A Year Of Being Self Hosted || Ups & Downs

A Year Of Being Self Hosted || Ups & Downs - laptop flatlay with iPad, notebook & paper clips

I’ve been planning this post for a good while but considering the current blogging atmosphere I thought it was a perfect time to explore my experience with being self hosted. I’ve been self hosted over a year now & I initially moved over from blogger to WordPress with Pipdig. As you can imagine I have distanced myself from Pipdig as of recent so don’t worry this isn’t a promotional post for them. On the other hand I can’t deny they were a crucial part of the move so I can’t right them off completely.

The Move From Blogger To Self Hosted WordPress

Let’s start with the initial process. I have made a more in-depth post of this in the past so it’s not going to be a long section. I decided to move from blogger to WordPress because I wanted to invest more in my blog. I wanted more freedom on what I could control within ByBusby & self hosted WordPress offered that. WordPress has plugins that benefit my SEO & I do feel like my blog appears more professional than when it was on blogger. I can do a lot more now I am self hosted but it also requires more work.

The positives of being self hosted

Moving to WordPress was something that I felt was right for ByBusby at the time. There’s obviously elements of self hosted WordPress that appeal to bloggers because you just can’t achieve them on blogger. Please bare in mind that on blogger you can still have your own customised theme & own a domain so this isn’t a bash on blogger because I used it for years in comparison to WordPress.

Blog ownership

A big draw for me going self hosted was that I would finally own my site. When I was with blogger I was hosted with them & I just owned a domain. I didn’t have full control over my site because technically I didn’t host it. I didn’t own the website; blogger did. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that because it worked for me for years but I was ready to make a change. Moving to self hosted WordPress was the most recommend option so with the help of Piqdig I migrated over & now I was paying for my website to be hosted with siteground. I now owned my website & domain!

Easy to use

I know some people think blogger is so much easier to use than WordPress I don’t believe that’s the case. Blogger is really simple to use but so is WordPress. I was really worried about changing over & not having a clue but after a week or two it was straight forward. I have to disclose that I use the classic editor plugin so I haven’t tried the glutenberg update but I still think it’s pretty straightforward. The dashboard is laid out really simple & anything you don’t understand can be googled & learnt really quick. I like having a lot of options when it comes to my posts because I can customise them how I wish them to appear.

Themes & plugins

As much as I loved the look of my blog when it was on blogger I much prefer WordPress themes. I find a lot more designers make themes that are to my taste for WordPress. Plus the places I’ve purchased my themes they are specially designed for self hosted WordPress only because of how customisable they are.

WordPress also comes with a lot of plugins that you can use to tailor your dashboard & site to your preferences. I have plugins such as yoast which enables me to ensure the SEO is of a high standard improving my DA. I have inbuilt google analytics thanks to a plugin so I can see my stats on my dashboard. I also have plugins that enable me to add affiliate links & add shopping carousels. I do also have security plugins & necessary spam ones so it’s not all fun customisations.

The negatives of being self hosted

As much as there’s appealing reasons to go self hosted there’s also a few drawbacks that come along with it. I have found being self hosted the past year a lot more work than I’d imagined. It’s not as simple as installing a theme & blogging away.

It costs money to be self hosted

One of things you really have to think about when going self hosted is can you afford it long term. Maybe at the point you’re debating it you have the funds but it’s a commitment. Being hosted by blogger or WordPress is free so you don’t have to worry about an annual fee but if you decide to go self hosted then you have to pay a host. Being self hosted isn’t the most expensive thing but it definitely is an investment. I may roughly £100 a year to be hosted with Pipdig (now Kualo) with my domain included. Previously I was just paying around £7 for my domain with lyrical host. Just be sure that it’s something you can commit too.

You are in charge of your blog’s security.

Even though having full creative control over your blog is a huge draw to going self hosted it can also be a little scary too. Now you have ownership of your website you also have to take control over the security of your blog too. For me that’s pretty daunting as I’m not the most technically advanced. Luckily I have plugins in place to provide security & my hosts also have measures implemented too.

It takes a lot more technical ability.

This is the one major drawback for me because I haven’t got much technical talent. The recent blogosphere news really threw a spanner in the works because I had to change a lot on my blog without help. Luckily I did receive some help during the process because bloggers & developers have been blooming amazing but it still caused a lot of stress. I know nothing about code so what Pipdig were doing went straight over my head but the people who’s job it is to know this stuff made it clear it wasn’t right. I learnt how to back up my blog from my Cpanel & I waited for a response. I wasn’t satisfied with the response so off I went to find a new theme & find new plugins. All things that I’m not so great with. Thankfully I got help installing my theme but it isn’t as customisable as my old one so I have to learn some code to make it perfect. Then there’s the fact I’m hosted by Pipdig so I was even more stressed with trying to moving that over & losing the money I had invested. I am just thankful that Kualo are taking over the customers from Pipdig & honouring our contracts.

It was a huge wake up call for me because I realised I am not well versed in things I need to be to be successfully self hosted. It’s not the simplest change to make but I will be putting more effort in to learning what I need to learn.

Would I go self hosted again?

I love my blog & I really enjoy using WordPress so I’d say yes. If probably would never had experienced WordPress if I hadn’t gone self hosted because there’s no point moving from blogger to hosted WordPress. I like the freedom being self hosted gives me & even though it is stressful finding a host there’s loads of good ones out there. Once you find a helpful host I think it makes all the differences because you can trust them.

The whole Pipdig whirlwind has made me rethink blogging as a whole because I’m no where near experienced as I need to be when it comes to running a website. However I’ve decided to take this as a learning curve & educate myself more.

Being self hosted isn’t as simple as it seems so I really wanted to be honest about the pros & cons. If you have any questions about it please feel free to ask me in the comments below or pop me a message on any of my socials.

Shelley xx

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