Hey Inquisitive writers! So as you may know, I have been self-hosted on my blog for about a year and I’d like to share some tips and tricks to navigate being self-hosted.
So if you don’t know what self-hosted means, it’s basically a way of saying that you host your own blog. I used to have a wordpress.com site, which is not self-hosted. Now I have a self-hosted WordPress site, apart from wordpress.com, and Siteground hosts it. “Hosting” basically means managing where your website files are stored on the internet. The self-hosted WordPress (NOT wordpress.com) itself is free, but you have to pay for the hosting. If you just had the WordPress part, it wouldn’t be a website or look like a website. You need both WordPress and the hosting to complete the whole website.
**I go into this way more in detail in this post**
That being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t use WordPress or Siteground to have a self-hosted site. There are hosting platforms like Bluehost, Godaddy, and more.
So this is what I’ve learned after being self-hosted for a little more than a year:
1. There’s a lot more freedom
If you have wordpress.com (or a non-self-hosted site) there are very many limitations regarding to the flexibility of your site. For example, on the .com site, you are limited with what themes you want. On self-hosted, you can import .zip files of themes you find on the internet, not just on .com
.com theme options
Self-hosted theme options. See the “add new”? That’s where you can add your own theme via .zip file.
Another thing is plugins. Plugins are basically an additional component that adds a distinct feature to your site. For example I have the WPFront Scroll Top plugin. This is basically a button on your site where your readers can click and immediately be directed to the top of the screen. You can see mine on the bottom right corner of my site. Plugins are really useful and can bring your site to the next level
2. You kind of stray from the blogging community
Look, I’m going to be honest: I have expressed concern about this before. When I used .com, I followed many blogs, and then they went self-hosted. I’d watch as the number of people who liked their posts became lesser, their comment section become emptier. This made me afraid to take the leap, as I would get less readers. Keep in mind that I said many blogs, not all. I am now getting a lot less likes and comments than I did when I had .com
My “Types of Blogs and How to Find Them” post from my .com site
I mean maybe part of the reason why I think I have been getting less likes is because a) I had ~4/5 month hiatus and didn’t tell my readers and b) most of my blogging friends that I had before my hiatus aren’t blogging anymore.
By the way, when you transfer to self-hosted, the “likes” on your post from your non self-hosted don’t transfer. For example, if you post something on your old blog that got 20 likes, the same post on your new, self-hosted blog has 0 likes. This happens for all of the posts, at least for me.
But I had to remind myself that numbers aren’t everything. The most important part is to have fun blogging by doing what you love.
3. It is pricey
I would only suggest going self-hosted if you are all in for it and if you plan on making money on it. The package for the startup hosting + the domain address is $136 per year ($120 for startup hosting and $16 for domain address) Some ways there are to get money blogging are setting up ads, using affiliate links, selling your own products on your site, and more. I have not done any of those things, so I am just losing money. You can’t really make money with .com, so you have to invest money(to be self-hosted) to get money back, kind of like starting a business.
All in all, there are a lot of freedoms with self-hosting, but I believe that there might be a chance that going that path may stray you away from the blogging community. Also, if you don’t just want to give in money to your blog, it is best to find a way to make money from your blog.
Are you self-hosted? Are you thinking about taking the leap? Have you regretted it? What are the benefits for you?