It doesn’t matter whether you’re a newbie or a veteran blogger this question always comes up when creating a new blog. Usually someone new to blogging would gravitate to hosting a blog themselves or get a free blog and as time goes by with experience they begin to ponder maybe paid blog hosting isn’t so bad after all. So what is better?
To answer this question, let’s first look at how a blog is created. Just like creating web pages, first, you need a software or script that will take your entries, format it and publish it to the web. The second component of a blog, is the web space, where the software should publish to, a home for the blog pages.
Knowing this information, let’s review the different ways to host a blog:
- Full blog host.
This is where the blogging system or software is provided for you and your blog is also published to a web space provided by the host. Blogger, SquareSpace and Typepad fall into this category. It’s very much like creating a website with a site builder.
- Hosted blog software but published elsewhere
This is where the blog software is provided for you but the blog pages are published to another website or web host altogether. By doing this, the software acts as a publishing system like FrontPage except it creates nicely formatted blogs. Blogger is probably the most well known for this. Yes Blogger can do both. Publish to their host or to yours. As a comparison, this is like using FrontPage to publish your website.
- Blog software and blog are hosted on your web server
This is where you would install the blog script (software) on your web server – it can be any web hosting account. And when you publish, the blog itself resides on your web server also. To draw a parallel, this technique is like buying web hosting and then installing a content management system on it to help you build web pages.
If you’re new to building web pages or have built sites using site builders then you might want to go with a fully hosted blog. There’s very little technical stuff you need to know with these systems. If you can point and click, you can build a blog with a full blog host.
Having said that, just because you’re seasoned at building web pages doesn’t mean full blog hosts won’t work for you. In fact, if you have many blogs this becomes very appealing since you won’t have to worry about upgrading the blog script, people exploiting the script, making plug-ins work or what happens when your web host decides to disable part of your blog functions because there is a security hole. All you do is concentrate on blogging. After a while, blogging becomes more important than maintaining your blog and that’s the way it should be.
- Hosted software but blog is published to your website.
This seems to be the best of both worlds. Atthe time of writing, Blogger is one of the best ways to do this but because of its popularity often you find the system too slow to publish or completely down just when you have a hot idea to share. The idea is good but you’ll also be depending on someone else’s availability to publish your blog. It’s much like using a friend’s computer to build your web pages and you know how that can go.
- Finally, you have the option to use scripts.
This is also a very popular method. The flexibility it allows is very liberating because you can mould the blog anyway you want. You can even get a programmer to create custom plug-ins or customize the whole blogging system the way you want it. In short, you can do pretty much anything you want.
The down side, you need at the very basic, some knowledge of HTML or publishing web pages. Also the burden of upgrading, troubleshooting and maintaining the script is on you. If you have one or two blogs it’s not so bad but once you start having more, it can be quite tedious. You also have to consider all the other responsibilities of maintaining the script as mentioned earlier.
Armed with this information, you should be able to figure out which one is for you. If you’re still undecided, think of how you would do it if you’re creating a regular website. Chances are your choice method for publishing a website is also the best method for you to create a blog.