It’s a very common question a newbie blogger asks when he doesn’t know what is a blog, and which one to choose between free blog and self-hosted blog. My choice will entirely depend upon what is your primary objective. I mean, what do you want to accomplish with your blog. Go with any free blogging platform, if you just want to do it as a hobby and write content occasionally. Two major free blogging platforms are Blogger and WordPress. But if you are a business or want to do blogging full-time (to earn money from it), go with a self-hosted blog.
In my opinion, a self-hosted blog is always better than a free blog. You get full control over your blog when you make it with your own domain name (your blog URL) and web hosting (a place where you will put your website files). With free blog platforms, we compromise on many features.
Yes, agreed, you will have to spend some money on buying a domain name and hosting to create a self-hosted blog–and maybe a few bucks on blog designing as well. But, believe me, it’s all worth it.
You must be thinking now: “How will I build a website? I don’t have any technical knowledge and neither am I a web designer.” Don’t worry, it’s not a rocket science to set up a domain name on your hosting account. There are a plenty of tutorials available on YouTube on all the technical aspects of building a website from scratch. For example, uploading website content using FTP (or file manager), changing nameservers (in case hosting and domain companies are different), creating a professional email id on your domain etc. With a free blogging platform, you don’t have to deal with these issues but at a significant cost in terms of credibility, security and control.
As far as blog designing is concerned, it is not a big issue even if you are not a technical person. You can install WordPress software for free and choose a theme as website template (WordPress installation process is extremely simple). In addition, it doesn’t cost much if you wish to have a customized design; you can hire WordPress designers at Fiverr for as low as $5.
Advantages and disadvantages of free blogging platforms:
- No need to spend even a dime
- Not much technical knowledge required to set up a blog
- The process of publishing a free blog is fast and easy
- You will get a sub-domain like URL, something like YourBlogName.Blogger.com
- Limited functionality when it comes to design customization and monetization of blog
- Since it’s a free service, it can change its policies anytime or completely shut-down services (your hard-work will vanish in seconds)
Self-Hosted Blogging Platform Advantages and Disadvantages
- Having a blog URL like YourBlogName.com increases your reputation and credibility as a blogger.
- You will have full control over your blog, you can do whatever you want.
- Nobody can take down your site, your blog does not depend on others
- You will need to spend some money on buying domain and hosting
- You will have to learn the skills to perform some small technical tasks
- In conclusion, assess your requirements and make a right choice.
If you still have any question regarding free blog vs self-hosted blog, let me know in the comments.