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Should I move to WordPress?

A Division by Zer0 talks about 31 reasons to move a blog to a self-hosted WordPress installation. While a lot of the reasons either don’t apply to me or are not much of a carrot, some features stand out and tempt me towards WordPress:

  • Version tracking.
  • Hierarchical categories, which means that I would be able to tag posts to my heart’s content while still being able to provide category-based access to old posts without overwhelming sidebars.
  • Ditto for tag clouds.
  • Trackbacks.
  • WordPress is based on free software.

The temptation is really strong, so I’m thinking about moving this blog over to WordPress.com and see how it works out. My main worry is that all of the URLs to my posts will be changing, which breaks links to this blog and will probably break IntenseDebate comments. At least I don’t have to worry about updating the domain everywhere, which is precisely why I got a custom domain. I might miss the way blog lists are implemented in Blogger, though, the way it’s integrated with Google Reader.

If I feel happy with the results, I’ll be permanently migrating this blog over to WordPress. This includes changing the DNS name about.chungyc.org to point to the new blog. And I might consider migrating another of my blogs. I don’t intend to migrate any of the rest. The only question then would be whether to go with WordPress.com or with WordPress.org.

WordPress.com is the free blog hosting provider by the makers of the software. The advantage to going with this is that I don’t have to suffer the heartache of having to maintain software and machines. And in the blogs I’m willing to migrate, I don’t intend to customize them greatly or put in advertisements. Even the nominal fee for using a custom domain name is only about a month or two’s worth of web hosting. And using fee-based services at WordPress.com means that I would be doing my part in financially supporting the developers of great software. On the other hand, I won’t be able to use Google Analytics, which is something I’ve grown fond of (although I really need to reduce the attention I pay to statistics), but hopefully the site statistics that WordPress.com provides will be quite sufficient.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, is just the software that WordPress.com runs on. That means I need to have my own machine to host the software, or I need to lease hosting from a commercial provider. And getting a good web host can a bit costlier than paying WordPress.com, although it’s not that great a cost in the grand scheme of things. I would also have to suffer some heartache worrying about maintenance, although hopefully the hosting company would take care of the bulk of the maintenance. But going with self-hosting also means that I would be free to do a much larger set of things, such as incredible customization of WordPress or the execution of a completely independent network service.

Given that I’ve just recently set up my domain with Google Apps, I don’t feel so inclined to go with self-hosting, since a lot of the services I would want in a self-maintained host are already provided by Google Apps. But before I have to agonize whether to go with WordPress.com or WordPress.org, I first need to try it out and see if it’s worth migrating.

7 Responses to “Should I move to WordPress?”

  1. 1
    db0:

    I think that if you do, you should consider going for self-host (duh). You have to consider that if you go with Wordpress.com you'll have extremely limited customization and you'll have to pay extra to have your own domain name. Most of your considerations (I hope) I've already tackled in my series. The setting up is not difficult at all and if you go with http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?184304” target=”_blank”>dreamhost then you'll have practically no maintenance at all. Seriously. If you go with self-hosting you'll be able to have some more good stuff like an online storage (500Gb) and any popular free software. The cost is really miniscule in the grand scene of things.

  2. 2
    Yoo:

    My real internal conflict is whether I should cave in to my desire to contribute financially to the WordPress developers, or whether my desire for future potential flexibility outweighs my generosity. ^_^;; Fortunately for me, I can put off a decision for a while yet.

  3. 3
    db0:

    Nothing is really stopping you from contributing financially to the wordpress devs…with donations. Anyway, Automattic (the wordpress devs) generally make enough money. You'd be better off contributing to some plugin devs methinks.

  4. 4
    Yoo:

    The cheapest option for hosting in the long term is also the most expensive one in terms of upfront costs, and I can't afford it for a week or two. So that's another reason to delay a decision. :P However, having my own independent 24/7 Subversion repository and the possibility of making available files without restrictions is sounding mighty tempting …

  5. 5
    Jan:

    I for one don't think that wordpress.com has extremely limited customization, but maybe that's just me. It's just that most people don't know how.

  6. 6
    Yoo:

    With having played with WordPress.com for only two days, I haven't felt any real limits with it yet, although I would have to pay a fee for CSS customization and custom domains (which would still be much more cheaper than web hosting). The real benefit to self-hosting would be embedding arbitrary HTML and behind the scene functionality. I don't have any real need for the latter, though. (*hint, hint to db0: some examples?*) Blogger let's us customize a blog to a great degree, and with export/import coming soon, I'm still not wholly convinced to migrate. I still need to decide whether the feature set I outlined in the beginning of this post is worth switching to WordPress. Also, whether avoiding the possibility of the free hosts changing things in a way I don't like is worth the cost of self-hosting. There's also the benefit of having other things than just a blog with self-hosting, so I'm still attracted to the option. (If it was self-hosting just a blog, I think I would maintain the status quo.)

  7. 7
    Yoo:

    Oh, yeah, one really nice thing about WordPress I like is the ability to have non-dated pages containing annotated links to my posts within the blog. With Blogger I would have to use a third-party site or have an unwieldy sidebar to do something like this.