To go self-hosted or not to go self-hosted – this question that had been in the back of my mind since the beginning of 2016. As much as I liked my blog I was craving a change but I couldn’t quite commit to leaving the comfort of blogger behind. And the prospect of self-hosting a blog seemed pretty daunting, it sounded like a challenge that could never be overcome by someone who doesn’t have a clue about HTML and coding. But my mind wouldn’t shake off the thought and now I’m sitting here, nearly six months later, and I can say that I’ve finally done it. I have answered the question on my mind, fought myself through the coding jungle and I’ve created my own self-hosted blog. And I’m incredibly happy with the result. But let’s talk about the process. When I said I was fighting my way through the coding jungle I meant searching for other bloggers that had already done the coding because let’s face it, I could never do that myself. And luckily, that wasn’t a problem as – surprise, surprise – most bloggers who go self-hosted don’t know how to code either. Or let alone set up a self-hosted blog. At this point I’d like to thank every blogger who wrote instructions about going self-hosted from the bottom of my heart because otherwise I’d still be sitting here by Christmas 2017 trying to accomplish the impossible. Due to the large amount of instructions flowing around the internet going self-hosting is actually fairly easy. And please keep in my mind that this is coming from someone who can hardly unzip a zip-file.
So what I did first was find a host and unpopular opinion alert, I didn’t pick BlueHost but GoDaddy and saved nearly 70 Euros as they are currently running an amazing special allowing you to host for literally 1 Euro per month for the first year. How amazing is that, right? I then exported my blogger file, set up a wordpress.org account and imported all my content and comments. And voilà, I had officially established a self-hosted blog. When I said going self-hosted was fairly easy I wasn’t lying but I wasn’t being entirely truthful either. For me the difficult part didn’t lay in going self-hosted though – no, the difficulties began when I was picking a theme. WordPress offers hundreds of free themes and I tried out many but to honest, I didn’t find one I was really happy with. A lot of them looked gorgeous but when I applied it to my blog they didn’t really fit. So after a long search I decided to have a look around the blogging community and to go on a theme-hunt (something I could honestly do all day every day, who doesn’t love pretty designs?). And after a while I came across a theme that I absolutely fell in love with. It came with a huge range of features and the best part – 5 different layouts and seemingly endless layout possibilities within the layout (oh well, speaking of technical terms not being my forte). Anyway, I was thrilled to have so many options as I love to change my blog layout, it just feels like a fresh start every single time – I’m sure bloggers can relate to that.
After installing the new theme I started reformatting posts which was definitely the most time-consuming part of the entire process. Before going self-hosted I planned in a day for doing so and then another morning for editing content but oh boy was I wrong. In the end going self-hosted took me 2 hours and the rest 2 and half days and there are still changes that have to be made. But I decided to worry about that later – oh and if anyone knows an alternative to manually setting featured images on wordpress, feel free to comment and save me those hours haha. I hope I’m not scaring you at this point, if you’re opting for a similar theme instead of a completely different one (compared to your old blog), you shouldn’t have much work to do, it was just that I was longing for a change – and that, combined with little technical knowledge meant a huge chunk of work. To give you an impression of my skills, I just accidentally published this post instead of previewing it. Good thing that I haven’t connected it to Bloglovin’ yet. Whilst editing my layout I surprisingly managed to avoid any blogging-related crisis only to have a meltdown the next evening when I found out half my comments were missing. I first tried to solve this issue on Disqus but then noticed that the issue stemmed from WordPress which had only imported half my comments. A useful tip for you: Double check if all your comments have been imported. A bit obvious but oh well, mistakes are a great way of learning. But my crisis stemmed from a different thought – the only way to fix the comment problem was by importing my blogger file again and having just edited about 60 posts manually that sent me into a state of meltdown at 11 at night. But luckily WordPress is idiot-proof and imported just the missing comments so that I didn’t have to make all the changes again. Horray for technique that is more intelligent than me! But all jokes aside, failure to import comments into WordPress seems to be a common issue and it can very easily be fixed by importing the file again or alternatively, by importing your blog to wordpress.com first and from there to wordpress.org.
But enough with all the technical stuff, after successfully redirecting my blog and saving all of my comments (I would have been heartbroken if those would have been lost) I am now the owner of a self-hosted blog and I am super happy with the outcome. So if you’re thinking about going self-hosted and are afraid to do so, don’t be. There are countless articles on the internet telling you step-by-step instructions and even coding redirection for you. In my case, I’m very happy that I’ve found the right answer to the question ‘to go or not to go self-hosted’ and after 3 days of editing, I’ll now spend the rest of the day in the garden with a glass of wine, defeating the heat wave with positive blogger thoughts.
Are you thinking of going self-hosted?
P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin xx