Flying Solo

“Should I host my own blog?” Sooner or later, every blogger will ask that very question. Eventually, you will want to know the pro’s and cons of hosting your own blog vs staying with a free host like blogger or WordPress.com. Is it worth the expense and all the trouble to fly solo?

I recently did the research and came to the conclusion that it was well worth the expense and effort to “wing it” myself. I’ll share everything I learned, some things the hard way! There’s a great deal of information out there but this will be a stripped down collection of what I feel is the most important information you need to know about this subject matter. Ultimately, it’ll still be your decision whether to be your own pilot or continue to let someone else fly your plane.

Let’s start with a simple comparison of the two choices. We will use WordPress.org (self hosting) and WordPress.com (free blog host) just to compare apples to apples.

Feature/Option

WordPress.com (Free) WordPress.org (Self Hosting)
Your own Domain name No (http://name.wordpress.com) Yes
Hosting cost per month Free Average is $5-$10 per month
Easy Management Yes No (lots of manual updates)
Open Plugin support NO YES
Open Theme support NO YES
Customizable html/css code NO Yes
Automatic Backups Yes No
Allows Ads No Yes

The verdict? Well, it depends on you, of course. How serious are you about blogging? What is the goal of your blog? If it’s just a personal blog and you are not that technically savvy then perhaps the free choice is the right fit for you. However, if you enjoy tinkering with this stuff anf want full and complete control of your blog then self-hosting is a no-brainer. It’s also the right choice if you want to have a professional or business blog with any hopes of monetizing it.

Preflight Checklist

  1. download wordpress software (use peazip to unzip files)
  2. Register new domain name
  3. Register new web host (WordPress approved hosts )
  4. Export all posts/comments from existing blog

Spreading Your Wings! (Here are Detailed instructions from WordPress.org )

  1. Create a database for WordPress on your web server, as well as a MySQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it.
  2. Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.
  3. Open wp-config.php in your favorite text editor and fill in your database details.
  4. Upload your WordPress files with an FTP program such as the free Filezilla to the desired location on your web server:
    • If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (but excluding the directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.
    • If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your web site (e.g. http://example.com/blog/), rename the directory wordpress to the name you’d like the subdirectory to have and move or upload it to your web server. For example if you want the WordPress installation in a subdirectory called “blog”, you should rename the directory called “wordpress” to “blog” and upload it to the root directory of your web server.
  • Run the WordPress installation script by accessing wp-admin/install.php in your favorite web browser.If you installed WordPress in the root directory, you should visit: http://example.com/wp-admin/install.phpIf you installed WordPress in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, you should visit: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/install.php
  • Import all posts/comments into new blog
  • Upload all themes and apply the one you want to use
  • Upload all plugins and active the ones you want to use
  • Add all badges and widgets that you want to use

Postflight checklist

  1. change feedburner information
  2. change technorati information
  3. change all links to blog in profiles to new url (twitter, friendfeed, etc.)
  4. Spread the word about the change
  5. Backup database/blog (schedule regular backups as well)
  6. Optional: If you want to redirect traffic from your old wordpress.com blog to your new self-hosted wordpress.org blog then checkout this PDF from Blog-Well.com.

Free blog software

www.wordpress.org

Free unzipping utility

PeaZip

Free Automatic Blog Backup Services

blogbackuponline(50 MB of storage)
WordPress Plugin for Database backup

Free FTP Software

FileZilla

Free blog themes & templates

http://themes.wordpress.net

http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

11 free magazine style themes

WPThemesFree

Mashable’s 70 fresh & modern templates

Free blog plugins

WordPress Plugin Library

Best plugins

Word Press stats

addthis plugin for wp

FriendFeed Comments

Retaggr

Category Cloud

Search Everything

Send to Email

Sent to Printer

Subscribe to comments

Akismet

Best widgets

meebo

clustrmap

alltop badges

twitter badges

retaggr

mybloglog

disqus or Sezwho

Final Thoughts
Speaking for myself, I must admit that I wish I made the decision to fly solo a long time ago!
Despite all warnings and fears, it truly isn’t that difficult to do. Best of all, it’s tremendously more fun and rewarding. Think of it like this: Do you want to be the passenger on a commercial airliner or do you want to fly your very own plane? Do you want to fly from point to point or do you want to go where you want to go and do loop de loops? Give it a test flight and I hope to see you up in the clouds real soon!

Share
  • Saha

    yay for flying solo!!!

  • Saha

    yay for flying solo!!!

  • http://www.siamhost4u.com/ antie

    Thankyou for your knowledge thx.

  • http://www.siamhost4u.com antie

    Thankyou for your knowledge thx.

  • http://500hats.typepad.com davemc500hats

    thanks for the detailed writeup… great info.fyi, you can however map your own domain name using wordpress.com (hosted) blogs… it costs $10 to do the mapping (+ whatever you have to pay to setup the domain), and it can take a few steps, however i've been able to do it fairly quickly after making the attempt several times. possible to do it in less than 10 minutes, assuming DNS redirects quickly.

  • http://500hats.typepad.com davemc500hats

    thanks for the detailed writeup… great info.

    fyi, you can however map your own domain name using wordpress.com (hosted) blogs… it costs $10 to do the mapping (+ whatever you have to pay to setup the domain), and it can take a few steps, however i've been able to do it fairly quickly after making the attempt several times. possible to do it in less than 10 minutes, assuming DNS redirects quickly.

  • http://wordpresshosting.getoninter.net/ Richard Metcalfe

    WordPress has become the most popular used platform in its category. A recent search i conducted on Alexa found wordpress.com to be number 22 in the top most visited websites “globally”.Wordpress not only makes it easy to create a blog but it has also been used to develop websites, simply because it makes it so easy to update.Regards,Richard

  • http://wordpresshosting.getoninter.net Richard Metcalfe

    WordPress has become the most popular used platform in its category. A recent search i conducted on Alexa found wordpress.com to be number 22 in the top most visited websites “globally”.

    WordPress not only makes it easy to create a blog but it has also been used to develop websites, simply because it makes it so easy to update.

    Regards,
    Richard

  • http://wordpresshosting.getoninter.net/ Richard Metcalfe

    WordPress has become the most popular used platform in its category. A recent search i conducted on Alexa found wordpress.com to be number 22 in the top most visited websites “globally”.Wordpress not only makes it easy to create a blog but it has also been used to develop websites, simply because it makes it so easy to update.Regards,Richard

  • http://wordpresshosting.getoninter.net Richard Metcalfe

    WordPress has become the most popular used platform in its category. A recent search i conducted on Alexa found wordpress.com to be number 22 in the top most visited websites “globally”.

    WordPress not only makes it easy to create a blog but it has also been used to develop websites, simply because it makes it so easy to update.

    Regards,
    Richard