Last week I posted a tutorial on how you can run WordPress on AWS. In this post, I will explore a bit whether it is actually worth going down that path or whether it is better to just use WordPress.com
This is not going to be highly scientific and likely colored by my opinion. You will have to decide for yourself which option is better for you, but maybe some of my thoughts will help you make a decision. Also, I’m not sponsored by either Amazon or WordPress.com.
For those who don’t want to read the full article here is the summary:
As so often in life the answer is: It depends. You can get more flexibility for cheaper out of AWS. On WordPress.com, you have less headache operating your own server, but less flexibility unless you pay for the more expensive plans. I’d say that for 90+% of people the WordPress.com option is the better option. The only exception is if you need a lot of storage and/or plugins. In that case, you might be better off with AWS.
Now in more detail. Let’s first go over a couple of advantages to host your blog on AWS:
- It is relatively cheap. For 5$ a month you get 20GB storage and 1TB data transfer (that is plenty for a small blog)
- you still pay extra for a domain and you don’t get a free one. For a common one that is maybe 10$ a year.
- full flexibility: no ads, you can install all plugins you want
- you can host your blog in the geographical region you prefer
- if you have other stuff running on AWS you can easily integrate with that.
Some disadvantages of hosting on AWS
- you are responsible for updating everything to keep things modern AND secure
- the OS and all applications that are running on your Linux instance
- need to maintain the SSL certificate (can be done automatically)
- update WordPress regularly and all installed plugins
- As you scale you will pay more.
Now, let’s take a look at the plans that are offered by WordPress.com. The first advantage, of course, is that you can get started for absolutely free. As of today, this blog is running on the free version and I merely set up a forward from stefansiebel.de to stefansiebel.wordpress.com. Not nice, but works great. In this mode, I would be able to scale to as many readers as I can get. That is already one clear advantage compared to hosting your blog yourself on AWS.
The basic plan is available to you for 4€ and gives you three main advantages. You get a custom domain, no more ads are displayed and you double your storage for images from 3GB to 6GB. To be honest for 4€ a month that wouldn’t be enough value for me to consider (except maybe if I’m running out of storage).
The Premium plan essentially allows you to monetize your site and supports video. Again, additional storage is offered. You’ll probably need it if you want to store videos. The thing is that I don’t quite see why I would upload videos to WordPress. Youtube or Vimeo are the better platforms for that and you can embed video into posts even in the free version of WordPress.com.
Finally, the Business plan gives you the full flexibility. Only the business plan lets you install plugins. It comes with a very high price tag of 25€ a month. It gives you a ton of other advantages as well including unlimited storage and personal support. In my opinion that is only worth it if you are actually running a business and in that case the price is probably not too high. As I wrote already in the summary at the beginning of the article you are likely better off using AWS if the only thing you need is more storage and the ability to install plugins. You should have a minimum of technical expertise though if you are going for that option.
I hope this was helpful. There are plenty of other options available as well that you might want to consider. How are you hosting your WordPress Blog?
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