Pros & Cons of a Hosted (free) Blog


I’m several months into blogging on my free, hosted, WordPress site. I’ve passed the point where I’m not sure if I like blogging, not sure if I have time for it, or not sure if I want to continue it. I enjoy that this is my own little project and I want to move forward with having a little more freedom styling my blog.

Now that I have decided to continue blogging, I have realized several glaring downsides with being on a hosted blog which ultimately brought me to the decision to transfer to a self-hosted blog.

Of course, there are lot of upsides to a hosted blog:

  • it’s free (you can even stick with a free URL that would look like this:
  • the learning curve is basically zilch. You need virtually no training to start a WordPress site.
  • tons of free themes that pretty well provide you with a fully formed website. This comes in especially handy if you aren’t familiar with HTML or the structure of a website.
  • you are connected to the WordPress “reader” which does direct a bit of traffic your way. You can also use the reader to search for blogs you are interested in to get to know some folks in the blogging community

These pros were all great when I first started this blog. After all, I didn’t know if I would like blogging or if I would have time for it. But now, I have confirmed with myself that, at least for the time being, I want to pursue blogging further which means taking the website to the next level.

The major downsides to a hosted blog are:

  • Not having full access to the css or being able to customize pretty well anything. I would say I am an intermediate skill level for HTML and WordPress as I create websites at my job (not my ‘mum’ -job, my career- job). I created three WordPress sites prior to going on maternity leave. And none of them had access to themes – so I had to create my own. Not having the ability to customize the header, which is such a simple thing, is especially irritating.
  • Plugins are extremely limited. Again, the lack of flexibility to customize the site is a real bummer for me.
  • You can’t place ads on your site! Okay, I think you can, but you certainly need a lot of page views and you don’t receive all profits.

Would I recommend starting with a free or self-hosted blog?

At this point I am in the middle of transferring to Hostgator and will be writing a review on that experience. I think the answer to this question will be a little clearer after I have completed the process.

As it stands right now, I would recommend starting with a free site to see:

  • if you like blogging,
  • if you have time for it, and
  • if you are really passionate about your topic. I wouldn’t want to pay a couple hundred dollars to lose interest in a month.

Given that, I’m not entirely sure how complicated this transfer will be. If it turns out to be a complete nightmare, well then I may recommend starting out straight on a self-hosted blog.

I’ve asked a few other experienced bloggers their perspective on this question and all have said they would start with a self-hosted blog. I may be switching my opinion to that as well once this process is done.

But I still don’t see how you can fork out a couple hundred dollars upfront for something you aren’t sure you will like. I would love to know what your opinion is!

I’ll update soon on pros and cons of self-hosted blog and how the experience with switching is going!

**All opinions are my own. I have not received any compensation**

Linked up with: View From In Here

Modern Dad Pages
Domestic Momster

34 thoughts on “Pros & Cons of a Hosted (free) Blog

  1. Great insight! I agree with your thoughts. For me, I at least think it’s important to invest a small amount in your domain name, if anything. When you add a dollar amount, you give yourself a push because you don’t want to waste your money. I think it is important to be able to customize your blog, but starting out, there are lots of options to work with. As long as your layout looks neat and clean and legible with colors and tones that are not off-putting and overwhelming, you can attract readers with your content and images! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Visiting from Mom Bloggers Club! I think you make great points. I was on Blogger for a long time, and really liked it, but had always heard it was better for “professional bloggers” to be self-hosted, so I got a good deal and took it. Turns out, a lot of my favorite professional bloggers are still on Google! I think it’s definitely the place you want to start as a blogger, and you can always transfer over. I am liking self-hosted WordPress right now, but we’ll see how things go in the next year or so!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been signed up and paid with Blue Host now for a few months and still have not made the transition because when I started the process I got confused and frustrated half way through due to it not working and now am afraid of doing anything for fear I will erase my entire site. And upon trying to call them I was on hold for entirely too long with 3 toddlers. Keep us posted on how your transition goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #FamJamLinky | Link Up Your Family Posts #3 | Mummaknows

  5. Thanks for the information. I was with blogger for about two years while I figured everything out. I just bought my domain name and moved to wordpress a couple of weeks ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am definitely a self-hosted fan. I update sites for authors and while there is more functionality available for these sites now, as you said it still very limited if you have every worked on a self-hosted site. Visiting from the View From In Here link party.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m interested to hear how your transition goes – I think you can pay them to do it all right? I’d be afraid to move my site as I don’t know the ins & outs. I started off self-hosted & it was a massive learning curve but I’m delighted with the freedom I have. Best of luck with your move! Visiting from View from in Here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I started on a free blog site, and I would recommend that. Find out if you like it, if you can keep up with it, make a plan for a self-hosted site. Plan your focus and what the plan for your blog will be. I also use HostGator, they will help you with anything. I have messed up a few times and screwed up my blog, they reinstated my backup for me and did it quickly. They have spend 2 hours on the phone with me walking me through fixing things. I love them! I have not ever had problems with HostGator, when I get larger I may have to move to a different company, but for now I am happy with self hosted wordpress and HostGator! Good luck, can’t wait to hear how it works out!

    Thanks for linking this to WAYWOW, I love your site, always find something to inspire me! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I started on blogspot and moved to “weebly” where I bought my .com and paid for hosting. I am really thinking hard about moving to blue host and having wordpress but the move is very scary and I’m assuming a lot of time to move it…. Hoping it will be worth it… Thanks for putting this all out there for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the most important point is whether or not you are sure you can devote the time and energy to keeping with it. If you are sure this is a “hobby” or “project” that you will sticking with, I see no reason to bother with non self-hosting

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve just paid for my domain mainly so I can start getting advertising to try and make a little bit of money. But I haven’t had this very long and still finding my way around. Thanks for pointing out more of the upsides. #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Really interesting post. I am on Blogger and just shilled out for a domain name but am unwilling to commit to a self-hosted site. I really feel like I need to grow my brand a bit more and see where that goes before making the commitment. Like you though, I keep hoping I’m not making a mistake. #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great pointers, I am still new at this and trying to decide those things as well. I did buy my domain name and currently just doing this more of a hobby so I think I will stick with using wordpress for a while until I grow my blog more. #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have been blogging for almost 5 months and have pretty much come to the same conclusion as you – and that I am here to stay 🙂 but really scared about going self hosted. I will watch out for your next instalment with interest. I have no experience at all so it will be a very new learning curve and I would hate to mess up all the hard work to date!! x #momsterslink

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Moving From Free Blog to Self Hosted | What To Expect | Mummaknows

  16. Like the rest of you I’m a newbie, and want to ride the wave a little longer but I’m hearing more and more about being self hosted. Keep us posted on how it goes! I’d also love to hear if anyone has any good self hosting help companies in the UK?

    Liked by 1 person

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