How to Self Host Your Blog and Get Your Own Domain Name

How to Self Host Your Blog and Get Your Own Domain Name

How to Self Host Your Blog and Get Your Own Domain Name

I see a lot of people asking ‘how do I move to self hosted WordPress’ or wanting to get their own domain. So I want to write a ‘how to’ post about it, as when I wanted to move I spent a lot of time researching before taking the plunge. Now, I’ve tried to cover everything, if there’s anything missing please just comment below or send me a message on Twitter and I’ll try and help you!

I just want to say that I’m only addressing WordPress in this post. If you’re on Blogger or anything else – I really believe WordPress is better, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

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WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

It took me a LONG time to figure out what the difference was between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Yes, there is a difference! .com is the free version that’s hosted by WordPress itself, You are limited in what you can do unless you upgrade to their various plans (which I’ll discuss below). .org looks the same but is totally different. You have COMPLETE control of your blog, plugins, themes/coding etc. AND it can be cheaper (unless you’re on the free .com plan). All you need is somewhere else to host your domain.

Here is another website that also explains. I really suggest you do some of your own research, but honestly WPBeginner are so great (I’m not affiliated with them in any way).

WordPress.com Plans

Now WordPress make it so tantalisingly easy to upgrade with their plans, rather than faff around self hosting. I almost signed up to pay £200 a year because I just didn’t know how to self host! I pay half of that now for 3 years!!!!

Wordpress Plans

Free WordPress

Most of you will likely be on the free WordPress plan. You have

  • WordPress.com Subdomain
  • Jetpack Essential Features
  • Community Support
  • Hundreds of Free Themes – that everyone uses
  • Basic Design Customisation – VERY BASIC
  • 3GB Storage Space

Now with the free one you can actually sign up to have your own domain at an additional cost – but this isn’t really worth it.

Personal WordPress

Now the personal plan isn’t actually too bad – but at $4 a month it equals to $48 a year, which is $144 for 3 years (still more than I pay). If you go with this plan you get:

  • Custom Domain Name
  • Jetpack Essential Features
  • Email & Live Chat Support
  • Hundreds of Free Themes
  • Basic Design Customization
  • 6GB Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads

You actually get very little more for the price you’re paying – you can remove ads, have your own URL and have support (which I never used anyway).

Premium WordPress

Now with premium, the price DOUBLES. Nearly $100 a year and you still can’t use your own plugins!

  • Custom Domain Name
  • Jetpack Essential Features
  • Email & Live Chat Support
  • Unlimited Premium Themes – still only the ones that they provide you
  • Advanced Design Customization – STILL VERY LIMITED
  • 13GB Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads
  • Monetize your site – I’m not sure how much this will bring you.
  • VideoPress support – I don’t even know what this is

Business WordPress

Okay this one makes me a bit sick. $300 a year, $900 for 3 years to do what I can do self hosted for 100. CRAZY.

  • Custom Domain Name
  • Jetpack Essential Features
  • Email & Live Chat Support
  • Unlimited Premium Themes
  • Advanced Design Customization
  • Unlimited Storage Space
  • Remove WordPress.com Ads
  • Monetize your site
  • VideoPress support
  • Attend live courses – WHO CARES
  • SEO Tools – Can do this with plugins!
  • Install Plugins NEW – Well with this option you don’t need the SEO tools!
  • Upload themes NEW – Can do this if you’re self hosted
  • Google Analytics Integration – Can do this with plugins
  • Remove WordPress.com Branding – Can do this with self hosted

So what are you really getting for your money?! Not a lot let me tell you.

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Concerns with moving to self hosted wordpress

I’m not gonna lie, I had some misgivings about moving my blog. So I’m going to list them as I’m sure some of you have similar ones and hopefully alleviate them.

  • I’d lose my website stats

I was so concerned that I’d lose all my hits so far on my blog. I didn’t. These are a part of Jetpack, so when I moved and installed the Jetpack plugin, they were there again.

  • I wouldn’t be in the wordpress reader

This was a huge concern for me, as I know I get quite a bit of traffic from the WordPress reader. Again, this is done through Jetpack, so people can still find me there and I can still use it

  • I’d lose my WordPress follow button

Hardly anyone signs up by email right? I was so worried that I would lose the button. I didn’t. You’ve guessed it – it’s part of Jetpack. The only thing that changed was that it no longer pops up on the bottom of mobile as you scroll – but I have a few work arounds for that.

  • I would lose my likes or the ability to like. 

Okay here I’ll be honest – all my likes prior to migration couldn’t be moved to my new blog. It doesn’t hinder me much so it’s not a huge concern. BUT people can still like my posts now. You can still have the like button on the bottom of your posts – which I advise you do.

  • I’d lose my subscribers

The most important one! But yet again – these are done through Jetpack! So there’s no worries there either.

  • I’d lose my current theme

Nope! You can keep everything exactly how it is!

  • I don’t know how to code

You don’t need to! You can keep your theme, or find themes on etsy or anywhere online and buy them whole. They tell you how to upload them, it’s super simple! You don’t need to do any coding if you don’t want to.

If you have any other concerns please let me know and I’ll add them and try and find out for you!

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What is Jetpack?

Well the question here is more like – what does WordPress.com actually do?! It’s all Jetpack. It’s a plugin that you can install when you go self hosted. So all the nifty things you do on .com you can do when self hosted. They don’t really tell you that though.

So what does WordPress.org offer

So you don’t have to pay for wordpress.org. They talk a big talk that you’ll have to manage your site much more but honestly I haven’t seen much more upkeep except for things that I’ve added myself.

  • LITERALLY Unlimited themes. You can make your own or buy them (I got mine from Etsy and customised it)
  • PLUGINS. I’m assuming you know what plugins are, if not I will be doing a blog post later with info on them. These basically let you add cool features to your blog like SEO, Google Analytics, Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin and MANY MORE.
  • Ability to Monetise
  • Complete control
  • Ad Free
  • Anything you want basically!

Things you should know

There are a few niggly bits but they’re not detrimental to your blog. Like – I now have two WordPress logins – one for my old and one for my new. All my old stats etc are on the old one and the new on the new one. It’s not a huge deal but just be aware – you may be able to do it with out this happening I’m not sure.

How to Migrate your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Okay so now that we’re all in agreement that self hosting is the way to go if you can, how do you do it?

I’m not going to lie to you, here’s where it get’s complicated. There are a ton of things to do and I’m not sure on the entire process. BUT THIS IS GOOD NEWS. The reason I don’t know is because I had help from the AMAZING guys at WPBeginner.

So firstly I want to make you aware of their step by step guide to migrating. They literally tell you everything you need to know. BUT before you start on this journey, I have the best news ever.

THEY MIGRATE YOUR BLOG FOR YOU FOR FREE

Yes that’s right! Follow the link above and they will literally do it for you for free. All they require is that you use one of their affiliate web hosting companies (I used Blue Host) and it costs you nothing extra. Now you do have to give them your login details to do this – I advise you change them to something generic before you do just for security purposes, so you’re not giving them your actual password.

It made me nervous to do it but I read some great reviews and I had no issues with them at all. They in fact put up with my incessant emails! There were a few little bits that didn’t migrate properly, like my header or something, and I let them know and they fixed it. They helped me with my follow button and adding the like button so it was near enough identical to how it was before.

Best thing I ever did.

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If you need any other advice please let me know, and if this was helpful to you I’d love to hear it in the comments to! I’m going to be doing more guides in the future so let me know what you want to know about!

 
Follow Jenniely on WordPress.com

63 thoughts on “How to Self Host Your Blog and Get Your Own Domain Name

  1. Jenn, I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve been thinking about the £8 a month WP. Only reason I didn’t was because I had no clue what it really did compared to anything else. I think I did the typical thing of ‘not the cheapest, not the most expensive’. x

    1. Thank you!
      You always have to pay for hosting, I’ve just paid for 3 years upfront so won’t have to worry about it again until then 😁

  2. This is sooo helpful! I’ve been considering the 4.99/month plan, but WordPress.com is expensive and it doesn’t seem to have that many benefits. How much do you pay annualy under BlueHost?

  3. WPBeginner is such an underrated resource, I think. When I decided to go self-hosted, I was expecting it to be a grueling process and expecting to have to do way more research than I ended up doing (this isn’t to say I still didn’t do a lot of research). WPBeginner basically answered all of my questions and were so patient with me, making the transition virtually painless. I also had a few minor migration issues but they were quickly resolved. Even with some BlueHost issues they are willing to help as much as they can – although I’ve found BlueHost support is almost as great. If you can fit it in your budget, go self-hosted! 🙂

    1. Totally agree!! I haven’t had any issues with blue host, fingers crossed I don’t have any in the future! What problems did you have?

      1. Yes! I wanted to know which one you went with? I know you chose a 3 year plan, and I’m didn’t see much of a difference between the three – but then, i’m not an expert. Would love to know your opinion 🙂

  4. Ah, this is incredibly helpful!! Thank you so much for all of these tips. I’m thinking about migrating sometime during the next year and I’m coming back to this post for sure when I decide to do it.

  5. This is so helpful!! I’m going to be looking into this later in the year, so I’ll definitely need to bookmark and come back then. Thanks so much!

  6. This was a very thorough guide! I think a lot of people are confused about wordpress plans at first and how they’re different from self-hosting. I pay Bluehost about a $200 for a year(domain+hosting since I renew them both more or less at the same time). My dad still won’t let me do it for 2 or 3 years since he stills fears I will ditch it at some point XD

    1. $200 a year is a lot for domain and hosting! I pay Bluehost £100ish for 3 years of the same! Surely it’s better to pay much less for longer? Or in that time you’re gonna spend $600 instead of £100

      1. Oh, it’s also Backup Pro, and Domain Privacy. I’d forgotten about those too!

        Right now it’s $12.99 for a month for a 12 month period which is $156 (156*3=468). It’s $11 for 3 year period which would make it about $400. So if we’re talking hosting only, it doesn’t really vary much. My dad gets scared of big numbers online so that’s why it’s tricky to talk him into paying that, even if in the long run he could save more.

        However, factoring in the add ons I always get and the domain renewal, I’d have to analyze if I could make a case for paying for a longer period, now that he can see I’m in this for the long haul. 😀

        Thanks for making me consider this closer! I may use you as an example for when the next renewal comes! 😀

  7. mmh well, having had knew that from the start .. not sure Id wanna do all that now; all posts does get migrated too, mh ?
    I’m still on the fence of doing it, idk, a blog can still be successfull not being self hosted (I hope .-. ) aanyway xD bit of a rambles here.. Thank you for the infos ! I bookmarked in case of needs, and if I change my mind id know where to look 😄​

  8. I went through this a long time ago, as well, Jenniely. First, I started on blogger, then I transferred to the free WordPress (while thinking I had the cool WP), and then to the actual self-hosted one.
    I love all the cool plugins I can have now – it is so helpful to have templates and other things to help me organise my posts before I actually write them.
    Great post!

  9. This is so incredibly helpful!! I’ve been thinking of switching to a self-hosted site for awhile, but it seems so intimidating to me. But now I’m thinking it’ll be worth it and really won’t end up being as painful as it seems, haha.

  10. Thank you for making this post!! I’m not ready to switch to self-hosting yet, but it’s something I plan to do in the future, and this post helped explain so much! It actually made me understand what to actually do, because sometimes it’s so confusing figuring out what I’m doing, lol. 😄

  11. I am SOSOSO grateful for this post! I’m planning on self hosting as soon as my car loan’s paid off, which isn’t until July so I have plenty of time to do my research but.. If it’s as easy as it sounds right now, I might do it sooner. We’ll see. Thank you! <3

  12. BEST. POST. EVER. I didn’t understand any of the differences and you’ve explained everything so well! I’m saving this to do it in the future and I will definitely be sending all questions I may have your way!

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