What is self-hosting and why bloggers should do it

If you’re a blogger newbie, you might not know exactly what self-hosting is.

You might be running your blog on the free WordPress.com or Blogger platforms and have not a clue about the process of hosting. That was me last year. One thing I’ve realised is that to be a serious blogger, the best thing you can do for yourself and the growth of your blog is to go self-hosted.

So what on earth is self-hosting?

When you have a self-hosted blog, you pay for your blog to be online. You don’t use a free platform and you pay a web host like Siteground to “house” your website and display it on the Internet. When you self-host you own your website and you can get your own domain name instead of “www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com”.

WHAT IS SELF-HOSTING AND WHY BLOGGERS SHOULD DO IT

A self-hosted blog is on its own server and you have full control over it, essentially you own it. A lot of beginners go with WordPress.com because it’s so easy and free, but there are many drawbacks that come with a free WordPress website that many bloggers don’t realise when they are first starting out.

When I started blogging last year, I hosted my site on WordPress.com because of this very reason. The system is great but once I’d heard about self-hosting, I migrated my site literally six months later. If I’d had known about self-hosting before I started, I’d have done it from the beginning.

But why should you do it?

So by this point, you may be wondering why you should do it? What’s the difference?

You actually own your site.

You own it! You have full control over your blog. With the free version, you think you own it, but in reality, you don’t and things can go to pot quickly. WordPress can shut down your blog at any given moment and you would lose everything. I know no one likes to read T&C’s but in their Terms of Service, they state that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”

If you’re trying to be a serious blogger, the last thing you want is losing all your hard work!  You’ll be surprised though, how proud you feel once you’ve built your site from the ground up. It’s so rewarding to know you created something and it’s yours. No one can ever take it away from you and that’s why self-hosted blogs are so awesome! Nothing and no one can shut you down.

It looks super professional.

This is a biggie. It looks more professional! A self-hosted blog looks and functions better because you have more options when it comes to themes. You have more options with colours and you can move around your sidebar or have no sidebar at all. You can set up landing pages, menus, and create an aesthetically pleasing blog that keeps readers coming back for more.

Nobody wants to stay on a blog that looks messy or disorganised. A pretty blog with a clean design and amazing branding is the best way to keep people on your blog longer. Unfortunately, you don’t have this kind of flexibility on free WordPress. Self-hosted blogs leave a lasting impression on visitors and are much more functional. I picked a theme from Pipdig who I know a lot of bloggers head to. Their themes are so clean and beautiful and super easy to customise so you can truly make your blog your own.

WHAT IS SELF-HOSTING AND WHY BLOGGERS SHOULD DO IT

You can monetise it.

Money, money, money. If you’re looking to make money from your blog and turn it into a real business, then you definitely need to monetise it and that’s something you just can’t do when you’re on the free version of WordPress. You can’t sell ads. They place ads on your website for you. This means that your readers see ads, but you never see a penny from it. Plus there are restrictions on affiliate marketing for WordPress.com.

On a self-hosted blog, you can monetise it however you want! You can choose to place ads on your website, you can add affiliate links, sell your own products with Shopr and much more. There are so many ways to make money and because you’re in control, you get to decide how and when you want to make money.

How are where to start.

If you decide to go ahead and take the leap to self-hosting, here’s a couple of tips to get you started 🙂

There are a few great hosting companies out there but personally, I use Siteground. Honestly, hand on heart, I cannot fault them at all. Their support and help from day one has been absolutely incredible and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They made it super easy for me to move all of my content from my WordPress.com site to my self-hosted account. In fact, they did it all for me which was even better 😉

First things first, head over to their website and check out their plans. The best one to go with is the StartUp, no need to go further than that. Especially if you’re a new blogger. The StartUp plan is more than enough and you can always upgrade later if you need to.

Siteground

Next, go ahead and sign up for whichever plan you have chosen. If you’ve already purchased your domain name elsewhere, then go ahead and enter that you already have a domain name. If not, it’s time to create your first one! After that head over and fill in the rest of your info and payment information. There are different plans for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years. Make sure you pick the best option for your budget.

Once you are all set up with a domain name and hosting plan, it’s time to actually get your blog onto that domain name 🙂 It really is as simple as contacting their customer service team (who really are awesome) and let them know you would like your website moved over from WordPress.com to your new self-hosted blog and they will take care of the rest!

A smidge of advice.

Self-hosting is not for everyone. It all depends on your goals as a blogger and what you plan to do with your website. It depends on how serious you’re going to be about it.

Since going self-hosted I’ve never looked back and it means I’ve been able to easily up my blogging game and take Sophie’s Choice to a whole other lever 🙂

If you’re thinking of going self-hosted and want some help or further advice then feel free to drop me an email or get in touch via social media!

*this post contains affiliate links

 

25 Comments

  1. February 13, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    Hey this is the easiest read on this I’ve ever read! Thanks for the advice and explanation on self hosting!

    • February 13, 2018 / 4:47 pm

      Aww thank you so much! I’m so glad that it helped 🙂

  2. Jerika Zimmerman
    February 13, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Hey! Love this post! I’m hesitant to monetize my blog because I want to see if it catches on… if my readership will grow at all. I’ve self-hosted before only to lose interest so I’m giving myself a year on a free platform to see if I can keep it up 🤔

    • February 13, 2018 / 5:25 pm

      It’s always tough in the beginning to know whether or not it will be worth it but I wish you all the luck with yours 🙂

  3. February 13, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    I need to get on board with this. I am struggling with knowing how to migrate my content. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Eunice Abe
    February 13, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    I use Siteground too and I totally agree that their service is excellent! Had an issue with my website the other day and they resolved it in minutes… this all took place at like 2:00 am GMT too!!! Truly amazing.

    fashionenth.com

    • February 14, 2018 / 10:21 am

      Wow! They really are such a great company to host with!

  5. February 16, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    I’ve been self-hosting right from the word go….but did change platforms after the first 6months and wished I’d done it sooner!

    • February 16, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      I wish I had done! Your blog is beautiful! X

  6. February 16, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    This is great advice! I self-host my blog and while it does require more work it does have higher payoff. Most how to reads regarding WordPress are so cumbersome and this was such an easy read!

    • February 16, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      It does but it’s so worth it! Your blog is beautiful! Aww thank you so much 🙂

  7. February 16, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    Love helpful articles like this! Nice one Sophie 🙂
    xx

  8. February 16, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    This may be a dippy question but I have my own domain with WordPress Premium – is this the same as self-hosted? Newbie here! X

    • February 17, 2018 / 11:29 am

      Hey it isn’t the same unfortunately! WordPress still own your website, if you want drop me an email 🙂 x

  9. February 16, 2018 / 9:10 pm

    Ok…this was the clearest and most concise write up on starting a blog/self-hosting I’ve EVER read. Sheesh! I wish I’d read this when I first started my blog a year ago. I had no clue at all what to do and all the info online was so confusing I got frustrated. I tried so many different things, not knowing what to look for or what goals I should set. It was a mess, lol. This is going to help any blog newbie!

    • February 17, 2018 / 11:29 am

      Oh thank you so much! 🙂 I hope it really does help newbies!

  10. February 16, 2018 / 11:05 pm

    I actually just upgraded my wordpress blog so I could have my own domain and there’s a dramatic difference! I know there’s downsides of choosing the paid for WordPress of a different hosting site but stuck with what was comfortable for me. I’m glad I read this though to know I wasn’t crazy for “jumping the gun” and buying a domain! It’s so worth it!

    • February 17, 2018 / 11:30 am

      It’s definitely worth it 🙂 don’t be silly, if you’re comfortable with what you have now and are confident with it then keep going! Your site looks fab 🙂

  11. February 17, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this! anything else I have read about self hosting is so confusing but this made sense and was so to the point!

    • February 18, 2018 / 3:58 pm

      I’m so glad it helped! Good luck with your self-hosting antics

  12. February 17, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    I totally agree self-hosted is the way to go. And I have a pipdig theme as well 🙂

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