After much deliberation, I bit the bullet. I decided to finally commit and self host my blog. It was something I’d been thinking about for awhile, but never took enough time to figure out how to do. I had a hard time articulating exactly why I wanted to switch to a self hosted blog, which was part of my hesitation. While I’m still figuring out all the bits and pieces, here is a bit about why I finally decided to self host and how I got started. I’m breaking this into two parts since I have a lot to say and don’t want this post to be pages and pages long 🙂 Here’s part one. NOTE: I work exclusively through WordPress, and so can only speak to how to make these changes on that platform. If you use Blogger, Tumblr, etc., some of this may be helpful but you will probably have to do some more digging before getting started.
First, let’s get the basics out of the way. What is self hosting? Self hosting simply means that you own your domain name (i.e. “eatprayrundc.com”) and you are not using a free site to “house” your blog. To continue with the house metaphor, let’s say that your domain is your address and the platform where your blog lives is your house. Before I began self hosting, I purchased my domain name (for tips on how to do this with wordpress, check out this helpful instruction article here) and the address of this blog changed from project30in2012.wordpress.com to eatprayrundc.com. Purchasing your domain name allows you to get rid of that “.wordpress.com” portion. Even if you choose not to self host, I recommend purchasing your domain name. When you self host, you own your domain name and either know enough about coding, etc to host your blog yourself (not very common in my running / fitness blogger community) OR pay a company to host your blog (the most common approach – I use Bluehost to host my blog and am very happy with their service).
The number one question I had as I alluded to earlier was why I should self host – why pay for another company to host my blog when I was completely happy on free wordpress*. Well, here the top 3 reasons I decided to self host:
- I wanted to have complete control over the look and feel of my blog. Using free wordpress, I wasn’t able to track my stats using google analytics. I also wanted to be able to have sponsored posts or run ads if I so chose (you can’t do that on free wordpress). I’m not sure I will do these things, but I wanted the options.
- Unlimited plugins and themes. WordPress.org (NOT to be confused with wordpress.com – which is used for blogs that are NOT self hosted) has hundreds of thousands of plugins (plugins are neat things you can add to your blog — like the commentluv button you/’ll see at the end of this post) to choose from. I’m a bit overwhelmed by all of them and still figuring out which ones I want to utilize on my blog.
- I wanted to own my content.With free blogs, you don’t necessarily own your content – your blog could be shut down at any minute and as I’ve become more serious about my blog, I didn’t want that risk. I work hard on my blog and wanted to reflect that hard work by truly owning all my content.
So, how’d I do it? Come back tomorrow for part two and learn more!
* Do you know the difference between free wordpress (wordpress.com) and wordpress.org? WordPress.com blogs are hosted by wordpress. WordPress.org is the platform utilized by self hosted blogs – my blog WAS hosted by wordpress.com but now that it is self hosted, I utilize wordpress.org to manage my blog. Check out part two here!
Are you self hosted? Why or why not?