Hop in for a new journey!
On today’s blog post, I want to talk about something every blogger probably thought at least once: I want to talk about self-hosting.
But first, let’s catch up. I had several book blogs before. I tried several blogging-platforms: Bloggin, WordPress… Every blog I owned were on a « free plan« , meaning I paid nothing for its design, for its hosting, etc. With my latest blog, I felt very frustrated because a free plan also means the controls we have over our own blog are very limited. I had a lot of ideas for the design, I wanted to add more widgets, buttons, but I simply couldn’t do it. For that to happen, I had to upgrade my WordPress plan. Quickly, I fell short on motivation to keep this blog running. I also was feeling like my views weren’t doing many numbers because I couldn’t control correctly my blog.
So, why am I back? During lock-down, I really took the time to read more books and more books that I really liked. All those books I said I hadn’t had the time to read pre-COVID crisis were my companions for this peculiar time (yes Priory of the Orange Tree, you big boy, I’m looking at you). And there was one that did give me back the want to blog and ramble about the books I read and loved.
Read my review for In the Shadow of the Sun, the book that get me back to blogging
And just like that, Ursa Reads was born! Well, not really just like that. After the failure of my previous blog, I wanted to really think about it. I spent several weeks planning and organizing my new blog. And as I did just that, I stumbled across the notion of self-hosting.
What is self-hosting?
It feels like such an obscure notion, but it’s actually quite easy. Self-hosting your own blog means that your blog resides on your own server. Okay, it’s not really more understandable.
A self-hosted blog is a blog you took back into your own hands. For that, you generally need to subscribe to a hosting service, such as BlueHost or LyricalHost*. These kinds of companies rent you digital storage space for your blog.
Self-hosting your blog allows you to take control back over it. Your wildest fantasies are now possible (within the limit of the HTML power)! It’s like the dream, isn’t it?
*I am not affiliated to any of these websites.
The advantages of self-hosting
I seriously thought about self-hosting my new blog, Ursa Reads. But before I dived into the big blue, I wanted to inquire a little more about the advantages of self-hosting. This is how I stumbled upon Jenniely and their absolutely useful article on How to Self Host Your Blog and Get Your Own Domain Name. Everything I needed to know was in this post! And more and more, going self-hosted felt like the right decision. If you’re thinking about self-hosting your blog, I recommend you to read Jenniely’s post and other useful articles about the process, but here’s a quick list of self-hosting advantages:
- You have full control over your blog, from its layout, search engine optimization (also known as SEO), advertising revenue, additional functions, and more.
- Every. Custom. Themes. They’re yours. Every single one of them.
- You have access to the CSS of your blog, meaning you can twist and fix every aspect of your blog.
- Self-hosting services are usually cheaper than Worpress premium plans.
It’s everything I felt robbed of with my latest book blog. While I used to feel frustrated back then, self-hosting was offering everything I could have dreamt of. But then, why isn’t Ursa Reads self-hosted?
Why I decided to not self-host my blog
It’s true, after everything, I decided not to self-host my blog. But why? Self-hosting felt like the dream!
I’m a student, meaning except for my scholarship that helps me cover the expenses for my studies, I make no income. I have rent to pay, grocery shopping, and other essential needs to cover. And while most hosting services are quite cheap, they ask you to pay in advance for the whole year. Meaning I had to pay almost 100€ ($118) at once. Which I really cannot afford for now. I have a summer job, and I am about to start my (low-paid) internship, but it still feels like a HUGE investment.
And I kept in memory the failure of my previous blogs, and I had no idea how Ursa Reads will do. I didn’t want to invest that much money if it was going to fail. So, I took the decision to not self-host my blog. For now.
« For now » is the keyword. I still want to self-host my blog one day. It is one of the main goals I hope to achieve with Ursa Reads, and I’m giving myself some time to see if it is possible. I’ll make a new decision by the time 2020 ends, see if I’m still motivated to blog, if the numbers are here and if I can invest money into it. In the meantime, I’m taking things slow and enjoying the journey.
I decided to write this article not to cry for help but because when I made my research, I only read posts about how great self-hosting is. How life-changing it is. And I wanted to share my experience with others and help those who, like me, were wondering about self-hosting their blog.
While self-hosting seems great, it is not for everyone. Do not, in under any circumstances, jeopardize your essentials needs just to have a pretty blog. Think more about it, take your time to make your decision. You still can have a great blog with a free plan.
Read about the free resources that I use to make my blog super:
If you ever want to support and help Ursa Reads takes it to the next step, I created a ko-fi. You can pay for the many coffees I drink while blogging (I’ve been drinking one while writing all of this — they’re my motor). But most importantly, you can support my blog by commenting, liking, and sharing my posts — and not only mine but also those of every book bloggers you like. This is the kind of support that truly matters.
I hope my post will help you take your decision if you’re thinking about self-hosting,
And if you already did, tell me how and why you decided to self-host your blog!