When I was looking to start a blog I kept seeing everyone suggests that if you wanted to be serious about blogging you should self host your blog. Self-hosting refers to your ability to own your blog. If you use a free site, you don’t have control over what happens to it.
Just so you know, this post may contain affiliate links. Meaning I receive commissions for purchases made through those links, at no cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful. You can read my disclosure policy for more info.
Why Self Host Your Blog?
When you self host your blog and purchase a domain name allows you to not only customize your domain (site address) but also ensures the blogging platform name won’t be part of that domain name. So you can do:
www.elizabethstapleton.com instead of www.elizabethstapleton.squarespace.com
or www.lessdebtmorewine.com instead of www.lessdebtmorewine.wordpress.com
Using Bluehost & Why Everyone Suggests it
When I decided to start what was Friday Night Shenanigans (now Less Debt, More Wine), it seemed every thing I read suggested using Bluehost for self-hosting. You probably see the same thing and may be wondering why do I need to self host my blog with Bluehost? Aren’t there any other awesome hosting companies out there?
There are, but the reason you hear about Bluehost sooo much is because they have an awesome affiliate program. I should know, I’m part of their affiliate program. 😉
The Biggest Bloggers recommend Bluehost but Don’t Necessarily Use it
Some of the biggest bloggers out there that share Bluehost don’t actually use it anymore. Truth be told I don’t use it anymore either. But I still recommend it in certain circumstances. I think it’s great to start with, but I’ve since moved to BigScoots.
Self Hosting on WordPress Using Bluehost
After seeing many recommendations for Bluehost, I chose it as my hosting provider. It is one of the best decisions I made when I was new to blogging and had no clue what I was doing. I still think it is great for beginner bloggers. It offers low cost shared hosting and lots of support.
If it weren’t for Bluehost’s ease of use and great guides and customer service, I probably would have given up on blogging a long time ago. Here is everything you need to know about Bluehost:
Since I am self-hosted on WordPress I needed a website hosting company to do the hosting (I don’t have my own servers etc.) I chose BlueHost and am glad I did, they had amazing customer support.
I’m not joking when I say I didn’t really understand what “hosting” meant. All I knew was that in order to skip the “wordpress.com” at the end of my blog URL I would need to self-host and Bluehost would do the actual hosting.
What it Means to Self Host Your Blog
When you self-host your blog, it means you really own your website, think of it this way, Self Host Your Blog/using Bluehost, is the house you live in and WordPress is the block your house is on, you chose your address and the amenities available to you depend on the neighborhood you’re in.
What I Bought With BlueHost
When I purchased Bluehost, I bought hosting for 3 years, site backup for three years, Sitelock Domain Security for 1 year, and Domain privacy protect for 1 year, my domain registration for the first year was included for free. The grand total came to $232.15. A year later I renewed all the one year stuff for a total of $51.75.
Now when you are just starting out, this can seem like a lot of money, I promise you there is real bang for your buck. Self-hosting means setting up your own customized email address (again looking more professional) such as, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Customer Support
When I got Teachable to sell my courses I wanted to create a subdomain to my school and I tried and failed, repeatedly. Fortunately, BlueHost has live support and they got me set up properly in no time, at no additional cost.
They also have great tutorials if you really are determined to do it yourself. Anytime I’ve had a question about something I’ve gotten a complete answer quickly, there really is nothing better for a near luddite like me.
If you have any questions about self-hosting or Bluehost, let me know in the comments.
Why I Switched to BigScoots
Towards the end of 2016 I moved from Bluehost to BigScoots. I moved because my site had grown and ultimately outgrown the services I had with Bluehost. While I could have upgraded and stayed with Bluehost I decided instead to switch to another provider, based on the recommendation of others.
I was worried about the switch, but my new hosting company, BigScoots did all the work for me. The only thing I had to move over were my email addresses.
What I Pay with BigScoots
I pay more for BigScoots ($10.95 a month) than I did with Bluehost, but my site has been running smoothly ever since. Also every time I’ve had a problem, like that time I tried to do some coding myself and managed to take my site down, they responded and fixed it ridiculously fast.
Bigscoots (hosting) is the hosting service I use. The customer service has been fantastic. When I moved my Squarespace site to wordpress, I had a lot of questions, they had the answers. When I screwed up a few things, they were able to help me fix them. They have been awesome to work with and I highly recommend using BigScoots for hosting your blog.
Hosting starts at just $3.55/month, which is excellent considering how amazing their customer service is.
Squarespace- Blogging Platform + Hosting
Squarespace is an all in one solution. The platform comes with hosting which is why you pay to use it, if you pay for an annual subscription they will include a domain for the first year. After the first year you will have to pay to renew the domain.
If you don’t want to deal with multiple companies, then Squarespace is a great option. It is also very user friendly as a drag and drop platform.
Bottom Line, Should You Self Host Your Blog?
If you are looking for a hobby then you can definitely get by with a free site. However, if you are looking to start something like a freelance writing business or want to make money online then looking professional with a self-hosted site is a smart way to go.
How you want to go about self-hosting will require you to first decide what blogging platform you would like to use. With Squarespace, it comes with hosting. With WordPress you’ll need to decide on a hosting company, Bluehost, and BigScoots are just two such options, there are of course many others out there. However, since I don’t have any experience with those other options, I didn’t cover them here.
Have questions about self hosting? Let me know in the comments!