To Self-Host… Or Not?

2016-02-29 18.41.41My blog has been on my mind a lot lately. I posted recently about how the niggling blogger doubts had gotten a hold of me and how I’d considered jacking it all in after five years, but how I knew deep down I wanted to continue on blogging. In between the sugary sweet cake posts that make up my A to Z of Baking Challenge, there are ideas for posts, ideas that I just can’t let go. And so, on I blog.

But aside from the post ideas I’ve been having, I’ve also been thinking about the presentation of my little blog, and I’ve finally, after all this time, begun exploring the option of self-hosting. I feel a little late to the self-hosting party but oh my word, it feels like a minefield!! Maybe it’s not really. After all, lots of bloggers out there are self hosting and surely not everyone is a certified web designer.

However, I’m finding trawling through the information out there and making an informed decision just overwhelming. Who do I go with to host my site? How much should I set aside for this? Am I sure I really want to self-host after all? Is it worth it for me?

I’ve asked one or two lovely blogger friends for their advice and I’m really grateful for the clear information and tips they’ve given me. But I’m still feeling hesitant to make a decision. The impulsive part of me, the part who gets me into all kinds of debacles, thinks I should dive right in, after all I’ve been thinking about this for a while so why not just go for it? The other part of me thinks I should spend ages researching the self-hosting route to make sure I’m making the right decision.

It looks as though there can be some pretty costly hosting packages out there and I’m really not sure how much I should be spending. I’m willing to invest something in this but as much as I want to give this my all, I’m also watching the pennies. We’re nearly six months into being homeowners and about to begin our second round of home improvements (this time to the garden), so can I really afford to spend much?

Whilst discussing the merits of self-hosting my blog, a friend suggested I ask myself what I would really get out of self-hosting. My answer is that I would like to make more of this little old blog, I’d like it to look more professional and I’d like the freedom to display it just as I want it, with no WordPress-imposed ads about how to get a flat stomach, or such like. And yes, the future option to monetise it is not something I would be opposed to.

I guess that means I should take the plunge and go self-hosted then, doesn’t it?!

I would love to hear from fellow bloggers on this one – are you self-hosted? Why/why not? Any tips you have at all about this would be very much appreciated!

My Random Musings
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21 thoughts on “To Self-Host… Or Not?

  1. Someone's Mum says:

    I just went self-hosted this week. It is really daunting but I have had a lot of help from some very clever friends. For me, it is because I want to try to start making a living out of my blog. Good luck! #AnythingGoes

  2. Janet Cooper (@dementedjan) says:

    Your post really caught my eye because I just decided to self-host last week. I’ve decided to start my own business which is completely self-hosted through Wix, however, I also have a WordPress account and I just bought a web address for this for a year. I paid for a year because I don’t have to think about the cost for a next year and by then I’m hoping it will pay for itself. I am far from a web designer but I really enjoyed the journey and I feel my site looks so professional. I still have so much to learn but I am hoping to make some money from my blog, magazine, and website through advertising. I have blogged for around 18 months now and I just felt that I need to give it a chance, but I’m of the attitude that it might just be for a year. After a year Wix allow me to switch back to a free Wix site if need be, so I was pleased with that deal. I’m cautious with money – I work part time and support my family but like you, I had considered this for a while and I suppose I just really bit-the-bullet and went for it. I’m still a little scared now in case things don’t go as planned but I just had to take this chance. My advice to you would be to only do this when you are ready (the time has to be right!), when it’s within your means to do so, and if you feel it is financially viable. Just make sure you have fun! Hope this helps.

    Janet

    • jenieveve says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and advice, Janet. I’ve heard of Wix, is it also a web hosting service? If so, I wonder if I could migrate my content over to them? It’s something I will look into! I would definitely like to take the plunge at some stage in the future. I have so many ideas for posts that I am wondering if I should up my writing first and then make the move to self-hosted. I keep swinging back and forth between possibilities! Thank you for stopping by.

      • JanetCooperCW says:

        Hi, yes, it’s a web hosting service but you can also integrate a blog page. I’m not sure about integrating the blog over, as I haven’t attempted that because I’m keeping my business and personal pages separate. I would write your articles first and give yourself some time to get your head around it, and think about your best course of action. Good luck! 🙂

  3. joseromero says:

    I can understand why Self Hosting seems like an impossible feat! To be honest its not. You just have to know before hand what it is that you are going to do in your blog?

    Once you figure that out then the next thing you should start doing is making sure your domain name (the name your blog will be known as) is available by going to “Go Daddy” and doing a check on the domain name. If they have it then buy it! Just follow the instructions and you should be okay!

    Then once you have your Domain Name ready then you can go and check for a Self Hosting company where you plan to start your blog. You will notice a ton of different plans to choose from. Since you are just starting to go out there I would suggest going for the cheapest plan first. And if you find that the cheap plan is not enough for you then you can upgrade to the next plan.

    I use HostGator and I pay about $9.00 dollars a month for Hosting. They have other plans as well in case your blog or website needs it. I have been using my basic plan for about 3 years now and have had no issue with it. Also make sure the Hosting Plan you use has WordPress installed on it as it will make it easier for you to install and run in a about 30 minutes

    Once you decided on a Hosting Plan now you will need to point your Domain Name to your Hosting Provider so that when they type your domain name it goes to the server.

    There are a little more things to do but I’m sure you can figure that out. But if you feel that that is too much for you to do there is another route. Where you can get a blog set up for free! Its called BADNET.com. They can set your blog up without an issue.

    • jenieveve says:

      Thank you very much for your comment and advice, Jose – I really appreciate it! I hadn’t heard of HostGator so I will look into what they can offer. I already have my own domain name purchased. The only thing that bothers me with going to self-hosted is that the web host companies I have spoken to are unable to migrate over your subscribers and likes/comments, which would be a real shame to lose.

      • joseromero says:

        No problem! I figured you needed the right information so you can decided what path to go on. And you also have your domain name purchased that is also great as you are already half way there.

        As far as subscribers go I think there is no way to bring them over to a self hosted site. What I would advise is for you to keep your WordPress blog active and instead attach the RSS feed from your hosted blog to your WordPress blog. Like that when you write up an article on your hosted blog the article will also pop up on your wordpress blog. Like that you can still get subscribers to subscribe to your wordpress blog without losing your subscribers. Until WordPress allows its subscribers to be moved to a hosted blog the way I just told you above will be the best option for you.

        In case you do find out how they can move subscribers and likes from wordpress to a self hosted blog let me know! As I’m curious to find out how to do this!

        Let me know when your self hosted blog is up and running so I can come by and comment!

  4. mrsmumnz says:

    Can I ask… What is self hosting? I paid an annual fee for my domain name through blue host when I first set up my blog. I use WordPress too. Am I self hosted? This blogging malarkey just gets more and more complicated. #anythinggoes

    • jenieveve says:

      Oooh err, I’m not 100% sure to be honest! I pay an annual fee for my domain name only but I am not self-hosted as I do not pay a web hosting company to host my blog for me. Bluehost is a popular web hosting company, though. Looking at your blog (which I really like by the way – I’m glad to have found it!), it looks as though you may well be self-hosted! But as I say, I’m so new to this self-hosting game that I’m really not sure…

      • Mrs Tubbs says:

        If you’re on WordPress.com, then you’re hosted with a vanity URL. If you’re on WordPress.org with your URL then you’re hosted. Hope this helps!

      • mrsmumnz says:

        Thanks Jenieveve. Glad you like the look of my blog.
        This hosting business is all super confusing! I’m happy to continue blogging as I am, self hosted or not. But hopefully with time as I learn more and more about blogging and hosting I’ll figure out where I currently stand.

  5. Mrs Tubbs says:

    I looked into self-hosting and decided the extra feature weren’t worth the cost of having them – but I’m on blogger, tight-fisted and a technonumpty. However, if you’re looking to do brand work, you’ll need to self host as you can’t do that on the version of wordpress

    • jenieveve says:

      I’m also undecided as to whether it is worth the extra cost! I’d like to do brand work in future if possible but I think I really need to sit down and plan what I want to do and how realistic it could be for me to try and take it forward. Thanks for your advice 🙂

  6. Yvonne - Double the Monkey Business says:

    I could have written this post. I just can’t decide whether or not to take the plunge, I am tempted to buy my domain name so at least I have that for now. I am not technical at all and that worries me. I also seem to pick up a lot of followers who are also on WordPress and I am worried I wouldn’t pick up followers int he same way if I moved. I would love to know what you decide to do and who you plan to host with. I am going to keep an eye on the comments too. From a very overwhelmed blogger who doesn’t know what to do next 🙂 #anythinggoes x

    • jenieveve says:

      Hi Yvonne,
      Thanks for your comment – it’s reassuring to know that someone is in the same quandry, hopefully we can help each other through it!
      I will definitely post again with an update of what I decide but I’m mulling things over at the moment completely torn between sticking with WordPress and working more on my content, or just taking the leap and going self-hosted. If I do the latter, then a web hosting co called TSO Host is winning out at the moment as they are more affordable for the fledgling blogger, and a friend uses them and recommends.
      I definitely think buying a domain name for your blog could be a good idea. I purchased my domain name pretty much as soon as I set up my blog from 123.reg and it costs me around £14 every two years to renew.
      Good luck and I’ll post an update again soon but equally, I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with your decision too! x

  7. randommusings29 says:

    I am the least techy person ever! Seriously, I didn’t even know what HTML was until I started blogging and I moved from Blogger to self hosted WordPress. It is nowhere near as complicated as it looks so if that is putting you off, please don’t let it worry you too much.
    Debbie

  8. mudpiefridays says:

    I have been thinking the same thing recently 🙂 my blog is just about to turn 1 and I am ready to make the leap – but scared of doing so!! So I am sitting on the fence kidding myself that I am going to do it when I go onto maternity leave – who knows maybe I will. But I would love to hear about your experience so please tag me in any future posts 🙂 #AnythingGoes xx

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