Self-hosting is a really difficult process, especially for beginner bloggers. Since I have gone self-hosted, I feel like I have learned so much about blogging that I didn’t even understand before.
I’ve been hearing a lot of questions asked about having a self-hosted blog. Questions like, “what’s it really like when you have a self-hosted blog?” or like, “what do I get from having a self-hosted blog?” or simpler questions like, “What is self-hosting?”
The truth is, I was as clueless as they were before I got into this path. I didn’t know what it meant to have a self-hosted blog.
So, after having my personal experience and reading a lot about being self-hosted, I decided to make a simple yet informational post for those who don’t quite get the hang of the whole self-hosting idea.
Throughout this post, I will try to explain the basics of understanding what self-hosting means. Let’s start with the question: What is Self-hosting?
What is Self-hosting?
In order to blog, you have to use a blogging platform where you can publish your blogs and connect with other bloggers too.
Some of these platforms are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc. Among these, probably the most common platform is WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is the free blogging platform of WordPress that uses its own server to compile all of your account’s data, posts, and such, in order for your website to have free space on the internet.
- Related Post: 5 Things I Have Learnt From Blogging
Having a free account is kind of like having an apartment with no rent. Kinda cool right? Your website, where you post your content, is hosted by those people who run WordPress.com.
Self-hosting, on the other hand, is the process of personally hosting all of your website’s property by a specific web server. This means that you get to fully control your website from the design to the maintenance specifics.
From your intellectual properties like your posts to deciding your data space, managing updates, to whatever theme you want to have on your website. These can be done when you go self-hosted.
When you’re not self-hosted, everything is run by your free service providers, you have a custom domain (the one that ends in .wordpress.com) and not your own domain, and everything is maintained for you.
Self-hosting means you can buy your own web property (from self-hosting providers) and build your own website without restrictions, depending on your availed plan, and have your own domain.
There are self-hosted platforms that you can use when you decide to go self-hosting. A very famous platform is the WordPress.org platform. This is the WordPress for self-hosted websites.
WordPress.com VS WordPress.org
During my first months in blogging, I also had a hard time differentiating WordPress.com and WordPress.org, but since we figured out the whole process of going self-hosting, this part will be much easier for us to understand.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted blogging platform. In here, you can fully control your plugins, your themes, updates, JetPack, SEO, and such.
Note that this is different from the Premium, Personal, and Business accounts that WordPress.com offers.
WordPress.com is easier, has a free plan, and a much simpler platform WordPress launched. You can make a free account but it comes with restrictions such as installing other plugins, uploading themes, lesser SEO support, etc.
WordPress.com also offers paid plans wherein you can unlock more and more features as you avail of the highest-priced plan.
Pooja made a very comprehensive review of the different WordPress paid plans. You can check them out here.
Although upgrading into a plan on WordPress.com is a bit overpriced even if more features are available, you still can’t entirely control your website. A very helpful article in differentiating these two platforms can be found here.
Personally, I chose self-hosting because it cost me less than what those plans offer. Greater range of possibilities for my website with lesser costs annually.
Advantage and Disadvantages of Free and Self-hosted
If you have any plans on making your own website, or if you already have one, and you’re thinking of changing your blogging strategy, I hope that this section will help you make a decision.
- Related Post: 10 Characteristics of a Great Blogger
To get a clearer view of self-hosted and free-hosted websites, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of both WordPress.com (free hosting) and WordPress.org (self-hosted) and use this as an example.
WordPress.com is easy to navigate, to maintain, and control. If you’re not that tech-savvy and you want to drift from those technicalities your website may encounter, WordPress.com is the right choice for you.
WordPress offers automated back-ups and maintenance or troubleshooting so you won’t really have so much trouble in figuring out your website’s issues.
It has a free plan, if you’re on a tight budget and if you really don’t plan on growing and monetizing your blog, this is good for you.
Also, WordPress free plans and other plans are stable, and website crashing and long loading time isn’t really a problem.
Although your paid plan may provide fewer restrictions from your website, and may also enable you to monetize it, it’s not guaranteed that your website will maintain its stability throughout time.
WordPress can shut down your site or you may encounter more complicated problems that may eventually push you to move into another platform.
Now, let’s talk about the self-hosted platform like WordPress.org. There are many things you can do to your website when you use this platform. You can:
- Upload themes
- Install as many plugins as you want
- Establish your website accordingly for better SEO
- Monetize your blog via affiliate links
- Have a more professional identity on the internet
- Have your website’s own email address
- Establish a subdomain
- Get more traffic views
- Manage your own database
- Rank better in Google
I agree that there are a lot more perks in going self-hosted. But you know, as spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility. The downside of having a self-hosted website is that you have to carefully maintain it and be more responsible now that you have your own web property.
- Related Post: (not a) Pro Tip: 7 Easy Ways To Write A Standard Blog
Also, you may encounter trouble every now and then if you don’t know how to maintain your website. You are also responsible for your website’s own updates, managing back-ups, and figuring out how errors can be avoided.
Luckily, everything about it can be learned and there are hosting providers that can help you with maintaining your website.
Below is a table of some of the advantages and disadvantages of going free and self-hosted process.
|Free Hosting (WordPress.com)||Easy to navigate and control|
Has a free plan
No need for maintenance
Free custom domain
Has paid plans with lesser restrictions
|Can easily be taken down|
A lot of restrictions
Doesn’t promote your website professionally
|Self-hosting (WordPress.org)||Upload themes|
Install as many plugins as you want
Establish your website accordingly for better SEO
Monetize your blog via affiliate links
Have a more professional identity on the internet
Have your website’s own email address
Establish a subdomain
Get more traffic views
Manage your own database
Rank in Google
|Requires hard work for maintenance|
Needs regular check up
Quite more complicated with technicalities
Best Hosting Providers
Google says, a hosting provider is, “a company that enables businesses and individuals to make their websites available through the World Wide Web.” They are the ones who will help you set up your own property on the internet.
There are a lot of self-hosted service providers that you can look upon the internet but always make sure to do your research first before availing anything for your website, or else, you might end up spending too much or too little and not liking your results.
Each hosting provider differs based on their offers so pick one that is best suited for you. Here are some of the best hosting websites that I’m sure you can trust. Here are some of the best hosting providers
BlueHost is the most compatible web hosting provider for WordPress users. Aside from their low priced plans, you can also have a free domain for one year and also a free SSL certificate. They have greatly reduced their price from $7.99 to $3.99/month and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Hostinger is my chosen web hosting provider, and apparently, they are the leading hosting provider that offers the cheapest single plan! Thanks to Jirah, and her blog post about her self-hosting process, I discovered Hostinger, and I went for it right away.
If you have a tight budget in making your website, Hostinger is the right web hosting platform for you. They offer up at least $0.99/month that comes with a free SSL certificate, and very accommodating customer service! So far, if I’m having trouble, I just email them, and sometimes they do the work for you.
I have heard of SiteGround’s great technical services. They are powered by Google Cloud and are also officially recommended by WordPress.org. SiteGround is in the Top 10 list of the best hosting providers this year. Their plan starts at $6.99/month with unlimited databases and free CDN.
HostGator is also one of the cheapest hosting providers with a single plan that costs $2.75/month. This comes with unmetered bandwidth and free WordPress tools that come with a longer 45-day money-back guarantee. They also offer a free website transfer.
The reason why I have gone self-hosted was that I really felt like there were a lot of things I couldn’t do with my free blog– like I was restricted from letting it grow.
I wanted to have a full blog make-over badly because I loved blogging and I want to be able to handle it on my own, make it look pretty and all.
Monetizing my blog wasn’t much of my priority, but I admit that if I would spend some money creating a website that I worked hard for, might as well be a good idea to make small money out of it so that my expenses would lessen, and I would have extra support on the things I need like for my school allowance.
Also, doing so pushes me to create great content for my readers. In return, I grow as a blogger and a content writer.
I hope you have learned something from this post.
Are you self-hosted? Do you find self-hosting easy to maintain? What are the problems that you encounter during your self-hosting process? Would you like to go self-hosted? 🙂 Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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