If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen a few tweets in the past about my contemplation about going self-hosted, it’s something i’ve been thinking about doing for a while. I actually made that big decision about a week ago… but only for a day.
Why go Self Hosted?
For me personally it was because I wanted plugins such as Yoast SEO, Google Analytics and I also wanted to be able to host adverts to earn some money through adsense. I would’ve loved to benefit from a new theme too, although I have grown to love my current one. It was basically a decision for me to properly take my blog to the next level because I felt i wasn’t going to go anywhere further with my WordPress Personal Plan.
What preparation was done?
Obviously going self hosted is a big thing in itself and can be quite costly. You’re moving your website to a new sever and no longer just have the responsibility of a domain, you have the responsibility of having your website with a new sever with a lot more control and freedom. Shop around for it. Find the best deals, read reviews, see what’s included and ask for friend recommendations. I also had 2 chats with advisors at Siteground for reassurance of what would be transferred and what the process would be like.
I ended up picking Siteground for its £2.95 per month deal, rave reviews about their customer service and how they were able to transfer my site for me meaning that I wouldn’t have to do much on my side of things. Things can get quite technical and Siteground can only do so much from their end. You do have to pay upfront for a minimum period of a year and the prices shown don’t include VAT. For just the hosting on the most basic plan it cost me around £42, and I also had to pay on top of that a £24 fee for them to transfer my site, although this is free is you go for the next plan up. I didn’t think that was too pricey and was happy to pay that. Siteground prices do actually go up quite a lot when it comes to your second year of hosting, I think the Startup plan goes from £2.95 to £8.95 so for another year of hosting it could get more costly.
What went wrong?
The whole reason I put off going self-hosted was because I wasn’t sure what got transferred from my old site to my new one. I was told that my followers, blog posts and photos would all transfer and I was happy with that. My theme wouldn’t come with me but I was going to get a new one anyway so I wasn’t bothered about that. I was told that my domain would transfer too but it was cost me £11.95 due to having a WordPress personal plan, but I got that moved over for free so not sure if that was a case of something trying to charge me for something I didn’t need to pay for.
Before the initial transfer, there were helpful advisors on hand to help guide me through it and I think that’s what Siteground’s selling point is, their extremely helpful customer service which seems to be 24/7. I was told to change some sort of host file (??) on my laptop which I didn’t really understand. Once i’d done that, not sure why I needed to, my website came up with a privacy error but once my site went over to the Siteground servers it seemed to go away. I happily customised my new website and was quite pleased with how it was looking!
But then my followers disappeared. I noticed on my dashboard that my follow count was 0. In two chats I had with customer service advisors I was told that my followers would transfer… and they didn’t. After a chat with a lady on the customer service team she told me that they don’t actually transfer followers but could see from that chats i’d had previously that I was promised that so they’d opened a ticket for me to get it sorted. After about half an hour of waiting, I was informed by another member of the team that Siteground can’t do that for me and I would’ve had to manually transfer them myself. The whole process was too complicated for me and I was so worried i’d mess up my website, that was my biggest fear throughout all of this.
After having such a stressful day of trying to get my website sorted with a lot of patience I decided to take Siteground up on their 30 days money back guarantee. It was simple enough to get a refund but I couldn’t get my £24 site transfer back, which slightly annoyed me but I did understand that they had transferred my site so I guess I paid for that service, although no longer did need it. Through the really helpful team at WordPress, I got my domain back onto WordPress servers but I still had a site privacy error. I got people to check off their devices and my site was working fine, but not for me. I knew it was something to do with the host file I changed in my laptop and trying to ask Siteground what i’d changed, since they had told me to, they weren’t helpful at all. I was rudely told that they couldn’t help me because I was no longer with them but all i needed was to know what to change. After the advisor reluctantly told me, I got it all sorted and am now back in the safety of WordPress.com
I don’t know if I was ridiculously stupid in terms of not being able to understand what I was being told to do or if self-hosting just isn’t for me. I’m annoyed I didn’t get on well with it and I think it’s put me off for quite a while. Although I do want to monetise my blog in the future i’m 100% happy blogging from the safety of WordPress with my cute theme and its easy access, even if I can’t access plugins or have ads on my blog!
I’m not trying to bash Siteground at all because a lot of bloggers I know have such success stories with them but I just didn’t get on well with them so if i do look to go self-hosted again i’ll see what other options there are for me!
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