I made the decision to move over to self-hosted WordPress last week. I suppose it was a sort of indulgence; it’s not something I really needed to do. But I felt that I wanted to move onto the next stage while my blog’s still fairly young. Partly because a bit of me thought it might go horribly wrong and I’d somehow lose everything along the way – I decided I could live with that at this stage.
There was an option to have WordPress handle it all for me, at a cost of around $100. I’ve done little bits of web stuff in the past so I’m not totally new to it. I decided to gamble on doing it myself.
Exporting my original site was so much easier than I’d expected it to be. I thought the thing would be grinding away for hours, but it completed everything in moments. It still left everything just as it was on the old site (I’d actually worried that the ‘Export’ function would delete everything on the original site and the only copy would be the one packaged up in the zip file).
Buying the hosting package was very straightforward. I went with GoDaddy in the end. Not after any spectacular research, but just because I’d read some OK reports and I was able to buy a reasonable package with scope to host more sites if I get carried away with fancy ideas of having more than one blog. It compares really well to a hosting package I have for our work email and Joomla site, which is the only benchmark that I have. Note later – I’ve had some hosting issues and so would suggest a bit of research to find something that suits you personally.
Fetching my domain from my wordpress site was a bit of a faff, but mainly because I got a bit ahead of myself and didn’t follow the instructions closely. I already had thegirlbehind.com – I’d bought it via WordPress.com, along with the privacy options. I held myself up here by racing ahead, not turning the privacy options off first, not remembering what email address I’d originally registered with and then having to reset my password.
I got a bit flustered around here, but once I’d gone back and read everything again it was really simple.
There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between GoDaddy and WordPress.com, authorising different steps (but again I do emphasise that some of that was me wanting to race ahead). Once I’d done everything I needed to, it all happened really quickly.
Setting the new basic WordPress package up was really simple; it just took a few clicks and a little bit of info to set up.
Importing everything to the new package was the most hair-raising part. Again, my impatience got in the way and I was a bit flustered that it seemed to have only brought a few posts over. Then I realised that it was just taking a short time to upload everything (and I really do mean a short time; I think the whole thing was done in less than 10 minutes).
Template Picking took me about three days and a bit of frustration. I found something that I liked, although one of the main reasons for moving over was to attempt some basic building myself eventually. I’m never very good with too much choice and so did find this part a bit challenging (there are mesmerising numbers and styles of theme out there).
I’ve not worried too much about Plugins for now, although that flexibility was another reason for moving. And I did want the linkwithin thing set up as soon as I could as I’ve been envying that for weeks!
I actually had a problem with the linkwithin plugin in the middle of Sunday afternoon (something I’d done wrongly, I think). I found that issue resolved within about an hour via help on the WordPress forums. It’s great to know that there are people there who are prepared to help out and give what might be quite simple advice to people just starting out – I’d been tied in knots over it.
I think that, so far, I have two casualties coming out of the move:
- There’s an oddity in that, although the comments seem to have all moved over, there are some posts registering zero comments on the main page (but then the whole string is actually there on the individual post’s page). Not sure what’s happened there, and I don’t think it’s hugely concerning as the comments are still there.
- I found – and I have no idea why this happened – that although all of my external links moved across intact, all of the internal ones were lost. I took a couple of hours on Sunday evening to work through everything and I’ve (hopefully) managed to re-link them all and resolved it that way rather than looking for a fix. This was the kind of thing that was made much easier by moving over before I had much content.
I still feel very much at the start of using ‘real’ WordPress, and I hadn’t quite realised how well looked-after we were at WordPress.com – everything’s made so simple over there, and so it really is easy to just get on with writing. But I think everything’s set up here now and I can breathe a little sigh of relief!