1. Free or hosted?

An initial choice is whether or not you’re going to use the free hosting provided on WordPress.com or have a hosted WordPress site. “Hosted” can mean on your own server – certainly a fair choice if you’re part of a large institution that has its own servers – but usually means renting space on a commercial server, whose staff take care of all of the behind-the-scenes maintenance. Many web hosts will give you space – but not all offer automatic installation of WordPress or other software. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’ve been sufficiently happy with BlueHost and SimpleScripts that I’ve not needed to look elsewhere.

The relative virtues of free WordPress.com sites are:

  • cost – the absence thereof; gratis, on the arm, compliments of the house. Won’t cost you nothing.
  • Apart from the intrinsic budgetary value, some people may be more adventurous on a free blog rather than one which carries at least the risk of spending $10 to register a domain name which you later decide doesn’t sound right. 1
  • It’s a bit simpler to set up – but that simplicity comes with some limitations on function and design.
  • It will not stop you from having a successful blog. One of the very best, absolutely indispensable sites about WordPress is Lorelle.WordPress.com.
    Lorelle: a Goddess in the WordPress pantheon

    Lorelle: a Goddess in the WordPress pantheon

    She’s smart, she’s funny, and makes what would otherwise be excess – a groaning table, if you will  of WordPress resources – a navigable banquet. And since it’s all good – she’s not giving you more by being less thorough – it’s an embarassment of riches.

  1. My favorite bad-naming story – which may or may not be true – is that General Motors – they used to be a an American automobile company – marketed the Chevy Nova in Italy without checking with an Italian speaker. “No va,” in Italian, means “won’t go.” []
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