The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that not only have I switched the blog’s theme in the past few days, but I’ve also shifted the hosting completely over from a self-hosted WordPress.org instance, to one on the servers of WordPress.com. (Confused? This article will explain the difference.)
For years I’ve always run sites using WordPress software that I’ve configured myself, rather than those on WordPress.com, based on the following reasons:
- Hacker Mentality – Not wanting to let go of complete control of my site, and the ability to do with it what I please (like hosting weird web apps and playing about with plugins)
- Cost – I was always under the impression it would be relatively expensive to keep all of my stuff on WordPress.com’s servers, as generous pals have hosted my sites previously
- Transition Pain – Moving from an already established and customised site to a different platform seemed like a faff, with inevitable SEO problems/broken links
- Features and Customisation – Not believing that I’d be able to get my blog to look/feel the way I wanted it to within the WordPress.com boundaries, and that I would miss features (like permalink restructuring)
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I didn’t actually need to run a self-hosted site for http://iamsteve.in. The design of the site was pretty straightforward, there was no real complicated customisations involved, and the cost of shifting to WordPress.com wasn’t what I thought it might work out at; definitely not for a site that isn’t hosting large numbers of images anyway.
In fact, the benefits of being hosted on WordPress.com seemed more and more appealing:
- A dedicated, and passionate support team that are on hand to help out with any issues (Working alongside them, this was an even bigger boon for me personally)
- A streamlined interface that I use everyday (for both work and pleasure)
- No more having to login to separate admin panels all the time
- A site that is integrated into the highly active WordPress.com community – and so more engagement with other users on the posts
- No more worrying about rogue plugins crashing or needing to be re-configured after an update breaks something
- The ability to take massive spikes of bandwidth, as I’m hosted on WordPress.com’s massive network
and one of the most important things of all:
- The knowledge that my host won’t be intimidated by any legal pressures that come from any of the critical posts I write. (See here for more)
I’m incredibly proud to be part of a team that fights back against those who attempt to censor bits of the Internet that they don’t like on a daily basis, and it makes sense to bring my own writing into that fold. I know I have good people on my side should anything hairy come up.
Really the only thing that I was left swithering over was the pain of moving across. I thought I would give it a bash, and two hours later, the entire site is completely migrated over (multiple domain names and all). The difficulties I thought I’d run into didn’t even crop up as issues at all. All of my custom permalinks are smartly resolved by the WordPress software to their new locations (which I am both almost in disbelief and awe at).
I’m pleased. Not a bad experiment after all.