Website Hosting Woes And Domain Names

The WordPress logo, superimposed on some... futurey space stuff.
The WordPress logo, superimposed on some… futurey space stuff.

This October, I will have, as I have every year, the opportunity to make a decision about my web hosting. Right now, I own a domain and I also have a web hosting account with GoDaddy, the only web hosting service I have ever used. With this hosting account, I have the WordPress blogging platform installed and I use it for all my blogging purposes.

I’m actually considering doing something radical and new with this site’s hosting once October arrives: switching to WordPress.com hosting. I would keep the domain name the same (though I may be switching off my subdomain, but don’t worry about this, I will put in code to redirect you to the site if necessary). However, WordPress offers a domain mapping upgrade for $13 per year. This is significantly less than what I pay to GoDaddy each year for hosting (about $50, depending on what kind of coupon I can find on the internet).

Switching to WordPress.com hosting will definitely cut down on the features I have available (I can pretty much do anything with the current hosting I have). But right now, I don’t actually use a lot of the features I have. Since I like making lists with pros and cons, that’s what I’m going to do for this.

  • If I switch, I’ll be constrained to WordPress.com themes. Some of these are paid; others are free. I’ll miss trying out random themes from the internet, but my favorite theme, the one I use anyway, is actually from WordPress.com, so I will be able to continue using it.
  • I won’t be able to use plugins if I switch. That’s sad, but WordPress.com does have a ton of widgets, most of which I use anyway on this blog (through a service called Jetpack that gives non-WordPress.com users features we are missing out on). I think the plugin I would miss the most is the Simple Social Icons plugin that I’m currently using in my sidebar. There is a workaround to have something like this if I switch, though.
  • The comment form will be different from my current one. Personally, I think the WordPress.com one is sort of ugly, but I know a lot of people like it. Perhaps I’m in the minority here and my readers won’t be bothered.
  • If I switch, I’ll be on the WordPress.com social network. This is a huge plus, in my opinion. WordPress.com was started as a free option for people who didn’t want to bother with buying hosting space and setting up the WordPress platform (I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not for the faint of heart). It has blossomed into a social network over the years, always centered around blogging, but it also offers people the opportunity to interact with each other. (And the best part is it’s a non-annoying social network, like Twitter, not like Facebook, possibly my least-favorite website in existence).

Looking over that list, it seems like I’m really leaning towards switching. 🙂

Another completely unrelated issue I have with this blog is the URL. I plan on keeping the fluenthistorian.com domain. My question is whether I should drop the subdomain. See how the address for any page or post on this blog is http://blog.fluenthistorian.com? I am debating whether to get rid of that bit that says ‘blog’. I originally set it up that way so that the domain without the word ‘blog’ (i.e. http://fluenthistorian.com) could be a homepage of sorts for me. The only problem is I never actually use that homepage. I sort of wish I had just never set up the whole ‘blog’ subdomain in the beginning because if I do decide to switch it, it will be a huge headache for me with databases and important and such.

So, dear readers, any opinions on either issue I’ve discussed? Should I switch to the cheaper hosting at WordPress.com? Should I drop the ‘blog’ from my URL?

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Natalie K.

Banker. I like good things like foreign languages (I speak Russian!), history, writing, reading, playing violin, and knitting. I have a fabulous blog about all of the above.