I’m finally making good on my promise to write some differences between locally hosting a WordPress blog and using a webhosting provider. Well, the first (and main) difference I’ve noticed is that I now have to care about aesthetics (and grammar). Having to care about aesthetics is part of the reason why more content is not online yet – it needs polish.
I now have to care about everything from whether you can type “allenbiehle.com” or “www.allenbiehle.com” in the address bar (it’s not as simple a choice as you would think) to allowing users to contact me while protecting myself from spambots. I’m still working on that one, by the way, and it’s on my “to-do” list.
Every single word (and likely image) on this website will be indexed by Google (among other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo!) within the next 48 hours and then this website will likely be stored in the Internet Archive.
Once the information I’ve chosen to publish is on the Internet, there is close to zero chance of it being deleted. Remember GeoCities? You can still find almost every site from it online at the Internet archive (despite Yahoo! shutting down the main site in the USA on October 2009). GeoCities first started offering a place for people to publish websites in 1995, nearly 15 years ago. For comparison, Congress only opened up the Internet to sanctioned commercial activity in 1992, and the “web” as we know it (IE: the World Wide Web) has only existed since 1990. The Internet does not forget.
Sure, I’ve written blog posts on Facebook before, but that’s a kind of “Walled Garden” (I said kind of! I know it’s not a true one) that can be restricted by various means (such as only allowing “friends” to read, and preventing search engines from indexing the content).
So there you have it. The single biggest difference is that I can’t write as freely on a public website vs. a locally hosted private one.
And I’ll be honest: my old WordPress site was very ugly. For that site, form followed function and my WordPress install had more plug-ins than should be deemed safe (plug-ins sometimes conflict). I don’t even think I had it running on port 80 since I also hosted my own mediawiki style encyclopedia (which wasn’t on port 80 either).