Self-Hosting: My Experience So Far and How I Did It

Self-Hosting

When I first thought about creating my blog, I had no intention of going self-hosted. Self-hosting was the thing that established bloggers did; the ones will lots of followers and interactions and really pretty sites.

I’d decided I’d create a free blog on WordPress.com – it would give me enough functionality to blog as I wanted to for a while. It would give me the chance to see if I stuck with it, to see if anyone was even interested in my rambling about yarn and patterns and recipes. So I went with it, set up my blog and then did some reading on promoting your blog and growing your followers. I set up BlogLovin. I set up Twitter. I joined blogging Facebook groups.

But most of the things I read pointed to self-hosted being the way forwards.

So what made me decide to go self-hosted?

  • Almost everything I was reading suggested self-hosting give you the most options to increase followers/readers/subscribers
  • The customisation options available on a self-hosted WordPress.org site are far better
  • I could use plugins to really work on making my posts as good as possible, and improve my SEO
  • The blog would be mine
  • I could use my own domain name, and not have the WordPress branding in my domain (which, I’ll be honest, is probably the one thing that irritated me the most about a free WordPress!)
  • It would potentially open up more doors to be able to do collaborations, work with brands, and make money from my blog. I’ve not got any real plans for this at the moment, as I’m so new to blogging, but self-hosting seems to be the way forward if you do want to make any money from your blog!
  • I might be more likely to stick with blogging, as I’ve invested in it already.
  • It made sense to do it sooner rather than later, as that way I wouldn’t have as much information to transfer over

Disclaimer: The sites I recommend and link to in this post are my own, personal recommendations. I have not received anything to promote the companies mentioned, and this post talks about my own, subjective experiences.

How did I do it?

I started by researching managed wordpress hosting. I googled it, I read on forums, I read on social media and tried to work out which host would be best for what I needed. There is ALOT out there on which hosts are good, which plans offer real value for money etc. I’ll be honest, one of the big things for me was cost. At the moment, our budget is stretched to it’s limits, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford a massive monthly fee. But equally I wanted to go with a hosting provider that was reputable. I read an article on the best wordpress hosting providers in 2018 on Techradar. It mentioned all the hosts I’d come across in my readings, plus a couple of others.

Which Plan Did I Choose?

I decided to have a look at 1&1 – as Techradar recommended it for the novice blogger (that would be me!). The 1&1 Basic WordPress package is only 99p (+VAT) per month, for the first year. It also includes a free domain name for the first year. The renewal costs for anything after the first year are reasonable too, and you can pay monthly, rather than annually – which for me was a big plus! The plan also includes and SSL certificate and DDoS protection (I honestly don’t know what that really means, but I had read it is important to have this). I read some reviews and decided to give it a try!

The process of buying the plan and setting up the domain was really simple. It took around 24 hours for everything to be sorted, and to be able to access my control panel. First of all I set up my domain and SSL certificate, and then began the process of setting up WordPress. It was really straightforward and my site was up within about 15 minutes! I also set up my email address, installed a simple theme and then set to work on finding out how to transfer my posts from my original WordPress.com site.

Moving My Posts to my New Blog

This was the bit I thought would take the most time. It turned out, by following a few simple steps, I had moved my posts over to my self-hosted blog. I found this step by step tutorial by WPBeginner to be awesome. I only wanted to move my posts, so I can’t comment on how it works for anything else, but I found the process really simple. Just remember to extract the XML file that you download!!

Self-Hosting Success

So that, in a nutshell, is how I went self-hosted! It was nowhere near as scary and technical as I thought it was going to be. I’m finding adding posts and updating my site is still fairly intuitive with the WordPress.org platform – althought there is more functionality that I have yet to figure out!

I’ve started to use some plugins that were recommended on WPBeginner, but it’s early days yet and I’m still working on trying to understand those. (Once I know which ones I like, and the ones I use, I’ll pop a post up about the plugins I have found most useful).

I hope this helps anyone thinking about going self hosted. If you are about to take the plunge, or have any questions, leave me a comment or drop me an email – sarah@dottycraft.co.uk

 

Sarah x

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