Welcome to part two of my series, “learning how to self host.” If you missed part one, you should definitely read that post first and you can do so here. Yesterday, we talked about the basics of self hosting and why I decided to self host. Today, I want to focus on the mechanics.
My first step was choosing a host for my blog. I was choosing between BlueHost and HostGator. When I did my research, those were the two companies I read about the most. I ended up choosing Bluehost because I knew numerous people that had positive experiences with them. Here is the step by step process I took:
- Sign up for 12 months of hosting services for 5.95/month at Bluehost. You prepay this cost at the time of sign up. It’s cheaper if you make a longer commitment, but I wanted to be able to reevaluate in a year.
- Bluehost has a simple process for migrating your blog to their server. Instead of me laying out the steps for you, I’m going to link to what I used. I literally just followed this step by step. I’m not very technical and don’t know much (or anything) about coding, etc. This was really very simple and took me about 25 minutes because I read all the instructions about 5 times before doing anything (out of fear of messing up!).
- I then got a “welcome to bluehost” email with my temporary url. At this point, I kinda didn’t know what to do next. I clicked on my temporary url and then googled around til I found this tutorial that told me how to change from my temporary url (some long thing with lots of numbers and swiggles) to my permanent url (eatprayrundc.com). I followed those instructions and then discovered that when I typed in eatprayrundc.com…it didn’t work! I was so frustrated – mostly because I thought that I’d succeeded in all this work without having to seek outside help. I quickly realized I was wasting time trying to figure this out and engaged with bluehost and realized that I needed to…
- Change my domain name servers. This was probably the most confusing thing for me, mostly because I had no experience in how it worked. I didn’t even know where to go to update the name servers. That’s how clueless I was. I used this handy support guide (seriously, all I did was google things – love you, g!) and changed my name servers from wordpress to bluehost.
- On to the fun stuff! After I changed my name servers, everything was up and running. Then I moved on to choosing a new theme, adding in plugins and the like. I’m still working out some kinks with a couple things and I have so much to learn, but I’m already really glad I made the switch.
In part one, a reader asked about cost, technical difficulty and time involved. As I mentioned, I paid ~75 upfront for my year long hosting services with bluehost. I purchased my domain name for ~25 months ago. So, thus far, I’ve spent about $100, which in the grand scheme of things is not that much. I could spend quite a bit more on themes, plugins, etc, but I haven’t yet (with the exception of a Pin It Button that I can’t get to work – yay!).
The technical difficulty was minimal because I literally googled all my questions and quickly found answers. I’ve linked to every tutorial I used while getting set up in hopes that it will help you and save you time. I probably spent two hours from start to finish in the process to self host my blog. That doesn’t include multiple hours spent examining themes, plugins and all the fun stuff.
In short: if I had to do it again, would I go about moving from free wordpress to self hosted on bluehost by myself or would I pay someone to do all the work for me? Without a doubt, I would do it myself. It really wasn’t that hard and there are so many free resources online (in addition to the ones I linked to). Save yourself some cash and just follow the steps I outlined here. If you get stuck or have questions, shoot me an email (my contact info is in the contact me tab at the top of the page) or do what I did and google it!
Have I convinced you to self host? What hesitations are remaining? What questions didn’t I answer? (if there are numerous unanswered questions, I’ll do a follow up post!)