“How should I host my site?”
That is a question that many of us have asked, or asking, and will continue to ask. There are a few different ways on how and where your WordPress site lives on the inter-webs: hosted, managed and self-hosted.
When choosing a hosting service (aka when you want use WordPress.org but not WordPress.com), many companies offer and a “managed” experience. This basically means that all the back end of WordPress is dealt with, and you can focus more on your theme updates, WordPress updates, plugin managing and updates, (when applicable) extreme traffic permission; all the stuff someone that just wants to blog doesn’t want to worry about, but they want the power of plugins and full use of WordPress.
“The full power of WordPress? What am I missing out on?”
I have heard that a lot from customers when I refer them to WordPress.org’s more simple and easy to use sibling, WordPress.com.
The pro’s list for choosing WordPress.com to host your site is very long: free hosting, 3GB of data, no maintenance, WordPress.com featuring your site (therefore increases your traffic), the list goes on.
The cons list is long to: there is limited theme support (only can use WordPress.com themes, cannot modify css or code), no plugins are allowed, and no monetizing ads.
Here is the most custom and personalized you can get with WordPress – and also the most complicated for the technically dis-inclined.
This option is the most similar to managed: you can have any updates, plugins, and full control over traffic permissions, but you do that all yourself. Which means you have to update WordPress, you have to install and update plugins, you have to deal with databases such as MySQL and Oracle.
It is a lot of work, and usually takes more than one person to set up and manage more than one install. But the customization options is endless, and having complete control over everything mean you can stay on WordPress 3.5.1 if you want to! No need to update and potentially screw up a template that isn’t integrated into the latest WordPress yet. Same goes with plugins.
So which will you choose?
Do you have enough time to self-host and be a WordPress master? More developer-like minds usually go this route. Or you want to post a blog post once or twice a week, and have five WordPress installs? You might want to go with hosted. WordPress gives the user enough choices to fit anyone’s taste.