Just the thought of going self-hosted can be pretty daunting to say the least, with wondering where to actually start being the main concern. If you read my most recent post you’ll have seen that I went self-hosted just last weekend via Siteground so I’ve now mastered the art of self-hostedness (well at least the most significant aspects). For this reason I thought it would only be right to share my experience, pointing out some of the well known parts of the process, and some I hadn’t really considered and would now call a major piece of advice for anyone wanting to take their blog to the next level.
WHY GO SELF-HOSTED?
It’s perfectly okay to remain as wordpress.com or blogspot.co.uk, or whatever free hosting site you are currently on, but after a while, I myself felt quite restricted in what I could do, how my blog came across to my readers, and in particular how it came across to any PRs and professionals who had stumbled upon my page. I wanted my own domain, the .wordpress.com wasn’t doing it for me anymore and I felt it wasn’t something I could truly call my own. From my perspective, having my own domain seemed a lot more personal and professional, as did the thought of purchasing a sophisticated theme which would make my blog all the more appealing to the eyes.
DO YOUR RESEARCH! (I can’t emphasise this enough)
To go ahead with it all, you must know the ins and outs of what you’re signing up for, and how it all works, otherwise it just ends up confusing and you’ll feel a little bit lost in the big world wide web. For this exact reason, I had read pages upon pages of posts by bloggers on the process of going self-hosted and even after doing my research I still had many unanswered questions, with the price being the main thing that held me back from taking the plunge a lot sooner than now. Some well known hosting sites range from Bluehost to GoDaddy to FastComet, and then there’s Siteground, and through reading numerous posts, Siteground was the one that repeatedly came up, but even then I was still hesitant. The only advice I can give for picking a site to go self-hosted with is the following.. don’t dive straight into the deep end and pick the first site you see, make sure you do your research as there are many different hosting sites out there offering different plans, and at different prices, so make sure to pick the one that fits your blog and the features you are after.
“IS GOING SELF-HOSTED GOING TO BANKRUPT ME?!”
The next thing is the monetary side of things, you must bear in mind that going self-hosted can be pretty pricey, with the cost of purchasing a domain, the self-hosted plan itself, a theme and any additional add ons making the pounds (dollars, euros) pile up. This is why I’d recommend holding off until there are any specific deal days such as on Boxing Day or Black Friday (unless you can’t wait and just want go for it, then by all means do as you please). I planned on going self-hosted with Siteground on Black Friday as I knew that they were offering 70% off their regular price for newbies, compared to the 60% discount that they usually offer. That meant I would be paying £2.05 a month for my self-hosted plan, compared to the normal £2.95. You may currently be saying to yourself “but Holly you’re only saving yourself 90p a month“, which is true…but 90p a month for 12 months adds up, to £10.80 exactly so take advantage of any deal you find as any money your saving could go towards purchasing a theme or buying an additional add on. The first year of blogging is always the cheapest and after that it can almost double, so SAVE SAVE SAVE in your first year.
I chose Siteground to go self-hosted with and went for the start-up plan which is the most basic plan, only because I didn’t want to complicate matters more for myself, and I felt for going self-hosted for the first time this had everything that I currently needed. However, there are 3 different types of self-hosting plans so have a look at what they all offer and choose one based on its suitability to your blogging needs. The next step after that was registering my new domain (thankfully mines wasn’t already taken so maybe have a back-up incase). I went with .com as again this was just a personal preference and it cost me £9.95. Purchasing your own domain was one of the most exciting parts of the process as I knew that having my own domain would make me feel all the more confident about posting my link across all of my Social Media sites.
SAY HELLO TO PIPDIG!
The most daunting part of the process is transferring everything to your new site, but Siteground has a live chat which can provide you with a great deal of help, or you can do what I did…use Pipdig’s amazing migration service. The green eyed monster can appear whenever you compare your blog to another individuals, and prior to going self-hosted I had gotten into the habit of comparing mine to others. Through constant comparing, the one difference I noticed between my blog and that of well-known bloggers was the difference in how our blogs looked, they had purchased their own theme and I was using a free one which really wasn’t up to much. All the themes I became fond of were coming from the one place…Pipdig, a website dedicated to professional blog and website design, and it was through that, that I found out about their migration service. Pipdig have an affiliate link for Siteground, whereby if you purchase a self-hosted plan from Siteground and then a theme from Pipdig, they will migrate your blog completely FREE OF CHARGE! This free service includes installation of WordPress, the transferring of all your posts, comments, subscribers and followers, and installing your gorgeous new theme. So to answer your question of ‘will I lose all my followers and subscribers?’…no you won’t. The lovely Phil over at Pipdig had my blog set up that very same day (it states it can take up to 5 days so boy was it quick) meaning I could spend that weekend playing around with my layout and tweaking things here and there to be blog ready for its relaunch.
*MAJOR PIECE OF ADVICE BELOW*
Terms and conditions are a part of everything in life (although as humans we have a bad habit of ticking the agree box without even reading them, just admit it), but I’d advise you to read them. This is when my MAJOR recommendation comes in if you’re planning on going self-hosted. When you purchase a public domain, your personal details such as your name, address and phone number are stored on the ICANN WHOIS domain database for anyone to see, which unfortunately means you’re likely to receive constant spam. You can stop this from happening however by purchasing Domain ID Protect on Siteground, which costs an additional £9 and means your domain is privately registered. I didn’t purchase this until 2 days after I went self-hosted, and even in that 2 days numerous individuals had stored my details resulting in a whole lot of spam emails and constant calls from the likes of your mum, dad and uncle, coming from as far as India and America. So, if you’re going self-hosted, I’d recommend purchasing this add on right from the outset to prevent you being inundated with spam like I was, although since I purchased the Domain ID protect it’s calmed down drastically so it’s definitely worth the £9, either purchase that or change your number (I sure do know the easier option).
Well that’s my little guide to going self-hosted done after lots of you lovely bloggers asked a post to be written up on it, I know it’s a lengthy post but I wanted to make I covered absolutely everything. The final thing I should say is that any of you can go self-hosted, don’t think that you need hundreds of thousands of followers and views, if you feel it’s the right time to take the next step in your blogging journey then go for it. I’m actually at that point where I’m pretty proud of A Daily Dose of Holly so I don’t regret my decision to go self-hosted at all, and I hope you all like the new look. Have you considered going self-hosted at all, or if you already are self-hosted, what tips would you give to anyone thinking of taking the plunge? If I’ve left anything out or you have any questions then please leave a comment below.