JC Tech: Are You Ready to go Self Hosted?
I haven’t decided exactly what to call this, but JC Tech is a start. As some of you may know, I work in technology as a consultant and Paul is a software developer who is constantly teaching me new things about tech. He even showed me this blog post on creating a website which came in very useful when it came to learning about all the techy things I’ll need to know to be able to self-host. So I thought it was high time that this got included on the blog, I have learned so much about html, building websites, domain mapping, plugins and a whole lot of other stuff since I started blogging so I thought I would share it!
This edition, I want to focus on something which scared me for a long time – self hosted wordpress. Let’s go to super simple basics, usually when you start blogging, you will go with a hosted service, such as wordpress.com, or blogger. This means your blog is hosted on a server which has all your blog data on it, so when someone visits your site, it gets the data off that bit of the server. When you are on blogger, the server your blog sits on belongs to a company (such as google), which means that they can set restrictions and regulations on how you can display your blog and what you can add. When you go self hosted, you are buying your own bit of space on a server somewhere which does not (mostly) limit you in anyway, this gives you more freedom to do what you like on your website.
There are a few things to consider before you go self hosted, and this is a good check list to ask yourself before you think of going self hosted:
1. Are you feeling constrained and unable to customise your blog as you want to?
This was a big one for me, in that I felt very constrained on wordpress.com as you can only use the themes in the wordpress store, and you cannot upload and customise your own. If you are at the point where you are getting sick of not having your blog look the specific way you want with your current platform then it is probably time to go self hosted. If you are looking to customise your site, you can use WordPress themes as inspiration for your own website, click here if you want to see more themes.
2. Do you want to advertise on your blog?
This is a big one for a lot of people. When you are on wordpress.com, you cannot advertise at all on your blog. On blogger there are some limited advertising options but you don’t have much freedom to edit this. If you are getting serious about your blogging and want easy and multiple ways to advertise through your blog then you need to go self hosted.
3. How is that technical knowledge? Do you have some technical support?
I think that if you aren’t from a technical background or don’t have interest in the technical side of blogging then you may find the switch and keep up of a self hosted blog a bit of a pain. You will have to do the migration yourself, you need to manage your own spam and your own domain and you can guarantee something will go wrong. I will go through the ins and outs of moving to self hosted, but it is good to have someone you know who you can run to crying when something doesn’t work (as will invariably happen). If you don’t have any tech support, then you do have the option of paying someone for it, but I don’t think that it is worth it! If you really struggle with this though, it might be worth working with WordPress Developers to make sure the change of host is done correctly so you can focus on the parts of blogging you love!
4. Do you have your own domain name?
I think one of the great benefits from going self hosted is that it forces you to get your own domain name. It usually comes free with your plan so a bargain as well. The hardest part of this is to find something that is relevant to you and your blog, as well as unique so your visitors will remember it with ease, many people can struggle with this side which is why some people that decide to self-host choose to use a domain name generator until they find one that they actually like!
5. Do you want to spend a little bit of money on your blog?
If you are at the point where you are willing to chuck a few pounds into your blog then that means it is a fab time to go self hosted! You can do it pretty cheaply, but if you want new templates and other additions then it might be worth a little investment.
I think those are good questions to ask yourself, if you find yourself answering yes to most of these then I think going self hosted will really help you enjoy and grow your blog! I will be going through the process of actually moving to a self hosted blog next time.