When most of us first start blogging, we usually begin on a blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com. These platforms are incredibly popular because they allow you to select your blog name, add a theme which you can customise and then just start writing… Oh, and they’re free. It all sounds good, right?
Well, WordPress.com and Blogger are great places to get yourself started (A Summer Full Of Peaches started out on WordPress.com – you can find the original home page over here) but after a while, you’ll find that there are some limitations to them. Whether you run out of free hosting space (a common occurrence if you post lots of large images) or you realise that you can’t add Google Analytics to your post, there are a raft of negatives to these free platforms for bloggers who want to make the most from their blogs.
On top of that, choosing to ‘Self Host’ your blog has a raft of benefits. Self Hosting is basically keeping your blog or website on a server of your own choosing, rather than that of Blogger or WordPress.com. Self Hosting also means that the blog becomes its own little space on the internet.
Imagine, platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com each exist in the internet, which is kind of like the ocean. Both of these platforms are HUGE islands in the ocean, with each island being made up of all of the blogs which are hosted on that platform. In contrast, self hosting your blog means that you have created your own little island in the ocean – meaning you have a great deal more control over it than if you were part of the platform’s island. Another analogy is like that of renting – using Blogger or WordPress.com, you’re just renting a little bit of space from the owners (e.g. Google owns Blogger) whilst self-hosting is like owning your own home. Obviously, if you own your own space you can make far more changes and you have a great deal more control.
And that’s not all. If you start to self host your blog you’ll have your own domain. You can see that A Summer Full Of Peaches can be found at ‘http://asummerfullofpeaches.com’ – whilst the old site’s URL was ‘http://asummerfullofpeaches.wordpress.com’. Owning your own domain means you can start to build up the authority of your website – something that potential advertisers see as a very positive thing!
So, what do bloggers need to do in order to self host their own blog? First, you’ll need to decide what platform you want to run your new blog on. There are a few options, including Drupal and Joomla, but unless you’re a coding whizz, I’d recommend using WordPress.org.
**WordPress.org is different from WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a site which hosts blogs on it. WordPress.org is the software which can be uploaded to your hosting server which allows you to run a blog. It’s important to understand this distinction! WordPress.org is still free, but you will need to pay to host it on a server somewere and you’ll also need to pay for a unique domain.**
The next few posts in this series go through what you need to do set up your own self-hosted blog. The first of these will be how to move from a WordPress.com blog, followed by how to move from a Blogger blog, and then finally, how to set up a completely new blog as self-hosted. I’ll also provide a post on how to move web hosting providers for those of you who want to move their blog from their current home to a new one!Carley