First of all, Mohamad is one of my first blog friends. He has supported me during my entire blog journey. A few days ago, I migrated to a Self-hosted blog and then I backed out shortly. I felt honored when Mohamad asked me to do a guest post on my experience. Thanks Mohamad.
For a while, I was getting quite upset about how the quality of my pictures were getting degraded after I uploaded them. I learnt that WordPress compresses the picture by default and I couldn’t edit the setting with the free wordpress.com account. To my horror, the watermark software I was using during the initial days was also doing its part with image degradation. Overnight I decided that I am done and that I am moving to a self-hosted blog. I considered Bluehost and Inmotion hosting after a bunch of online reading & opinions from bloggers – Andrea & Brittany.
I chatted with both the hosting providers for a while asking a lot of questions. There was zero wait time with Inmotion hosting and they responded to my questions within seconds. I felt like they were putting much effort into responding asap rather than understanding my question & really helping me. For a few questions, they kept repeating the same thing. I felt like I was talking to a robot. With Bluehost, the wait time was outrageous anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes. And they took time to respond to every question I asked. Even though I was bothered by the delay, they were professional, patient & answered my questions really well with needed explanations. If I called them the wait time was much lesser. And again they were very good explaining & assisting me during the calls as well. So I thought that if I couldn’t handle the long wait times associated with the chat maybe I could just call them and I went with Bluehost.
I got a good deal and went with basic plan & signed up for 3 years. I was super excited. I claimed my free domain name through chat. The domain name got split as I typed and the agent created a domain with half of the name. It was a honest mistake and he created a ticket to fix it. I didn’t expect it to take so long. After a while, when I requested that I wanted my website up and running asap, they created a higher priority ticket. I didn’t hear anything next morning not even an ETA. So I called them and they said they understand what I am going through and there were many others with similar requests which were all queued up and that they will be handled in the FCFS basis. I enjoyed my free blog and I thought with what I pay I would get more control, more convenience, more speed but it seemed to be not the case.
After about 48 hours and multiple requests, they fixed the issue. I logged in, got wordpress , theme, jetpack installed. The first thing I did was to edit the code so that the WordPress doesn’t compress the pictures and I tried uploading a picture and the quality didn’t actually stand out. When I inquired about it, I realized that I have to pay more for help with web development. Then I created a post with a ping-back to my favorite weekly photography challenge and I would normally see my link appearing among the responses right away but I waited & waited refreshing the page but nothing happened. I called them and they told me that the cache will refresh every 4 hours and there’s no way to tell when the server cache last refreshed and it can take a minimum of four hours to God knows how long! I felt stupid. Not only I didn’t receive any benefits by self-hosting and felt like I actually lost some privileges.
I am assuming if I pay more it may solve the issues that I had. But I felt I had put too much time & effort into it & I didn’t want to do it any more, at least not right now. I did learn a few things. And the people I worked with at Bluehost were very helpful and understanding. When I asked them to close my account, they did it in a snap and refunded my money within minutes. They didnt even ask for feedback! The only thing that bothered me so much was that I migrated my 28 followers to my new location and there was no way to bring them back to my old site. I tried a couple ways and then I reached out to everybody individually explaining the issue & asking them to follow me back. I’m also getting a lot of calls from hosting companies. I don’t know how they got my info.
To Summarize my case:
Pros of Self-hosting
- Unlimited theme customization
- Hosting your own domain means it’s yours. Your hosting company have to answer to you if there’s a downtime.
- You get 24*7 support
Cons of Self-hosting
- Costs seem to add up if you want to fully enjoy all the benefits. Basic plan clearly doesn’t seem to work.
- It takes time & research to find the best hosting company that works for you.
I think one day I will move to a self hosted blog, after a lot more research… Now I am happy with the wordpress.com and I don’t have to worry about Akismet or Jetpack or Backup and just focus on my weblog ! Just hoping they won’t delete my blog 😉
If you have a self-hosted blog and if its working out for you, do comment below.