Before I began my blogging journey I had no idea about terms like "web hosting service" or "domain registrar". All I knew was that I wanted a website of my own. But, where to get it from was a question that I spent some time on. This post will share an in-depth analysis of two well-known web hosting companies and help you decide which one should you select if you wish to purchase a domain. Please note that in case you're looking for a free blog, then it's a better idea to start with WordPress because it is convenient and older than most web hosting services out there.
Understanding the Basics
Before we begin with the analysis, I would just like to clear a few terms that will help you along the way. These terms are:
Web Hosting: A web hosting service is like a digital space rental service that lets you store your data in the digital world. Think of it like a lease agreement where you get a piece of land by paying a fee for a specified time of the agreement.
Coding & Content Management System: This is a combination which enables you to create and modify content in the digital space. The result of this is a website with content. This can be compared with a house that you build on the piece of land.
Domain: As already explained in the previous post, the domain is the digital address of your website. Think of it like the name plate of your house.
Web Service Providers
Now, we will try understanding what different companies essentially provide, so that there is no confusion as to what you're signing up for.
Bluehost: Web hosting + Domain (both paid for separately and need to be renewed)
WordPress.com: Web hosting + CMS (used) + Domain
Wix: Web hosting + CMS (sort of) + Domain
This distinction is very important for you to understand. Most professional and full-time bloggers create their content on WordPress.org and host their websites on Bluehost. This means that they pay for two things in total (CMS is free in WordPress.org):
Web hosting fee to Bluehost - about Rs. 2400 ($31.8) per year
Domain purchasing fee to Bluehost - about Rs. 900 ($11.93) per year
This is an expensive and confusing choice for a new blogger. As a beginner, you should always try to minimize the number of service providers you have to deal with.
Wix or WordPress.com
For a blogging beginner, these are two of the most convenient choices available in the market. Both make it easy for you to set up a blog quickly, without any need to know coding. The best part is that you don't have to host your website with some other company and build it with some other. These are individualistic providers which will provide you everything at one place, hence, the best options for beginners.
Now, in order to make a choice between them, we will need a criteria. Since they're very similar on most parameters, I will keep finance as the most important factor. Let us evaluate how much would they cost if you have to fulfill your blogging objectives.
The three reasons I listed in the previous post on why you should get an upgrade plan were:
To analyze your traffic data - done using Google Analytics
To improve the SEO of your blog - done using Google Search Console + Meta Tags
To monetize your blog and earn through ads - done using Google AdSense
Now, let us see what Wix and WordPress.com provide and at what cost:
Luckily, Wix offers only one upgrade plan in India which costs Rs. 348 ($4.61) for the first year and Rs. 850 ($11.26) after that for each year. It is called the Premium Plan. This plan allows you to use all the three tools listed above i.e. Google Analytics, Search Console and AdSense.
WordPress.com has a total of 4 upgrade plans. Their pricing and features have been shared below:
What it doesn't tell you is that the three tools mentioned above will not be available in all the upgrade plans. By upgrading to the Premium Plan, you get access to Google Analytics. By upgrading to Business Plan, you also get access to the SEO Tools (used to add meta tags and they help in making use of Google Search Console) and Google AdSense.
Thus, if you wish to avail the full functionality of all the three tools mentioned above, then you need at least a Business Plan. Now, depending on which features you go for, the pricing for Wix and WordPress.com can be compared as follows:
For Google Analytics Only:
Wix - Rs. 348 yearly
WordPress - Rs. 3,360 yearly
For Every Other Combo:
Wix - Rs. 348 yearly
WordPress - Rs. 7,680 yearly
As you can see, Wix is way cheaper than WordPress.com if your objective is to minimize your costs and avail the benefit of those three tools for your blog.
Making the Right Choice
In my opinion, it is better for a blogging beginner to go for Wix because of the simpler plan and the availability of all the features. WordPress.com will surely help you get familiar with the basics of WordPress which will come in handy when you start a professional blog. But, for your first blog, I would always recommend to use Wix and get to understand the three tools at a much cheaper cost.
Suggested Link | Sign Up for Wix
As a new blogger, you should aim for learning, convenience and lower costs, all of which are provided by Wix as well as WordPress. However, WordPress requires you to upgrade to a certain level before you can harness these benefits whereas, Wix provides the same benefits beginning at Rs. 348 a year. You must also note that in case you change your mind, there is a policy to claim refund within 14 days with Wix. I have built two websites using Wix and hence I can vouch for its ability to feature in the search results as well as provide the due functionality. In the next post, I am going to share how you can set up a website using Wix.