Sunday, July 12, 2015

Self-Hosting Discussion!


So, I recently celebrated my three year blogaversary, which is extremely insane. I can't believe that it's been three years! Anyway, since I've been on Blogger for so long, I started thinking... what if I switched to self-hosted Wordpress? That's why I decided I'd write about it; I wanted your opinion on the whole thing!

I know that a few years ago there were tons of book bloggers that switched from wordpress or blogger over to self-hosted wordpress, and at the time I didn't understand why. Though as the years have gone on, I've realized that there's so many more options that self-hosted wordpress users have. First of all, they get to use all of Nose Graze's wonderful plug-ins, which makes me extremely jealous. I want the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-in so badly! It will save so much time for me when I write reviews, and I feel like it will keep me much more organized. 

On top of that, I feel like self-hosted wordpress blogs are so much prettier than blogger blogs and just wordpress blogs. I don't know why. I am obsessed with the Creative Whim blog design by Nose Graze, because I think that it makes blogs look so sophisticated. I really want to use it myself!

There have been some things stopping me from switching, but there are also a lot of pros too.

Cons:
  • The cost of hosting.
    • I'm only a teenager and I'm still in high school. I don't have tons of money to be spending on my blog, and I can't get a job because I'm so busy with sports and homework in order to keep my grades up. I have no idea what the best cheapest host is either, because I don't want to find one that's affordable but then is utter crap. I also really have no idea how the host thing even works, really!
  • The switch process.
    • I've noticed that it is possible to make the switch yourself, without paying people, but I'd be so worried that I'd mess it all up. Therefore I don't know what to do about that.
  • My design.
    • If I switched, I'd have to completely come up with a new design, right? That would suck because I just designed this theme and have no idea how to use a Wordpress theme or how to make one your own. 
  • My followers.
    • I know that switching over would stop GFC followers from coming with me. I know that a lot of people don't use the blogger homepage to read posts, but I still do! Especially because some blogs that I find and end up liking aren't on bloglovin', so I just use my blogger homepage to keep up with their posts, because I hate subscribing through e-mail. It just overflows my inbox. 
Pros:
  • Sophisticated designs!
  • I could finally use the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin.
  • I think that having my own domain and being self-hosted would give me more freedom to mess around with the look of my blog, and it would help with branding myself.
While doing some research, I found many posts from Ashley at Nose Graze as well as many posts from other blogs who have made the switch, such as Paper Riot and Girl in the Pages. They both seem to enjoy the new interface! I also found two different hosts who seem to be affordable, such as Twilight Sleep and Book Host. 

  • Costs between $20-$50 a year, depending on the package choice (though I have no idea which package I'd have to choose, I'm seriously clueless when it comes to all of this).
  • Transferring the blog would cost $65, though the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug-In would also be included, which is awesome. 
  • $20 a month for hosting
  • Comes with the Tweak Me Theme and the Ultimate Book Blogger Plug In, as well as tons of Ashley's amazing designs and plug-ins that I'd have to pay for otherwise.
  • Blogger to Wordpress transfer is absolutely free of cost, if I pay for the hosting, which is awesome. 
Since I'm so clueless about all of this, I thought I'd ask you guys who happen to be self-hosted, what your thoughts are about all of this.

Is it worth it to switch to self-hosted? Did you transfer everything yourself, or did you pay someone to do it for you? How much did all of it cost in the end? Who do you recommend for a host? 

32 comments:

  1. hmm. I'm one of those people that actually read the blogger homepage for most of the posts. I follow a few blogs on bloglovin', but most of them I like to just read from my homepage all at once. I find it easier.

    That said, I have no clue about anything to do with self-hosting. I think a lot of the blogger designs look fine as long as they have been customized enough or they are a fully customized theme. Sure, the wordpress themes are fancier I guess. But I'm a fan of a simple blog design. Of course, you have to decide if it's worth it to you to pay for your website. I am personally perfectly content with my free blog. But if you think you can do better with self-hosting, go for it.

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  2. Hey! I definitely recommend you switch. It is so much easier and fun! Yes, it requires paying but what I recommend is that you save money (at least $50) and once you have that money, move. This is for a just in case you need some money to pay for other things. I had self-hosted with RFE Hosting but realized that Book Host with Ashley is so much better! I mean, you get a bunch of themes and plugins included once you are with her. You can get the Tweak Me v2 theme which is the newest one! And you can tweak it to your liking. Everything is set up so easily and Ashley is always there to help you in whatever you need. For example, I decided to switch over to Ashley and I asked if she could do it ASAP. Normally she asks people to give her 2 weeks in advance yet she automatically took my case and did the switching in LESS THAN TWO DAYS! I was so happy I moved. I only pay $14.95 a month with her. Right now I have a co-blogger, so we divide the payment, which is good.

    If you ever need help, you can talk to me and I'll help in any way I can :)

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  3. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of services increase the rate after the first year. When it was time for us to renew this year, it cost us 3 times as much. When I asked why, they said it was because I came in at an introductory rate that isn't the same for renewals. So, be careful and make sure it is going to stay at the same price. BTW, I have a self-hosted wordpress site with the domain from GoDaddy.

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  4. I also use the blogger homepage because I find it easier. And personally, I'm okay with blogger as of the moment since I'm only book blogging part time and as a hobby. Perhaps it'll change in the future, idk. Haha! But if you really, really want to be self-hosted and you have the money, then why not?

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  5. Something I have been battling with myself for a while! I seriously have no idea of what to do, sonif I had a bit of money, I would totally go to Ashley from Nose Graze to do the switch for me. I already have a domain (product of my own need to know how it works) and it cost me like 8 dollars for the year.
    I will switch one day, but not right now. Unless someone gave me more money or I got a decent job. :(

    Melissa @ The Reader and the Chef

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  6. I've been thinking similarly, especially since I volunteer and work with Wordpress so I've gotten to use the system (I'm in love with the SEO plug-in!). I don't think I'll switch though because I don't have the cash to move (or more like I'm in college and it's really not a priority) and besides the cool plug-ins, I don't feel motivated to switch. Our blog design is actually based off a Wordpress design that was adapted to Blogger, and both my co-blogger and I have taken HTML and CSS courses so we know how to personalize and edit bits of our template to get the look we want. We're pretty happy with our design, and formatting isn't too bad, so for us, it's really not worth it. Still, I love Wordpress plugins!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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  7. I recently made the switch over. And its pretty easy to transfer the files such as reviews and things over from blogger to wordpress.org. I also use Ashley's tweak me theme as well as her UBB plugin (which is awesome if you do book reviews. You do have to pay, but it looks like you found a couple of affordable domains there. I would recommend you have some money set aside for some of Ashley's themes and plugins though. One of the reasons I transferred over was so that I could have my own site, and not having to worry about google doing anything to it. And I love wordpress way more than blogger, I feel its way more customizable with the amount of plugins that they have available. You just need to weigh in the pros and cons and find out what would be best for you. But I honestly feel like the UBB plugin is definitely worth it, makes doing reviews ten times easier. Good luck with the decision.

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  8. Honestly, I haven't thought about this issue until now... I'm still new to the whole bloggerworld, so I won't even think about a switch for a long time, nonetheless it was very interesting to read about it -- so thank you for the post!! I didn't know about those plug-ins, but it sounds like a lot of fun and less work :-D!
    I just don't know whether it would be worth it to pay for all of it. In the end paying monthly will be quite a bit of money and I like it that my blog is for free :-)! In addition, just as you said, I like to follow my favorite blogs through GFC. I'll rather read some posts on the blogger homepage than logging in on bloglovin' and read them there... Hope you find out what's right for you!
    Kim

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  9. I'm still fairly new to blogging, but I switched from Wordpress.com to a self-hosted blog pretty quickly. This was mainly because I wanted more control over my theme, and also, like you've mentioned, the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin. I LOVE it. It makes my reviews look so organised and consistent!

    As for the process, I did it myself through tsohost.com. It helped that, while I'm not a web designer/developer, I'm still a techie, so I can guess my way through things enough to come out the other end.

    If you need any help, let me know! I don't know everything off the top of my head, but Google and I are pretty tight.

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  10. I've thought about switching too, especially because it seems like Blogger has been really buggy lately, but I just don't think it's worth it. There are a lot of other things that I could do with my money than self host. I know it would be awesome and a lot easier, but thinking about switching over and losing followers just scares me. :(

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  11. I made the switch from blogger to wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress (BLAH!) And while it was a long journey, I'm really glad I did!

    The biggest advantage of self-hosted is:
    1. You have more control over your stuff
    2. You can GROW. And your blog is totally growing, so this could be really good for you.

    I switched and did it all myself (my website: http://nadinebrandes.com if you want to see) because I'm an author and need to have room to grow. It took some time, but there are a million YouTube videos out there that will help you.

    Also, you can start setting up your self-hosted website while still keeping this one running! That means you could spend YEARS if you wanted to, just perfecting the new site before even making the switch.

    I also agree with Latte Nights Review -- save up around $50. I go through Bluehost and I've been happy with them. They have great tech support and they're pretty inexpensive (like...$3 a month or something...)

    Hope that helps!

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  12. Awww <3 congrats on three years of blogging!!!
    Personally, I use Bookhost but I got a deal so I pay $15 a month... My mom pays for it until I get a job and as long as I keep my grades up and don't become a moody evil Teenager XD So until then... $15 doesn't seem so bad you know? Anyways, everything is comes with is worth it.
    The Book Blogger Plugin is like a cupcake, sooooo perfect! And you get beautiful websites, amazing plug ins, and wonderful support :) She does a great job helping with any and all questions I've had!
    So I don't know, I think it's worth it but maybe you when you have budget to work with ^_^"
    Again, congrats! Please let me know if you decide to switch :D! I would LOVE to know :)
    Have a wonderful day!

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  13. I think it's worth the switch! :) Although, if you're looking to save money, I highly recommend BlueHost. They have really good customer service, their prices are cheap, and it's easy to setup WordPress. WordPress isn't so scary once you get used to it. I just think $20 a month is a lot lol. It's nice at first to get everything setup, but after that...

    The problem is that I don't think the Blogger > WordPress importer plugin is working. Ashley@NoseGraze had to create her own plugin for that and I'm not sure if she made that public. You should ask her about that. I think if you got the Tweak Me v2 you could easily move this design to that template. It's very easy to configure anything :)

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  14. I think it's up to you. Every once in awhile I think about it, but since I work two jobs and blogging is really my "fun" hobby, I like the ease of Blogger. Plus, I am one of those people that used my blogger home page to read other blogs. I have started getting some blogs by email, but I find I rarely go look at them that way unless I know that I want to comment on them. Plus, I don't want to pay, I like free. I guess I don't know what the Ultimate Blogger plug in that you're talking about is. Maybe it is worth it? Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck, and I'll still check in on your blog from time to time no matter what you decide. :-)

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  15. This has come up at the perfect time as I asked a similar question two Sunday's a go on my Sunday Post and the answers I got were varied. I am on Blogger and like you I am entranced by Creative Whim and the UBB, I felt that Blogger was just a little plain but since then with the heads up from some other bloggers and some searching on my part I know have a new header via Etsy and through a couple of coding websites I have moved some things around to my liking. I am just hesitant to spend money if I can get a good result that I am happy with for free, the coding takes a little time to learn but once I got the hang of it, it was just copy and paste. Etsy has tons of low price templates plus there are some great free templates out there too as the ones that Blogger offer are a bit meh! I would love the UBB and Creative Whim, maybe one day but for now I think I will stay put.

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  16. I read all the awesome posts about switching to wordpress and about how easy Ashley makes everything but I don't have the kind of money to move my blog. Or rather, I would prefer spending this money on movie tickets or books or whatever else. This makes me feel like I might not be a committed enough blogger but I'm afraid blogging will become a burden to me if I switch to a self-hosted blog, you know like paying the bills (not that I pay any, being 18 and all haha). My parents would never pay monthly for this and I wouldn't even feel comfortable asking them because they're not particularly rich. Why I feel no rush to move to wordpress is because I haven't really encountered with any problems while using blogger so far. Also, I'm not a techy so I'm afraid it'd take a long time for me to get used to wordpress. The plug-ins would be awesome, though. Hope you'll be able to make the choice. Good luck. :)

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  17. The plug-in was really the only thing I really wanted. I did my own name with Blogger and I think I like that. It was a lot less word and I am still able to use my blog the way I wanted
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  18. I've been considering the same thing! What stops me is largely the cost. But I also worry about my followers transferring and all the craziness of moving over. I guess I haven't committed because I haven't had any problems with Blogger yet. I know there are horror stories out there and I worry that something will happen, but at the same time, it hasn't. I need a kick in the butt, most likely!

    I hope you're able to make a decision!

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  19. The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin and the sophisticated design are two reasons I really want to be self-hosted, but overall it's a lot of work that I don't want to be bothered with. And again there's the money problem - as a college freshman, I don't exactly have a lot of it lol.

    For what it's worth, I love your blog design the way it is :)

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  20. Well. I completely agree with you about Ashley and Nose Graze. I absolutely love all her designs! I've recently just made the decision to switch to Wordpress.org, even bouth my own domain and hosting through a local seller (its comes pretty cheap compared to Book Host and Go Daddy) but I'm having a lot of trouble uploading all my files via FTP >.<

    My advice? Hire a professional. Great post!

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  21. I've thought about this too. However, I'm just a small blogger who doesn't do this full-time (I wish I could), so it seems like I shouldn't bother moving over right away. I think that I could make things look so much cooler on a self-hosted site, it's just a matter of me figuring out how to do it! I'm in college so money is tight right now.

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  22. well i co-blog, so i don't have to deal with these types of issues yet, but this post was extremely informative in case i need it down the road one day! thanks for putting this together!
    emily @ http://www.wholly-books.com

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  23. I've been playing with this idea too, though I'm not so far into the thought process as you are. I've got practically the exact same concerns as you (Ultimate Blogger Plugin! *heart eyes*).

    I'm especially nervous about the switching process. Will I lose comments? Followers? Get weird formatting on old posts? It sounds like a lot of work. Ugh.

    But ohhh thank you for linking to those services. Twilight Sleep seems lovely and I will definitely keep that one in mind if I ever decide to switch.

    Also, a fun fact: you can follow non-bloglovin-blogs in bloglovin! Just paste the url of the blog into the search bar and an option will come up to "follow" so you can get updates just like with regular bloglovin blogs. It even works for tumblr! I don't have a tumblr account so I follow tumblr blogs on bloglovin, and it's really useful. :-)

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  24. I am incredibly happy that I switched. I went with Ashley's hosting and it was so easy and painless (well, there was one snafu, but it had NOTHING to do with her, it was my old domain provider that I had while on Blogger!), and now I have UBB and the themes and all the support that comes with them! I know that the rates have gone up a bit since I switched but it still is worth it, if you can swing it.

    I had some of the same concerns that you did about followers, and design and such. Followers really shouldn't be too big of an issue, honestly. I worried too because I DID used to use the Blogger dashboard but um.. I literally never looked at it again! Plus, I just looked (that sounds so creepy hah) and you already have more followers on Bloglovin than GFC anyway so... it likely wouldn't matter. Especially if you announced it, I am sure people would find other ways to follow!

    As for the theme stuff, Ashley's Tweak Me 2 is phenomenal- and when she moved me over, everything looked virtually the same, except BETTER, cleaner, more professional. But the colors and graphics and such were the same!

    A few other plusses of moving- you'd have control over your content. I know it doesn't happen often, but Blogger CAN delete your blog anytime they please (like I said- this is rare, BUT I do know a couple people who have had it happen), and this way, your content is YOURS. And no more Blogger glitches! That is what made me decide for sure- the commenting system kept deleting random comments and stuff, so I knew it was time ;)

    Anyway, good luck making the decision, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away!!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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  25. As several others, I use Ashley for hosting now as well, Krystianna. However, my historic is a little different anyway. First, I started on Blogger, because some of the first blogs I discovered were there, and it was easy and quick to set up, and to use. After a little while, though, I really wanted to make my blog more personal, and that wasn't possible.
    Three months after starting my blog, I switched to wordpress, but hadn't understood the whole thing about self-hosting, so a week after I moved once more, to a self-hosted wordpress blog, where I could get all the themes and plugins my little heart desired.
    This year, I switched to hosting with Ashley, because I felt that she would understand book-bloggers better than the hosting company I used. I was happy with the other hosting company for a long time, but suddenly, things started happening on my blog, and they told me I had to pay for an extra security package, and extra this, and an extra that. With Ashley, there's the fee, and that's it!
    I did use help to get moved to my self-hosted blog, I used Wordpress themselves for that, I can' remember how much is cost, as it was almost three years ago.
    Good luck on making your decision, Krystianna :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  26. YOUR FEELINGS ARE EXACTLY MINE ON THIS. I was around back when everyone started switching to WP and I NEVER imagined doing it. Or that I'd want to. But now, I WANT THE PLUG INS SO BADLY. But I'd be terrified of like, losing my entire blog in the process, and on top of that, like, 95% of my follower count is tied up in GFC. I'd have to start over from scratch, basically. And I do worry about the price - I could definitely afford some of the cheaper ones now, but I worry about what would happen if there was some kind of accident that drained my bank account and then suddenly I can't pay my host and my blog goes totally down.

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  27. I'm with GoDaddy but I'm considering switching to another host when it's time for my renewal next month. They're fine as a host but I don't really like supporting them because of their stances on certain issues. I've had (and moved) websites before, so switching wasn't really a big deal for me. It's not difficult, but I did follow Parajunkee's (Ashley has a good one too) tutorial.

    As someone else mentioned, your costs do go up after your first year. (Or you could move to a different host and get THEIR first year cost each year. Moving is kind of a pain though.) With GoDaddy my renewal is going to be about $110/year and that's includes the domain renewal. That's not bad, less than $10/month, but I do understand being a teenager and having limited funds. I'm not sure if you can pay monthly or not.

    I don't use UBB. I've considered it, but I'm okay without it. I have a plugin that lets me set up templates, so I have one for reviews, one for TTT posts, etc. It's not as fancy as UBB, but it's free. I got my design elsewhere too, because I fell in love with it when I was searching for free ones. (Unfortunately it wasn't free!) I do like Tweak Me a lot though, and I'll probably go with it next time. It offers a lot of options.

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  28. I'm self hosted but I have money to invest in my site. It's a facet of my business. I think you are doing a great job as is, and I would not invest anything, until you are out of school and you can move your blog to more of a career type thing. If not keep it as a hobby...

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  29. Congrats on the 3 year mark!

    I'm in the exact same situation! I've coming up on my 2 year anniversary and I've been seriously considering switching as well. I actually started out on wordpress's free platform specifically because I knew one day I'd switch over to self-hosting and it would be a easier transition than moving from from anywhere else. The prettier designs is a big push for me. In my dreams, I'd move over to self-hosting and then pay someone to redesign my look because I'm definitely not in love with the look I have now, but who knows!

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  30. The only reason I don't want to go with Ashley is because I have my own themes that I want to try out myself, but then again I want to go with her because she maintains everything at a pretty low cost. I don't know hahah. I will have to do more research myself, but for now I'll be sticking with blogger!

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  31. I use hostgator, and I pay 9.95 a month. I have three sites. I found importing very easy from blogger to wordpress. I had my site up, by myself now, within 24 hours. I use UBB but I wouldn't pay $20 a month. That is an extra $120 a year. I have bought about 3 themes and I love that my site is unique.
    I do love Ashley's work, so who knows what I would do if I was starting today.
    I have to say that whatever you do, get off blogspot! Once you are self-hosted you will have the freedom to do whatever you want and feel like more of a professional blogger. Your followers will find you wherever you are, don't worry.

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  32. I think I am pretty creative with blogger but do agree there are some neat plugins that can make wordpress easier. However, I like to customize almost everything and you can only customize plug-ins so much since you can't access the source of coding. Plus the cost can be scary!

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Hello there! (: Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one!