So I finally did it! I made the jump to self-hosting and while it is too early to say if it was the right choice, it sure feels amazing! It took me a long time to get this point so I thought I would share a little bit of that with you because I’m sure there are others out there thinking about making the leap.
At this Time Last Year…
I contemplated making the move to self-hosting but opted to just buy my domain name instead. It was definitely cheaper and I wasn’t confident that I would still be blogging that much once school started in the Fall. I didn’t really want to pay for something that I would only be doing in passing. So I held it off and was really happy with that decision until…
About a Month Ago…
I got a reminder that my domain would be auto-renewing and I started to think…do I just want a domain name or do I want to make the leap to self-hosting?
I’ve always loved graphics/html/css. I love designing things in Photoshop and I really enjoyed coding my own webpage when I used to play Neopets years ago (anyone else play that?). So it killed me a little with all the limitations I had on WordPress.com and the appeal of WordPress.org and all its freedoms was super, super tempting.
My only hesitation was the cost but I had some Paypal money from Swagbucks saved so that would cut the price in half (the only crappy thing was most sites price in USD and the CAD is wayyy below par).
And so the search began…
Where to Start?
I wrote a mini-guide (soon to be posted!) to help point those looking to make the switch in the right direction, but I’ll share a bit about my “journey” here.
I had no idea where to start looking for a host, though I had a few leads. Nosegraze is a popular choice among book bloggers but the price wasn’t one I was comfortable with and I wanted more freedom when it came to designing and downloading plug-ins than it offered. Blue Hosting is recommended by WordPress.org but again, the price is a little steep (from what I could see; honestly their packages confused me :S ) and I heard mixed reviews on their services. Site Ground comes highly recommended and the price for the first year is fantastic (and on par for the 2nd year onwards) so it was a top contender.
Lucky for me, I participated in the Blog Hop Party Chat (#BHPChat) in January and I was able to ask some people who they hosted with and if they had any tips. Safe Shark Hosting was a name that came highly recommended from that chat, as were Nosegraze’s various guides on self-hosting and using WordPress.org.
And so, I was between Safe Shark Hosting and Site Ground. In the end, I went with Safe Shark Hosting because they have a great package and the pricing was comparable to what I would be paying elsewhere once everything was said and done. The domain was included in the pricing and I didn’t have to pay extra for ID protection OR migration to the new server. They also had great reviews when it came to customer service, took Paypal, and boasted fast speeds and little downtime. I also like the fact that they are a smaller company and not some larger one that worries more about profit at the end of the day than customer satisfaction.
Making the Switch
Because I owned my domain name already and wanted to transfer it over to my new host, I had to wait 5 days for the transfer to be accepted. A bit of a bummer because I was eager to get things started! But once a week had past, my site was able to transfer to my new host.
At first I thought I could handle the transfer myself but I didn’t really have the time nor did I want to screw something up and so I got my site transferred over by Adam, my domain host. It was a super easy and relatively painless on my end and I am so thankful for that.
Setting Up My Site
I’m still in the midst of getting my site up to the place I want it to be. There are so many cool themes out there and so many plug-ins. My blog will be revamped a lot over the next few weeks as I try to balance blogging and my school work while finding that perfect theme for my vision.
What Does the Future Have In-Store?
I really want to make my blog top notch. I always pictured my blog as more of a website resource than a blog but blogging really has a solid grasp on my heart and I love it so much. But with the options I now have available, I can make this site the best of two worlds: a resource for series reviews and an interactive blog. I am also contemplating offering a cheap graphics making service this summer for fellow bloggers who don’t have the time or desire to make their own graphics. I still have to plan out all the logistics but I’m really excited about the whole thing and think it would be a lot of fun.
While I may not be an expert (TBH I did crash my site one night while editing my code…oops), I am more than willing to share my experience and be completely honest when it comes to any questions you may have. My mini-guide will be up sometime in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that.
Feel free to leave a comment below, tweet or email me 🙂