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Hosted Websites vs. Free Blogging Services: The Great Debate

One question always occurs to the website/weblog neophyte sooner or later: Should I use a free service for my website and get it up and running asap or should I pay for website hosting and setup the website myself? Which to choose, which to choose? This is the conundrum that besieges every would-be blogger and website owner when they first venture onto the .com landscape. My first adventure turned into a nightmare with paying for website hosting but it was partially my fault, a very small part mind you.

Free Blogging Services

Pro: Most of the back end work is done for you so you can concentrate having a website: Generating content for your audience. Management of the overall website is taken care of by Big Brother so all you have to do is choose a theme, crank out content, and back-up your content on a regular basis (a most).

Con: With a free website service such as BloggerWordPress, etc. (more examples can be found on the Movie Tech page under the title: Popular Online Publishing Platforms), you are limited in the plugins you can use on your site and have limited advertising options. Your design is limited with a free blogging service and what you can do it is constricted as well.

Hosted Website

Pro: By paying for hosting and running your own website, you have no limitations. You can set up your website or weblog and make it look anyway you want and advertise on it how you see fit. The content you have on the site is not restricted. You are the dictator of the website and the website is your kingdom.

Con: You are responsible for everything, EVERYTHING. The front end of the website, unless you have the theme custom made, and the back-end. You will have to do a ton of reading on SEO, RSS, SERPs, Ad integration, etc. You have to pay for website hosting every month and you have to pay for the domain name you want to use annually.

Conclusion

With a free service, its more like you are renting space somewhere with a set of conditions you have to follow. With a website you paid for and own, its like owning a house: no one can tell you what to do or how to do it. You are your own boss. Most, if not all, of the most highly successful movie websites are hosted websites. The owner bought the domain name, paid for hosting (pointing their nameservers to the purchased domain name), and installed some type of web publishing software, WordPress being the most popular. After that they either pay for a custom theme or choose a free one but in the long run, it will pay for itself.

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (http://film-book.com), he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He also created and runs Trending Awards.com.

  • Love this post! Great way to explain Hosting vs Free blogging sites. With Hosting you really have more work to do, but it is great to be in control! Thank you for this, I'll add this link to my blog. This is a must read for a lot of people.Have a great day!Arie RichKMPBLOG.com

    • I am glad you found it useful and thx for adding the link to your blog.

  • rubenromero

    I pondered paying for hosting services, but I am fairly nooby when it comes to CSS, html, and even design — so I went easy and picked blogger and just paid for the domain name (what's 10 bucks? Plus, with a little luck, the next big biomed company will be called Floating Red Couch, and pay me millions for the site name, ah hahahahahahaha)Thinking about creating a style sheet on WordPress and uploading the code to blogger —

    • ProMovieBlogger

      You do not have to know CSS, html or design. You can get theme that you like for free or have one made to your specs. The first theme I had was free.

  • It's difficult to coach/encourage a new blogger on the merits of a self-hosted, clean, professional WordPress blog early in their blogging efforts.

    Their goal appears to be rush and engage the blogosphere as soon as possible.

    First, there's a long denial process eventually coming to the realization of what was needed all along.

    Source Blogger

    • I read your post and had no idea that Google owned your site and its content before you switched. That's horrible especially if you put a lot of time in.

      You're right, the newbies want to get online quickly and don't think about the future.

  • If you are a newbie in Blogging, then I really suggest to start with a Free blogging services like Blogspot or WordPress and test it for some days. If you feel proud of your blog with some good content as well as with decent traffic, then its a right time to change your blogging platform to a private hosting services. Thereafter you have some traffic, try to monetize your blog, then from those small bucks – its enough to maintain a good blog for long time. Anyway nice comparison between two services. Cheers…

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