Planning on publishing a website? Like most people, you probably don’t want to code everything from scratch. Luckily, there are plenty of options available to skip the massive ‘code a web platform’ tasklist and get you to publishing your content sooner. However, there are two fundamental choices for web platforms that you need to consider before moving forward: Hosted and Self-Hosted solutions.
Should I Choose a Hosted or Self-Hosted Web Platform?
This is the first decision to make after deciding to publish your brand online. Essentially, if you choose a hosted platform, you’ll trade customizability for ease of use. Hosted platforms offer a quick and easy way to start publishing content without touching a server or managing upgrades. Self-hosted platforms allow for superior accessibility for customizing functions and style. Hosted platforms tend to have limitations for what you can change while self-hosted platforms give you free reign on changing just about anything. Before you jump to any conclusions, consider these questions about your situation:
- Do you need to publish your site immediately or do you have time?
- Do you have any special functionality needed for your site?
- Do you need code-level access to your site?
- Do you require 24/7 customer support?
- What is your monthly operating budget for running your website?
With your answers in mind, let’s explore the fundamental differences to the two most popular publishing platforms on the internet: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
It may sound confusing, but there is a big difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org: WordPress.com is a hosted platform while WordPress.org is a self-hosted one. Developed originally as a free, open-source blogging platform by Automattic, WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet at nearly 63% market share.
Hosted Platform – WordPress.com
Bloggers and publications both love the ease of use that WordPress.com offers. You can set up a new blog in seconds, never worry about updates or security, and choose a new layout for your website without ever leaving your site. However, you are severely limited in the features you can implement and the choices for your web template.
Pros of Using WordPress.com
- Simple to Set Up
- Support Staff
- Always Up-to-Date
- Managed Server
- Connect with other blogs
Cons of Using WordPress.com
- Limited Themes & Plugins
- No Code-Level Access
- No Uploading Themes & Plugins
For most simple bloggers and site owners, the limited themes & plugins are really not an issue – especially when you don’t need code-level access. The support staff are truly helpful and not having to worry about security and updates can really be a weight off your shoulder.
Self-Hosted Platform – WordPress.org
Any websites that need robust functionality or custom design need the WordPress.org platform. You’ll have access to a massive database of plugins & themes, the ability to upload your own plugins & themes, and even create your own functionality. WordPress.org is the fundamental choice for many developers when creating a web precense – especially with a custom designed website.
Pros of Using WordPress.org
- Massive Theme & Plugin Library
- Code-Level Access
- Customize Everything
- Custom Designed Sites
Cons of Using WordPress.org
- Manage Your Own Server
- Install and Upgrade Platform
- Plugin Conflicts
- Forum Support Only
WordPress.org offers a lot of what a website needs. However, if you’re not comfortable installing files to a server and managing upgrades – especially when installing plugins may break your site – then the self-hosted platform may not be for you. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, but it can be a lot to take on. That’s why we offer painless web setup and management, so you can focus on content and leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.
Choosing between the hosted and self-hosted solutions can be tricky. There are some definitive trade-offs between the two and the whole thing might scare you off completely. Not to worry, there are tons of resources online to help you through the process, or you could contact us and we’ll help you sort it out. Hope this helps!