I'd write this on my blog, but I try not to go too far off topic too often...
No, this is not why I chose to move from Blogger to Wordpress - that's a personal (meaning personal blog not forum) issue. This is, "Why am I staying on a free server, anyway?"
Or more appropriately for this forum - what are my choices, and what are some strengths and weaknesses of each?
In very simple terms your choices are:
1) Free service on another host;
2) Paid service on another host (with or without your own domain name);
3) Self hosted.
Note before I go on that there are a lot of options that are sorta between the three - if you're doing that much digging you'll find them. Still, the basic split works.
The major advantage of 1 is that it's free. The second biggest advantage of 1 is that you do NOT need to do much maintenance. It is essentially plug and play - pick your layout from the choices, pick a name, and take off. The single largest disadvantage of the first option is that you have a lot of things you cannot do. You can't find and use a nifty widget or link package unless your provider has it available for you. The second largest disadvantage of the first option is that you are subject to the vagaries and whims and business decisions of your host. TANSTAAFL, and in this case it means your blog isn't, in the end, yours.
The other end offers pretty much the opposite issues. You have to pay for your domain name and EITHER a virtual server OR a server and connection. You have to do the maintenance - not just writing and appearance but ensure you do appropriate patches and backups and... oh, the list goes on. In exchange, you can do pretty much anything you want for layout and whizzbang bells and whistles and you can link and provide pretty much any file you want -pictures, charts, executables, the works.
And obviously, then, the second choice is the middle ground. Hosted elsewhere, you can't adjust the code itself (no php hacks), but you can probably load and use about any validated widget or toy that's written for your operating system and blog program. You get YOUR domain name (usually) instead of "name.hostingservice.com". You're still subject to the whims and vagaries of your host, but not as much - money DOES talk, but make sure you read the fine print because it talks too.
So, I've got this blog, and it gets between 500 and a thousand hits a day - not a lot, not nothing. I'm limited to a certain cap of total files, and there are a lot of gee whiz things I can't do. So, why don't I buy a domain name and take off?
Well, a lot of it is experience. See, I've managed blogs before - as in, built the servers (oooh, shiny parts), bought the domain, tied it into the patch panel, set up the backup tape system... Oh, and in my copious free time write and read and write some more. Bluntly, it's more work than I want to do for free.
And, it's experience. I figure, based on past enthusiasms, that I'll get tired of this someday. Maybe it'll be next year, maybe three or four. But eventually I'll say enough. And at that point... I personally believe I have obligations. I get a lot of people who like to read what I write. If I quit writing, my "free" blog is still going to be available -- I can always put a "bye" post in there. If I'm hosting... when I quit paying, it goes away. Maybe that's a good thing, but I've a bit of an ego and thing I've written one or two useful things - possibly, hopefully, useful in the longer term.
And it's experience. If I PAY for a domain - options two or three - I'm going to start thinking 'business'. As in, "OK, I spent this money. How do I offset it?" No, most don't do that. I do - it's my make-up, the way I swing. I already dump money on computer and game, plus a bunch of non-WoW things. (I don't play this every night, or even most nights. A hard-core week pushes 20 hours, and 10 in a week is not uncommon.) Paying for a domain and service is... too far for no more than I'm doing.
Pick for you. Recognize the longer term costs - and benefits. Run with what works, for you. Enjoy yourself.
Oh - one last thing. If you screw up and make a choice that turns out wrong for you, it is NOT the end of the world. Or even a major issue. Oh, take the opportunity to learn from it -- it might be the right decision in another context down the road, so don't swear off all "option X". But regardless, it's probably not going to ruin life, liberty, or happiness in the long run. What I'm saying is, if you can't decide which is best for you, choose the one you're sorta interested in running with and go with it. If you don't try, you can't play.
It's a game. Have fun.