Thoughts on self-hosting

Good morning friends, good afternoon, good evening! How are you? I hope you’re having a wonderful week so far. Today’s BloggingΒ  Ways day, where I rant about all things blogging. Funny story. I thought about writing something, then realized I wasn’t inspired at all, it felt recycled, and then I realized as well that there was something I wanted to talk about a bit more.

This is something that has been on my mind lately, and it’s a bit of a follow-up to my latest Blogging Ways post regarding the question of monetizing your blog…if you think about it. Because today I want to talk about self-hosting and the beautiful dot com at the end of your URL instead of wordpress, blogger, blogspot or whatever you can have.

blogging ways

Reminder that I am no expert in this: this post is a mix of what I’ve heard, my fears, and thoughts about the whole process.

For a lot of people, me included, it seems like self-hosting and monetizing comes hand in hand. When you’re self-hosting, you have full control of your blog, your content, and nothing can be suddenly erased -because I heard that can happen and that gives me chills-. When you’re self-hosting, you can put ads on your blog and earn money and so on, something you can’t do if you’re having the blog that I have.

But it’s not ALL about money. There is the dot com that comes along with it, whether you’re self hosting or just bought a domain name. The thrill of feeling like you have your own website without actually depending too much on others, the feeling that you get a more professional, better look because you got rid of part of your URL that felt way too long anyway. You can do whatever you wantor at least, you can do more in terms of customization. Designs, widgets, there are so many things to drool on when you’re not self-hosting and see all of these beautiful blogs out there. I’m not going to lie, because I have always been honest in these blogging ways feature: I get jealous of beautiful blogs with a dot com, self-hosting and being overall gorgeous, and they are ultimate goals to me.

pretty

But the world is scary, and for someone like me who’s already having a hard time deciding what I want to eat for dinner or whether or not I actually want to buy the dress ; well…it’s hard to know whether or not it’s worth it to take the leap. Worth it to tear my hair out a couple times. Self-hosting seems to have its perks, but also its load of struggles. Most obvious one here is that it’s not free, like what I am doing right now is.

There’s the price of hosting, there’s the price of being beautiful – because I suck at designing -…blogging takes time already and here it will be more expensive. It’s not THAT expensive that I won’t be able to afford books anymore, but it’s worth thinking about.

Then there’s the fear of losing everything. The hard work I’ve put into my blog, the followers that might not get redirected, the posts that might get messed up, the everything that could go wrong. You know when you’re taking a leap in life and thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, instead of what could go right ? I’m that kind of person. So yes, it’s scary, and is all of this worth it ? I have no idea.

making-decisions

I have been blogging for two years now, and I had my share of struggles. I was close to having a burn-out so many times, I felt like giving up. I was close to annoying everyone – wait, I think I am. Let me ask my sister, the one I bother constantly about everything. Yeah, I am obsessed, apparently. Blogging takes time, energy, sweat and is tiring. Yet I can’t think of any reason to stop, and some day, like these days, I am thinking of taking it to the next level. Self-hosting. NOT FOR MONEY. Well, at least not right now, this is not what I have in mind at all. For a change, for an adventure, for a leap of craziness maybe. To take my blog to the next level. Not professionally, because I’m never going to make a living out of this (pause to cry for a minute). Just for me.

This is not me announcing I’m going to do this, because let’s face it, I probably need a couple more months to decide whether or not I want to, I need to have another month off work to make this work which is not going to happen anytime soon, and well… ANYWAY. I promise next time I’ll be less serious in my blogging ways discussions and come back to the usual freak-outs of bloggers.

I would love to know your thoughts about this subject. What do you think about self-hosting ? About buying a domain name ? Worth it, or not ?

If you’re not self-hosting, did you ever think about doing it? What’s the biggest weight on the balance for you ?

If you’re self-hosting, how was the process of doing it ? I’d love to hear all about your experiences in comments !

PS. I know self-hosting, buying a domain name, getting the WP Premium thingy and everything aren’t the same thing. I’m just being very general here because as I said, I’m not a specialist.

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

76 thoughts on “Thoughts on self-hosting

  1. I tried self-hosting for a little while about a year ago and I honestly missed the WordPress platform that I’ve always had so I went back. You can definitely do a lot more with your design and you have a lot more freedom with how you format your content, but I’m not very good at designing from scratch on computers so that was all very daunting to me. I think self-hosting is something that everyone should try at some point if they can just to see if it’s for them, but it’s definitely not for everybody. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m really not sure on self-hosting and if it’d be for me or not. It’s a tough one, I like my simple style and layout of my blog at the moment and while it’d be cool to be able to change colours, have various widgets and mess around with the html code, it’s not something I know and would have to learn more about.

    However, not having wordpress, etc and just having dot com on the end of the blog name would be awesome.πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? There’s something about the while dot com that’s so attractive haha πŸ˜€ I admit that I’m far from being an expert on these kind of stuff as well, but endless possibilities, well it’s attractive as well haha πŸ˜€ Maybe we all need tofigure out whether or not this is for us by trying little by little πŸ˜€ Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes I just get this thought of self hosting when I see any .com blogs that I open up my google and check the prices.I obsess over it for a couple of hours and decide that I do not have that kind of money (atleast not right now).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just started doing my blog just late last month, and realized there was a difference between WordPress.com and .org, and I still have no idea if I’ll ever move to self-hosting. Maybe sometime in the future, but I’m worried that I’ll get it, and then get bored of blogging, so it’ll have been a waste of money. Decisions, decisions. πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yeah, I definitely am! I originally thought I’d wait for one full year and then go for it, but I’m so used to being on WordPress.com now. I’m so attached! And I’m also terrified I’ll lose all I worked hard for, too (even though I don’t have much at the moment). πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I get this feeling SO much haha I’m terrified of losing everything on a daily basis πŸ˜‚ There’s something called, WordPress Plans, if you’re interested : it allows you to get a domain name etc but keep the WP platform, that seems very interesting – you know, if you want to take the jump later πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m also struggling with this whole self-hosting shenanigan… But the domain name issue is easy enough to “fix”.
    I got my own domain names (MysteryDateWithaBook.co.uk AND MysteryDateWithaBook.com) from GoDaddy and just redirected my blog/shop to those. It’s easy enough to do and I only pay Β£3.99/year. πŸ˜€
    I would totally recommend getting your own domain name! If I can do it, anyone can!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I probably will never self-host because it’s scary and I suck at everything, I need simple things, haha. But I’ve decided to go with a WP Plan πŸ˜€ I want a dotcom address and I NEED more media space, haha, I’m always afraid I’ll run out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will admit that I’ve never thought too much about self-hosting before. I know it’s something people do, and one day I may have to think about it myself as well, but until then I’ve kind of been blissfully unaware of what it involves and what it takes to self host a blog. It sounds like a challenge but like you said there’s a certain sense of adventure in self hosting isn’t there.
    This is a great post Marie, for someone like me who maybe isn’t too aware of self-hosting it was a great introduction (so to say) on the process and what it means for a blog on WordPress at the moment. If you do decide to make the leap one day to self hosting I’ll wish you luck! I’m sure it will go fine for you though.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I mean, since my blog is self-hosted, I obviously think it’s worth it lol. It is thrilling when you first get your own self-hosted site and you know that it’s your own little piece of the internet. But really, the reason I like self-hosting is because I like the freedom of being able to do whatever I want, no rules or regulations, no concern that my blog will be deleted if I accidentally break some rule, freedom to change my design and even the function of my blog to work and look exactly how I want it to… But then, I’m a complete perfectionist and can’t stand anything to not be exactly how I want it to be lol, so I just couldn’t deal with the limits of WP or Blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Self hosting scares me too. For me at least, I don’t think it would be worth the massive effort involved. I am trying to take a more relaxed stance on blogging, and I think self hosting would just make me feel like I HAVE to write even when I don’t feel like it, and I don’t want to do that any more.

    Your blog is so big now, and you have so many followers (all deserved!) that I bet you could make it work. From my perspective, it does make sense as a next step for you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I understand your feeling about this. I think that’s part of the reason why I am a bit nervous as well. I know I’ll never “make it” as a blogger in the sense that I’ll one day exclusively be doing that and get paid for it. Since it’s not likely to happen I’m wondering if it’s really worth all the hassle… I really want to get a domain name though, so maybe I’ll end up doing just that…for now, we never know haha. Thank you so much!

      Like

  10. If you’re still unsure the best way might be to start with your own domain. Make it count! I personally love the idea of drizzleandhurricanebooks.com. XD

    About self hosting… It’s true it’s pricey, and I guess that if it’s not in the cards right now, don’t sweat it because your blog is awesome. But if it’s in the realm of possibility for you, and you start feeling like you might be ‘outgrowing’ your current platform I’d definitely tell you to go for it. I like the freedom to make my blog as simple as I want, or even as complex and super crowded as I want. There are hiccups sometimes with the tech stuff, I won’t lie to you, but I don’t mind it that much because:

    1) If it’s something with my theme, I can always count on Ashley’s incredible support since I’m using Tweak Me theme.
    2) If it’s something else, google has the answer. And I actually have enjoyed learning doing some code things by myself? I feel like I really do have a hand in how my blog looks and works.

    I wrote a post about life self-hosting a whiiiile ago: http://www.reveriesociety.com/life-with-a-self-hosted-blog/ I know that whatever you decide it’ll be alright!

    Oh, and the redesigning process or any major blog changes are the ultimate cure for blogging slumps, because all the work you put in makes you so excited to get started ASAP blogging again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Pam, you have no idea how much your comment helps and reassure me just as well haha. I would love the feeling to make my blog really my own, though I do not know if I am ready for it, so I might start with the domain name ? Also maybe a change of design could kick things up a bit as well ?
      I really love Ashley’s themes and I am so happy to hear you’re using her themes and that it’s going so well πŸ™‚ You’re definitely making me think about this ❀

      Like

      1. Yay! The domain name and simple blog design tweaks might be enough for now while you continue looking into self hosting. Ashley offers hosting services as well. I don’t use that service, but I understand that she takes care of everything techie, so it’s worth checking out as an option when you’re ready to take the leap!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. About 6 months into self-hosting I debated whether or not I was going to keep it or return to WordPress.com.

    It may sound like I am worried about numbers, but I did find that moving to a self-hosted blog made it hard for people to follow. You don’t have that little WordPress Plus at the top/bottom of your page and very few people use email to follow. Luckily though, I found a wordpress widget to use and I promote following on Bloglovin’ more but it was something I never really considered until I switched over.

    Oh and mapping my old blog domain to my new one. It took me a few months to realize that my old blog was still live and my Goodreads review were going to my old blog and not my new one πŸ˜› But you can pay $13USD to map it to your current domain and save that problem!

    My biggest tip is to go with a host that provides support. I’m pretty tech savvy but I struggled with figuring out how to get the WordPress.org to be set up and such. I did write a mini-guide about the experience with links to some articles I found helpful when trying to make my decision. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh don’t worry about it – I mean, we all worry about numbers, and how easy it can be for others to follow our blog. There’s nothing wrong with that πŸ™‚
      Thank you so, so much for sharing your insight and experience about this, it is a huge help! Though I might be going for the domain name only for now, I’m still debating so I’ll go read your mini-guide right away! Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Self-hosting just sounds like commitment and responsability – and I don’t think I have either. I started my blog on Tumblr, but I am debating changing to WordPress. The reason is because I’m much more comfortable on Tumblr; I’ve been using it for years and I get the hang of things, especially when it comes to layout and HTML. I tried finding a cute design for WordPress – I spent three days and I still haven’t found something that pleases me completely, hahah. I also want to redirect some of my posts, but I’m still thinking about it. Should I start all over or get a few posts on my new blog? I DON’T KNOW! There’s so many struggles… That’s why I think I understand your feelings when thinking about self-hosting. I really don’t think I’d be able to do that, but I admire bloggers that are commited enough to spend money on their blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand the struggles so much – I think if you’re finding it easier on tumblr and liking the plafrom more, then stay there! What matters is how you’re enjoying it πŸ™‚
      Also, that’s what’s making me a bit wary about the whole self-hosting thing : losing the fun and easy part of blogging by having to do all of these responsible things haha. Thank you so much, and you can always share your blogging struggles with me, it’s greeat to know I’m not alone ahah πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. I’ve actually been struggling with almost these exact thoughts over self-hosting since I started my blog. Which was only 10 months ago (wow it feels like it’s been longer). My early plans were to always upgrade to WP premium for more customization. Also because of all the stories I’ve heard about interaction going way down once someone has gone completely self-hosted or bought a domain name. But then I heard about how with WP premium it can mess with certain things post wise or how you don’t always get pingbacks for tags. So, yeah I’d say I’m very much with you on struggling with if I want to do it or not. I say every month “Maybe this month!” and then don’t do it. Plus, I also suck at design so if I did decide to do more than premium I would be paying for that too as well πŸ˜‚. But yeah that .com at the end of my blog rather than WP and a beautiful custom theme sounds really good lol. Anyway! If you do end up deciding to go self-hosted I wish you the best of luck. I’ll definitely be keeping up with your blog either way. Great discussion, Marie! πŸ’•πŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Melissa, I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one going crazy over this issue πŸ˜‚ I guess what matters the most is that we end up being content with our blogs appearance and don’t overthink every little thing. It’s a blog for us after all. I think I might end up doing the domain name and maybe a little customization, not the whole self-hosting for not, it seems like a too big leap πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!
        That’s very true. As long as we’re happy with our blogs nothing else really matters. I’m pretty content with how mine looks at the moment. I think I just want that .com more than anything. πŸ˜‚
        Well good luck with everything! I can’t wait to see how whatever you end up doing turns out. 😊β™₯

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I have this idea that I’ll get super important and famous enough to the point where someone will set it all up for me πŸ™‚ I’m very new to blogging, but I think if I had the resources and time and money to pour into it. I would go for the dot com, but then again I’m bad at making decisions that’s more than what show I want to see on Broadway.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I really enjoy self-hosting, and I’m personally glad I made the leap. Yes, it costs me more money. But in all honesty, don’t a lot of hobbies cost money? Buying crafting materials or organization memberships, or equipment or whatnot gets EXPENSIVE. By comparison, books + hosting fees pales in comparison. There’s a couple of aspects that I particularly like about self-hosting, as opposed to my experience using wordpress:

    – I can design things and control my layout (I’m not THAT artsy, but I do like to mix things up a bit) <– this is HUGE for me, because I get frustrated when I can't change certain things about premade templates
    – I can add almost whatever plugins I want (I make GREAT use of Ashley's Ultimate Book Blogger plugin, which creates all of my review listings and whatnot, as well as a few other spectacular features). This one is a little caveated because SOME hosts (like GoDaddy) limit the kinds of plugins you can use, so I recommend, if you want to go this route, finding out which hosts and plugins a lot of book bloggers in particular are using.
    – I have a lot more space for images. This is something I never thought I'd care about, but now that I have it … Well, I put a TON of images in my posts nowadays, and I don't feel like I'm going to run out of space if I keep up the habit.
    – I have good support if something stops working right all of a sudden (I use Ashley's hosting service at NoseGraze, which is a little more expensive, but also means I get full access to all of her plugins and whatnot, and she is GREAT at the customer service side of things; and I never feel judged when I ask a stupid question — plus, she's a book blogger, so she gets it)
    -It's a ridiculously easy URL to give people

    Transitions are always a little hairy, but not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I have to say that migrating from wordpress to self-hosting was WAY easier than migrating from one host to another host when I tried to move everything. For the most part, you can transfer your subscribers with you (though there are tricks to it, so do some research). And sites like bloglovin and whatnot let you just change your URL and keep the same followers and everything (I think I had to email them, and I figured out how via google). It takes some patience, and I did a lot of the moving things around over a couple of weeks because otherwise I would have gone crazy, but it was way easier than I expected it to be.

    ~ Michelle @ FaerieFits

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much Michelle for sharing your experience and ALL of your thoughts about this, I appreciate this so much.
      I’m thrilled to hear that self-hosting has been a wonderful experience for you so far, and it comforts me now to know that it’s not as complicated as it seemed to be. I heard great things about Ashley’s services and if I ever take the leap, I think I’ll go with her for sure πŸ™‚
      Thank you again for everything, definitely food for thought! ❀

      Like

  16. Love the discussion! I’ve been thinking about this very briefly for the last couple of months and I still don’t know what I *want*! There are the positives of how cool and how completely in control I would be and just that sense of having that, as you said, dot com at the end which is so awesome! But also I’m afraid of how difficult and complicated it would be too! I’m not particularly good in those kinds of fields and I fear of what the outcome might be. I definitely consider it because all of the free possibilities and *maybe* one day I could be confident and awesome enough to be able to create it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If I am being honest I struggle with finding the time managing my blog in the first place. Between writing posts, book reviews, reading, blog hopping, responding to comments, taking pictures for blog posts, etc etc.. I am barely keeping up as it is. I don’t have the extra time I feel I would need to switch to self-hosting. I am not opposed to self-hosting in the future, but it isn’t for me at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand. I am not having too much time on my hands either at the moment, however I do feel like I’m at a crossroads with blogging, and I might need a change to sparkle things up a bit again and make me have this blogging frenzy again. Maybe not self-hosting, but a change in blogging nonetheless, maybe with a dot com, a design or something to boost myself again πŸ˜‚ Thank you for sharing your thoughts Amanda! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  18. YESS MARIE KILLIN IT WITH THE THOUGHTFUL POSTS. I reallyyyy want to get self-hoested for a reason I have just discovered: with wordpress, published content doesn’t belong to you. One day, wordpress could delete my entire blog for no reason. All my years of working, gone. IT’S SO SCARY.
    For that reason, I’m beginning to save my money to redirect to a self-hosted account. Money + professionalism + beautifulness are dazzling bonuses!
    Thanks for a gorgeous post, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’d love to self host, although I think I’d need to know more about design, etc. Also, so far I haven’t spent any of my money on my blog (I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time, and bought things that I use for blogging such as a laptop, but never specifically for the one purpose of blogging) and considering that I don’t have a job or anything, I don’t know if it’s worth it. At some point, maybe? But I don’t know. This is like the first discussion of self hosting I’ve seen on the book blogging world, and since I’m in the same boat as you (a wordpress.com site that isn’t self-hosted) then basically thank you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Brilliant post, Marie β™₯ I’ve been debating self-hosting for quite a while now because I’m dying for the freedom in design options and being able to use Javascript and other WP Plugins that you don’t have access to on WP.com. The one thing that’s stopping me though is the hassle of redirecting. There’s a plug in that transfers all your posts and followers, but because WP’s redirecting service costs a ridiculous amount of money I feel like so many people would just keep going to the old site instead of the new one?? I feel like people who started from self-hosting have it easier in that sense. I have heard though that self hosting can mess with the WP reader and you can have following issues too.

    It can be pretty daunting too when you haven’t had any experience in web design, but it’s pretty easy to learn! I think the best thing to do though would be purchase a premium package here on WP.com because that way it’ll help give you some idea of what it’s like and you can get a domain name with it!! You can also use a little HTML/CSS so it might help you get familiar with it?

    I think that’s the route I’m going to go with for now, anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much Lauren! I’m glad to hear you’re debating on this as well ahah, and you have the exact same concerns as I do. I dream of having all the freedom, but at the same time I am a bit scared of messing everything up…and I’m not great at all at web designing, it’s something I’d love to learn but…well haha.
      I agree with you, and well I’m going to opt for one of these options for now, to have a bit more liberties, yet stay within known territory ahah πŸ™‚ Thank you SO much!

      Like

  21. I have thought about self-hosting and all the freedom it entails, but self-hosting is terrifying. Haha. I have this irrational fear that I might lose all the things I’ve written, even though I know it’s possible to move it. Not to mention the issue with redirecting readers. And what more, there won’t be an app with self-hosting. I rely on the WordPress App SOOO much. Though I think there might be a plugin to make it work, it’s just a lot of unknowns and a lot of hassle for me to seriously consider making a move to self-hosting. At least right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS terrifying, haha I could have nightmares about this, it stresses me out so much haha. I understand your feelings, and it seems very complicated. I guess at one point during our blogging journey we’ll maybe feel ready for it? I guess we’ll have to wait and see haha πŸ˜€

      Like

  22. Wow! Got to admit that the redesign because of your new plan makes your blog even prettier! So clean and crisp! ❀ I've always wondered if it was worth getting your own domain. I mean, having that wordpress segment of your blog's URL dissapear is soooooo appealing. I already like the look of your own blog's URL hahaahh How do you like it so far? What's it like on the followers/following end of thing? Does it make it more complicated? Do you have access to the WordPress Reader or is it different now? Congratulations on taking the big leap! πŸ˜‰

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh thank you so, so much Lashaan, I am so happy you like it! ❀ I am not self-hosting for now, I decided to go with the WordPress Personal plan, which allows me more media space and a free domain. This way, I get to keep the WordPress Reader and the WordPress Admin, which I got used to and really is easier to blog. I wasn't too ready to go into self-hosting completely just yet! And I haven't lost any of my followers or following this way either πŸ™‚
      So if you're thinking of getting your own domain, but not quite ready to try and self-host, I'd really advice this for now. It wasn't too expensive and I'm happy with the outcome πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  23. After five years, I just moved to a self-hosted site and I had many of the same fears as you’ve discussed. But if you’re worried about design (I definitely was), you can brows Easy for some cute WordPress.org designs which you can buy for really reasonable prices. I found this so easy to use, all the instructions to customise were there and it was super simple. I also bought my blog header through a graphic designer on Easy! And the only real pain for me was re-formatting all my photos because with the new design I wanted a new look, but so far making the switch has been totally worth it. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Absolutely loved reading this post – your thought process and the comments under this are so incredible. Because I too, have been warring with myself on the exact same thing!

    I am only just new to blogging. And do think I have a bit more time up my sleep to stay on WordPress.com – but I mean, how much of a pain in the a*s will it be if I leave until later?

    Have you decided what you are going to do yet?

    Linda, xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Linda, I am so happy this was helpful to you ❀ For now, I only decided to buy the domain name (I had a wordpress.com at the end of my blog name until last month) but not to self-host. I'm still a bit scared about taking this big step, since I don't know a lot of technical things, I'm a bit scared to mess it all up? So I think I will stay like that for a little bit, then maybe decide to finally self-host. I think that, if you just started blogging, maybe play around a bit with WordPress.com before taking the big step? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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