So a couple of weeks ago I made the decision to go self-hosted. I had been dithering about this for ages. I felt that I wanted more control over my blog and I wanted to use plug-ins etc. I also wanted more security for my blog as I had read that wordpress.com can just take your blog down.
How did I prepare to go self-hosted?
I read tons and tons of blogs and websites about going self-hosted. This was not necessarily a good thing as anybody who knows me will tell you that I have a tendency to do too much research and to over think things. This was certainly the case, again. You would have thought that I would have learnt my lesson by now. However, in the end I was still so confused and baffled by it all that I thought I was just going to have to get on with it and bite the bullet. So I did and it was a little stressful but this is what I learnt from the process.
What did I learn from going self-hosted?
- If you are reading this and you haven’t started a blog yet then I would strongly urge you to go self-hosted from the start. Makes it a lot easier.
- Do your homework, but not too much! When I was researching going self-hosted I felt that there were two companies to choose from – BlueHost or TSO Host. I went with TSO Host as I had read really good things about them being supportive. I found them to be amazing. They were always at the end of the email, no matter what the time, day or night. They are also clear about their pricing. You can get a plan with TSO Host from £1.25 a month.
- I would really recommend going with wordpress.org for your self-hosted blog. It is a powerful platform with lots of themes to choose from and lots of plug-ins too. Best of all it is relatively simple to use. However, if you are a bit of a coding whizz then the world is your oyster when it comes to wordpress.org.
- If you don’t feel like you can migrate your blog then your self-hosting company will do it for you. TSO Host did this free of charge for me which made the whole process a little less stressful.
- Be prepared for your blog to go offline whilst it is being migrated. I wasn’t prepared for this and started stressing that I was losing everything.
- Be prepared to lose some of your posts. I lost about two weeks worth which is annoying but it can’t be helped. I should have backed up my posts. Luckily I did do this for my scheduled posts. If I hadn’t I would have lost them too.
- I lost my email subscribers as well. I’m not sure if this is something that always happens but be aware of it and check. If so, you need to let everyone know via twitter etc.
- Read the Tots100 guide to setting up a self-hosted blog, it is really clear and very useful.
- Don’t be intimidated by it. I put off doing it as I was worried about what would happen. Don’t. It might take some time for you to get used to your new platform but there is so much more you can do with your blog now. I am still finding my way around but I am loving the freedom of being self-hosted. I am like a kid in a sweetie shop or should that be plug-in shop!
- Try and take your domain with you and register it with your hosting company. This then means you don’t have to start from scratch.
- When you have your new website choose your new theme. But be careful that you don’t start going crazy trying lots of different themes as this may make your blog crash. Try and find one that you like and reflects your blog and stick with it for now. You can always change it further down the line.
- There are lots of very good You Tube videos which explain the process of going self-hosted too. These are really worth a look and some even have step by step guides.
Was it worth going self-hosted?
So I may have a few more grey hairs but I am now much happier with my blog as it now feels like it is my own to do exactly what I want with it. I suppose that you could say that going self-hosted is like buying your house. When you are on wordpress.com you are renting it and it is lovely and stress-free but there is only so much you can do because it’s not your ‘house’. There is also the threat of the landlord chucking you out if he or she doesn’t like what you are doing. However, when you move to wordpress.org or go self-hosted then it is like you have bought the ‘house’, whoop! You are now free to do what you want but just remember you don’t want to go knocking down too many walls and then regret it. So take your time, don’t go too crazy and be careful what plug-ins you install.
*Since going self-hosted I have noticed a real increase in my readers and subscribers. I am now also being approached for work*.
What tips would you have for going self-hosted?