Why I’m using self-hosted WordPress for commonplace notes?

As soon as I decided to post my commonplace notes in public, the first thing I had to figure out was where to post them.

Choices are:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter (paid version)
  • WordPress (hosted)
  • WordPress (self-hosted)
  • Medium
  • A static site
  • Substack

Among these options, I chose self-hosted WordPress. Before I tell you why I didn’t choose anything else, let me tell you why I chose this option. When I explain why I chose this option, it’ll be clear why I didn’t choose anything else.

WordPress has been around for a while. Really long time. There’s been tons of tools to replace WordPress, but none have succeeded. Because they’re so popular and have been around so long, there’s a whole ecosystem around them – whether it’s minimalist blog themes or plugins.

With WordPress, you can write and read in a very clean, unobtrusive way. There’s only one person who can ruin the reader’s experience: you, the host.

My writing can be read by a wide range of people using a wide range of tools because it has RSS baked in. You can read them via email, desktop, and mobile.

With WordPress self-hosting, I don’t have to pay for hosting since I already have Opalstack website hosting. I can also host on a domain of my own: https://commonlog.jjude.com/

It’s easy to export (because it’s been around for a long time, is well-designed, and is well-maintained). So if I decide to leave WordPress in the future, not only is it possible, it will also be easy.

Now that I’ve explained why I chose self-hosted WordPress, it will be clear why I didn’t choose anything else.

LinkedIn and Twitter have become walled gardens. There’s no RSS functionality. So many ads on Twitter ruin the reading experience.

I use Substack to host my newsletter. It’s good for newsletters or for getting your newsletter discovered. They don’t have the theming feature like WordPress (although they do allow some customization). I don’t want to be held hostage by their licensing terms either. I don’t want to be affected if their licensing changes in the future.

My main site is static. There’s too much friction with static sites. I want to post daily or as often as possible, so I want it to be as easy as possible to publish.

Medium is similar to Substack. In many cases, it’s worse. Each post loads multiple MBs of files.

Consider self-hosted WordPress as an option if you want to start a commonplace notes blog, post every day and already have a host. Alternatively, you can try hosted WordPress.

If you’ve got commonplace notes, let me know on Twitter or LinkedIn (or as a comment).