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Considering a move to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog

March 19, 2012

WordPress.com logoLast week I wrote about a change that the WordPress.com team made to commenting. This change makes it so that if an email has ever been associated with a WordPress.com account (even if it was only because you have associated it with a Gravatar, since Gravatar and WordPress.com now share the same user database), then you must be logged in to the relevant WordPress account in order to comment with that email.

So, even if you have reasons for not being logged in at a particular time (convenience, the fact that logging in is kinda difficult to do on some sites, or on mobile devices, OR far more substantial reasons, like identity management, etc.,) but still wanting to use a particular email (to have subscribed threads go to your preferred email, for example), you have no choice. As a blogger, I have no choice. That’s what I get for going with WordPress.com.

A lot of people are unhappy with this change — I won’t link again to all of the forum posts and blog posts I’ve seen (I linked to some in the last post on this topic), but here’s the problem: what is there to do about it?

It’s unknown whether WordPress.com developers will be responsive to its users and either roll-back the change or make it opt-in instead. And that’s one price we pay for going with WordPress.com — we accept that new changes will come, by fiat, from WordPress.com developers.

What else is there?

Blogger LogoThe major competitors to WordPress.com are, to say the least, not encouraging. I know a lot of people who use Blogger/Blogspot, but it’s annoying just reading and commenting on those sites, so I can’t really imagine trying to administer a blogspot blog.

And then there’s something like drupal, which seems like the ideal blogging software for nerds (no offense to nerds, but as I experienced dealing with gentoo linux, years back, I came to the conclusion that I don’t really want to have to¬†wrestle with my computer to achieve stuff. I am amenable to arguments about the amount of control¬†and flexibility that ones earns as a result of such wrestling, but I’d rather have a balance…), but less than ideal for average folk.

And then there are several other blogging platforms whose names I can barely remember and which I have barely even heard of (Joomla? What does that even mean?)

So, it would seem that WordPress.com is simply the least terrible of a poor field of competitors.

…but there is another option, however…

WordPress.org.

Wordpress.com vs. WordPress.orgWordPress.org and WordPress.com, as far as I am aware, share the same foundation. So there would be little learning curve as far as that goes. WordPress.com blogs are hosted at, well, duh, WordPress.com (which is one reason why this blog’s address is irresistibledisgrace.wordpress.com. Another reason is that I’m too cheap.) WordPress.org blogs must be self-hosted, and the blog owner is responsible for purchasing the domain name.

But the differences don’t end there. Even though WordPress.com and .org are both WordPress, WordPress.com represents a selection of well-tested, broadly appealing (with the exception of this commenting fiasco…) features as selected by fiat from the WordPress.com team. WordPress.org is an open sea of plugins, themes, release candidates and betas. That’s not to say it’s unsafe…just that it would require more tinkering that WordPress.com.

Since I do some of the admin stuff at Wheat & Tares (but not too much of the heavy lifting when it comes to coding…I’ve definitely broken W&T a few times doing that), I’m a little bit aware of what the behind-the-scenes looks like. Unfortunately, there’s enough that I do not do behind the scenes that I would have to learn. I don’t do anything relating to the hosting or domain name, so I would have to learn that. And as mentioned, I would have to get a better understanding of code.

At the same time…I feel like it would be something to think about…in addition, I have been looking forward to buying irresistibledisgrace.com…maybe this is a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone?

So, today’s poll is…what do you think: should I switch over…and to what? Does it even matter? Would getting irresistibledisgrace.com be worthwhile?

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4 Comments
  1. I used WordPress.org on my personal website for awhile. Once you upload the suite to your domain, you can go completely WYSIWYG, exactly like WordPress.com. So the only additional skill required to use it is downloading the suite and then ftp-ing it onto your site. Of course, you can get into the code if you want, but you don’t have to.

    But yeah, this “You must log in” thing is tremendously annoying. It just did it to me.

  2. kuri,

    Well, the plot thickens…why did you switch from WP.org to Blogger?

  3. I actually used it for my business site, not a blog. I tried it with a static front page, but it still looked pretty bloggy, so I just switched to coding it myself since I’m not doing anything complicated with it.

    I use Blogger for my blog because I didn’t like all the restrictions WordPress.com has — no unauthorized Java, no ads, etc. And when I went to using my own domain, I was used to Blogger, so I stuck with it out of inertia, I suppose. (And you can’t beat Google’s blog-domain hosting price: $10 a year.)

  4. Aaron permalink

    First order of business. Buy irrisistiblediscrace.com. It may not be available when you make your final decision, and it’s cheap. Do not do it through GoDaddy. They’ve been known to poach from their own users.

    I think if you decide it’s definitely time for a swap, you’ll have the gentlest learning curve if you go with a self-hosted WordPress blog. Buying a domain and hosting is simple, and most hosts have a utility that will install the WordPress software for you. You’ll already know how to do the vast majority of what you do on a daily basis now.

    Yes, you’ll probably want to install a prettier theme that the default WordPress theme, but that’s a fairly straightforward process. Especially if you’re willing to shell out $10-20 for a non-free one. And yes, you’ll probably need to do a little configuring to get the comments working how you’d like. But once that stuff is done, it’s done. You probably won’t need to touch it again until you decide it’s time for another update/change a year or three down the road.

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