One of the best decisions I have made for my blog is going self-hosted. If you’re thinking about making your blog self-hosted, or if you don’t know what this means – this is the post for you!
This is going to be quite an lengthy post but I hope I’ve managed to explain anything in the simplest way possible! Grab yourself a cup of of coffee and let’s get started!
*This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you subscribe through my link. This is at no extra cost to you! I will not endorse any products or brands which I do not believe in*
What does it mean to be “Self Hosted” ?
In simple terms, self hosting means that you store your blog files and pages yourself and have access to your server. If you are using a free site such Blogger or WordPress.com, your blog is still hosted by Blogger or WordPress. You don’t have access to the server.
When I first started looking into becoming a blogger, I found it hard to understand what it actually meant to have a self-hosted blog.
That is, until I found this helpful analogy from Matt Mullenwg, the founder of WordPress:
“The best way to think about the differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org (NB: hosted and self-hosted respectively) is the analogy of renting a house vs. owning a house.
WordPress.com is similar to renting a house. You have limited power and control over what you can and cannot do.
WordPress.org is like owning a house. Where you have full control, no one can kick you out, and you can do anything that you want.”
Why Go Self-Hosted?
There are so many reasons to go self-hosted.
What if WordPress.com/Blogger shuts down?
This is by far my #1 reason to go self-hosted. If Blogger or WordPress.com shut down one day, you’d lose everything as you don’t have access to your server to back-up your site. Imagine all your months and years of hard work being gone without a trace within the space of a day?!
It Makes Your Site Look More Professional AND You Have More Creative Control
My first ever blog was hosted on Blogger and it had the same theme as 45896785358 other blogs out there – because my options were basic and limited. Self-hosted blogs have literally THOUSANDS of customisable themes to choose from so you can make your blog truly stand out from the rest.
Having your own self-hosted domain makes your URL much easier for readers to access and remember. Think about it, are you more likely to remember “www.megansays.com” or “www.megansays.blogspot.com” ? It’s a no-brainer.
Self-hosted blogs can also use widgets and plugins to enhance your blog without messing around with the theme’s coding. There are also a lot of invisible plugins that help you build a better, faster site.
I’ve written an entire post about the WordPress Plugins I would recommend for new (and seasoned!) bloggers, check it out below:
After all, if you have a professional-looking site and a catchy URL, brands will be more likely to want to work with you. It’s win-win!
Control Your Ad Placement
If you have a hosted blog – WordPress choose the ads that are featured on your site and where they’re placed. Having a self-hosted blog allows you to decide for yourself if:
1. You want to display ads at all
2. If you do, you can choose for yourself where they’re placed so they’re convenient for your readers to access without making your page look messy.
You can also control the type of ads that appear on your blog. Keep the ads relevant to your blog posts and your readers are more likely to click through.
Monetise and Use Affiliate Links
If one of your blogging goals is to make money through blogging – you MUST go self-hosted. If you are using a free platform and using Google AdSense etc you are breaking WordPress.com’s terms and conditions and this could land you in a really sticky situation. You can go self-hosted for as little as a few pounds per month. I worked out if I make just £3 per month in affiliate sales – I’ve paid off my hosting for the month and anything above that is effectively profit.
Optimise Your SEO
A self-hosted blog has far more opportunities to optimize your content for search engines like Google. Google places greater trust in custom domain names than in a free blog. To put it simply – self-hosted blogs are always going to rank higher in search engines and therefore more people are likely to see your content.
I’ve talked about the Yoast SEO plugin in previous blog posts – it’s my favourite way to make sure that my SEO is optimised for all of my blog posts. I SEO’d the life out of this post about the Soph x MakeUp Revolution eyeshadow palette and now my post appears on the first page of the Google search results for reviews of this palette. I’ve been getting a tonne of traffic as a result.
All that Storage!
When you’re running a free blog, posting regularly and using lots of images – it won’t be long before you get that dreaded notification that you’ve run out of storage. It would totally suck not to be able to use your expertly designed, high resolution graphics because you’ve run out of space – right?!
My self-hosting plan with Siteground made sure I have enough storage space for the content that I want to create.
When To Go Self-Hosted
It’s entirely up to you. If you want to monetise your blog, it’s absolutely essential to be self-hosted. You don’t have to go self-hosted straight away (or at all!) if you’re hobby-blogging. You can even use a hosted account for a while until you’re sure that you’re ready to commit.
I was self-hosted from the word go – as I knew I wanted to make my blog a business and monetise from Day 1.
Self-Hosting With Siteground
A lot of bloggers have written posts about Siteground. I used to be super cynical about it and assume that people were only promoting it because they must have a great commission programme. It was only when I started having negative experiences with my previous hosts that I decided to see what all the fuss was about – thanks to Lauren for this article which made me bite the bullet!
When I was with my previous host – my site was slow and I was experiencing downtime nearly every other day! To make matters worse, the customer service was terrible. When I contacted my host to tell them that my site was down, they tried to tell me that my site was live and that my computer was the problem. Despite the fact that I had been contacted by readers who sent me screenshots of their device not being able to access Megan Says either!
I finally reached the end of my tether, moved to Siteground and never looked back!
Why Self-Host With Siteground?
Now you know all the plus points of self-hosting, but why choose Siteground over all the other hosts out there?!
Easy to Set Up and/or Migrate/Transfer Your Site from Another Host
As I mentioned previously, I transferred my blog from my old host to Siteground. The whole process was completed in less than 24 hours with ZERO downtime.
The main reason it took me so long to switch hosts was because I was worried that there was going to be a lot of work involved. I was worried that I’d do something wrong and end up losing my blog that I’ve worked so hard to get up and running.
It turns out that the lovely folk at Siteground do at least 95% of the work for you and for the things you have to do for yourself, there’s always someone on the other end of the live chat to talk you through it every step of the way.
Amazing Customer Service
One of my favourite Siteground features is the Live Chat option. I’m terrible at talking on the phone so I love being able to log in and chat to an expert for free when I have a question. The live chat is available 24 hours a day and the operators are really friendly and helpful.
I’ve been with Siteground for a good few months now and I haven’t had a single second of downtime. It’s SUPER stressful when your site is down, especially when you don’t know how to fix it yourself so it was really important to me when I was trying to choose a new host that I chose a company that are reliable.
Trust me – I understand tight budgets. But if there’s an investment in your blog that’s worth making – it’s going self-hosted.
Siteground can host your site for as little as £2.75 per month. I ended up paid for my hosting in a bulk payment which covers me for a whole year.
Like I mentioned previously, if you’re monetising your blog – you’ll make that money back in no time. It essentially pays for itself after a while!
They also run some great deals throughout the year so keep an eye out and you might get a bargain!
Great Affiliate Programme
If you have a great experience with Siteground, you can sign up for their affiliate programme and start promoting their services! If anyone sign for Siteground using your link – you get a nice little commission. Like I said at the beginning of my post, I never promote a product or service that I don’t love and use myself. I wouldn’t tell you to host your site with Siteground if I didn’t think it was the best option!
If you’re interested in expanding your blog even more, why not check out my resource lists to get you on your way?!
If you have any questions about anything I’ve talked about in this post (or anything else blogging related!) please drop me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment below. I’ll do everything I can to help!