When I decided to take blogging seriously, I decided I wanted to switch from the Blogger.com platform to WordPress. I had no idea what I was getting myself into – I just knew that I wanted plugins! So, I jumped into the process head first, made a lot of mistakes (like signing up for wordpress.com instead of wordpress.org – YES! There is a difference) and spent a lot of extra money that I didn’t need to if I had just done more research.
So, today, I’m putting together as much information as I can about self-hosting your blog, along with why I left Bluehost for Siteground in hopes that I’ll be able to help both new and seasoned bloggers!
What is Self-Hosting?
I’m going to try to make this as simple as possible because it was beyond me for a really long time on what the difference was between self-hosting and hosting on a site like blogger or wordpress.com.
Self-hosting is when you pay a company to put your site live on their servers, but you have access to ALL the files and where those files are stored. You have complete control over the backend and frontend of your site and can completely customize it the way you want. You can also monetize self-hosted sites completely (with affiliate links, and selling your own products) while you cannot do most of those things on a site that is hosted with through a free service (blogger.com and wordpress.com.)
What’s the difference between self-hosting & domains?
A domain is what someone types into the URL box to bring them to your site (so, for me, it’s www.heytherechelsie.com.) However, it is super important to note that you can have a domain and not have a self-hosted site! Places like wordress.com and blogger.com allow you to buy a domain and have it point to your free site, but it does not mean you are self-hosted.
I made this mistake when I moved to wordpress.com. I bought a domain through them and thought that I had finally figured it all out. Then, I spent hours searching for how to add plug-ins, only to find out that wordpress.com sites do not allow plug-ins and that I had signed up for the wrong WordPress platform!