Going Self-Hosted : Everything You Need to Know

Going Self-Hosted : Everything You Need to Know

A few months ago (okay, half a year) saw me complete a whole year of blogging and I truly felt like it was time for a refresh. Alongside a re-brand I decided to take the plunge and go self-hosted. I also switched things up with a whole new page layout and general blog redesign. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do any of this without reading helpful posts about the experience of other bloggers, so I guess now it’s my turn. Even if I am a little overdue! Although it’s necessary to provide you with a little background information, the purpose of this post is to lay out all of the factors you should consider when going self-hosted to simplify the process.

My Experience

When I first began blogging, one of my only regrets was jumping right in and not doing any in-depth research into hosting. I took out a wordpress.com personal plan and within a couple of months, regretted my decision. What I really wanted was the freedom of wordpress.org; the ability to install themes and plugins, less restrictions and to be able to tailor my site. When it was almost time for my yearly subscription plan to end, I knew I wanted to go self-hosted. I also wanted to change my site identity (domain) from sophiehearts.org to sophhearts.com.

Personally, I chose Siteground’s migration services, after seeing plenty of good reviews. I chose their GrowBig package (£56.88 p/a) which was the obvious option for me as it included free migration. I was also charged £14.34 for my new domain name and an optional £10.80 for ‘Domain ID Protect’. Not getting Domain ID Protect is the equivalent of scrawling your number and address on a public toilet cubical in central London- not a good idea. It’s crucial, as it protects your personal details, leaving them inaccessible to the public.

I also paid for a Pipdig theme: Venture.

Self Hosted Notes

The Benefits of Going Self-hosted

More Control

Arguably one of the biggest benefits of going self-hosted is the ability to install themes and plugins at no additional cost. Having a site that can be tailored and which I have more freedom over with regards to design is so important to me. Being self-hosted also allows access to more advanced analytical tools and more general control.

A Higher DA Score

Okay so a self-hosted site won’t magic you up a better DA score. What it will do though, is provide you with the tools to improve it yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is a game-changer when it comes to assessing the SEO value and readability of your content. By utilising other Plugin’s and promoting across social media, you’ll be able to drive far more traffic to your blog. My DA is currently 26 and higher than it’s ever been.

Better Monetisation Prospects

With the additional freedom over coding that WordPress gives you, comes more ways of monetising your site. Google Adsense for example is an (almost) effortless way of monetising blog traffic.

 

Important Considerations

Transfer Stats and Followers

When going self-hosted it’s incredibly important not to forget to transfer followers and stats to your new site. Literally all you have to do is contact JetPack support (support@jetpack.com) and let them do the work for you! Knowing to do that is the trick, I dithered on it for a good while before coming across this advice.

The WordPress Follow Button

WordPress is one of the easiest ways for users to follow other blogs. By featuring a ‘follow via WordPress’ button and offering this as an option for new readers, naturally more people will be inclined to follow you. I didn’t clock onto this for about a month, after wondering why I was getting so few new followers. Once I’d enabled it (with the help of this video) I saw a dramatic difference.

DA and Internal Links

This only applies to you if you’re going self-hosted and changing your domain name. Although my migration went well, every single one of my ‘internal links’ had to be manually changed. The links remained the same as they always had, so directed to my old (no longer existent) site. It took a while, let me tell you. Another issue caused by my decision to change my domain name was that my DA disappeared. Despite containing all of my old content which once earned me a DA of 24, it was a new site and therefore I had to start all over again. However my DA for this domain grew at a much quicker growth rate than on my previous site.

 

I came across plenty of bloggers recommending Siteground hosting and now I know why. Their support continues far past the migration period to the rest of your time with them. They’re on hand for absolutely any queries, covering non-emergency situations and panic central alike. Recently I updated some Plugins, two of which conflicted with each other. My images stopped being optimised and I had a five minute meltdown. All I needed was the support of someone much more techie than me to provide step by step advise on how to do a site backup restoration.

 

*Soph Hearts sometimes uses affiliate links, this will never affect the authenticity of any recommendations. The above link is affiliate, I will receive a small commission if you use it to begin hosting through Siteground. Please see my disclaimer for any further information.

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39 Comments

  1. February 3, 2019 / 12:27 pm

    Going self hosted was definitely the best thing I ever did. Pipdig is fab, he did mine too and I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t move to self hosted WordPress sooner xx

    Gemma Etc. ❤️

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:17 pm

      It definitely was for me too. Pipdig have some gorgeous themes don’t they? x

  2. February 3, 2019 / 1:58 pm

    Great tips, I like reading blog posts like this because it’s so helpful to know about what’s good to use and who to go to when doing something like going self hosted. And yess it’s so important to get domain id protection, I made sure to do that, I’ve always had my own domain since starting my blog and I’ve always made sure to have that protection too!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

    • February 3, 2019 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you! Domain protection is so important isn’t it? x

  3. February 3, 2019 / 4:19 pm

    So great I saw this read. I am planning on going self-hosted once my yearly subscription ends in a couple of months! I need to start planning, I keep putting it off!

    • February 4, 2019 / 11:05 am

      I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful! It’s quite a daunting prospect isn’t it? But with the right host it’s definitely not as scary as you’d think! x

    • February 4, 2019 / 11:12 am

      Thanks so much! I hope she finds it helpful x

  4. February 4, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    Thank you so much for a very useful and interesting blog post. New year is an ideal time to start blogging professionally and invest in self-hosting.

    Lots of love ♥ January Girl

    • February 4, 2019 / 1:50 pm

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I totally agree x

  5. February 4, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    I would love to take my blog self hosted by summer this year when my blog turns 1 – I got so overwhelmed with the info when I first set up I just couldn’t do it right away. I found this post super useful – I always think I have so many questions and feel silly b/c I’m not a coder, but then I realised so many bloggers were in the same boat – all you have to do is ask and someone will try to advise ♥

    • February 4, 2019 / 4:16 pm

      I would definitely recommend it. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing to have not done it straight away- it gives you the chance to explore blogging and whether you really enjoy it before taking such a big leap. I totally agree- there’s so much support in the community that you’re likely to get a lot of help if you just ask! x

      • February 4, 2019 / 4:43 pm

        That is exactly what I wanted to do – especially given that I had tried blogging before when in Uni and really hated it 🙁

  6. February 4, 2019 / 11:10 pm

    There’s something I learn from here and that’s the Follow button, I haven’t thought of that but I think it is really useful. Thanks for sharing dear. Do you think the ability to pin in Pinterest is a big help too?

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:03 am

      I’m so glad it was valuable to you! Yes, definitely. I’m planning a post on all of the Plugins I recommend so keep an eye out! x

  7. February 5, 2019 / 1:08 am

    I’ll definitely be contacting jetpack after this to transfer my followers. I had no idea that was possible. Such a good read!

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:06 am

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! It’s super easy but like I said, its the knowing in the first place isn’t it?! x

  8. February 5, 2019 / 12:04 pm

    I luckily decided to go self-hosted quite early on in my blogging journey and I’m so glad I did as it’s opened my blog to so many opportunities and given me some proper time to grow gradually! It’s definitely stressful but 100% worth it, the majority of my traffic is from search engines now because of my DA and focusing on SEO – I’d definitely recommend anyone who knows they want to make a go of blogging to take the plunge and do it! I’m currently with Siteground too and they’ve been fabulous so far!
    Alice Xx

    • February 5, 2019 / 2:21 pm

      I think its the best way to get the most out of your blog for sure! That’s amazing work! I’m so glad you’ve had a great experience with Siteground too, I really couldn’t recommend them enough x

  9. Kyra
    February 5, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    This was so helpful! Thank you for sharing!
    -Kyra

  10. February 5, 2019 / 8:56 pm

    Incredibly helpful post Sophie so thank you! One of my big ambitions for this year is to grow my blog/social media and believe this has given me a lot of positive advice x

    • February 7, 2019 / 8:38 pm

      I’m so glad you think so! Good luck on growing your channels! x

    • February 7, 2019 / 8:40 pm

      I’m so glad you think so! x

  11. February 6, 2019 / 6:39 pm

    This is a lovely resource for anyone looking into-self hosting. Do you think that there are any major cons to going completely self-hosted?
    Great post!
    Khanak x

    • February 7, 2019 / 8:43 pm

      I’m so glad you think so. So far I haven’t had any but I’d say it’s completely dependant on who you choose to host you. I know a lot of them aren’t as supportive as Siteground so I suppose there could be some issues arise in that area! x

    • February 7, 2019 / 12:37 pm

      It definitely is if you want to take it more seriously with terms to SEO, being found, monetising and having more creative control x

  12. February 6, 2019 / 8:41 pm

    Great post! I’m with Siteground and they’re not the cheapest, but they are brilliant in my opinion x

    • February 7, 2019 / 12:35 pm

      Thank you! I totally agree, they’re so worth the money x

  13. February 6, 2019 / 8:47 pm

    This is a great post, really informative! x

    • February 7, 2019 / 12:33 pm

      I’m so glad you think so, thank you x

  14. February 7, 2019 / 1:08 am

    I actually started my blog self-hosted, because I thought if I spent money on my blog, I would keep it up, and luckily I was right! Here I am two years later…still blogging. You did a great job explaining everything, because when I went self-hosted, blog posts like yours were a huge help. Great post Soph xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    • February 7, 2019 / 12:32 pm

      That’s such a great start! I wish I’d have done more research before jumping in! I’m so glad that you think the post is helpful though, thank you! x

  15. February 8, 2019 / 10:00 pm

    I went self-hosted three months in, literally clueless at that point but I wanted a professional looking blog so I took the plunge. I went with Siteground for hosting and Pipdig for my theme. However, almost two years on, I literally just switched from Siteground a couple of days ago, over to Pipdig’s own hosting and given my blog a new theme as it was looking dated. I found Siteground had hiked up their pricing over the years and I was paying £58 per quarter for GrowBig! I now pay around £6.50 a month for a similar package which is So much better. Pipdig is amazing – they gave me my theme half price, tagged on extra month’s hosting and switched everything over for me for free. I’ve spent the entire day tweaking my blog and still have a few alterations to make but loving the way it looks now. I agree with you on going self-hosted, even though it was a long time ago for me, it was the best decision I made for my blog.

    Love how yours look lovely!

    Saamntha | https;//thebeautyspyglass.com

    • February 10, 2019 / 7:45 pm

      It’s definitely something worth doing at any point really when you’re serious about your blog! I think Siteground do have a bit of a reputation for hiking up their prices after a year of hosting but I was happy to go with them for now and will definitely look at doing something similar to what you just have when my year with them is up. I’ve just had a nosy at your new blog layout and I’m loving it- so gorgeous and professional! x

  16. February 11, 2019 / 10:41 am

    Going self-hosted enables so much more creativity – I’m so glad I did it, I moved from blogger where you couldn’t really personalise anything.
    I was also with Siteground for the first year of being self-hosted x

    • February 12, 2019 / 9:50 am

      It really does- I think it’s so essential if you’re looking to take your blog to the next step and I’ve not yet spoken to one person who regrets making the leap! x