Building A WordPress Website: Self-Hosted versus Hosted Website

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In my last post on building a WordPress website, I referred to a self-hosted website and a hosted website. I am sure some of you asked yourself, “What is the difference?”

If you take the two words and painted in broad strokes, you get an answer something like this: A self-hosted website is where you have total control over the website. This means from how the webserver is set up to how the website appears. A hosted website means that someone else has control over your website. Again, these are very broad and generalized definitions.

Most websites you see, including this one, are actually a hybrid of the two hosting options. I own the domain name for this website (catholictechnogeek.com) and have a lot of control of how my website looks. However, I do not have a lot of control over the web server the website resides. This is because I rent space on web server owned by a company that provides web hosting services. Sometimes this is referred to shared-hosting.

WordPress.com allows you to use their webserver to create a blog/website free of charge. You have control of the content on your site and you have control of how your website’s appearance. However, you do not have any control the webserver. In the free version you are also forced to use WordPress domain name.

WordPress.org allows you to download the program necessary to run a WordPress website on any server that meets the system requirements. If you go with a true self-hosted website, you have total control over everything on your website.  Or you can go with a web hosting service and install the program on the webserver.

Obviously, there are pro’s and con’s with going with either option. If you go with a hosted or shared-hosted option, you don’t have total control over your website. However, at the same time, you don’t have to worry about maintaining everything either.

So where do I recommend you start? If you want to learn about WordPress or start a website or blog without a financial risk, I would recommend going to WordPress.com and starting a free site there. Since the WordPress.com website does a good job walking you through things, I am going to skip discussing WordPress.com in my future posts for now.

If you are ready to completely self-host, I will not cover how to set up a webserver. However, I will in future posts talk about what to look for in shared-hosting provider.

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