I asked you all on Twitter if you’d be interested in a post about my experience with going self-hosted and so many of you wanted to see it so I’m finally posting it for you! Now this is obviously going to be my specific experience with going self-hosted so some aspects might not relate exactly to your current position but most parts will. I wanted to make this a little bit more in depth than some of the other posts I read through when I was wanting to go self-hosted. Hopefully that’ll show through when you’re reading it! Anyway, let’s crack on with the post.
So… what does self-hosted even mean?
I’m guessing that since you’re here in the first place you probably know this already but for anyone who’s happened to come across this post just out of sheer curiosity I’ll give a little explanation as to what it means. Going self-hosted is basically taking your site from (in my case) a wordpress.com blog to simply a .com or .co.uk site. Other than the fact that it adds an element of professionalism to your site (don’t get me wrong though, your site is still professional whether or not you choose to go self-hosted!) it also gives you a lot more freedom with your blog in terms of design, monetization etc. In order to go self-hosted you need these four things: a wordpress.com site, a domain name, a web-hosting site and…patience! (I definitely lacked a bit of the last one when I was sorting out my blog).
Finding your Domain Name
When I started blogging I just set myself up a little wordpress.com blog account and started writing and sharing my posts. I didn’t really know anything about blogging. But I did know that I wanted to try and stick with it and hopefully find myself a new hobby (which I did!). Since I was interested in having a good go at blogging when I first started it, I decided to buy myself a domain name right at the beginning. I did this through GoDaddy and it only cost about £8 for each domain name I wanted. I then applied the domain names from GoDaddy to my free wordpress.com blog. This meant that whenever anyone would search for femaleoriginal.com it would automatically direct them to femaleoriginal.wordpress.com. (which was my old blog before self-hosting).
Anyway, flash-forward to six months later when I decided that I wanted to go self-hosted with my blog. Since I had already bought my domain name with GoDaddy I didn’t need to worry about this step however, if you haven’t bought your domain name then this is something that you MUST do before taking the step of going self-hosted. Having bought my domain name with GoDaddy I would definitely recommend using them as, not only do they offer incredibly reasonably priced domain names compared to a lot of other sites out there but, they are also a highly reputable site with an easy-to-navigate display making the domain name buying process super simple to do.
Finding your Hosting Site
I spent a lot of time (probably too much time) looking into different variations of hosting sites that I’d seen recommended on WordPress and on Twitter but when it came down to it I’d heard great things about Siteground. After checking out their service and the price of it all I decided that they were the one for me.
When you go onto the Siteground website and click on hosting, a few options for different plans will come up which are each suited to different individuals needs when it comes to their sites. For me personally (as well as most bloggers) I only needed the StartUp plan as I simply wanted to make ONE self-hosted site. I decided that I didn’t need the features that the other two options included. The StartUp plan says that it works out at £2.75 a month which is so reasonably priced. However, it’s important to note that you won’t pay for your web hosting monthly. You actually pay the full £39 upfront instead.
Once you’ve bought your plan from Siteground and set up your account with the domain name that you’ve purchased it’s time for Siteground to move everything from your old blog over to your new blog! Pretty great service right? You haven’t actually got to do any of the moving over yourself. Siteground will transfer over blog posts and comments over for you. This was something that I was definitely grateful for as a complete beginner. The only things that won’t transfer over are likes and your WordPress theme. But I think you’ll agree with me in thinking that this isn’t really a problem at all.
How long will it take?
The whole setup process can take anywhere from 24-72 hours for your new blog to be up and running so you’ll have to a have a little bit of patience here. I was so stressed when I was making the switch about whether or not I’d followed all of the steps right! I kept thinking that because it had been over a 24 hours since I had started the process that I must have done something wrong. It’s important not to doubt yourself here!
I spoke to a few of the incredibly helpful staff on Siteground who helped me through the process and assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was just a case of me waiting it out. I’d definitely recommend doing this if you’re a beginner and have questions. About 48 hours since starting the process my site was finally live and ready to customise! Don’t worry if you feel as though you’re a bit lost when you’re going through the process. The staff are there 24/7 ready to answer any questions that you have.
Choosing a Theme
When you make the transition to a self-hosted blog, you might want to get yourself a new theme. I know that so many of my fellow bloggers have turned to Pipdig for this. Personally, I didn’t want to be spending money on a blog theme that I didn’t necessarily need. Especially as I was working on a student budget. To be completely honest with you, when you first set up your new site you really don’t need to be buying a blog theme. There are so many different themes available for free with wordpress.org anyway!
Obviously if this is something that you want to do then go for it. But if, like me, you’re working with a bit of a budget then just spend a bit of time testing out the free options on WordPress. I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that you love. Plus, saving yourself £40+ is a pretty good perk!
Total cost for self-hosting: approx £50 (with a domain name and hosting)
Let me know your thoughts on the whole process of going self-hosted and if my post helped you out!
Read next: Reflecting on my Goals for 2019.