Blogging 101: WordPress and Hosting Options

by Jamie on April 23, 2011

Today we are going to be discussing WordPress and hosting options. If you are thinking about blogging and you’re toying with the idea of using WordPress as your platform, you’ll be faced with the decision to use wordpress.com or wordpress.org.

The purpose of this post is to discuss the difference between both, so you can decide what is the best choice for you and your blog. I have teamed up with my good friend and food blogging colleague, Katie from goodLife {eats} to write this post. We are going to simply bullet point some main components of each option and then explain what I use for My Baking Addiction. If you have specific questions, feel free to join the discussion below or email me at questions@mybakingaddiction.com. If we don’t have an answer for you, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.

WordPress.com (Free)

  • Free and pretty simple to set up
  • Doesn’t require an understanding of scripts, html, or other coding.
  • Maintenance is included and happens automatically i.e., setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
  • You cannot run a custom theme although you’ll be able to choose from 100+ themes
  • You can’t upload plug-ins
  • You immediately have “yourblogname.wordpress.org” available to you to use, though you can also register a domain name (yourblogname.com/net/org/info) and point it at your free hosted site. We’ll be covering more about domain names in the next Blogging 101 post.

WordPress.org (Self-Hosted) Requires software download

  • Requires paid hosting (most hosting services start between $7-15 a month, but depending on the level of your traffic, you may be required to upgrade down the line.)
  • Requires a more technical knowledge for installation.
  • You are responsible for handling spam, updates, backups, etc.
  • You must register a domain name and point it at your site on your host.
  • WordPress.org can be customized to suit almost any design, style and scheme you have in mind. It’s a blank slate, but it does require coding skills to get a customized look.

Web Hosting Types

Shared Server
On a shared server many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. The term “shared” not only implies that many people share the resources of the server, but the cost as well. Thus, making shared servers the least expensive hosting option and a great choice for beginning bloggers.

VPS
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. VPS is perfect for someone who needs more resources than a shared server can provide, but cannot afford large monthly bills.

VPS means that a virtual machine that is used exclusively for each individual customer. A virtual machine is essentially the same as a physically separate computer, despite running in software on the same computer as the other customer’s virtual machines.

Cloud
A cloud server is an isolated OS installation running on a fully redundant, self healing, scaleable, virtual archetecture. Your site will perform FAST, stay online longer, and not be impacted by physical hardware issues like a normal site or server would be.

Dedicated
Dedicated servers are quite a bit more expensive and not the best choice for a moderately sized blog, much less a beginner. Clients requiring dedicated hosting lease an entire server that isn’t shared with other customers. This option gives large websites and blogs more flexibility and full control over the server.

My Baking Addiction

I have been using wordpress.org (self-hosted) since January of 2010. I was hosted through Bluehost.com from January of 2010 to December of 2010. Blue Host is really a great choice for web hosting and I highly recommend them. During the 12 months that I was hosted by Blue Host, my blog went down about 3 times for less than 30 minutes each time.

As My Baking Addiction continued to grow, we noticed large lag times while working in the dashboard (composing new posts, moderating comments, etc.). These dashboard lag times then parlayed into loading issues and the site going down multiple times per day.

After many agonizing instant chats and phone calls with Blue Host, it was deemed that My Baking Addiction was getting a bit more traffic than my shared Blue Host server could handle, so I decided to move to a cloud server and My Baking Addiction is now hosted by Media Temple.

I use Media Temple for my hosting and am more than pleased with this company. Their level of communication is fantastic as well as their overall customer service.


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Asha@FSK April 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

This is a very useful post!!! one question. At approx what traffic level does it makes sense to move out of Blue host to say, cloud?

Reply

Jamie April 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

Asha-
That is going to vary by hosting company. It would be best to discuss those details with your host to find out what option is best for you.
Jamie

Reply

Dee D. April 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

Great post! So useful :)

Reply

DessertForTwo April 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

I’m loving your posts on blogging! Keep ‘em comin’ :)

I’m getting ready to switch to Blue Host, but it seems like each time I commit to a server and want to switch over, I hear about massive site shut-downs. I’m chalking it up to blogging taking over the world right now. I really don’t think there is any server capable of the traffic today, unless you go with the ones you listed.

Thanks for sharing, I learned so much!

Reply

leslie April 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

Great post!!! I am moving to Wordpress today w/ wordpress.org and “Just Host” as my host. I am praying for a smooth move from Blogger!!

Reply

Rachel April 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm

For what it’s worth, I’ve been with Just Host for a little over a year now, and the one time my site went down, it was something I screwed up b/c I don’t know as much about coding as I like to think I do!

Reply

Anne @ Baking Me April 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

This is such great information! These blogging 101 posts have been very helpful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!

Reply

Lindsay April 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I just want to chime in and say that there is better hosting to be had than BlueHost. I am NOT a fan. As a blog designer who works with many different hosts on a regular basis, I often get frustrated with the sluggish speed of bluehost’s servers and their constant downtime. This is a result of them basically overselling their servers (proof that unlimited hosting is never really unlimited). Starting out, you’d be better off going with a smaller, higher quality host that doesn’t do this; there are plenty of these out there and they are just as reasonably priced as Bluehost.

Reply

Jamie April 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Lindsay-
Thanks for your input, I personally did not have many issues with BlueHost until I had an increase in traffic, but I’d love if you would respond with some other choices in hosting companies that you have found to be reliable. Thanks!
-Jamie

Reply

Jaime {sophistimom} April 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Yes, I’d like to know what other hosting services you’d suggest, Lindsay.

This is a great post, Jamie and Katie. I’ve been relying on my brother’s expertise for so long (and shared hosting), that I’ve never considered doing it myself until recently. This is all very helpful information. Thanks!

Reply

Lindsay April 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

We have a whole article on our website about hosting:
http://www.purrdesign.com/resources/knowledgebase/choosing-a-host

The two hosts we list there, ThisWebHost and FluidHosting, are the only ones we personally recommend to our clients. Because we’ve used both and have been more than satisfied with their service and support. This* is good for small to medium blogs, FluidHosting can handle more traffic with their server configuration, and also offer reasonably priced VPS servers as well. Love & Olive Oil has been on FluidHosting for 4 years and I would never think of moving it somewhere else.

Reply

Jamie April 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for the link and info, Lindsay! It’s always great to have a few people chime in with their individual experiences!

-Jamie

Reply

Kate Manson March 24, 2014 at 1:27 am

Thank you so much for the info on hosting options. I am about to enter the blogging world and am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the options for hosting etc!

One question, I have very limited technical knowledge (actually pretty much none!), would I still be able to use wordpress.org as self hosting seems to be the best way to go?

Thanks very much,
Kate

Reply

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle April 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I, like Jamie, have not had issues with BlueHost and I have recommended it to many of my clients. But unlimited in the realm of hosting requires you understand the nuance in that word. Yes, you can host unlimited sites, get unlimited emails setup and have unlimited space but what ultimately is not unlimited are results. Hosting ‘wars’ have seen hosts survive only by keeping their prices low enough to appeal to users who compare prices…but in order to create revenue that means that more and more sites are put on each server. The bottom line is that no matter where you are hosted; if your goal is to build your traffic then you will most likely face a day when a change will have to be made to accommodate that change..exactly what happened with MBA.

So, I still think they do a good job for the money, they’ve finally developed a plan for a mid range move up that’s $20/month and I’ve moved my site there recently to test the waters.. I’m doing the same with a different company called This Web Hosting (thiswebhosting.com) and I’ve been happy with them as well. I particularly do like that they have multiple service plans.

The one company I feel I have to strongly NOT recommend is GoDaddy. I have no problem with using them for a domain name provider and have for a dozen years but they are just not up to par with other services when it comes to hosting WordPress sites. Their processes and setup routine are beyond exasperating but more importantly their customer service staff is very specific in that they do NOT help with WordPress issues. Having a hosting support staff that has some familiarity with this software and is willing to assist you with issues is extremely important.

Reply

Lindsay April 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I second Barbara in the strong recommendation AGAINST GoDaddy. In fact, we flat out refuse to work with them. Their service is shoddy, their control panel interface is not intuitive, their FTP is very spotty and can be frustrating trying to do anything done. We keep our domains registered there for convenience, but never anything more than that.

Reply

Melissa@EyesBigger April 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I have to agree with Barbara. The only time I use one of the big hosting companies is when I have an out of town client who insists. For local clients, I use a local provider who specializes in WordPress hosting and have WP developers on staff. They’re not the cheapest but they’re not the most expensive either and their customer support it second to none. They go above and beyond when there is an issue, even when it doesn’t actually relate to their hosting services but is more of a WordPress issue.

Also, if you choose WP.com beware of the advertising restrictions.

Reply

Peggy April 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

This is a great resource! Thanks for doing this series!

Reply

lisa p April 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thanks so much for all the info. I have created a wordpress account and am workign on getting a site started. All your helpful posts are so helpful!!!! Please keep them coming.

Reply

Maris (In Good Taste) April 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm

This is a fabulous post and such a great resource. Bookmarked!

Reply

Luv What You Do April 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for the post! I have heard that the different themes at wordpress have pluses and minuses (such as increasing your ability to be found by google, etc). I am newish to blogging and would love any insight regarding themes and other wordpress options.

I enjoy your recipes. Thanks for the fun blog!

Reply

Chris April 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Great post! Thanks! I have been with BlueHost since I went .com and am pleased…but my traffic is itty bitty :)

Thanks for all the info!

Reply

megan @ whatmegansmaking April 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

Great post and great series! Glad to see lindsay and others chiming in with their experience too! Thanks :)

Reply

An Alaskan Cooks | Alaska Food and Wine April 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

A terrific post with many extremely helpful comments, as well. As a relative newbie I’m still on Wordpress.com but would very much like to make the move to Wordpress.org so that I can run all of the extras that aren’t allowed on the dot com site. Reading the various comments about hosting sites is quite useful — and may provide the impetus for taking a leap to the (slightly bigger) leagues. Thank you.

Reply

Valerie April 25, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Thank you, Jamie and Katie.
This future Blogging 101 posts are going to be very helpful. Once you make the move to a new host (such as Uncorrupted or Blue Host), how do you go about getting a design for your blog? I know WordPress.org allows you to design your own, or have someone with WP experience make something for you, but what about other hosts?

Jamie, your blog’s layout is gorgeous btw! :)

Reply

La Casa de Sweets April 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

Great post! Definitely worth reading :)

P.S.> You are featured on my dessert site as one of my top 5 favorite links!

Reply

Diana Käfer April 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

Reply

Anna and Liz recipes April 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Thanks this is a great post and very helpful to people like me that just started!

Reply

Thanh @ eat little bird September 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thank you for this invaluable post! I recently moved from Wordpress.com to a self-hosted blog and I have been visiting this post quite often for information! Many thanks again for sharing and I hope you will continue this series in between your other fabulous posts!

Reply

Ashley November 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I’m so glad I just found this series on your site. I’m considering moving from wordpress.com to wordpress.org but have a few concerns. Anyone out there have advice? …. First, I’m wondering what level of coding you need to be comfortable with (I know very little) and second, is it usually necessary to hire a graphic designer and web designer once you self-host or can you find themes much the same way you can with wordpress.com? I don’t want to move and then find that the costs are prohibitive. Thank you!

Reply

Vicki Bensinger May 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

What type of hosting do you currently use? I’m just getting ready to launch my new WordPress.org site. I’m excited about it. I will be hosting it through LiquidWeb.com and hopefully I won’t have any major issues.

Reply

Jamie May 18, 2013 at 8:47 am

Vicki-
I currently use Media Temple – I’ve been with them for over a year and couldn’t be happier with their service. Have a great day.
-Jamie

Reply

Colleen October 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

Good morning! Even though this post is 2 years old, I just came across it and have to tell you that it is one of the best articles I’ve read. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all of this. I have only been blogging for a few months and recently decided to upgrade to wordpress.org. To say that it’s been overwhelming is an understatement and your article here has enlightened me more than you can imagine!

Thank you, thank you, and happy baking! LOVE your site as always!

Reply

Jamie October 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I’m so glad to hear that you found the post useful. Have a great day and thanks so much for stopping by.
-Jamie

Reply

Mel December 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thanks a lot for great advice. It all seems so confusing when you are getting started. Posts like yours are a lifesaver!
Mel

Reply

Jamie December 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

Mel-

You’re so welcome! I totally understand how crazy it seems at first!

-Jamie

Reply

Rebekah November 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Such a great article! I had been looking for the different between .org and .com , and trying to sign up as an affiliate. Have you had any luck with that?

Reply

Jamie November 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Rebekah-
I would have to refer you to the wordpress site for the affiliate information. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jamie

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: