My earliest blogging memories are of weeping in frustration over initially setting up. “Why was it all so complicated?” I wailed at the computer. Things became clearer, if something breaks, I may still panic but less blindly. However, I have long resisted the move to self-hosted, this, was a technical step too far. There is no geek in my spare bedroom willing to help out and in the back-end of the internet no one can hear you do that snotty “huh, huh, huh” noise of unadulterated sobbing. I moved to self-hosting without sobbing. I am no geek, if I can, then any fool can.
Truthfully; there were a couple of times I was almost in tears and at midnight one evening, I did consider giving up blogging completely, for ever and deleting everything. Just a little tiny strop.
To prove that even the meekest technical freak can get wise and get a little bit geeky, here is my advice for fellow self-hosting scaredy-cats;
Before you do anything, back up your blog. You are backing-up your blog regularly, aren’t you?
On wordpress, go to tools and ‘export’. A copy of your blog is then downloaded onto your computer. Save that onto an external hard drive. If something goes wrong a retrievable copy does exists. That is your safety net.
There is a wealth of advice and resources out there, the Tots 100 have lots of technical guides. I watched this video on how to set up a self hosted blog, some 70 billion times and in stop/start mode whilst moving stuff. Most hosting companies offering a migration service. That means that someone in the back-end of the internet, a sort of internet marsupial, will move it all for you. I imagine them in a dark room, large eyes staring forward at a bank of screens, inquisitive fingers moving swiftly about the keyboard; fixing things.
The internet marsupials will also pick up the pieces if, despite watching a video 70 billion times, it doesn’t go to plan.
Moving to self-hosted, does mean buying a domain name eg. helloitsgemma.com (that one is taken btw) and hosting (your very own space on the internet). I suggest buying both these things from the same place, removing at least one complication.
Self-hosting costs, but those costs give you the freedom to have a broader range of possible looks and formats for your blog. It allows you complete flexibility over your content.
Moving does introduce new layouts, new passwords, new set ups and some new jargon, my best advice is to keep plenty of biscuits to hand and work through it slowly. Keep a note of the passwords and log in details. Remember where you kept them.
I did feel as if I’d been given the keys to a very expensive car with no idea how to drive it, but taking it for a spin anyway. See me cruising along now, one elbow propped on the open window, with only the occasional bunny hop. There are somethings I’ve still not fixed, a bit like not being able to work the air conditioning or change the Sat Nav from some obscure location in France, minor issues. I may get the hang of it eventually. Expensive cars are essentially a car, the elements of driving are the same.
Self-hosting in a day, is not for me. What worked for me, was taking time. Buying the space, coming back a few days later, setting it up and organising a theme, in the meantime I may have forgotten where I’d noted my new log in details and locked myself out of my new blog, obviously, I didn’t feel stupid at all, not at all.
The truth is out there
Ultimately, the wonderful thing about the internet is ‘search engine it’ and an answer to your query will be out there somewhere. Alternatively, bloggers are a friendly and helpful bunch, ask a fellow blogger, ask on twitter. There are marvellous social media icons and tutorials here and here and a wealth of information here.
Don’t ask me, all I know is in this post.