I get quite a few emails asking me how to go self hosted with a blog. I also notice quite a few people asking about it in various groups and forums. So, I thought I would write about my experience and share a little insight into what it all means and how easily you can go self hosted too.
When I first started blogging I was on Blogger, it was fine at first but I soon became frustrated with the lack of design options. There are many more themes available these days so that isn’t so much of an issue but in the end I think I still would have decided that being my own boss is better than ‘belonging’ to Google. If you aren’t sure of the differences then take a look here. Don’t panic if you are on Blogger, I am not saying it is the worst option at all, you just need to be aware of a few things. Many a Blogger-user are hugely successful but I personally prefer the look and feel of WP so the other technicalities are a bonus.
Anyway, back to the main point here…
To have your own URL and be on WordPress (discounting being on WordPress.com) you need to be self hosted. I can clearly remember feeling panicked that this would mean I would have to take care of my own security, that if anything went wrong I would have to learn coding and all sorts to be able to fix it. This is simply not true. Self hosted doesn’t mean you are on your own, it just means that instead of using Google as your host, you have to find someone else. They then take care of security and take care of any issues you may face, for as little as £2.99 a month. Not so bad huh?
So how do you set up a self hosted blog?
- Choose a host. Both Aby and I are with TSO and they have always been great. I’d previously been with GoDaddy and they always seemed to cause more problems than I could count. There are other hosts available too, so shop around and see who you like the look of.
- Choose a url for your blog. You may be a blogspot.com or a wordpress.com, in which case you will need to buy a .com or .co.uk (or another variant). If you already have a domain that you’ve been using then you easily switch that over. Also make sure that when you choose a domain that all the social media accounts are free – use namecheckr.com for this and it will tell you if someone already has taken a name.
- Import your blog. You will be given a login to your host dashboard, from here you are taken step by step through the whole process. If you are starting from scratch then you won’t have to do this (although you will still have to open WP via your host dashboard) but if you are migrating from a free platform then you’ll need to import all of your old posts and comments. WordPress makes this super simple, all you have to do is use a plugin and with a click or two you are done. And remember – your host is there for you all of the way if you get stuck.
- Select a theme. There are plenty of free WP themes to get you going. Once you’ve got the hang of it all you can buy a theme for as little as £25 from various companies.
- Install plugins. They are awesome, take a look at all of these beauties you can have on WP. You especially want to install a security plugin to stop any hackers etc.. but that is also just a click of a button.
Once you have your your blog set up on WP that is it. You will pay your monthly fee to your host and they will ensure that you have support when you should need it. I have been with TSO just over a year now and I have never needed to ring them, you wouldn’t know I was self hosted at all.
So why go self hosted?
- Your domain is your own. Now obviously it is your own on Blogger too but you don’t build up your DA and if you want to make money from your blog, some companies will ask for this.
- Design. WordPress has so so many theme options and configurations.
- Advertising. You are able to run ads if that is something you wish to do.
- Many argue that WP sites look more professional.
It may seem daunting, that you will be thrown into the deep end wondering how to look after your blog. But honestly, once you’ve got the hang of the new WP dashboard and had a little play, you won’t even know that you are self hosted. You’ll have a fresh site and you’ll never look back!