If my blog seems slower lately there is a good reason. I migrated from a dedicated quad-core server to a free WordPress.com account and finally to BlueHost.com ($7/month). The following is a quick look at the pros and cons for people in the same boat.
- Free (myblog.wordpress.com).
- Allows use of a custom domain (optional – $10 a year).
- Allows post import from existing blogs using the import/export tool (see caveats below).
- Very limited use of custom templates and plugins. If you have a real WordPress install you’ll need to make some sacrifices.
- Import tool is slow and confirmation is delayed.
- Slow at times, no tech support.
Hosted Shared Servers (BlueHost, DreamHost, etc.) list of more
- Allows a full installation of WordPress and other blogs / content management systems.
- Much better control of the server, typically with something like CPanel or Webmin.
- Ability to create multiple databases.
- Use of custom domain (myblog.com).
- Mail account support (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Cost $7-$10 a month. That’s well worth it in my opinion given the limitations of free solutions.
- With BlueHost I experience occasional slow downs because I’m using a shared server.
- Might be confusing if you’re not comfortable working with databases and WordPress config files
Do NOT rely on the export tool that comes with the default WordPress install. I backed up using the export tool as well as the WordPress Backup Plugin. It’s a good thing too because the export didn’t work right and I would have lost most of my blog if I didn’t have a backup of the backup.
BlueHost limits your ability to name databases. I ran into the problem where my wp_config file needed to be changed a little bit so WordPress could see my restored DB considering its new, BlueHost compatible, name.
I used the WP Backup Plugin tool but the import didn’t work. It dumps a big SQL file which you can import directly into a new DB using the tools provided in CPanel. You’ll then need to install WordPress after you’ve created a new DB and tweak the config to connect to the DB. At that point you’ll be up and running but you’ll need your WordPress API Key to get some of the plugins up and running again.