As many readers know from first-hand experience, Blogger was in “read only” mode for most of the last 24 hours. This meant that you couldn’t post new content to a Blogger-hosted blog. It is frustrating to not be able to write a blog post when you want to. It’s even more frustrating to have blog posts disappear into cyberspace ether (I lost eight posts and their associated comments). Those frustrations led some people I respect to question on Twitter if they should move to self-hosted blogging platforms. My response to that is “no.”
The benefits of a self-hosted blog.
A self-hosted blog definitely offers some advantages for the right people. In short, a self-hosted blog gives you the most possible options for creating and sharing content. A self-hosted blog means that you can back-up, export, and move your content to a different host whenever you like. (You can also do that with a number of hosted blogging services). A self-hosted blog means that you can change the infrastructure of your blog whenever you like. For example, one of my favorite blogs recently switched to WordPress from Drupal. And if you like to tinker, you can tinker to your heart’s content with self-hosted blogs.
The drawbacks of a self-hosted blog.
Although a self-hosted blog gives you the most freedom, it also requires the greatest responsibility on your part. Unless you actually own a server and keep it in a place that you can access (and if you do, you probably stopped reading this already), you’re going to have to find a hosting service. Finding a good reliable host isn’t difficult. Finding one that can give beginners lots of hands-on attention could be a challenge. Once you do find a host, there’s nothing to say that it won’t occasionally have glitches that take your content offline. Rackspace, one of the largest and most popular hosting services, had an outage last fall that was about the same length as Blogger’s was this week.
Unlike using a hosted blogging platform, if you self-host your blog you are responsible for updates to software, updates to security patches, and trouble-shooting any number of glitches that may arise.