization and tag clouds ;)

15. With so much anti-spam you can pretty much say goodbye to everyone’s favourite canned meat. And that is without annoying your commenters with captchas and the like.

16. A comment system that is not a pain in the ass and actually recognises blockquotes.

17. Pretty much all services related to blogging support wordpress first and best. Even if that service has not, for some reason, implemented any way to integrate with blogs or wordpress, sooner or later,  someone will make a plugin for it.

18. Supports Google Gears and offline/faster use.

19. The amount of information about wordpress out there is staggering. If you want to play with the system or simply optimize it as much as possible, you easily can.

For popular or Pro-Bloggers (and wannabes)

20. You have your own domain name which allows you more authority and visibility. Not having this, especially when you have big plans for your blog, is a big mistake.

21. You can use adverts if you wish.

22. Has great SEO out of the box that you can make it even better with plugins. If you’re going to write articles and don’t have many people to link to you, you’ll need this to be discovered.

23. With any number of plugins you get the option to show similar posts which is great for making  scrappers work for you and keeping visitors engaged.

24. You have trackbacks. ‘Nuff said.

Other great capabilities and options

25. You have a great built-in media library which gives you not only the ability upload your own files but to also easily find them in your server, with the same settings you used them before if you wish to.

26. Supports the iPhone for the fanbois.

27. You setup collaborative weblog without having to make people register with a specific provider. You can even avoid registering altogether by using OpenIDs once more. Hell, you can set it up as a little social club if you want to ;)

28. Being Open Source, you have the certain knowledge that you platform will never go stale or out of development. Indeed, the more people that use it, the faster and better it becomes.
It is already on the bleeding edge of blogging and it shows no signs of slowing down.

29. It is easy to integrate with other software that you might use like gallery or forum software.

30. Being on your own host means that you can now easily help your friends escape the limited free hosting by taking them on your own server, with little cost to yourself.

And finally

31. As Free Software, wordpress is the most ethical choice of platform. By using it and showing your support, you not only retain your freedoms but also support people who might not otherwise have an online voice (say due to costs). It also means that most of the plugins and tools created for it are also probably free software which allows you or anyone else to take and customize them for your own use or join to make them better.

It means that, even just a bit, you promote a culture of shared reciprocation and freedom.

What other reasons can you think on why one should self-host and use Wordress?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SeandBlogonaut SeandBlogonaut

    I guess it can depend upon your host. I use Servage and did self host with a wordpress blog for a while. I found that 1) I was just not technically proficient enough to update it (the platform).

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

    You probably missed the plugin which can automatically upgrade it for you. Also Dreamhost provides by itself a way to upgrade your blog to the new version through the one-click installations as well

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SeandBlogonaut SeandBlogonaut

    I want to create an online community newspaper for the town in which I live. WordPress and self hosted sounds like the option with a purchased template. I have been wondering though whether it's worth the effort. Whether I will get enough interest. Iwas going to start one one blogger as I have a better handle of the template system there

  • http://www.blog.sentersoftech.com saravanakumar

    Great list. Thanks you very much
    They very useful for me ! Keep up the good work
    Thanks again

  • http://www.obsessedwithreality.com Freidenker

    Some technical questions here:

    1.I had intensedebate and removed it because of a)a dumb character limit I couldn't configure and b) it made moderation hell – any way I can take care of that?

    2. Is it still possible to use OpenID with a self-hosted WP blog? Not that I'd know how to use it if I could, but I thought this might solve this annoying problem with commenting on blogger.com blogs (annoying validation string, no working comment subscription)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      1.I had intensedebate and removed it because of a)a dumb character limit I couldn't configure and b) it made moderation hell – any way I can take care of that?

      1) This has been brought up before (check their support site) and they are aware of it. No solution available but unless you continuously get essays on your comments it shouldn't be a problem as the limit is quite high (6k chars)
      2)In what way was moderation hell. Truth is you will need an external anti-spam plugin to avoid insane amounts of spam getting through your javascript-less comments. Try it out with WP-Passhash

      • http://www.obsessedwithreality.com Freidenker

        6k isn't that much. Sometimes, comments take longer than 6k, especially in convulted subjects (I write a lot about where I live at, Israel, and the middle east is non-arguably a subject for verbose comments)

        The moderation hell was that comments tended to be held for moderation almost randomly, and I was sometimes not even informed when they did. That's highly annoying – even for a backwater blog like mine.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          I know what you mean. I happens. Not often but it happens but I don't think it's bad enough to make me take out IDC, especially not with all the goodies coming out soon :)

          As for long comments, have you considered that when you have a long comment to leave to someone, you can make it instead a new blogpost? That you both get to have more people see your comment and post more often

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          Reposting because IDC bug ate my reply:

          I know what you mean. I happens. Not often but it happens but I don't think it's bad enough to make me take out IDC, especially not with all the goodies coming out soon :)

          As for long comments, have you considered that when you have a long comment to leave to someone, you can make it instead a new blogpost? That you both get to have more people see your comment and post more often

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      Is it still possible to use OpenID with a self-hosted WP blog?

      You mean to use your blog as an OpenID? Check the Yadis plugin

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/tshawn tshawn

    I have self hosted my blog on WP for about 4 years now. Never had any problems that could not be sorted out with a bit of Google foo. For me there are 2 main reasons to self host; 1)I am too cheap to pay for hosting as I don't earn from my blog and 2)I have learned a lot about Linux, Apache, PHP and WP by doing it on my own.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/GeoffreyTransom GeoffreyTransom

    Just moved from Blogger to my own hosted WordPress setup [edit: I've had my own domain and such for 4 years, but always kept the blog on Blogger out of pure inertia], and am trying to find a way around the javascript-stripping suckage.

    I have 1300 archive posts that have javascript or 'onclick' events: some that open a little analysis box for each stock-code, others that change a chart source depending on which index code you click on.

    What's more, my 'engine' generates twice-daily posts with the same stuff embedded, and it all gets stripped out.

    Mr Interwebs has not yet yielded the secret to switching off the code-stripping, so, like, if anybody knows how to change the config (and which config files), then please let me know. [Edit: I should also point out that I use the FCKEditor WP plugin].

    Cheerio

    GT

    PS – I know I'm responding to a very old post, but Mr Interwebs is cool like that – it will still show up in your 'latest comments' widget.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

      Did you try with a plugin?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GeoffreyTransom GeoffreyTransom

    Just moved from Blogger to my own hosted WordPress setup, and am trying to find a way around the javascript-stripping suckage.

    I have 1300 archive posts that have javascript or 'onclick' events: some that open a little analysis box for each stock-code, others that change a chart source depending on which index code you click on.

    What's more, my 'engine' generates twice-daily posts with the same stuff embedded, and it all gets stripped out. Mr Interwebs has not yet yielded the secret to switching off the code-stripping, so, like, if anybody knows how to change the config (and which config files), then please let me know.

    Cheerio

    GT

    PS – I know I'm responding to a very old post, but Mr Interwebs is cool like that – it will still show up in your 'latest comments' widget.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GeoffreyTransom GeoffreyTransom

    I've just installed it, and it works perfectly.

    You are a super-ninja.

    Thanks immensely,

    GT

    • http://dbzer0.com db0

      Heh, no probs. I was really one search away ;)

      • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/GeoffreyTransom GeoffreyTransom

        "One search away' in the same sense as things are always in "the last place you look" – I lost count of the number of searches I did ("Wordpress strip javascript", "wordpress permit javascript", "wordpress self-hosted javascript config"… and so on). I left messages all over Mr Interwebs – at the plugin site, at WP.org – and that was AFTER doing a plugin search centred on 'javascript'… and you hit the nail on the head in about ten minutes. ACE.

        I'm going to write a dedicated page and try to 'tune' the keywords so that nobody has to do the same webcrawling that I did over the last few days.

        It struck me that there are a whole bunch of things that WP users don't 'document' in the same way as, say, the Ubuntu community (I have never had to refine searches more than twice to resolve ANY Ubuntu issue). I think that says two things: one, the installed base for WP is primarily WP.com installs (non-'tweakers') and two, the more 'tweaky' users solve a problem – usually with a plugin – and then move on without documenting it.

        That said, your '31-reasons' post (along with a couple of htaccess-related posts on PCLand.com) are sensational resources.

        Thanks again.

        Cheers

        GT

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

          It'd be nice to get the awesome credit you're giving me but I think I may have been just very lucky. It seems that this plugin was released yesterday ;) So, not your fault for not finding it :)

          Thanks for the kind words nevertheless :)

  • http://www.obsessedwithreality.com Freidenker

    Good idea, but debates are bi-directional. The poor guy would still have to use IDB to reply to my new posts, and it'd make it more convulted to have a post as every reply. In short, this dumb 6k comment restriction is the only thing keeping me from reinstalling db0, I could handle the moderation mess, it's not like i get that many comments.

    So far, I'm doing rather well with the rather less shiny threaded comments plugin.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/db0 db0

    Well, if this a deal breaker for you, add your voice in this topic and let the developers know. The more people annoyed by this, the more likely they'll fix it.