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My Self Hosted WordPress Journey Part #1: The Technical Stuff

My Self Hosted WordPress Journey

Be sure to check out Part 2: Make it Yours!

 A lot of bloggers, including me, start out using one of the free blogging platforms (Blogger and WordPress.com being the most popular) while they are still figuring things out. Eventually, though, most (but definitely not all) bloggers get the itch to get rid of those extra characters in their domain name. They want to be independent, special, have a self hosted WordPress blog. However, it can be quite a task to figure out everything you need to do to successfully self host your blog, and since real money is usually involved, this can be intimidating!

Now, I’m no expert in this crazy self hosting WordPress thing, since I’ve only done it once ;-), but I learned a lot and want to share it with any budding bloggers out there. Especially because I got a lot of help and found some awesome resources, and I want to share!

Thus begins my Self Hosted WordPress Journey series! Over the next few weeks (months?) I’ll be posting the steps I took to get self hosted and the actual websites and resources I used conveniently linked for your clicking ease :)!

To start with, whenever you get a new website of any kind, or move things, there are some technical aspects that you need to take care of. Here I’ll let you know what worked for me and others that I asked, so that you can just follow the links and not worry about a thing!

Step 1: Get a Domain!

I suppose step .5 is to think of a name for your domain, but if you already have a blog that might be easier than it was for me. I wasn’t happy with my previous name, it just didn’t seem to fit anymore, so this was the perfect opportunity to change identities :). Once you think of a name, though, you need to go to one of those kind of scammy looking sites and see if it is available. Now, I know that this can be scary, so I’m here to help. When I was at this step I asked Angelya and The Oaken Bookcase for advice since she had recently made the move. What she recommended, and I used and also recommend, is NameCheap.com. For a dot com name it was $10.87 for a year, and this included a few extra handy things. One of those things is WhoIsGuard, which is a good thing. Basically, when you get a domain, all your info has to be stored, and spammers can get to some of those storage places easily. NameCheap uses WhoIsGuard to keep your info away from spammers (and stalkers for that matter…) which is definitely nice for us bloggers that already have to deal with enough of that junk!

Step 2: Get Hosting!

Awesome, you have a domain, now what? Well, having a domain name isn’t enough in today’s crazy world; you also need some server somewhere to hold your website for you and give it to anyone who wants to see it. This can often cost money, but Angelya was there to help me and you again with an awesome service called Safe Shark Hosting. Adam at Safe Shark Hosting believes that bloggers shouldn’t have to deal with all the hassle of hosting a blog if they don’t want to, because they should spend their time creating awesome content. To that end, he has a very cheap package for small blogs, and reasonable upgrades if your traffic gets too big. He is ridiculously helpful and efficient and responds to email questions practically instantly most of the time (I’m not kidding, I just email him at random times to see if he sleeps >.>). He’ll set everything up for you and I can vouch that he is completely trustworthy (since to set things up, he will need access to your website, ie a username and password, but then he makes his own account on your wordpress so you can have your normal password back ;-) ).

There are probably lots of other good options for hosting, but I doubt that any can beat Safe Shark for small blogs. Please comment if you know firsthand of other awesome hosting services though!

Step 2.5: Feedburner? Links?

Super, you officially have a self hosted WordPress blog now! But you want to make sure your previous readers can still find you! This might not be an issue for some people, but many of us have a Feedburner for all of our RSS needs, and it is important to remember to switch this over to the new site as soon as you start posting at your new home. Sooner would be preferable, actually, since it can take a couple of days for everything to propagate through apparently. And since I was a little confused about this when I handled mine, I’m pretty sure the only thing you have to/want to change is the actual feed address from your blog; leave everything else the same (even if you change names) so that people’s subscriptions don’t get messed up. If someone knows more about this than me, please leave a comment and I’ll update this!

Also, many of us try to be good bloggers and use intralinks to help our readers and our SEO. Guess what, all those links are probably still pointing to the old site, not good…. Have no fear! There is a plugin (Broken Link Checker) that you can use to change them all at once (awesome, right??), but until then be sure that any images from your media library are from your new domain and start linking to your new domain’s old posts. Also, I found it a good safety measure to make it really obvious on my old blog that we had moved, ie a big “Moved” sign with the new address across the header. This helps just in case you forget something or Google keeps pointing to your old site for a while. Anyone know of a better way to handle this?

All righty, that’s all the technical stuff I went through  for setting up a new, self-hosted WordPress.com site! The next part will handle the pretty stuff! This includes picking a new design or tweaking your old one for your new home, customizing your new WordPress.com blog with all those awesome plugins you’ve been hearing about, and more resources now that you’re all settled ;-).

Anything I’m missing that other WordPress.com users think would be good for new converts to know? Have a question that I may or may not be able to answer? Post comments!

And remember to subscribe for weekly reviews of awesome books and stop by again soon!

-AAnya from About The Story

© 2012 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Wish I had seen this 2 days ago when I decided to make the move to self-hosted. *laughs* About to start reading your Part 2 in a minute, but any suggestions about getting people to Stop subscribing on the old wordpress hosted site? I got 5 new subscription e-mails today…and at least 3 of them were from people who Liked the post stating that I would no longer be updating the old site, and directing them to the new one!

    Not a single one of my subscribers has come over to the new site, but eh. It’s not like I had a ton of them to begin with, and maybe they’re busy. But it does give me a laugh every time I get the e-mail telling me I got another subscription on a site that is basically dead now…
    Silvara recently posted…Unicorn on Speed Dial by Jeanette Cottrell (review)My Profile

    • Oh no, I’m sorry! You can get a redirect from your old site so it automatically goes to your new one, though I haven’t done it myself so I don’t know how to do it precisely. I just put a giant header on my old site with the new address and still get a few hits from that. I still also get subs to the old site, but I’m pretty sure they are bots to be honest, since what reasonable person would see a blog is closing/moving and still subscribe to it??

      If you can afford it, I recommend a giveaway that you mention on the old blog to get people to check out the new one and start spreading the word. You can include the link in my weekly Friday link up too to get the word out ;-)

      • I’ve got the huge banner up, like you suggested. And haven’t had any new subscribers since that post, however when looking for the solution to a completely different issue tonight, I came across something useful I hadn’t heard of before. Apparently if you have JetPack installed on your self-hosted WordPress site, and contact their support team with your old and new blog URLs, they will port over your stats and subscribers for you!

        So I just got done asking them nicely if they would do that for me. In case anyone else would like that request URL it is:

        http://jetpack.me/contact-support/

        I’m sure at least half of my subscribers there are bots, but we’ll see.

        As far as the giveaways, I have a few books I’ve been saving up to do that with, and am planning on doing an Amazon Gift Card at some point as well. Currently trying to get a hold of my boss as he told me to call him beginning of this month to find out if my layoff is going to go longer or if I’m going back to work this week. Don’t want to get anything started and then get called away in the middle. Which would happen. I’ll definitely use your linky to advertise once I get that set up though.
        Silvara recently posted…TBR ListsMy Profile

        • Awesome, thanks for the info! I had to turn JetPack off on my self-hosted because you can’t actually bulk delete it’s email subscribers if you want to use a different email service *sigh*

          Good luck with the job annoyances!

  2. I just wanted to let you know, that thanks to this post, anothernovelread.com, abookishheart.com, and literaryetc.com ALL use Safe Shark Hosting and all RAVE about how awesome Adam is. Thank you so much! :D

  3. Asti (A Bookish Heart) says:

    Okay, I didn’t see this until after making my switch but I think it’s really helpful! I completely second the recommendation for Safe Shark Hosting. Even though there’s no longer a free package, he still provides amazing service. I would still be scratching my head and completely clueless without his help. Oh, and changing the header to reflect the move was a great idea. I had to run off and do it right after reading this because it’s such a simple way to help people realize the change if they don’t actually bother reading your post. So thank you for this! :)

    • Yey! Oh, thanks for the update about Safe Shark’s services, I hadn’t realized. Glad the guide could help!

  4. Fantastic post and I LOVE the new design! I’m not sure but I think your library up in the right corner might be a bit broken though.. (unless you’re not reading anything at the moment!). It’s all a bit of a trial to get things set up the way you like but once it’s all done, the ability to have things just the way you like is priceless!

    • Thanks! It’s definitely not done yet, since the background still scrolls with the posts, and as pretty as pure white is, not actually what it’s going to look like ;-) And yes none of my plugins are set up yet, I’m just waiting for everything to be finished installing from the designer’s perspective and then I’ll go fix things that still seem wacky to me xD Thanks for letting me know though, since that is totally the sort of thing I’d forget to fix xD

  5. What a great post! I’ve been wanting to make the switch to being self-hosted, but I’m so scared to do it! Thank you for the link to Safe Shark Hosting … I’ll have to check it out!

    • Thanks! I know, it is super scary! But it wasn’t so bad with all the help I found, so let me know if you have any other questions or worries! In the end, it’s a lot of fun :)

  6. Yay! I can comment again!

    This was a great post. I’ve considered switching to a self-hosted WordPress blog at some point in the distant future, although for now the free version suits me rather well (and I’d need new business cards). If/when I do decide to switch I’ll definitely refer back to this, as it’s tremendously helpful.

    • Whew! I’m so sorry that I messed up the commenting :( Antispam Bee apparently doesn’t play nice with Jetpack according to the Internet, I’ll have to update my plugins section…

      Thanks! I’m planning on making a resources page to have these two posts and a couple more how-tos that I’m thinking of so that they are easy to find in the future :D And send me any questions if you think of things I didn’t cover :D

Trackbacks

  1. […] of On Starships and Dragonwings has now made the move to self-hosted WordPress and has written about her journey in two parts: […]

  2. […]  Welcome back to the second part of My Self Hosted WordPress Journey! If you didn’t see the first part, check it out for information on all the technical stuff you need to set up a self hosted WordPress! […]

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