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.
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.