Pi to WordPress – Part 6: Is it worth self-hosting?
This is part 6 of a series, documenting the setup of an out-of-the-box Raspberry Pi to a self-hosted SSL WordPress site.
Self-hosting a WordPress site is worthwhile from an educational perspective, and I encourage anybody who wants to learn about Linux, web-hosting, public DNS and SSL certificates to give it a go. But in the long-run, a hosted WordPress site makes more sense on a number of levels.
For me, part of the attraction to self-hosting a WordPress site came from having an old Raspberry Pi lying around going unused. I’m sure a lot of people are in the same boat, and so your only startup costs are for electricity (practically negligible for a Pi) and a domain name, if you choose not to use a free option.
Hosting is incredibly cheap too though. A quick Google shows bluehost.com offering WordPress shared hosting for just €2.68/month. This includes your domain name, and when you consider the cost of additional security measures that you’ll want to take if self-hosting, third-party WordPress hosting probably ends up being cheaper.
And let’s not forget that time is money! And time is one thing you will definitely be saving with a hosted solution.
Self hosting any device on your home network makes you more vulnerable to hacks. Your blog content and domain registration details will most likely provide enough information for a person to personally identify who you are, and when you add a domain name that is linked to your home IP address (with open ports onto your internal network), that’s a dangerous and potentially exploitable combination. You won’t need to worry about this when using a hosted hosted WordPress site. You also won’t need to worry about letters from your ISP warning you that ports are exposed on your router.
Ease of Use
Hosting takes care of many tasks you will otherwise have to spend time on if you self-host. Many WordPress hosts offer backup and restores, guaranteed up-time, and automatic WordPress updates. On top of that you have direct support for any issues you come across. Your site isn’t reliant on your local power, your ISP, or your dog chewing through your network cable. And, ultimately, if you want to concentrate on your blog’s content rather than what it is running on, it is nice not to have to consider all these things and just get on with being creative.
Once your Pi is set up hosting your site, there’s not much else you can do with it. Sure, you could have multiple services running off it, but if site up-time matters to you, you won’t have much flexibility in terms of reboots, upgrades or (more likely) restoring the device after making a mess of it installing retro console emulators. Pi’s are cheap, but a dedicated Pi web-host should be exactly that, dedicated.