Behind “How Do You Make Money Blogging”? (P.S. We already answered this one...), “What’s the difference between hosted and self-hosted”? is by far our most frequently asked question.
I remember when I first started The Healthy Maven. I did all of the research in the world to figure out how to get a blog up and running but I still couldn’t quite grasp the concept of hosted vs. self-hosted. I laugh now because I realize how simple it is, but at the time it seemed very counterintuitive.
Why would purchasing hosting from someone else be considered “self-hosting?” It’s a valid question!
Today I’m giving you the low-down on hosted vs. self-hosted and why one is better than the other.
We’re going to break this down into the simplest of terms.
Every blog needs a place to store all of its content. Sometimes that place is included in you blogging platform such as WordPress.COM, Blogger or Tumblr. On other platforms you will need to buy space from an external server to store all of your blog content.
When your blogging platform comes with server space it is considered HOSTED.
When you are required to purchase space for your blog from an external server it is called SELF-HOSTED.
So going out and purchasing server space from someone else is actually considered self-hosting. I know, confusing. But think of it this way: If you are using a blogging platform that requires you to purchase hosting, YOU are the person going out and buying it (YOU as in SELF). If hosting comes with your blogging platform that you are doing nothing other than being handed a host on a silver platter. Make sense?
Let’s hammer this in one more time:
Hosted: Your blogging platform automatically comes with hosting
Self-Hosted: You are required to purchase server space from an external host.
Okay, now that we’ve got that down let’s move onto the topic…
Why You Want Your Blog to be SELF-Hosted
Didn’t we just tell you that a hosted blog = free hosting? Yes, yes we did. But as to be expected, anything free comes with strings attached.
If it were a couple little strings, it would be no big deal but these strings are BIG and as a result make it worthwhile for you to whip out that wallet and buy yourself some hosting. Here are the main reasons why being HOSTED is disadvantageous:
1. You’re limited in customizations – Want that gorgeous blog you’ve always dreamed of? Think again. In order to make any customizations to the page structure of your blog, you’ll either have to cough up $129 a year on WordPress.COM (thats x3 more than hosting) or stick to a basic non-customizable theme. Bummer…
2. You’re limited in plugins – You know all of those fun add-ons that help your blog run smoothly and simplify tasks without you touching code? Well you can’t have any of them! Okay, you can have some most most plugins are limited.
3. You may not own copyright to your blog – Depending on the platform you are using, a hosted blog may actually give up copyright to their respective host/blogging platform just by signing up. Yup, that means all of your heard work can be stripped away in a second!
4. You cannot monetize- Yes, you read that correctly. If you had grand plans of one day turning your blog into a career, that won’t happen on certain blogging platforms like WordPress.COM. Others allow you to monetize (i.e. blogger) but the lack of customizations available will likely limit the amount of money you could earn anyway.
So why do you want a SELF-hosted blog? To prevent all of the above! If you want unlimited customizations and plugins, full copyright to your content and the ability to earn anything from pennies to billions, you better fork up and buy yourself some hosting.
Our Recommendations for Self-Hosting
So now you understand the difference between self-hosted and hosted and why you need self-hosting for your blog. Now where should you start?
This probably won’t shock you, but we HIGHLY recommend Bluehost as your starter hosting service. We’ve talked about them before and you may have come across their name, but we really do think they are the best host for newbie-novice bloggers.
Why? Because they give you the most bang for your buck.
If you’re just starting out or are still in growth phase (think under 50k uniques a month), Bluehost is your best bet for a reliable and affordable host. We also love that you can seamlessly set it up with your WordPress.ORG account. Or if you’re on another blogging platform like WordPress.COM or Blogger, they have awesome tutorials teaching you how to transfer your blog.
Woah! We just dropped WordPress.ORG on you out of nowhere…Allow us to explain. WordPress.ORG is an open-source blogging platform that requires you to purchase hosting from an external source in order to use it. Unlike Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress.com (all of which are hosted and therefore have all of the limitations listed above), WordPress.ORG is self-hosted. It’s a free platform to use so all you end up paying for is hosting. And at $3.99-$5.99 a month, Bluehost is the most affordable by a landslide.
Let’s go over everything one more time…
You want a unique and stand-out blog that you can one day make money from. In order to achieve this you must use a self-hosted blogging platform like WordPress.ORG. Since it is self-hosted, you are required to go out and purchase hosting that will link to your WordPress.ORG account. You’re not looking to invest a ton of money upfront so you choose Bluehost.
BOOM you are officially a self-hosted blogger!
I’ll open the floor to questions…