My blog has just renewed itself for another year. I felt it was time to do an update on how the past year has gone, and to give you a conclusive update for my self hosted blog experience. I have certainly learnt a lot along the way. This might be useful for you if you’re interested in going self hosted. As it can be quite a daunting process when you are first thinking of making the switch.
If you are interested in finding out what my first impressions were, and my experience going self-hosted I wrote a blog post about a month after I transferred As well as an update a couple of months after that covering everything that I had learnt through the whole process. So if you want to have a read of those you can then see how my opinions have changed throughout the year.
WHY I WENT SELF HOSTED?
I decided to go self-hosted because I wanted more freedom. I wanted to customise my blog more to suit me. Changing the layout, features and theme. Not only that, but there were also options to monetise my blog and have more control over the growth and analytics. I found WordPress to be quite restrictive in what I wanted to do with the layout and design. So finding Pipdig it almost seemed like a design dream come true. Their layouts are stunning and ticked all the boxes as to what I wanted from my blog.
Going self-hosted also opened up opportunities to work with different companies as they took me more seriously. It opened up doors I didn’t think was possible before I started blogging on this new platform. There was also more customisation with the plugins to really tailor the blog to show me what I wanted to know.
USING A SELF-HOSTED PLATFORM
Going self-hosted requires purchasing hosting from a company that stores the website on their servers. So this makes it an important step in making the transfer. I did a lot of research in the run-up to swapping my blog over. Finding out about the different companies and people’s experience using them. Ultimately I chose to use SiteGround. It came heavily recommended by a bunch of people who all had glowing reviews about the company.
A year on, I do agree with those reviews and my initial impressions. SiteGround is a great company for hosting and I’ve had almost no issues with them. Except for one… Which I’m still trying to sort out now as they haven’t been able to offer much help in the issue. In my life update blog post I spoke more about the problem and how the situation was being dealt with.
The one thing I wish I had done was to take out my hosting plan for three years instead of one. I went for one year as I didn’t know how serious I would be about my blog and I didn’t want to waste money on something I wouldn’t use in a years time. But a year on I’m still enjoying blogging, despite being so busy in my personal life and hardly having time for it.
A three-year plan would have been a lot cheaper and it would have been such good value for money. At first, a few pounds a month seems incredibly affordable. But that’s just for the introductory period, so when that’s over the price is no longer affordable as it jumps up quite significantly and it turns out to be quite expensive.
This was something that wasn’t mentioned when I was reading different reviews for them. But it’s something I wish I had known. Because of how expensive SiteGround has become, out of the introductory period, I can say that I will be going elsewhere for my site hosting. It is a shame as my experience with them went really well, but the cost now is just not realistic. Especially since there are more affordable option elsewhere.
If you are thinking about going self-hosted for your blog, then ultimately I would recommend it. I’ve had a positive experience overall with a few bumps along the way, but that’s to be expected. It might be worth starting out with just a year-long hosting plan to see how things are. Before moving onto longer subscriptions.
Siteground is still a wonderful hosting company to pick, their introductory offer is so affordable. But if you choose just the one year, be sure to turn off the automatic renewal in the settings. This is so you don’t get charged with the higher cost at the end of the year. Which is what happened to me… You could even go for a three-year plan as it works out to be quite affordable when you break it down. There’s also no need to worry about switching hosting companies after just one year.
Other recommendations include regularly backing up your blog. This can be done manually or with a plugin which will do the backup for you. The last thing you would want is for all of your blog posts and settings to be gone. So backing it up is always a safe option and it’s there if you ever need it. Also don’t be afraid to try out new plugins and experiment with the layout and look of your website. You can really find something that is tailored to suit your needs and personal tastes.
If you want a theme premade and all set up and ready to go then Pipdig is also a wonderful option. I purchased a theme from them when I began my website and I’ve had the same one since then. I’ve been able to change the layout and the colours, and even make my blog seasonal. During December I have snow that falls down the front page, which makes it feel so festive!
MY OVERALL SELF HOSTED BLOG EXPERIENCE
So to conclude, my whole experience from the very beginning to now hasn’t been that bad. It took a while for me to learn things at first and find my way around the dashboard. But a bit of Google Searching and asking for help, and I’ve been able to deal with a lot of queries and issues myself. Without needing an advanced IT mind with special knowledge in coding and website development. Honestly, I leave that to the professionals.
If you are thinking about having a blog, start out with free platform first such as WordPress. It gives you a great understanding as to how everything works. From there you can look into going self-hosted and the different themes and hosts available. Feel free to have a look at SiteGround as they do have good prices and the support is really good especially if you are just starting out.
If you need some help or have a few questions you would like to ask then feel free to drop a comment. I will try my best to help.
If you are interested in finding out more about my experience going self-hosted then feel free to check out the following blog posts…