Tag Archives: free

The costs of self-hosting your blog

the curl of datasmoke
CC - photo credit: zen

What many people seem to be wary of hosting their own blog or site is that it is somehow going to cost and arm and a leg, or at least a heavy enough sum that it’s just not worth doing. Add to that the misconception that self-hosting is only something that pro-bloggers are doing and you can understand why most people stay with free and limited hosts.

Let me get this out of the way first. Self-hosting is not expensive, not unless you consider 1-10$ a month an expensive amount to spent on a hobby, and lets face it, if you’re not a pro-blogger, it is a hobby for you. It is a  way to reach out to other minds out there and make your voice heard. Possibly have some fun with memes, and hopefully affect the world in some way.

At the most expensive plan, self-costing would probably cost you as much as a night out to the movies per month but in return, instead of a 2 hour (hopefully not-lame) entertainment you not only get to own your data but you get much more freedom in what you can do with your site, more visibility and authority due to your own domain, more security (as someone whom you pay, you can keep accountable for problems as well) and a wealth of other goodies that come along for the same price.

What’s the downside? One less crappy holywood movie per month. It’s about time you found out what the better choice™ is anyway.

I honestly don’t know why so many people have this impression that hosting costs are high. With the profileration of shared hosting, costs have dropped to almost nothing. Web hosts practically fall over each other to be cheaper than each other and the final beneficiary is you.
I don’t know, maybe you’re stuck in the 90s where you were paying by the megabyte and assume that for a normal blog you’ll rack hundreds of euros/dollars of cost per month. If so, rest assured that unless you can fill up a few terrabytes of traffic or hundreds of gigabytes of space, you probably won’t end up paying anything more than the basic costs.

Now, to be fair, there is a chance that a basic hosting will not be enough. I do not currently pay the basic 8$ per month costs I started with. I pay 30$. You know why? Because I am hosting at the moment 4 individuals blogs and 2 galleries. My cost have nothing to do with bandwidth or space and everything to do with script heavy sites (of my own choice) and a recent influx of visitors. Were I to simplify my sites and reduce the 35 of so plugins per site I’m using, my speeds and costs would improve considerably.
That said, someone might require a faster, stronger plan to have a quick and usable site if he gets more that 500 visitors per day but at this point, a few ads could easily not only retrieve the costs but bring you money as well. Something you wouldn’t be able to do in some free hosts for example.

At this point you may be wondering why more people are not self-hosting if it’s not that cheap. Frankly, I’m wondering the same myself. Hopefully by the end of this post I will have dispelled at least the misconception of cost. Stay tuned for more of the same in the later posts of this series.

If you still have concerns on the issue of cost, let me know in the comments and we can discuss if you have a point.

So you don't want to be a pro-blogger eh?

yesterday and todayOne of the most popular reasons for which bloggers avoid getting their own hosted account seems to be that they assume that this is something appropriate only pro-bloggers. About half of the responders until now have expressed this sentiment and I can understand that as it was my impression when I started blogging back in livejournal.

The reasons we turn to blogging are numerours. I won’t get into specifics but I believe that each of us needs to introspect and distill the exact reason(s) they is doing this. My own, for example, are (in order of importance)

  1. To express my philosophy and hopefully make someone’s life better.
  2. To write down and spread my knowledge and experience to others.
  3. To serve as my personal soap box where friends and family can come for news.

In all of these reasons, pro-blogging (having money as your primary reason) never appears in any form. Indeed, in the Division by Zer0 you will not find even  a single advertisement as of this moment. Money is simply not my target.

And I’m not the only one. If you look around, you’ll see quite a few people with self-hosted blogs that have very little to do with pro-blogging. Many of them don’t have ads. Many of them post quite irregularly.

And yet, we all went with self hosting. Why? Control.

WordPress is a brilliant CMS and If you think blogger is good enough, it is just because you have never seen what is possible if your have this power.

Do you want a simple blog where all you want to do is write a post now and then, manage your comments, see your stats and not much else? Why not have a choice of hundreds, if not thousands of themes, easily customizable (much, much more easily than blogger, believe you me) and with perfect control of every aspect?

How about using hundreds of widgets for anything you might think of, where before you might either have to rely (and pay) a third party or not have the choice at all (as in the case of wordpress.com and livejournal)?

Total control and oversight?

It has it all.

What if you change your mind down the line and decide to actually make some money of your blogging? As humans, we change all the time. I went from the default livejournal account to self-host in one year. I went from posting mundane life stuff to posting primarily philosophically and tech in the next year. As a result I’ve seen my readership quadruple in a very short amount of time.

Thus, even though I am still not even close to being a pro-blogger (nor do I plan to be one), It would be a nightmare for me now to go back to free hosting. Having to wait until blogger codes a needed feature that’s been around for ages everywhere else? Having to beg wordpress.com to allow a simple script? No thanks.

Self-hosting is not for making money. It’s all about retaining control of your own little place in the internet and doing anything you might want to without relying on a third party in any way. If your reasons for not doing it is because you’re not aiming for success, then you’re not only missing out but you may end up regretting it later.