Three Things no one tells you about going self-hosted
Migrating a blog hosted via WordPress (wordpress.com) or Blogspot to a self-hosted site is a rite of passage. At least, it felt that way for me anyway. It’s a huge step for bloggers alike, but it comes with added responsibility – and a bit of work to get it there in the first place.
I spent a lot of time researching how to migrate a blog before I took the plunge and found plenty of information out there. Confident I knew everything there was to know, I took the first step to make my blogging dreams come true.
A common expression is that you don’t really learn to drive until you have passed your test… and I found this process to be much the same thing. Each and every one of us will have a different experience. In my research, I was never really told what to expect once my blog was successfully migrated. If you are looking to find out a little more on that subject, then you’ve certainly come to the right place!
My experiences are written from the perspective of migrating a site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Whilst one the points I am going to make you aware of is exclusive to WordPress, I think the other advice is non-platform specific. I hope it is of some use to you.
Transferring a domain is not an overnight process
Whilst this piece of advice is certainly out there, I was stubborn to accept it. I tried everything I could to try and get my website live once the transfer of my domain had been processed. The transfer in itself took a couple of days to process, during which time my blog was still live via wordpress.com. Once I had authorised WordPress to action the transfer, however, I had to wait a couple of days for the DNS server to update before my domain would show as a live website.
There really is no way around this. Believe me, I tried. Try to set up your website before these settings have updated and you’ll find yourself up against a brick wall. Sure, it’s new and exciting and OH MY GOSH… but you’ll have to rein it in for a day or two.
I repeat. No. Way. Around. This.
Patience, friends. I wasn’t and the temptation to make my laptop pay the price was unreal.
WordPress Import software is flawed
Finally, your website goes live. It has no content, but, FINALLY, it is live. Once you have installed the necessary software to get your blog up and running, the next step is to export your old blog or website. Once you have the export, you are going to need to import that file into your new dashboard.
But there’s a catch. I referred to numerous sources when encountering the glitch personally and it appears to be a long-term problem. I found that the WordPress importer software didn’t import ANY of my media files. So, I had to import them all again manually.
Doesn’t sound like too much of a problem, until you realise that all your blog posts are trying to link to media files that are no longer located where they used to be. Thankfully the WordPress dashboard has a means of detecting broken links, and this monitors everything for you. After my initial import failure, I had just over 300 broken links to fix. I still have just about 200 left to fix. It’s not a small task, but it isn’t difficult either.
My advice, set aside time for unexpected IT technical issues. Even if you don’t particularly have the know-how, the internet is a wonderful thing. The greatest commodity you can have in the first few days of setting your new site up is time.
You’re going to start noticing lots of comments. Great, right?
Not necessarily. A lot of these (and I really mean a LOT) are going to be spam. Thankfully, there are some great plugins that can filter out the vast majority of spam comments. Some are still flagged in your spam box, so you will have to review/delete them yourself.
By way of example, in two and a half weeks since going self-hosted, this is the number of spam comments I’d had:-
Realistically, I’ve only had to manually review and delete a further 12-15 or so comments, so a lot of the hard work is done for you. At present, I am only using the free version of Akismet, but depending on your blog content, you may have to opt for a paid subscription to cover you. If you are looking for coverage yourself, as ever the best thing to do is shop around. There are plenty of options out there.
If you have had an issue that I haven’t mentioned above, or any other advice, please let me know in the comments! There are so many different sources out there; it can be difficult to know where to turn.