My Favorite Reasons For Going Self-Hosted

going self-hosted

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One of the most popular blogging questions out there is to be self-hosted, or to not be self-hosted. I have been both, and now that I am self-hosted, I don’t plan on turning back. There is also a debate about which blogging platform to use, WordPress and Squarespace seem to be the front runners, but I won’t get into that today. This post is going to be focused on a self-hosted WordPress blog, aka wordpress.org.

The first glance confusion begins with WordPress having two types of blogs. Mainly, the difference between .com and .org. To quickly summarize, wordpress.com is a free blogging platform and wordpress.org is for a self-hosted blog using the WordPress platform. I started on wordpress.com and switched to wordpress.org over a year and a half ago.

There are several reasons I am staying with a self-hosted WordPress blog:

1. Monetization. You are not allowed to run ads of your own, participate in giveaways, or offer any paid sponsorships. While I didn’t start my blog to make money, it definitely helps to cover the costs of my blog (which really isn’t all that much) I have done sponsored posts, sidebar ads, product reviews, etc. and I have either made money directly, or received a product in return (I have tightened up my product reviews in order to keep others from taking advantage, which you can read about here, but I still do them from time to time).

2. Customization. You are able to change your layout to however you see fit, you have access to change the coding of your blog, and you can instal widgets to make things look exactly as you want them to.

3. Access to more themes. There are endless theme options out there for a self-hosted WP blog. You can search the free theme library directly through your WordPress site, buy a pre-made theme from Etsy, or have a designer make one custom for you. Basically, you can make your website look exactly how you want it to look.

4. SEO. This isn’t necessarily a pro for only self-hosted blogs, but it definitely helps, but it means even more to own your domain. Google wants to pull the most accurate and “serious” posts in their searches, you will seem more legit in this case by having a domain without “.wordpress.com” after your blog name. This article will further explain SEO.

5. Ad-free unless they are your own. When I had a wordpress.com blog, there were often ads on my sidebar or at the bottom of my posts. I wasn’t a fan of this because I didn’t like the fact that any of the ads could deter people from my site, or they could be based on something I don’t agree with. I like to have control over the ads on my site.

6. Plugins. This is a whole new world, folks. Seriously, there is a plugin for everything. SEO, Instagram photos, fonts, mailing lists, etc. My favorite plugins list could go on and on, but that is another post for another time.

7. Owning your content and your blog. One of the biggest fears I had with my .com blog was this sentence from the TOS “terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.” WHAT?! Now I am sure this doesn’t happen often, but I was fearful of loosing something I have worked so heard to create. I also don’t want my photos, posts, and links being used for anything unless I have a say in it.

Now it comes down to how to go about actually going self-hosted. First you need to buy hosting, I use A Small Orange and absolutely love it. It’s user friendly, inexpensive, and comes with amazing customer service (which is free!). They moved my site over for me, but this is something to ask before signing up, which you can do through the live chat function. You can use code “SIMPLEHOSTING15” for a 15% discount off of the annual plan. This makes one year of their most popular hosting just over $40, including a free domain name for the first year.

After you have your hosting set-up, you can either start your blog from scratch, or migrate everything from a previously blog. There are several resources out there to help you make the switch, or start a self-hosted blog if you wanted to do everything yourself. Starting a WordPress blog is actually fairly simple, don’t let things like CSS and HTML scare you. Watch youtube videos, read articles and don’t be afraid to ask for help! I promise, it’s worth it in the end!

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  • Megan

    This is the side of blogging that was so intimidating at first. Moving to a self hosted site was a big step and I’m glad I did it. Now I need to dive into wordpress and learn more about what I’m doing! Thanks for the SEO link- gonna be reading up on that :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree! I had no idea what I was doing when I started my blog, but the learning process has been easier since I switched. I seriously need to do more work on SEO now

  • http://www.thelowcountrymama.com Jacquelyn @ Lowcountry Mama

    Yep all these are great examples of benefits! I chose to go self-hosted mostly because I wanted to design it myself. I’m a web designer and blogger was STILL so confusing to me! We use Bluehost because we have a lot of domains and I’ve just been using them for years.. I’ll have to look into small orange. Codeacademy is a great site to learn basic HTML & CSS for beginners.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thank you for the advice! I will have to look into Codeacademy! I have two sites hosted on A Small Orange and it has worked pretty well. I just got frustrated with Blue Host after a while

  • http://www.thefreeandwildblog.com Annie

    You are the blogging master. I seriously respect and appreciate your blogging opinion so much because of the quality of your blog! This is such a good post!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      If you only knew the mistakes I had to make to even find out everything on this list 😉 Thank you so much!

  • http://ohhey-ilikethat.com Lauren

    Self-hosting is really the best! Thank you so much for introducing me to it!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Of course!! I am so glad you like it now!

  • http://www.asilvertwig.com/ Ashley LaMar

    I’m self-hosted with A Small Orange too and I love them! They are so great and I love that their chat support is available 24/7.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Yes!! Their customer service is really the best. I never wait longer than a few minutes to get help.

  • http://dashofherbs.com Kristyn | Dash of Herbs

    So I was with BlueHost when I first switched to self-hosted and they were AWFUL! I don’t know if it was the server I was on, but my blog was always down at the worst times. I made the switch to A Small Orange probably 2 years ago and I have NEVER had an issue with my blog being down. They migrated me over from BluehHost for free and are just dreams to work with. Anytime I have a question, they are right there to answer it for you – amazing!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      My site didn’t go down often when I was with them, but when I did need their help it took days for me to get any kind of answer. They also seemed like I was bothering them when I asked questions. SO much happier with A Small Orange!

      • http://dashofherbs.com Kristyn | Dash of Herbs

        Yes! I had that issue too. I think because we are just bloggers, they don’t really care – and because we were paying for the lowest plans we didn’t get the best from them. I hated how they treated me when I had an issue – like they didn’t care at all. It was terrible. A Small Orange is more geared toward bloggers and understand that we are important too!

  • http://www.wanderingweekenders.com/ Ashley @ Wandering Weekenders

    I did a lot of research before I officially took the plunge and started my blog, and being self hosted was one of the biggest things that people said to do right off the bat. There are so many advantages that you listed out, and I’m so glad I started off on the right foot!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      That is wonderful to have started out self-hosted. I wish I would have, there are still things I can’t fix from when I wasn’t. It is so much better now that I have everything self-hosted and can make changes whenever I need to

  • Jasmine @makingrestorations

    I definitely started my blog on a whim, so I’m not currently self-hosted. Though it sounds like many of the things you disliked were more of a function of who you were hosting with. Monetization is definitely something to consider, then again I would never host ads bc I despise them lol (thank you ad-blocker) but having full ownership is definitely something to consider if blogging is more than a hobby. Great post and definitely something to think about

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Most of these reasons are specific to the WordPress platform, so I’m not sure how they work for platforms like Blogger and Squarespace. I also prefer to not host ads, the only “ads” I typically want to see are the ones showing off other bloggers 😉 Thank you for reading!

  • http://www.dreambigandbuytheshoes.com/ Emelia @ Dream Big & Buy the S

    I seriously get so confused with all of this. Last year I was saying I was going to switch to WordPress, but the more I read about it the more overwhelmed I get and don’t know where to start. This is definitely something I’m pinning though–I guess I just need more advice or direction. Great post with lots of useful information!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I totally understand! I had no idea what I was doing when I started, and it took a long time for me to feel comfortable, but I still think it was worth it. If you have any questions, or decide to make the jump and need help, let me know!

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