Self-hosted WordPress is a web application used by bloggers, coaches, content creators, and businesses of all shapes and sizes that allows users to create and manage their own websites by using the WordPress content management framework.
WordPress is the industry standard for bloggers and creators of all kinds.
It’s a highly flexible, highly configureable content management system that empowers you to create amazing websites with ease!
But it can be difficult to get started if you don’t know where to begin. In this post I’ll go over some of the most common options available when starting out on your journey as an entrepreneur or blogger.
Self Hosted WordPress vs Hosted WordPress
There are two primary methods in which people choose when it comes to their WordPress sites:
The first is self-hosting WordPress yourself which you can download for free at WordPress.org, and and a hosted version available at WordPress.com.
A self hosted solution means that you’re going to have complete control over everything from installing plugins to customizing themes. It also comes at a cost but there are many benefits to doing so. The biggest benefit being flexibility. You can do whatever you want with your site without having to ask permission first.
For some people, like me, that’s music to my ears! I want complete control over everything so I can do whatever I want to do with my sites.
But everyone isn’t like me in that regard.
WordPress.com offers a different kind of convenience than self-hosting because they take care of much of the technical work involved.
The Automattic team provides all the technical details you need, all you need to do is simply login.
But they come with limitations such severely limited functionality and customization options.
If you need something specific then WordPress.com is probably not what you’re looking for.
In addition, even though it’s free to sign up for a hosted account at WordPress.com, there are extra expenses if you want to gain access to higher levels of functionality, and even then, there are still limitations on what you can and cannot do.
The best option depends entirely upon how comfortable you feel working within these systems. There isn’t one right answer here.
What is a self hosted WordPress site?
A self-hosted WordPress site means you are hosting it yourself on your computer or server instead of paying someone else to host it for you. You can choose from many different options when choosing where to host your blog including shared hosts, VPSs and dedicated servers.
The benefits of having a self-hosted WordPress website:
1. It’s free! There are no monthly fees associated with running a self-hosted WP website outside of the hosting plan you will need to get it online. The only other costs involved in setting up a new self-hosted WP site is any premium plugins or themes you may want to use.
2. Your data is yours. If something goes wrong with your site, there isn’t anyone but you who has access to your files. No one else knows what’s going on behind the scenes so if anything does go wrong, you’re not stuck dealing with an IT department trying to figure out how to fix things.
Self-hosting gives you complete control over your site security. With most other hosting companies, they have root level access to everything on your site. They could change any file at anytime without telling you about it. That makes them vulnerable to hackers because they don’t know what changes were made. On top of that, some people use automated tools like wpScanner to scan sites looking for vulnerabilities. These scans look for common problems such as weak passwords, outdated software versions, etc.
When these scanners find issues, they report back to the owner of the site letting them know about potential threats. Self-hosting eliminates those risks completely.
When you run your own site, you have full control over its performance. For example, you can adjust caching settings, tweak database queries, add custom PHP code, and more. All of these factors affect the speed of your site. By controlling every aspect of your site, you can make sure it runs smoothly regardless of traffic levels.
With a self-hosted site, you can customize almost everything about your site. From changing colors to adding extra features, you can do whatever you want. Some popular customization methods include installing additional plug-ins, creating child theme folders, modifying CSS stylesheets, and even writing custom HTML/PHP scripts.
You also gain total control over your site. When you set up a self-hosted account, your host will set up WordPress for you or you be given FTP credentials that will allow you to upload files directly on to your hosting service (manually installing WordPress is recommended for more advanced users). In addition, you can install third party applications through cPanel, giving you greater flexibility than you would otherwise have.
If you ever decide to grow beyond just blogging, then self-hosting provides great scalability. You won’t have to worry about upgrading servers when you reach capacity; instead, you’ll simply upgrade your domain name.
If you’ve got ideas for future projects, then self-hosted allows you to easily create multiple websites from a single installation. Plus, you can move your entire blog between different hosts whenever you feel ready.
9. Backup & Restore.
Your content is safe whether you’re using a free web host or a paid plan. The only thing you need to backup are your themes and plugins. And since all backups are stored in the same place, restoring your site is easy too!
Search engine optimization is important for many reasons: It helps drive organic search results, increases brand awareness, and improves user experience. But SEO doesn’t work unless Google sees your site as relevant to their algorithm.
If you’re not running your own server, there’s no way for Google to see how well optimized your pages are.
Since you’re the one who owns your site, you are in control 100%. No one else has access to your data except yourself. Your privacy matters so much more with self-hosting.
Since you’re responsible for securing your site, you get to choose exactly where your visitors go. There are plenty of options available if you’d rather keep things private.
The cost of starting an online business isn’t cheap. However, by choosing self-hosting, you save money while gaining freedom.
Self-hosting gives you complete independence. With a hosted solution, you don’t have any say in what happens behind the scenes. On top of that, most providers charge monthly fees for services they provide. Self-hosting means you pay once and never again.
There are tons of resources out there to help you learn how to use WordPress. Whether you’re looking for tutorials, videos, books, forums, blogs, etc., chances are someone already created them.
How do you get started with a self-hosted WordPress site?
We’re going to cover that in a lot more detail, but getting started with a self-hosted WordPress site all you need to do is signup for a hosting provider, register your new domain name, and follow our step-by-step guide here.
Register Your Domain Name
Registering a good domain name is so important for your site – it’s your address on the internet where your site is going to live. So make sure you pick something catchy and memorable.
Once you’ve registered your domain name, you should point it at your hosting company’s IP address.
Don’t worry – we’re going to cover all of that.
Now comes the fun part…
Set Up Your Theme Options
Getting your new self-hosted WordPress looking exactly the way you want it to look is the part that people enjoy the most.
You’ll be able to customize everything about your theme including colors, fonts, layout, widgets, menus, and even add custom CSS code. You also get full control over your design elements like background images, header styles, footer styles, page templates, sidebar layouts, and more.
Add Your Core Website Pages
A self-hosted WordPress blog is more than just a collection of posts. There are several pages you need to have on your site.
At a minimum you need a contact page, an “about me” page, and a services page if you’re starting an online business.
In addition, you can create additional pages such as a portfolio or products/services page depending on your needs.
Creating content is easy when using WordPress because you can easily write articles, post photos, upload video clips, and insert audio files right from within the dashboard.
Optimize WordPress Site Performance
WordPress sites tend to load faster than other platforms due to its lightweight nature. But optimizing your site doesn’t mean making changes to your theme or plugins. It simply refers to improving performance through better coding practices.
For example, instead of loading every single image file into memory, only download those needed. Use caching whenever possible. And compress images before uploading them to your server. These simple tweaks can improve overall speed dramatically.
Install Plugins & Addons
Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your site by adding features not included in core WordPress. They range anywhere from basic things like social media sharing buttons to advanced tools like SEO optimization.
The best thing about installing plugins is that you can always uninstall them later without losing anything. If you find one plugin isn’t working well enough, try another until you find the perfect fit.
There’s a lot you can do with a self-hosted WordPress site.
What we’ve talked about here is only the tip of the iceberg.
For example, you can create a full-featured e-commerce store, you can create a digital marketing sales funnel with all its various steps and even create a huge corporate site using WordPress.