Hey guys! On my last post I asked if anyone would be interested in me writing a post about becoming self-hosted and my thoughts on it. I got a ton of positive feedback requesting one, so here ya go!
Let’s start off with a basic definition and what web host I use.
What is self-hosting exactly?
“Self hosting is the act of having your website totally under your control. This can include you managing all whole aspects of it, from setting up the web server to installing software, to simply managing your weblog software like WordPress.”
What Web Host I Use: Bluehost!
I personally use Bluehost as my hosting site and love it. Here are some reasons why:
- They have fantastic 24/7 support via phone (they called me to help me set up and to answer any questions I might have when I first signed up!), email, or live chat.
- Bluehost is affordable and only cost $4.95-$6.99 a month.
- WordPress only recommends three hosting services- Bluehost is it’s top choice!
- It doesn’t have limits on your disk space or domains. That means you can host multiple blogs on one site!
What do you have now?
“The opposite of self-hosting is free hosting, where you use a free service to host your site. Usually this is done either through Blogger, WordPress.com, Livejournal or any other popular system. This means that you have very little control over your site other than the content and you have to follow specific TOS, which are very frequently quite limited.”
I know, I know. SNOOZEVILLE.
Try to keep your eyes from glazing over! To make it more simple (I don’t really even get what all that mumbo-jumbo means), here’s a more understandable list of what changes becoming self-hosted will bring.
1. More freedom over your blog code.
1. Hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of available themes/designs for your blog.
After you become self-hosted, you have much more control over how you want your blog to appear. When I first made the switch, I scrolled down the available layouts for over 30 minutes before finding the perfect fit for me, but I still haven’t seen nearly all of them.
Plugins are similar to the apps you can get on your iPhone and are only available to self-hosted sites. There are countless numbers of them and each one of them serves a different purpose, is free, and you can install them with a single click.
For example, if you look at my site you can see the boxes on the side that show my latest pinterest pins, twitter feed, about me, “Share” on twitter/pinterest/facebook etc.
One of my favorites is called “EasyRecipe”, which puts my recipes in a cute and easy to read/print format. It also has an added bonus that lets a picture snippet of my recipes or blog to show up if you google me!
Plugins allow me to customize my site in any way I’d like and to bring much more of a personal feel to it. I noticed a big spike in traffic form people finding me on Google since being able to add my pictures next to my site! **Probably my favorite benefit of self-hosting!
4. Advertising and monetizing your blog.
This can be a touchy subject among bloggers, but I feel like it’s definitely worth mentioning. While I don’t blog for the purpose of making money (it’s really something I just LOVE to do), earning a little on the side from advertisements and getting to review products for free is a major bonus.
One of the biggest differences from self-hosted blogs to free-hosted blogs is that you are able to run advertisements on your blog. For example, free blogs on WordPress are banned from putting up Google advertisements and could get in serious trouble if they tried to do so.
While I don’t make a ton of money off my site, it’s more than enough to cover my monthly fees from being self-hosted and pay for my Starbucks addiction! So, in my honest opinion, it’s a win-win since making the switch to self-hosted doesn’t cost me anything (I actually make a tiny bit of profit!) and I reap a ton of benefits for my blog.
As far as disadvantages, I can only really think of two:
1. You have to pay.
Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t bother me since the few ads I run and products I get to review more than make up the cost, but it definitely is a downside.
2. Setting it up can be a pain in the butt.
I was pretty frustrated for about two days after I made the switch. I feel like this comes with any new change, though, and now I have absolutely no problem navigating my site (the dashboard will still look almost exactly like your free WordPress one). Luckily, there are some pretty great guides out there to help you out with step-by-step instructions. If you’re good with technology, it shouldn’t be a problem for ya!
Let me know if you have any questions!
**If you are thinking of signing up and found this helpful, I’d love it if you could click to the site from my affiliate link :). If you go from my site to Bluehost (with this link), I get a portion of the cost they get paid from you signing up (with NO expense to you of course)! That just means I can afford more pumpkin spice lattes!