Taking your blog self-hosted on WordPress.
I had heard so many other bloggers recommending this to me if I wanted to get serious about blogging but I had no idea what they were talking about. I had to trawl the internet up and down for hours to really try to get to grips with what it meant and how to go about it so I thought I would simplify it here on my blog:
What does ‘self-hosted’ mean?
It’s not all that complicated to be honest – basically you can create a free blog using WordPress.com (which you probably have already done if you are reading this) and WordPress will hold all the data and files that sit behind your blog. If you want to take your blog self-hosted then this means WordPress no longer hold or ‘host’ your blog and you either create a server on your own computer to host it (complicated) or you pay a very nice company to host it for you and leave them to do all the technical wizardry that goes on behind the scenes (recommended). You then install WordPress’s free software and off you go. So that’s it – it just means either WordPress.com are looking after your blog webpage or you are paying a private company to do so for you.
Why would you go self-hosted?
WordPress is a free platform with blogging software that requires basically no technical knowledge to use. If you are using the free version then you are bound by the terms and conditions of WordPress and its limited functionality. It is great for first time bloggers but until you take your blog self-hosted you will be seriously limited to the look and feel of your design and functionality.
You like the look of those funky floating social media icons? Yep, you can’t have them until you’re self hosted. Or you want to install an easier commenting system so more people will engage with your posts? Same.
Most of the fun, useful and cool functions on blogs are performed by clever little bits of add-on software called Plugins and until you are self-hosted you cannot install them. WordPress have thousands to choose from so if you do go self-hosted then check out my list of which ones you need to start you off
What about monetizing your blog? A lot of bloggers would like to earn some income from their words, right? Well you need to be self-hosted to have advertising on your blog.
You want to have full control and ownership of your content? Yep, you’ve guessed it – you need to be self-hosted.
The benefits for someone who is serious about making a go of blogging are endless and the limitations are few.
What are the downsides of being self-hosted?
In my opinion the only downsides I have come across are the fact you are now responsible for updating WordPress updates, themes and plugins but this is extremely easy in reality. You are also responsible for ensuring you backup your work regularly but there are some great plugins that will do this for you. Of course you will be spending money, paying a company to host your blog but it’s not exactly extravagant and the rewards really outweigh the negatives.
So how do you go about making the move to self-hosted?
Being self-hosted means just this, your blog is instead now hosted on a server of your choice – so in order to do this many people pay a small monthly fee to a company to host their blog and do all the behind the scenes techy stuff you don’t really want to know about yourself. There are several different ways to self-host your blog but this is the one I have used so it’s the one I recommend. I used a company called TSO and they also migrated my blog over from WordPress.com to the self-hosted version you see today. All I had to do was provide my login details to them and they sorted out the rest over a couple of days. I pay them a very small monthly fee to host my blog (about £2.99) and I haven’t had to think too much about anything overly technical. This leaves me time and space to focus on the content of my blog and how I want it to look. However, there are many different hosting companies, it is just a matter of choosing which one you want to go with.
I hope this has been useful. If you have any specific questions on making the move to self-hosted please leave a comment and I will get back to you. In the meantime, good luck with your blogging exploits!