One of the enduring beauties of WordPress is that it continues to encourage self-hosting. Given its open-source roots, we shouldn’t be surprised. But anyone who’s ever been damaged by Drupal knows that the only option, should you decide to inflict Drupal on yourself, is to go all the way to 11 on the pain-o-meter and use a Drupal hosting service like Acquia.
Sure, there are WordPress-focused hosting sites. But, if you sign up to a little technical work, you can do a much better job with a self-hosted WordPress site. You are reading this post on an HTTP/2-compatible Apache web server using a Let’s Encrypt TLS certificate hosted in the Azure cloud under Ubuntu. Translation: fast, secure.
It’s possible to run a small WordPress site in an AWS t2.micro AWS Linux instance free for a year. By then, if you have added enough content to entice Google to index you, you probably have enough traffic to upgrade to a t2.small instance for about $20 a month. If this is too expensive for you, you aren’t being serious enough about your online presence. Anything less than computing resources at this level and you will have an embarrassingly bad experience for visitors. wpengine.com — where you lose all control — costs more. And GoDaddy and fellow travelers will sell you shared hosting for much less. Good luck with that.
The benefits of hosting your own WordPress site include the ability to manage performance, security and availability at levels that approach Facebook, cnn.com and, dare I say it, Google itself. Visitors today expect near instant response, mobile device compatibility and presence in search engines (a very large portion of this blog’s traffic comes from search). For all these reasons, there’s no substitute for doing it yourself.
But let’s face it: you have to love being a Linux admin. It’s not enough to just tolerate the work. You gotta be gaga over how cool it all is.
Hosting your own WordPress site is an excellent hobby. Or a very smart business move. Or both. Everything you need to self-host WordPress is on the Internet. You can learn to master the LAMP stack, figure out DNS and learn the basics of providing a secure, reliable, SEO-friendly website in a couple of weekend nights. (I especially commend a self-hosted WordPress site on AWS to females interested in a career in tech.)
Or, you can take the easy, cost-effective way out.
Hire me. ( Update: 2022-12-08: I no longer take WordPress admin work as of, well, years ago.)