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I'm a geek with a love for all things tech. I'm also an online business consultant with expertise in SEO, SMM, and digital marketing strategies.

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    For me, it depends. Enterprise solutions must be custom built 99% of the time. But something as simple as wordpress or a php app can be configured in minutes with almost any major web hosting company. It can have nearly all the custom options that you like, and it takes virtually no time. Not to mention, the pain of keeping the server hardware and software up-to-date, etc…

    On the flip side, I recently tried to run a ruby-on-rails application with godaddy.com, and it was a disaster. I spent a full day on the phone with their tech support before throwing in the towel and hosting it myself (begrudgingly).

    Thanks for the great articles.


  2. 2

    Ted Avery

    Why not get the best of both worlds and use a web app that still allows for tons of tweaking?

    I haven’t found anything Tumblr’s customization system wouldn’t let me throw at it, you can even use your own domain name with Tumblr. I was also under the impression http://wordpress.com allowed you to tweak your themes, even though it is hosted on their servers, but I could be wrong.

  3. 3

    Gina Trapani

    The thing that put me off WordPress.com is the lack of plug-ins… there are so many great WP plug-ins that can make the site so much better. Plus I think custom CSS–not themes, mind you–is a pay feature. (I’d be willing to pay, but only if I could muck with the PHP, not just the CSS.)

  4. 4

    Thursday Bram

    I think there are levels of self-hosting — there’s a major difference between using one-click set up to host your own WordPress blog and trying to set up a more advanced application.

    Not everyone should learn more about hosting an application — but they certainly shouldn’t rule it out just because it seems a little more advanced. Personally, I like having that level of access if I need to tweak something — or if something goes wrong and I can’t get tech support on the line fast enough.

  5. 5

    Gina Trapani

    But even using WordPress’ “famous five-minute install”–which is impressive–you’ve still got to keep the application updated over time, especially when security holes can take down your whole blog. Not to mention plug-ins, which also require regular updates (and subsequently you have to test to make sure the updates work correctly). Maciej’s right that it does require some time to maintain a self-hosted application, but the tradeoff is the customization you get.

  6. 6

    Barrett Bowen

    I’m on your side here. Call me an extremist, but I’m revamping my site to learn some PHP, hone my CSS skills, and working to do the logo/graphics stuff myself. Seemed logical since I’m a coder sort who dabbles in graphics as a hobby. It’s all looking good BTW.

  7. 7

    Michael Wyres

    My take on this is that if you are of the inclination to self-host, chances are you’re going to be (largely) about to cope with that. Anyone who would not have the ability/nouse/eptness to self-host is simply not generally going to make the decision to self-host.

  8. 8

    Thursday Bram

    While it’s certainly not fool-proof, WordPress has been evolving to the point that anyone can upload a zip file of a plugin or update to the newest version through simply clicking around. It’s a little scary that people don’t test out updates or plugins to make sure that their blogs won’t break before they install such things, but it’s definitely moving towards a system that doesn’t require a lot of tech knowledge to maintain.

  9. 10

    Gina Trapani

    Love that Atwood quote and post, thanks!

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    As I tweeted yesterday people who choose to self-host are often making the same mistake as people who will choose to drive instead of fly, because they are afraid to fly; even though it is much safer. It comes down to control. In most cases, a hosted service is going to be more reliable & less of a hassle, and you rarely need the control even if you really really want it.

  11. 12

    Dane Hesseldahl

    I agree with Maciej.

    For 95% of people just getting WP running on an external host is a nightmare.

    On even the most basic of WP installs users will run up against things like “.htacess files” and terminal commands like “chmod 755 wp-content/uploads” – concepts that I’ve seen experienced programmers struggle with.

    I find myself trying to push as many people as I can to existing hosted services – such as wordpress.com – which now allows you to point your own custom domain at your hosted blog.

    Maybe I’m jaded. Sorry.

  12. 13

    Chad Stephen Albert

    I think that there’s actually two different issues here. First, is whether to admin your own site (i.e wordpress vs wordpress.com or drupal vs. blogger), and then whether or not you want to actually self host (put a server in your house).
    Some of the hosting companies have outrageously fantastic support departments (like Hostgator), who can help users with the most basic level of computer skills get up and running pretty quickly, and can even help you fix some of the mistakes you will inevitably make. Hostgator helped me fix tons of things I broke when I was a customer. Plus, most of the hosting companies will make efforts to ensure that the default config on their servers are fairly secure, while helping you make changes to set up features you want.
    Running a home server (true self-hosting), really isn’t worth most of the issues you’ll deal with. Network security, database security and maintenance, and server hardening aren’t worth the hassle if you’re not an uber geek.

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