I hope you are all doing well and are having a wonderful week. I felt it was time for me to talk about going self hosted as a blog as I made the switch in late July so it had been a full month now that I have been learning and embracing life as a self hosted blog. It was quite a scary and daunting move and there was a lot of learning to do in such a short space of time. But I have learnt a lot along the way and it is such a big decision that I’m sure a few of you are curious about the process if you are interested in making the move yourself.
It wasn’t something I intended to do when I first began blogging but as the months grew on and I was finding out more about the blogging community I discovered blogs which had the most beautiful themes and were able to do more on their site than what I could. So I did my research and learnt about ‘WordPress.Org’ and blogs which were self hosted. This peaked my interest and from then it was always on the back of my mind.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org
You might be asking what the difference is between WordPress.com and WordPress.Org? There are a few differences between the two but to break it down into simple terms WordPress.com is the free version where you don’t have to worry about hosting or site maintenance whilst WordPress.org is the self hosted version of WordPress which means you can have ultimate control over the features of your blog. If you wish to find out more then you can click – here – to read more about it.
Why I Went Self Hosted
The free WordPress is a wonderful platform to start blogging on, it welcomes you into the community and it really helps to introduce the process involved in blogging. I thought it was wonderful, I was able to build a blog that featured posts about everything I was interested in. This was so exciting to me, I could communicate with people all around the world and interact with fellow bloggers on similar topics.
This was great for a while until I started stumbling across these blogs that were more customised and had the most beautiful themes. I wanted to do more with my blog and I was really getting frustrated with the restrictions that was placed on me. I wanted to be able to adjust the layout as often as I wanted, set up a shop to sell some designs or even alter the colour of hyperlinks when ever you hover over them. I have so much more freedom now to customise my blog to my exact specifications and I am not limited to a certain layout or format. Even something as simple as font was so important for me and I was able to pick one that matched the minimal appearance I was striving for. I like things to be a certain way and going Self Hosted allowed me to explore those fields.
My old domain name adellbaker.wordpress.com wasn’t too bad but it was a bit long-winded so swapping it to the new domain adellbaker.com was a lovely feeling. It was short and to the point and is an easier name to remember. It has a more professional feel to it and sounds more formal.
Going Self Hosted
I spent a few months before making the move reading blog posts and learning about what it actually means to go self hosted and the process that is involved. The whole process basically means WordPress are no longer hosting your blog on their platform and you will need to choose a new web hosting service that will fill that role in for you. Despite thinking I knew the majority of it, when it came down to actually making the move there was even more things I had to learn in a very short space of time. It wasn’t an easy move, honestly it was so daunting the amount you need to become aware of. Not to mention it being in a field that not many people are familiar with.
Choosing A Hosting Service
I would definitely say WordPress was my safety net, it was my comfort zone and stepping out of that was scary. I went through so many mini panic attacks, worrying that I didn’t do something correct or I was going to lose all my hard work. One important step of the move is the hosting service. I did a bit of research and found the most affordable company was Siteground. They can even do the transfer process for you helping move your content from one blog to another. But through my many panics I ended up migrating my blog over by myself which I didn’t realise I did till later. I guess I was so impatient I couldn’t wait.
I had a lot of questions to ask throughout the move, so I spoke with one of their many team members who are more than happy to answer any questions in the live chat. Since then I’ve spoken to them a few more times in regards to some of my concerns and each time they have been more than helpful. I think one of the chats lasted over an hour, and they really make sure your questions are fully answered. So the customer support with this company is really positive.
I chose the Start Up Plan for £2.75 a month with 10GB of storage and I think that is more than enough for the majority of bloggers, but if you feel you need more then there are two other options. They sort out the migration, storage, security updates and offer any support if you need it. I also had to pay for my domain name which is an annual payment of £10 a year which isn’t too expensive.
The price that they advertise isn’t the price you will generally pay in the end as additional add ons do start making the price creep up. One add-on that you might not have considered is keeping you personal information private when registering for a domain. Your personal information is published in the Whois Public Internet Directory which can be viewed by anyone at anytime which is required by the Internet Corporation. If you register for Private Domain Registration there is greater safety of your personal information from spammers, telemarketer and data miners. Your home address is kept safe and you have a reduced chance of identity theft. So this is really something I recommend you to consider in your costs despite the added expense.
There were a few issues along the way in terms of transferring followers and ensuring the comments was also moved over as well. One thing to note is any likes on blog posts is unable to be transferred over so you really do start from scratch in that sense. It is a little disappointing that there is no support for migrating blog post likes and I would say this is the only negative I have with the whole process.
You definitely do learn a lot about the more technical side to blogging. I have been interested in Website Development and Creation and despite this being very challenging it was a fun project to undertake. But I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it wasn’t for the help of Online Forums and Help Guides. Not to mention the staff at Siteground. If you are interested in going self hosted I fully recommend Siteground. You can find out more through their website – here –
Picking A Theme
Oooo, this was the fun part!! And one of the initial reasons as to why I made the move in the first place. Once you have gone through the whole migration process and your blog is set up, you then get to pick your blog theme. You have the choice of a WordPress one or choosing one from another source. There was two companies I had in mind for this Station Seven and Pipdig. Both companies produced beautiful layouts and are so aesthetic! They are the bloggers dream! I kept them on my radar for a while flicking back and forth trying to decide which one to go for. It was a very tough decision as there honestly is so many beautiful themes. I had my eye on a theme by Station Seven called Analogue and Equinox by Pipdig.
In the end I purchased my theme from Pipdig after taking ages to decide. I was torn between so many themes. You can buy themes and change them as often as you want but I really wanted to find that perfect one. The great thing about themes from Pipdig is the endless customisation and the variety of layouts you can achieve. As you may find my theme looks slightly different from the images they portray. This is down to altering the layouts and colours.
What made me go for Equinox was the minimal tones and the delicate fonts and layouts. I loved how things were displayed and I felt it would work so well with my blog. The focus would be on the pictures displayed instead of the text, I wanted it all to blend in and work as one composition. And one month on I still love it as much as I did on day one.
The Final Steps
After purchasing your Pipdig theme you can either request them to install it for you (free of charge) if don’t know how or don’t have time or you can play about with the theme and start customizing your new blog!! This was the best part of the whole process but took me about two days to get the blog looking how I wanted it to look. I just went down each option in the customisation bar and tweaked them about until I got to a point where I was happy. You will be really surprised with how many options there are for you to play with and the combinations are endless.
Overall, the process went better than I expected but it was a massive jump that I am so proud I have taken on. It was worth the money in every way, there is a lot of things to consider in terms of cost and whether moving is right for you. But I recommend you read blog posts, do your research and I am sure you will come to a decision that is right for you. I have come out of this process a lot more knowledgeable and I will take what I have learnt with me in future design challenges.
Be sure to keep an eye out for a blog post I’ll be doing at later date on Plug-Ins that I recommend that would work really well for a self hosted blog and how they can boost statistics and keep your blog safe from malicious attacks.
If you have any questions regarding this post feel free to comment and I will answer any questions you ask to the best of my abilities. Don’t hesitate to ask! I hope I have helped inform you on the process, do let me know if you are thinking of moving or have already moved. I would love to hear.