The first part of my journey covers my sojourn as a newbie blogger from a basic blogspot blog to a custom domain blog on blogger. You can read part I by clicking the link above.  By now, I began to understand a little bit about blogs, widgets, looks etc. Another important milestone for me was setting up my startup, Tranquil Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. that happened 3 years ago. As I worked on content for my website and also created a blog for it, I began working on WordPress. And that helped me gain first-hand experience on WordPress. I must say that I found many appealing features on WordPress. Mind you, I worked on free WordPress that does have a restraint on the themes and the customization that you can do with the themes. Another important thing to note was that free WordPress does not allow advertisements of any sort from the blogger though they carry their own free ads on your website. Another hitch is every minor change you need on WP has to be paid for. But, the dashboard had some robust features including scheduling of posts, editing of comments, a better look and feel, a reply feature to each comment (blogger subsequently incorporated that), great stats (blogger introduced that as well), and a fabulous spam control in-built plugin among others.

But, I was almost 3 years on blogger and had built a reasonable readership. Migrating to WP would mean all those links that were high on organic search losing out. That was a dilemma. I wasn’t really sure what problems moving incorporated and how much time it would take. So, I was in two minds. As I was inching towards moving to WP, I also toyed with the option of self-hosted blog. I did some subsequent research then.

Self-hosted blog offers you complete control over your blog. You don’t rely on any other blogger platform like WP or blogger for hosting and hence you don’t have to worry about their terms and conditions. The reason why I used WP on self-hosted is because I really feel that it is the best out there for blogs. I could, of course, get a site designed from scratch, but being a non-techie I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hand over so much control to a third party for maintaining the website. For hosting, I could use the same server that hosts the company website. The biggest plus point is that my husband is a techie and could come to my rescue if the server went down or if I faced technical issues. He helped me a lot when the actual migration happened.

Let us look at some pros and cons of doing this:

Pros:

  • Excellent control
  • Great WordPress features yet the freedom to play around
  • You own your data. You are not at the mercy of a host who can delete your blog if you violate terms and conditions.
  • You can modify theme files which you cannot do with free WordPress
  • Have your own advertisement and monetization model
  • You can use custom analytics software
  • You can upload any plugin that you desire and not only those allowed by free WordPress

Cons:

  • Cost: It is costly to pay for your custom domain name that comes to $10 per year as well as hosting that will be another $100 per year. Remember that one has to pay for a Premium theme from WP as well. And these are recurring costs. You may rope in one of the online companies that can help you with all of the above in a package at a reasonable cost, throw in a free theme, maintenance, custom domain etc. The most important reason why you should actually opt for it is because they will help you migrate everything that will keep your blog legacy intact. So your URLs or permalinks are taken care of, your feeds are redirected, and everything is done smoothly and without hitches. Trust me, it takes a lot of time to do it yourself and there is a learning curve there.
  • Time: To move things around takes time. I did a lot of plugins and migration of feed etc. myself. So, yes if you don’t have time to spend at least initially then you will have to hire professionals to do that for you. There are many tutorials on the web, good ones too but they need time to understand and try out. Not understanding your site will also mean you running to your professional team for every minor glitch.
  • Maintenance: You have to take care of any maintenance issues, backups etc. on your own.

Finally, I would like to say that if you are a recreational blogger and only blog for fun, then free blogger or WordPress works perfectly fine for you. If you want an exclusive identity go for custom domain. And, if you really want more out of your blog – a professional look, a distinct identity, and better monetization – go for self-hosted WordPress blog. Five years into blogging, and this is where my blog has landed!

You can read Phase I of my blogging journey here.

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47 Thoughts on “My blogging journey Phase II– From blogger to self-hosted WordPress

  1. Nice analysis of why one should or need not get self-hosting! And this is so timely since I am actually considering it, thanks again !:)

  2. Now I understand the difference between custom domain and self-hosed blogs. Thanks 🙂

  3. That was insightful.I am in too minds… this post gave a lot of clarity… Hope I arrive on a decision soon. 🙂

  4. Very informative. I didn’t know that much. so that’s the difference between custom domain and self hosting.

  5. Ummm…Thank you for taking time in coming up with the pros and cons which is a useful piece of info to all of us 🙂

  6. Hi Rachna, I am making you my Guru from today. Honestly I am unaware of words like HTML, Url, Back up Widgets and many other usages. I invariably get confused when I have to write for challenges, WOW, Corrines Gyan etc. Can you please write a post explaining how to post ones blog for participation in competitions .Than you Rachna.

    • Ushaji, oh I know very little but thank you for saying those wonderful things :). Those challenges are easy to participate in. Just pick the topic they give, write a post on it and then leave your link on the contest page. For eg. for WOW posts, you will leave the link of your post in the comments. Also, they ask for some line to be included in the post which you have to do. Corinne’s tag is even easier. She has a linky where you add the link of your blog post. Let me know if you still face any confusion.

  7. I am personally in favour of self-hosting

  8. Hmm! Thank God I am recreational 🙂 This post taught me – all over again – how tech-challenged I am 🙂

    • LOL Since you are a master of so many things, at least one area is left for others ;-). You don’t have to be a techie; you have to be aware. There are online companies who will take care of your work at a small cost.

  9. I bought my domain from wordpress…selected the option of hosting and domain name for abt $18 a year from wordpress itself…and I am still tech challenged! I don’t know if my blog is self hosted or not or if the blog and the domain still belong to wordpress!

    • If it is hosted by WordPress, it is definitely not self-hosted :). What you have is custom domain on WP. The domain belongs to you but the hosting does not. If it is self-hosted, you will need to switch your files to the new host.

  10. Your blog is one of the most professional ones.
    I have read this twice already. You should have been a teacher Rachna. You explain things so nicely.

    • Thank you so much Alka for such kind words. Actually, there is so much more I can do with the blog but haven’t been to devote the time to do so. But, it has been a fun, learning experience, and I hope that others can learn something from it.

  11. That’s insightful. I am happy with custom domain. You know I follow prominent bloggers with 16000+ followers and they still host on blog spot. I wonder why?

    • And that is perfectly fine, Saru. Getting a self-hosted blog is not a measure of number of followers or popularity or will not propel you towards getting more followers. But yes advertisers do prefer custom domain, self-hosted blog. So, the choice entirely depends upon what you want to do with your blog. If your content is bad and you don’t interact with your readers, blog look is just cosmetic anyway :).

  12. Rahul on May 10, 2013 at 8:56 am said:

    Good one Rachna with valuable information! I found muy answer in the last lines for those who indulge in blogging for the fun of it though aware of technicalities of self hosting:)

    • Thank you Rahul! I would say, it is not worth going through all that trouble if you don’t want to do something additional with your blog. Blogger and WP are great hassle-free options in themselves. I am glad that you are aware and have taken an informed decision :).

  13. Very informative, Rachna. I had been thinking of changing my URL too. After reading your post, I feel I needn’t do that for now since I write for pleasure. You saved me a lot of time and effort. Thank you. 🙂

    • Changing your URL or going for custom domain is very easy DC and hardly a hassle. You may want to read part 1 for that. If you stay with blogger, they take care of your links etc. so it is worth doing it. That is what most people do, get their own URL (custom domain) on either blogger or WP.

  14. Thanks a lot, Rachna. This helped me decide what to do.

  15. Rachna,you are a smart techie and know a lot.My reference point when I have doubts.

  16. The one reason I haven’t tried it is because of the recurring costs. It seems expensive in that way.
    And what will happen to my blog if I die? It will die with me. 🙂

    • Yes, it is not Free though I wouldn’t call it expensive. Once you are dead your blog will be dead too. And if you are that concerned, your family can keep it alive :).

  17. remo1323 on May 12, 2013 at 1:45 am said:

    The 2 part series is a good read for anyone planning on getting into serious blogging. For me, I am still having a tough time coming up with posts for my free blogger blog. But if I chose to migrate, I will sure keep you advise in mind.

    • Thank you Remo1323. I hope Part I was of some help to you. My intention in writing this post was to help those who are struggling for answers :).

  18. hei Rachna ,
    Very nicely you have described the difference ! I back you cent percent. One needs to understand what he is blogging for ? Monetization of site sounds easy via free hosting but its quite challenging to improve SEO once the site is even an year old packed with posts and comments !!
    I am having my share of trouble as I am still on free wordpress hosting and my SEO stuff is at stake now coz of few repeated contents and errors which I cannot fix on free hosting !!
    very helpful post for the upcoming bloggers .

  19. Self hosting blog is really good as you can manage it according to your wish and WordPress Hosting helps in this. It is reputed tool for creating blogs for over a decade.

  20. Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu on June 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm said:

    I personally prefer own domain on blogger. It’s cheap (just $10 for domain every year) and simple-to-use. Plus, I’m sure Google’s servers are much more safe than any 3rd party’s, like BlueHost or GoDaddy etc. As you said, maintenance issues and backups are our responsibility in self-hosted wordpress. Same way, we can take regular backups of our blogger-hosted blogs too. As for looks, I have seen some really professional looking blogs on blogger. Lots of free 3rd party templates available for blogger, just like wordpress themes. We can choose any of them and customize as per our taste. Self-hosted wordpress blogs are more prone to spam and malware attacks.

    • Happy that you like blogger, Chicky. The point is not about whether blogger or WP are not competent, of course they are. But self-hosted is more about control over what I own. No one can suspend it or take it off or apply their rules on it. And that is just about the crux :).

  21. Rachana,
    I don’t have a blog but planning to start one soon.Sorry,I think I’ve still not understood things as I’m new to many terms.I understand that people go to companies like bluehost,hostgator etc. who provide you a domain and maintain at a certain cost.What do you mean by self hosting?is it also thr’ a company? else how do you do it on your own?

    • Hi Rupa, I understand your confusion as you are about to start a blog. Read my first post in this series for more information. Now us take it step by step. Since you are new to blogging, you can use free platforms like blogger and WordPress to start your blog. It is easy to register and begin one. The hosting is free with them. And you can stick to blogpost.in or wordpress.com domain names to start with. But suppose, you want to have a .com domain name, you will have to pay for that domain name to a third party. Normally, you can find helpful steps to do that on blogger or WordPress itself. This domain should be purchased from parties like GoDaddy etc. Self hosted means that your blog is no longer hosted on WordPress or blogger servers but on independent servers provided again by the companies you mentioned. That requires a bit more work and knowledge of the platforms that are often difficult for newbies. So, I’d suggest that you start with a plain, vanilla blog through either blogger or WP. And never hesitate to google. There are some excellent tutorials available for the same on the net. Wish you good luck with blogging!

  22. Pingback: Blogging Tip from the BAR: WordPress or Blogger? | Blog-A-Rhythm

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