Self hosting is where you decide to take full control of your website. It is a process done by firstly finding a host, and also obtaining a domain name. It has been called one of the most crucial steps to start blogging properly – according to a majority of the articles I find on Pinterest. Well, those guys were mostly trying to advertise their hosting company because of affiliate programs, but yeah. Self hosting is always emphasised on!
HOW TO SELF HOST YOUR WORDPRESS BLOG
I started off on wordpress.com, which enabled me to own a free blog (with ‘.wordpress.com’ attached to my blog name as opposed to mindofamaka.com) and I was enjoying my space for a while. I always believed that I wouldn’t go self-hosted until about 3 years (cue audience laughing) – allowing me to milk all the opportunities not the free WordPress platform. After all, some of the blogs I liked were still chilling on free WordPress, where was I rushing off to?
It was the thinking process of someone who didn’t like spending money much on stuff, who preferred and getting the most out of free stuff – but here I am, 1 year down the track, and already self hosted after 7 months of blogging! I went self hosted in these steps:
+ Found a hosting provider after asking around for recommendations, doing Google searches and comparing prices (a girl is on a budget).
+ Purchased a domain name and hosting plan to suit my budget, as well as my needs at the time. I was and am still quite a small blog, so getting a large plan isn’t really something I want to do right now. Currently, I’m on a 4GB per month plan. I opted for .com because the others just don’t sound as cute – plus, who wants to remember something like mindofamaka.blog? It just doesn’t mix well, to me anyway. People like Fisayo Longe (Mirrorme.me) and Chinju Nwankwo (Attics.me) are on another level though. I remember their URLs because their blogs are nice.
+ Logged into my cPanel, installed WordPress from there and set up my website. Once I got in, I got down to customising all the things I wanted to customise, and installing essential plugins such as Yoast, Jetpack and Google Analytics.
DO I REGRET SELF HOSTING?
Related: 7 Important Reasons Why Your Blog Should be Self Hosted (Gift Collins)
Though self hosting is usually seen as a sign of growth and advancement because you’re taking the reins and getting your brand together, I find that now and then, I wish I could revert back. Though it would be absolutely backwards to go from self-hosted back to free wordpress (forward ever, backward never people!), there are some things I miss from free WordPress, as well as some things I wish I did.
Self Hosting Can Be Lonely
I miss the community I had on free WordPress. It felt so easy to connect with everyone. I had more comments, likes, was more visible via WordPress Reader and through tags I put on my posts. It was just awesome, I really felt like I was growing and each month, my stats increased (but maybe I interpreted them wrong). Self hosting is a bold step, and it can feel pretty lonely.
Self Hosting is Responsibility
When you go self-hosted, you’re responsible for a lot of things. It doesn’t just start and end with putting in your card details to pay for your domain name and hosting plan. You have to ensure that you’re always on top of your payments, otherwise, bye bye website! Bye bye domain! Funke Olotu can shed more light on that for you. You can also watch Season 2, Episode 1 of Rumour Has It to get more gist, and even ask Linda Ikeji.
Self Hosting Can Be Hectic
Not only that, but you have to think of your website/blog and where it is going. What are your goals for it? Is it just going to be you spreading your personal thoughts freely in your own space, or do you want to become one of the top blogs like Sisi Yemmie? When you think of those, you have to start thinking of content that would gear you towards achieving those goals. You start worrying about SEO, your ranking and all those terms you didn’t really pay attention to before when you were in the free world. Making an investment into self hosting would cause you to want to get a bang for your buck – you want to invest to yield money.
THINGS I WISH I KNEW/DID BETTER BEFORE SELF-HOSTING
Like I said above, I did research and compared prices of different hosting providers, of course opting for the cheapest one I could find (as always). I wish I had researched more so I wouldn’t be so confused when it comes to certain things – for example, I hate to admit it, but I don’t know the difference between bandwidth and web space (runs and hides). The cPanel is one of the scariest things ever – there’s so many buttons (and ways to screw up your website) there! It’s like a forest.
Choose Hosting Carefully
I knew I needed to choose a good host, and Bluehost might have been my choice if not for money matters. Either way, I chose my current host because It had prices that fit me, there were black friday sales going on, and it was used by some other bloggers I knew. Yet, in just a few months I’ve been frustrated quite a few times. I don’t think I’d blame my hosting company, but I think it all goes back to research which is my first point above.
I’ve been suspended about two times already in the span of two weeks because of spam mails I supposedly sent – when I have no idea how the email was sent and how it was spam! The hosting company just suspended me, and I realised also that they are a bit robotic – both times I was suspended, I saw the same emails from the last time and realised it was probably an automated thing. I didn’t pay attention to things like security as much, and I wish I had done more research in regards to that.
I’d advice also that we READ the terms and conditions fully. Yet, I really believe hosting companies need to try more to suss out the problems – imagine me getting suspended without proper warning? Nobody tried to help me troubleshoot, they just suspended me and kept forwarding me to a page advising on how to better secure my website – I wish I was walked through. There’s that, and the fact I get the occasional mail from Jetpack saying my website is down or not loading – sigh.
Stay Woke, Folks
In conclusion, it’s not that self hosting itself is bad – I love wordpress.org because of the thousands of themes I have access to and all the plugins I can download. I also have tons more freedom than on wordpress.com, but I just want to say if you want self hosting, make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Think it through, do thorough research and reading, and opt for what is best for you!