Blog Guide 3: Free hosted blog or own domain?
January 1, 2008
You can get a blog in two ways. The first one is to sign up for a free hosted blog offered by blog hosting companies and the second is to purchase your own domain name and web hosting and install there your blog.
Free blogs vs. own blogs
The former option works better for those who do not want to pay anything. In addition, setting up a free blog is easy because it wouldn’t require installation of anything. One simply registers for an account and can immediately jump to making the first blog post.
A drawback, however, of free hosted blogs is that you will never gain full control of the blog. Several free blog hosting sites offer only limited functionalities, for example, you are allotted only a small amount of bandwidth and web space and if you go beyond the limit, your blog may go offline. Some sites also do not allow the installation of add-ons or plug-ins. In addition, the domain name will never be exclusively yours because the URL will always be a sub-domain of the blog hosting company, for example, yourname.blogger.com or yourname.wordpress.com.
If the blog eventually becomes popular and you decide to transfer it to your own domain, you will have to move all entries to the new site. You will also need to notify readers that you are leaving the old blog URL and are transferring to a new one. All entries that already appear in search engine results will be lost, unless you set up redirect commands that will redirect your old blog to the new blog.
On the other hand, if you pay for own hosting and domain name, your blog URL can be anything you like (as long as the domain name is available). Since it is your site, you will have full control of it and can install whatever programs or plugins you like, as long as it is within the allotted bandwidth and web space you paid for.
However, you might have to do all the blog installation yourself. You will need to do this on your own or you can ask help from your web host, although sometimes you have to pay them in order to get online support.
Also, running your own website may be expensive because the hosting fees alone can reach at least $10 per month. That is on top of the yearly $10 or so cost of the domain name.
Before starting your blog, you need to decide which between those two options suits you best. Think long-term. If you think your blog will grow fast or you really intend to make it a popular one, a blog on your own domain might be best. If, however, you plan on maintaining a mere personal or hobby site that will cater to your friends or just a few people only, a free hosted blog might be enough.
Free hosted blogs
If you opted to go for free hosted blogs, you can choose which among the free blog softwares below you want to use:
Other free hosted blogs are available but the three above are the most widely used.
Own domain and hosting
If you wish to host your own blog, you will need to purchase a domain name and web hosting. There are thousands of domain and web hosting companies online, but the following are recommended because we have personally used them before:
Let’s get started! The succeeding tutorials will help set up your blog using free hosting from WordPress. Ready? Jump to Blog Guide 4: Set up your WordPress.com blog.