Saturday, September 2, 2017

As a small or medium sized blogger, should you go for Wordpress premium or Wordpress self hosted blog?

As of end 2017, Wordpress.com has the following plans:

  • Free - Completely free and you can map it to an independent domain name but at a cost. There are many themes to choose from but very few plugins There can be Wordpress ads on the blog. Storage limit is 3GB.
  • Personal - Costs $40 or so (depending upon your country) per year. You can remove Wordpress ads. Storage limit goes up to 6GB. You are given an independent domain name.
  • Premium - Costs  ~ $100 per year. In addition to personal plan, there is more storage (13GB) and a number of premium themes are available. You can put your own advertisements on the blog i.e. you can monetize it.
  • Business - This is the ultimate plan in their store and it costs around $300 per year. Beyond the premium plan, it gives you unlimited storage space, you can install third-party plugins and have your own theme, SEO tools are available and there are some more frills.
For your personal blog, you could go for the free plan with custom domain. The domain costs you $13 a year. No additional costs but you cannot post videos on the blog except embedding videos from other places such as YouTube, and the space is so less that it can get filled up soon if you happen to post many images and audio. So this plan is neither here nor there, unless you want to run your blog as a hobby blog ever.

Premium Plan is the best available option in case you want an independent domain name, a good theme, some design customization and the provision to monetize the blog. It costs you around $100 a year. If you need a premium theme, you will need to shell out money for that (and you will not be able to carry it with you in case you later host the blog on an independent server); and if you need more space, be ready to pay some more. On the face of it, this suits most small or mid level bloggers.

Now compare Wrdpress Premium plan with self-hosted blog created with Wordpress.org CMS


For having a self-hosted blog, you will have to do create a blog using Wordpress.org and host it on a web hosting server. Or, you can first hire the services of web host and create the blog after that.
Shared web hosting costs you from 25 to 60-70 dollars a year. However this low price may sometimes have some hidden costs (most often the first year price goes up on renewal after one year) and sometimes you get minor freebies (e.g. domain name registration free for one year). Wordpress.org is completely free and in most cases the web hosting company has provision of simple setting up of a Wordpress blog to the host. So the total cost comes to around $50 a year.

This self-hosting plan looks much cheaper, and you have all the freedom for customizing the blog with your own code - even giving the blog as big functionalities as the Wordpress Business Plan would give you. In addition, you have a much wider variety of themes to choose from (about 52,000 in 2017, and growing).

There are many views here. Some experts suggest that you go for a Wordpress.com plan. That will be good enough when your blog is yet growing and you will get a hang of Wordpress ecosystem. You can then think of upgrading it - which will save you from bothering about security, coding etc etc and yet give great functionality.

Wordpress plans versus wordpress CMS self hosted blogs

The other view is that you can have a free Wordpress.com blog in case you want to learn how Wordpress functions. However, you should from the very beginning go for a self hosted blog and not waste your time on Wordpress.com plans. The plans become very expensive at the upper end but can never give you as much freedom as the Wordpress CMS gives you. In addition, the Wordpress.org community is there to guide you whenever you are stuck. And of course, you can hire a techie if you want some great makeover, which you will not be able to do with a WP plan.

Yet another view  is to have a free or lower-end plan, test the waters and if you feel that the plans are not serving you well or that you are growing faster than what Wordpress.com can offer, you can migrate the blog to a host that allows Wordpress integration (all major web hosts allow that).

All these views are valid. You must decide the path based on your blogging goal, facility with technology, multi-tasking that you can handle yourself, and your investment potential.