So I went self hosted…
Here I am drinking tea in my own web space. I have been meaning to write this post for ages, but I left it a little while for the initial trauma to die down.
The people that can go self-hosted in five minutes? They are wizards. I found the process bloody stressful and drank a bottle of wine in a way too short space of time. Then received a very large phone bill for harassing the TSO migrations team. Bob and I will be married next June.
If you can I would encourage doing it sooner rather than later. Like ripping off a plaster. I wish I had gone self-hosted from the beginning. Don’t hold it off because you think Youneed to be a computer genius to be self-hosted. Trust the blonde.
Why do it?
- It is entirely customisable. If you want to boost traffic use PLUGINS. These are amazing.
- With WordPress I get my own private blog email address. Apparently a lot of Hotmail and Gmail email addresses go directly into PR’s spam. Having a blog email address looks professional, like having a stapler on your desk.
- Cash in through advertisement etc. WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to display affiliate links or ads of your own. Self-hosted you can.
I did not do loads of research. I read a couple of how to’s and then just went with my normal ‘balls deep’ approach.
What did I do/should I have done before hand?
Back up your blog. Just in case! All my content and comments survived. Others I know weren’t as lucky.
Check if your theme will come with you when you migrate. I purchased a premium theme from WordPress but needed to then buy a self-hosted version as WordPress is a closed source platform. FFS. In simple, my pictures and posts moved to my new site, my pretty layout? NOPE.
HELPFUL TIP: Screen shot how you like the setup and copy the HTML codes of your badges etc in your widgets into a word document so it’s quicker to put it back up.
Choose a host
Other bloggers kindly offered their wisdom as to the best hosting providers; TSO, Bluehost and Go Daddy being the most popular. That said, everyone will have had different experiences.
If you are anything like me you will want to pick hosts with 24 hour support and kind, soothing tones. For a standard blog you probably only need a basic package. I picked the Cloud Lite package at 14.99 GBP per year.
I was already with the WordPress platform so stuck to it, its reliable and easy to navigate. They also have LOADS of support pages where they talk you through even the simplest how to. The only downside with WordPress it that sometimes it can run a bit slow but with the right plugins that can be fixed in a jiffy.
TSO’s migrations team did the hard part for me for free (just ask them). You’ll need to provide them with login credentials.
Your blog will go offline whilst transferring. It will look different to start DO NOT PANIC.
Once it’s done they will email and ask you to set up a hosts file on your computer to test website. With step by step instructions. It was a bit technical based. Have a wine on standby.
Once done testing, you will need to update the name servers to make the site live from the host servers. WordPress and TSO have idiot proof how to’s for this. Thank god.
HELPFUL TIP(S): I did not know I could ask WordPress to move over my stats, so when I went self-hosted it started from that day. Again I screenshotted it so I knew for my own reference how many visitors I had had to my blog previously.
Ask who you were hosted with to transfer your email subscribers/followers to your new self-hosted site.
Make sure they redirect your old site to new site.
If you are switching from a free blogging platform you might already have a domain, but if not you’ll need to register one. Pick a name that reflects your blog and the theme! You are looking at up to £10 a year to register your domain (and don’t forget to renew it when the time comes or it could be snapped up and used by someone else!) I chose to register my domain name with TSO so it’s all in the same place.
Transferring my domain name was a pain in the arse. You have to acquire the EPP code from the current registrar of the domain and insert the code in an e-mail from the new host. Once authorized, you will have to wait up to a week time in order the domain to be transferred.
You can use the site Who is hosting this if you want to check hosts and domain registration for sites.
Want privacy? You can pay £5.98 for the privacy protection domain add on as when you register a domain your personal information i.e. address is made available for anyone to browse on the Who is database. I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE.
HELPFUL TIP: Make sure they give you your new cloud login details (so you can set up emails) and new WordPress login details and password. They did not give me mine till the next day when I was like ermm, how do I find my blog?!
Pick a theme and get cooking!
Take the time to familiarise yourself with the admin area, remember to update your blog details in all your subscriptions and networks and re link up Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram etc.
Get Jetpack ASAP. Enjoy experimenting with plugins, check out 10 plugins I love by my fab blogger buddy Bridie by the Sea.
Downsides to self-hosted
- You need to keep on top of the plugin updates.
- I never had spam before, now I get a bit but with Word fence and other security plugins you can keep your site safe. I also sometimes enjoy the spam, you never you when you may need a penis enlarger.
- Moving did something technical to my URLs so the links in my Buffer scheduler queue and Stumble upon needed to be redone. Darn it.
- Your MOZ scores may drop at first but they will climb again.