Self-hosting is a topic that I have seen a lot of bloggers ask questions about. Whether it is how to actually do it or what the benefits are of doing so. Before changing to self-hosted myself, I did lots of research to make sure it was right for me. I thought why not share the things I learnt in case someone else is wondering whether to do it or not.
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If you already have a blog or maybe you are just getting started you are probably trying to decide which is the best platform for you. Free services such as; WordPress, Blogger and Squarespace are great platforms but they do come with restrictions. Also as with any platform, there are pros and cons. There are many resources online which will compare the free hosting services.
Custom Domain Name
From the first blog I ever started, I knew that one day I wanted to buy my own domain. This means your web address is yourblogname.com or yourblogname.co.uk. It looks more professional than yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.co.uk. You can just buy a separate domain if you are happy with free hosting and attach it to that, but from what I have read there can be extra charges to add them on. I used to use blogger and don’t remember that being the case but keep in mind you may have to pay an additional fee to attach your chosen domain. Personally, I was just going to buy a domain name and attach it to my free hosted blog but due to the reasons below, decided to go self-hosted.
Full Controls Over Site Customization
This was the reason that had me sold on self-hosting. I wasn’t happy with how structured blogger is in its design. It is very limited to moving around elements and customizing your blog. I feel as though I can always tell when a blog is hosted by blogger. Before changing, I knew exactly what I wanted my blog to look like and knew that being self-hosted would help me achieve that. I never used WordPress properly before going self-hosted but have seen it is the same case with their customization options. One of the things I love about WordPress.org is that I can add so many different plugins to my blog.
When weighing up whether to go self-hosted, this point played a big part. When I made the decision it was at a time that I decided I am going to take my blog more seriously and see where I can go with it. Obviously, I really enjoy blogging as a hobby but why not earn some extra money if you can. My point of view was that, I would like to make money from my blog someday so why not get it set up so I don’t get caught out later on.
Each free platform has different rules in regards to blog monetization. For example, some don’t allow you to sell advertising space. When self-hosted you get to decide how you monetize your blog and have complete freedom over each method.
Custom Email Address
If you are going to start interacting with PR contacts it looks really professional if you have a custom email. The email will be firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than just a standard Gmail or personal email account you may already have. It is also nice to have your personal emails separate to your blog emails.
Choosing A Self-Hosting Provider
In order to change your blog to self-hosted, you need to decide who you want to use to provide this service for you. You can purchase hosting from any website that sells domains, there are also probably websites that specialise in hosting. It’s all down to you and what you require from them what your budget it. Also, take into account you will need to purchase a domain if you don’t already have one.
I found a great package with 1&1, I decided to use them as they did a WordPress self-hosting package specifically. I liked that this would all be managed along with my domain that I purchase at the same time. If you are a new customer you usually get a discount on your first purchase, depending on which product you choose. Take a look at the 1&1 Managed WordPress Hosting*. The link provided is an affiliate link in which I will earn a small amount of commision if you buy a product from them. I have been using the 1&1 Managed WordPress hosting package for a few months and am really impressed with how simple changing to self-hosted was and how easy maintaining the site has been.
Cost Of Self-Hosting
I currently pay a couple of pounds a month for my self-hosted package and domain, this easily pays for itself if your blog is monetized. I am so happy with the way my blog looks and the control I have over it, the investment is worth it alone in my opinion. Have a think about your own reasons for wanting to be self-hosted before making the commitment. If you are happy with your free platform, continue to use it. Especially if you are just starting out, you can completely migrate everything later on and you won’t lose anything.
I will be doing a follow up post to this one which will explain exactly how to go self-hosted and set up your blog.
Have you gone self-hosted or thinking about it?
Let me know if you have any queries about getting set up and I will be sure to include it in the next instalment of this post.
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