“Why host it yourself?” my acquaintance asked at some point in our discussion, where we’d been talking about hosting options for a website. “Why go through the hassle and cost of owning your own domain, maintaining the software, and the significantly reduced audience size?” I gave them a fairly short – if accurate – answer, and left it at that, but the question gnawed at me, and I started thinking…
First and foremost, on this site I answer to no-one but myself. I have complete editorial control over everything from layout and graphic design to content. I don’t have to submit anything for approval before adding it to the site, I can simply write it and post it (or, more accurately, schedule it). This also means that I don’t have to stick to an editorial line I may or may not agree with, a real concern when I look around at the different sites I might have chosen for hosting.
Second, it is part of my competency portfolio. That is, setting up, managing, and maintaining the blog is one of the competencies I bring to the table. It’s not something I spend a lot of time talking about, nor something I apply for jobs to do. It’s just one more skillset that helps set me aside from other applicants for whatever job I might be applying for.
Third, it’s a learning tool. Beyond using it to work on my written english and documentation skills, I also use it as a platform to learn about what is happening within the online world. Whether it’s campaigns against removing net neutrality regulations, or the push to enable SSL on as many sites as possible, having skin in the game gives me an added incentive to keep up to date.
There are other reasons, but those three are enough for me.
To be clear: When I say that I host it myself, I do not mean that I am owning the server on which the site is hosted – I have a third-party do that for me. What they deliver is the infrastructure on top of which I have installed the site and its plugins.