This post will talk about the basics I considered myself before I finally made the final decision. After all, once you go self-hosted, there’s no turning back. At least things will never be the same again.
But what the heck is self-hosting anyway? And why would I want it?
The web can sometimes get too technical when defining a term, so let me put it simply. Self-hosting means you become the boss. Anything that has to do with your blog will be under your control. To do this, you will have to host your blog with a reputable hosting company that fits your needs ( normally at a fee) and say buh-bye to some of WordPress.com features you have enjoyed.
So, if blogging is your PASSION and you want to run wild and free to expand your little place on the web, then self-hosting might be right up your alley.
It’s been a little bit over 4 months since I switched my blog, Sweet Jelly Bean, to self-hosting. But I’d be lying if I say that I didn’t have any reservations at first when I was deciding whether to switch, or not. There are too many information on what to and not to do online, it can get confusing.
It took me months to think things over and thought more even after I bought the plan from Hostgator.com. You can technically still back out (there’s a time limit – check with host provider) as long as your blog hasn’t been transferred and get a refund
It’s a BIG STEP, I have to say. And although now I speak so passionately about this subject, that doesn’t make me into an expert in this field. I’m merely speaking from experience and what I know so far here with you. In fact, I’m still learning my way through this fun maze of blogging with ‘freedom’ and every click is an adventure for me. And why keep that adventure for myself, when I can share it?
There are 3 simple things to consider, yet very important, before self-hosting:
Your Blog, Your Domain, and Your Host. Knowing what you want for your blog and getting acquainted with the important factors that will make your transition easy, will help greatly. And this is what I’m aiming with this post.
Are you ready?
Get your blogging hat/cap on! And grab yourself a drink and some snacks. It’s going to be quite a long roller coaster read! And I hope you enjoy it!
1. Your Blog
You must have a blog to go self-hosted. It might sound silly pointing this out, but I’m hoping that this post will also help those who are contemplating to take up blogging as a hobby or perhaps make a career out of it. Blogging is the buzz online and there’s money to make, so why not?
Finding the right platform for you will always play a big part especially later on, when you are ready to switch. Picking the perfect canvas for your picture is essential, right?
And it all depends on what you’re trying to do once you have a blog. Set a goal? Make a list of things you’d like to achieve, and how to reach them? Or go with the flow?
If you blog via WordPress.com, the transition will be quick and easy and it will feel like you’ve never left WordPress.com at all! (will share the difference in my next post)
If your blog is at Blogger, there are Import tools at WordPress.com to move your blog and go through steps to become self-hosted. It will be laid out for you. Or you can opt for Guided Transfer, just like I did.
2. Your Own Domain
In other words, you are still restricted (unless you pay for an upgrade for Custom Design) and won’t be able to use Rafflecopter (giveaways) or Inlinkz (the tool that’s widely use for blog hops etc.) properly on your blog.
I’ve spoken to a few bloggers in the past, who thought that they’re now self-hosting since they have a .com tagging along. The answer is, NO. Buying your own domain and later on paying for hosting are two very different things, yet they are very important mechanics for a self-hosted blog to stay afloat.
Domain ownership simply means you own the name of your blog and no one will be able to have it. In the event that you are not able to keep up with the monthly/yearly charges, you will be prompted on the expiration date and as to when you are able to renew at the same price, otherwise, you might end up having to bid on it or even pay more!
For example, WordPress.com will charge you an extra fee of $80 (lordy!) when you enter the Redemption period (this is after 2 weeks of your domain expiration but you’ve not taken any action). This, apparently, is a common practice for domain registrars, so beware.
Please Remember: Keep in mind that once your domain expires, it can be unavailable for up to 90 days. Once it goes back on the market, anyone can register it. You should never allow a domain to expire unless you are fully done with it and never want to use it again.(source: WordPress.com)
Having your own domain takes blogging up a notch and it shows your dedication and determination in what you do. Not only that, it looks more professional, more memorable (rather than the usual long version myblog.wordpress.com) and quite frankly, it makes a good impression when one stumbles upon your blog, although creating a good impression doesn’t have to stop there.
3. Your Host
Choosing the right hosting service for you could get mind boggling. I won’t go into too much detail as I’m planning to cover this separately in my next post and share the steps I took, and what drove me finally to switch this blog with Hostgator*.
Here’s a tip when picking your host. Never rush. And make sure to do your homework.
- Research for the popular web hosting company with ample features, good reputation, and top notch customer service.
- Compare services for each hosting company you find.
- Select your top 3 hosting providers. List all your questions you are curious about and see if they can help.
- Speak to them.
Was the turnaround for responding your emails, chats or over the phone inquiries worth noting? Was it disappointingly slow? Or were you not satisfied with the overall experience? These things are very important especially when you start hosting with them and you might need immediate assistance on your site that falls under their expertise.
Here’s another thing I’ve learned: it’s not always about the price. Don’t just jump into one because it’s the cheapest around.
And lastly, always remember that this is your blog and you can do whatever you want or take it wherever you want it to go. It’s important to put your heart into something because you feel it, not because everyone’s doing it.
Self-hosting might require more maintenance compare to blogging for free, financial investment, but it also offers you that chance to really showcase what you and your blog got without feeling pressured that you could be violating a certain rule. There is fun in self-hosting and if you start getting paid for what you love, even better!
P.S. I did warn you that this would be a long roller coaster read! Feel free to share your thoughts!
Note: If you have any questions you’d like to ask or anything you are unclear of, feel free by commenting below with your feedback. Your thoughts and opinions are much appreciated.