Moving From WordPress To A Self Hosted Blog

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Recently I transferred my blog from WordPress.com to a self hosted WordPress blog. I’ve had a number of questions about this so I thought I would share my some of my thoughts on why I moved from WordPress and the advantages to going self hosted.

When I first started blogging in 2013 I chose WordPress for a number of reasons. It was easier to use than Blogger, it also had more features than Tumblr. Another big factor in that decision is that it was free to use.

However recently I’ve found that I wanted more control over my blog. I want to make it look and work exactly the way I feel is best. And WordPress for the most part didn’t allow these things, or if it did you had to pay for it.

WHAT IS WORDPRESS

WordPress is an open-source content management system. Nowadays it is the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world. In fact many large websites like Mashable and Techcrunch use it.

WordPress is a piece of software, built on PHP and MySQL that manages images and type. You download the software and host it on a server. However that is unappealing to people who are not tech savvy. This is where WordPress.com comes in.

Wp.com is a website which hosts the WordPress software for you. It takes away all the complicated stuff like updating software and creating backups. But you still get all the essential features of WordPress. You also get some extra stuff from Automattic who run WordPress.com

SO WHY GO SELF HOSTED

The WordPress software has a number of features not available through the wp.com website. You have more customizable options when it comes to how your website looks. While wp.com limit you to their collection of free or premium themes, running the WordPress software on your own means you can install your own theme.

You also have the ability to install plug-ins when running your own WordPress software. Some like Yoast give you more control over the SEO on your site. Others make your blog more secure or run automated back ups. The important point here is you can decide exactly how your blog runs.

Using wp.com also means by running a blog through their servers you had to follow their rules. This meant you couldn’t include JavaScript in text widgets (like the sort needed to use the new subscribe boxes on Bloglovin’). But it also meant they had rules about affiliate links and advertising on your blog.

If you wanted to run advertising you had to use Wordads, their own ad program. However you had to apply to use it and would only be accepted if your blog got over a certain amount of views per month. The WordPress software has no rules like this, it is open source software which means you can use it in whatever way you see fit.

HOW EASY IS IT TO TRANSFER

Most of the transfer I found quite easy. You find a host, pay the hosting fees, and usually if you use something like Bluehost or Dreamhost they will get the WordPress software installed on the server for you.

Transferring my blog was a little trickier than I’d been told. Though I think that was partially due to the amount of content on it. I had five years of posts and photos to move over which takes up a lot of memory.

Everything else was pretty painless. I had no problems installing my theme. I’ve had my domain name for nearly as long as my blog so it was just a case of changing the name servers over so the URL pointed to the right bit.

However I can see how transferring a blog could be daunting to some people. WordPress.com offers a service for £99 which does all the complicated things for you. Personally I wouldn’t spend that sort of money on something I was relatively sure I could handle on my own.

But based on my experience, if you are unsure about fixing technical problems, especially when it comes to running a server and getting it set up properly, I would recommend paying so someone else will deal with it for you. Yeah its expensive but it also saves you so much hassle.

Transferring to a self-hosted blog is something I’m glad I did. I wish I took the plunge before now. Especially since the peak of my blog (in terms of views) is long in the past. But I’m excited for the new opportunities that will come from actually owning my blog.

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8 thoughts on “Moving From WordPress To A Self Hosted Blog

    1. There is an export option on the WordPress dash. You just use that and it gives you an XML file. Then you import that onto the new site using the Import feature. I had a few problems with images cause of large file size so I had to go through all my posts and make sure the images were attached properly. But it wasn’t too bad.

  1. I think I have tried a lot of blogging platforms from Xanga to Tumblr but I keep on coming back to WordPress. It so easy to use compared to others.

    I transfered to a self-hosted blog myself last year and I love how much control I have over my blog. How are you liking it so far?

    🙂

  2. Congratulations. The new site looks great!
    I’ve been dissatisfied with the usability of my primary (self-hosted) site for some time now. Methinks it’s a bit too busy, while all the pretty bells and whistles detract from the first-time user experience. It’s back to basics in the near future.
    Thanks for all the great tips. Your blog is one of the few I follow on a regular basis.

  3. I did the same thing with an earlier blog, and loved the freedom of it. My husband is in IT, so I don’t have to worry about whatever issues come up, which is always a relief. And truth be told, now that I’ve been back on WordPress for awhile with this new blog, I’ve been aching to move back to Bluehost for self-hosting. But the $$$…I don’t think they do a monthly plan anymore. But I’m hoping to go self-hosted by next Spring. Congrats on making the move over. I bet the freedom to do what you want feels amazing!

    1. Thanks! Bluehost does offer a monthly contract but its much more expensive when you compare it to the 24 and 36 month contracts. It was something I had looked at but paying for a longer contract upfront ended up being way cheaper.

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