WordPress is my favourite blogging platform, that is largely because you can make it as sophisticated or as simple as you wish according to on your needs. Unlike Tumblr, which is a one size fits all sort of solution, you can add plugins, get someone to build you a custom, simple or complicated theme. This makes it really hard to pick out if a blog is running on WordPress behind the scenes because it has the potential to look and behave like no other website, with the right amount of skill and tender loving.

My favourite feature, as a web developer, is to self host WordPress as opposed to just creating your blog at WordPress.com. Usually if you host your blog at WordPress, you end up with something like http://myblog.wordpress.com/. This can be customised to look something like http://www.myblog.com, which is what all self-hosted WordPress blogs will look like.

Benefits of using WordPress:

  1. Can be as complicated or as simplified as you wish it to be.
  2. The ability to install plugins means the endless possibility of extending the ‘out of the box’ WordPress features
  3. Can be hosted wherever you wish.
    – Tumblr blogs are not load balanced, therefore do not load as fast in other countries outside the US.
    – You can make sure your blog is load balanced if your website is to be viewed by a global audience or host it on a server in your country if you are just blogging to people there.
  4. WordPress is highly scalable. Meaning if you decided to use it as more than a blog and as a full blown website, you can do that. With Tumblr you would be fast restricted if you wanted to do that.
  5. A large developer and user base. It the most widely used blogging system in the world and that means if you run into a problem, a Google search usually finds you a solution. Unless you just upgraded to that latest version of WordPress that got rolled out recently.
    Tip: Don’t be an upgrade junkie. Wait about a month after a new version of WordPress is released, that way bugs have been addressed & plugins have been upgraded by developers to work. Duration may vary but this should give enough leeway.

WordPress.com hosted vs. Self Hosted

  1. WordPress com sites & blogs are like Tumblr blogs in the sense that you don’t have to worry about hosting. You just sign up and in a few steps you easily have a new blog.
  2. Self hosted blogs allow to do more advanced things and have more control by hosted the blog yourself.
  3. WordPress.com hosted blogs are automatically updated when a new version is out so you are working with the most recent code base reducing security breaches. You still receive update notifications when you self host but don’t have to upgrade which can be useful.
  4. If you self host your WordPress blog, you have to worry about keeping it secure. If you set it up right, you can still have a secure blog without upgrading to the latest version.
  5. WordPress.com hosted blogs charge you a small fee of US$39.00 to edit the code and styles of themes, which you will highly likely want to do. If you self host WordPress then you can bypass this fee but bearing in mind your ongoing costs and developer charges might end up being higher.

Conclusion

Having a Tumblr blog or a WordPress.com hosted blog is like driving an automatic car. There is less to understand and you can get by just by understanding how to make to car move. Having a self hosted WordPress blog however is like having a rally car or formula one car where the sport requires a bit more skill and understanding of how the vehicles works. The more advanced the level or racing you want to compete at, rally or formula one, the more you will have to understand.

All in all WordPress, whether self hosted or not, gives you way more options as to what your website or blog can be or do compared to Tumblr which is purely a visual blogging system.

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