It’s Not You, It’s Me…Breaking Up With My Self-Hosted WordPress Site

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you have probably grown tired of my lover’s spats. If you don’t remember them, I can refresh your memory herehere, here, and here!

Actually, I grew quite tired of these spats myself. After each one, I always vowed to leave WordPress.org for WordPress.com. But then, I always softened. Breaking up is hard…and messy. What if Dot Com wasn’t as low-maintenance as rumoured to be? Would I have to go begging Dot Org to take me back? Isn’t it easier to love the one you’re with?

My final nudge over the edge came from Janis (Retirementally Challenged). She innocently asked what advantages I had from being self-hosted.  I immediately replied that being able to use plugins gave me the freedom to create and personalize the site that I wanted. Janis persisted by asking what I used my plugins for. For every single feature that I mentioned (Contact Me Form, Site Security, Spam Filter, Site Stats, Social Icons, Site Back Up, Image Optimization even Festive Holiday Snow….)  Janis retorted that she received that same benefits on WordPress.com. Although a true techie, or even a bigger risk-taker, would undoubtedly experience an advantage in being self-hosted, I was not. Why was I remaining in a relationship that was not right for me?

Fortunately,  this past August, Mike Nelson (the head of my WordPress Meet Up Group…and all around nice guy) wrote and posted a step-by-step guide, for non-techies, on migrating from self-hosted to hosted WP. It was now time for me to dust off those instructions and put them into action.

This past week, I finally took the leap. I’d love to say that it was smooth sailing and an easy-peasy process. It ALMOST was…other than a VERY STUPID human error on my part, which lead to a HUGE wild goose chase and much unnecessary DRAMA!!

Anyway…..once that error got sorted (Mike Nelson to the rescue again), the rest of the process was straight-forward, although it did include large chunks of wait time. If you are remotely considering a similar move, I highly recommend following Mike’s post (NB When he says “Save,” he does not mean “Open.” Funny that!)

You are now reading this post at WordPress.com (drum roll, please)! There have been some adjustments required, and there’s still more to do. So far, I am extremely pleased with the results.  For less than half of the yearly fee that I paid to be self-hosted (73.57 CDN as opposed to 158.64 CDN), I now have a site that seems to suit me well. I have direct access to official Happiness Engineers (this makes me very happy, and Mike Nelson even happier)!  I also have a few other nifty features that I did not have on my other site.  These include email notification (to you) once I’ve replied to your comment, and a cool sidebar blogroll. Sadly this blogroll only shows WordPress blogs that I follow. If anyone knows a way to manually insert additional links, please let me know, Also, if any of these features are not working for you, or if you have any suggestions for change, please send me a Direct Message or share in the comments below.

When I contacted my (now ex-) hosting company about my decision, there was a brief moment that had the semblance of a tearful teenage goodbye. I even found myself responding with a well-worn, trite cliche (groan here)!

Hopefully, this new relationship will prove to be “the one!” Take it away, Neil!

 

Feature Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

 

90 Replies to “It’s Not You, It’s Me…Breaking Up With My Self-Hosted WordPress Site”

  1. Woohoo, congratulations, Donna, for making the most beautiful breakup ever, and save your money for the next fun experience 🙂 Your blog looks great and hopefully lower maintenance in the back end for you, too. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful! (as is Neil Sedaka!) I follow a few bloggers from another site and I don’t get the notifications and things that I love at WP. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasion swear at the computer but it’s a great site! Welcome!

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  3. It looks good on mobile, Donna…I’m glad Janis gave you good food for thought. I believe WP dot Com is every bit as good. Automatic isn’t going away anytime soon, either, not with 2 million people using wp. I think you will continue to be very happy with your decision.

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    1. Thanks, Terri – I should have listened more closely two-years ago when you told me the reasons that you switched from .org to .com. I sill have a couple of little things to sort out, but this post does seem to be getting through to my regular subscribers (insert HUGE sigh or relief here)!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats to you for navigating the computer world. I had a computer issue myself this week and had to have help to sort it out. Such a nice feeling to be up and running again! The site looks great!

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  5. I’m such a non-techie, Donna. Until you started talking about your issues, I never realized there was a .com and .org Word Press. It appears I have .com and I love it. I never have issues and for me, it’s so user friendly. That said, I’m not sure about the plugins as I really don’t know exactly their purpose. Whatever you go with, I will follow you anywhere! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done Donna! You transferred to WordPress.org, battled through the issues and then made the decision to ‘let go’ because it wasn’t working for you. I’m with WordPress.org and fingers crossed lately I haven’t experienced any issues. When I started blogging I didn’t even know there was a WordPress.com or perhaps I would have started with that. I’m looking at the direction of my blog and whether it is worth the fees to be self-hosted so thank your for the link to Mike’s post how how to transfer. I haven’t listened to Neil Sedaka for years and always loved that song! Happy blogging with no issues!! xxx

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  7. Good move, Donna, welcome to my side of the street (WordPress) that has nice breezes, sunshine, and easy, lazy days! We learn through trial and error and I’m sure you don’t regret a thing. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger ha ha. I’m sure you are going to be happier in this new relationship. I love the addition of Neil Sedaka by the way!

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Susan Grace
    (a happy WordPress customer😛)
    http://Www.swooninggrace.com

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    1. Hi, Molly – I haven’t been switched over for long (6 hours), but I have been working on the .com site all this past week. So far, I am extremely pleased with the changes. You can check how much storage your site is currently using with the free “My Simple Space” plugin (I was using 3 GBs for 350 image-heavy posts). The WP Personal Plan (that I am now on) allows you to keep your same domain name, omits advertising (unless you want it), gives you free access to the WP Happiness Engineers and gives you 6 GB of storage…all for 4.56 USD per month (less if you go with a two-year plan). 13 GB, and all of the previously mentioned features, plus a few more, costs 9.12 USD per month. Both of these options cost me less than I was paying to self-host. Let me know if you have any more questions about this. I’d be very happy to answer what I can.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That sounds pretty good, Donna. I’ll have to check and see how many GBs I’m using for storage. I have a lot of images I could delete, I’m sure. I wonder if I could set up a secure store on wordpress.com. I like the idea of keeping same domain name and no advertising.

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      2. Hi, Molly – There are a couple of different WP.com plans that you could consider. The Premium Plan includes: Custom Domain Name, Jetpack Essential Features, Email & Live Chat Support, Unlimited Premium Themes, Advanced Design Customization, 13GB Storage Space, Remove WordPress.com Ads, Simple Payments, Monetize your site and VideoPress support. The Personal Plan (that I now have) includes: Custom Domain Name, Jetpack Essential Features, Email & Live Chat Support, Dozens of Free Themes, Basic Design Customization, 6GB Storage Space, Remove WordPress.com Ads. They also have a Business Plan that allows for plugins. I like that WP.com offers different plans for different needs. My understanding is that it is relatively simple to switch their plans if you want to upgrade or downgrade once you start.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Fran – Thanks for noticing that. I was thrilled with this free blogroll feature. My only additional request is for this to include ALL blogs followed, not only the WP ones. Hopefully, there will be a fix for this that I have simply missed. I originally had a blogroll on my self-hosted site but that plugin expired and I could not find a replacement. So this find was a very pleasant surprise! Thanks so much for stopping by. I am glad to see my post reaching my regular readers.

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  8. Ah-ha. So that explains the funny notifications I’ve been getting from my blog to yours over the last few days! I’ve had some notices about my guest posts being linked to my blog, or something along those lines. I figured you were making some changes.

    I like the new design. Welcome to the simpler WordPress world, Donna. 🙂

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    1. Hi, Marty – My sincere apologies about those extra notices and pingbacks. I think that I had missed one little checkbox in the switchover, so I needed to go back and manually insert each feature photo (x350). I believe that that is what caused the extra notices. I’m glad that you like the new look. I was pleasantly surprised with how many theme and design options .com offers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries; I actually enjoyed re-reading some of those again. It’s a really clean look, and I too like the pics of the blogs you follow on the side. Like a previous commenter said, I too had no idea there was a .org version of WP. Ignorance is bliss! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Karen – The comments that I have received so far, including yours, already tell me that this switch has been worthwhile…and was long-overdue! I am so glad that you could log in normally. I’m sold on the breakup (and Neil) as well! 🙂

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  9. Hi Donna! And here I thought you were just kicking back and visiting with family all week! I’m impressed. As we talked about recently, tech stuff can be a major headache and is one of the big things about blogging that most readers have no clue about. So glad you survived the ordeal and are happy. That’s the goal right!?! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy – Yay, I was planning to wait to do this move once I got back home. But then I just couldn’t bear spending one more minute on technology issues that were not moving me forward (i.e. The Whack-a-Mole Game). Although there will likely be a few more tweakings that I will need to deal with, already I am 100% relieved with this decision. 🙂

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  10. Well done on being brave enough to make the shift and to see it through to a successful conclusion. I can’t believe the amount of hassel people have with hosted WP sites (yours was one of many). I love my free Blogger site – $0 a year and (so far) never a problem with anything. No plug-ins but I seem to manage quite well without them. I hope your new venture keeps running smoothly – it looks just as beautiful as your more expensive one did!

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    1. Hi, Leanne – Thank you for your feedback and kind words. I’ve already learned many valuable lessons in this switch. It’s also been another valuable reminder that because something costs more, does not mean that it is better for us individually.

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    1. Hi, Aimer – In my case, I really didn’t know many of the differences between being self-hosted and hosted when I began. Part of me is now glad that I tried self-hosted so that I don’t need to wonder if I should have gone that route. However, it is a VERY small part! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is great news Donna! I’ve been with .com since starting years ago and have never had any desire to change to .org, and even less so now after reading your post!! Well done on persevering through all these issues. I would read your blog wherever you were hosted but I’m happy to hear that you are much happier having made the switch. Good on you and keep on blogging and sharing your wisdom with us.

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    1. Thanks, Deb – There are still a few issues that I need to address and maybe more to follow. When I first began the switch over (a week-long progress) my feature images did not come through. I inserted them back in by hand (350 images). Then when the final switch over happened yesterday, all of the images inside of my posts did not come through. Fingers crossed that the Happiness Engineers can help with that. That would be way too many images to try to remember, sort and add manually! I’ll keep you posted!

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      1. This is wonderful to hear, Ally. and very, very timely. My understanding has been that for WP.com posts, readers are notified of individual replies to their comments. One reader (Diane from Still the Lucky Few) has just asked how this can be set up on her site. She is also a .com user. Do you know how to make this happen? (Yes, I do think that you are the source of all knowledge and information!) 🙂

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      2. Donna, it just happens on my blog. Over under the bell notification icon [top right corner] is a drop down menu that has all the replies to my comments. I do nothing that I know of to make that happen.

        I will suggest that on my old desktop computer this list only appears when I have WP Dashboard open on my screen, BUT on my newer laptop the list appears wherever I am within WP [that is reading my blog, your blog].

        Helpful? 🤷‍♀️

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  12. Just in time, Donna—thanks! I met with my tecchi a few weeks ago, and asked that he install email notification to people who comment, but was told he couldn’t find reference to it in the Dashboard. So I’ll look again, and hope to get that going. I like it. I started with dot com, and have been mostly happy with it. Thanks for this. Always good to have a review!

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    1. Hi, Diane – One of the reasons that I moved to WP.com is because I was incredibly envious of the .com users whose sites instantly notified me that I had replied to their comments. I just had a peek at my dashboard but am not sure how this gets setup. I thought that I had been receiving notification when you replied to my comments on your site. I will go to your blog row and leave a test comment. If you can reply to that we can test out my theory. Fingers crossed!

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      1. I’ve answered you in my comments on my own page, so you won’t know about my reply, I would think. As I mentioned there, I don’t have the bell icon, so it must be something I need to install. Probably won’t be too hard, now that you have identified how it’s done. Thanks so much—I’ll work on this today!

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  13. I’m going to go back and read comments – there seems to be a lot of useful info here Donna. Tomorrow, not now …My son hosts my website which is a wp.com and all seems to be quite ok. I’m sure I can use it better and more creatively – one day! Great for you and all success!!!!

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    1. Hi, Susan – I love so many things about your blog and your style. One thing that I enjoy most of all is how deeply and fully you engage in the comments. In our busy, on-line world, this is sometimes overlooked. You could write a book (or at least a detailed post) on this topic! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve thought about moving over to .org but not sure there would be any benefits to me. Plus, I know there would be some hair pulling moments. I’ll probably stick to .com and let the ‘happiness engineers’ do the behind the scenes work for me 😊

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  15. Hi. I’ve always been on the .com side of things. Of course, now I’m thinking of upgrading, including my template (which has been retired). eEven here, there’s always something! Glad your transition was a success.

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  16. Hi Donna – congratulations … and I’ve saved this post as at some stage I’m sure I’ll go over to WP – when is another matter. So pleased it’s been relatively smoothly completed … and as Susan says – I’ll look at the comments too – cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary – One of the greatest advantages of WP (IMHO) is that they offer a wide range of plans so that individuals can select which one is best for them. The other advantage is that so many bloggers use this platform that there are always multiple people that you can ask for help if you get stuck.

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  17. Welcome to WordPress.com, Donna. I’m with you in having the knowledge that the Happiness Engineers are there (just in case). They’ve come to my rescue many a time, even on the silly stuff that had nothing to do with them but more to do with unexpected ticks I had/had not put in boxes. I’ve always found them to be very helpful when I’ve had to contact them.
    Happy Blogging!

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  18. Congrats, Donna. Hope you find happiness and contentment in your new abode! I am from the Blogger tribe. But I can fully understand what it is like to be hosted in a place you are uncomfortable in. Wish you the best.
    – Pradeep | bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

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  19. I’m not sure I am enough of a techie that I would feel comfortable moving to a dot org site. The stress for me might outweigh the benefits. Glad to hear that you are happy with your decision.

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      1. I have a couple of other friends who are also having issues with their self-hosted sites, and have paid a considerable amount of money to take care of ongoing issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi, Johanna – I’ve actually made the switch the less common way around (.org to .com instead of the more popular .com to .org). I’ve given up control for ease which (so far) works perfectly for me. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks so much for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it!

    Like

  21. Well done. That must have been a tough decision and move to make. As you say, it’s usually done the other way around. Now, why did I have Taylor Swift’s “we are never ever getting back together” in my head?

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  22. Well done, Donna! That was a long time in the making. Nothing looks different on my end. I’m still confused whether I’m self-hosted or hosted on WordPress. I’d have to ask Mark! I think self-hosted, as we already had a hosting company from our business. Speaking of that… I might have to go your way one of these months!

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    1. Hi, Liesbet – I was wondering about that. I believe that Mark mentioned that your blog is self-hosted with WP.org. If the two of you decide to make a switch, I can vouch that the migration was much easier than I imagined. For my blog needs, I am very happy with this change. It has given me more of what I want, taken away less of what I don’t want, and has cost me significantly less. Win-win-win!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Donna, you have been talking about making this change ever since I have known you. So I am glad that you took the leap and that it is working out well for you. It must have been scary shifting everything over and worrying that all your past work could be lost or damaged. I am astounded that you had to load 350 photos manually! What dedication and hard work!

    As you know, I use the free Blogger host. Although it offers limited options and templates, it is free and easy, and I have almost never have to spend time on technical issues. I write a blog because I like to write and connect with like-minded others, not because I am interested in the technical aspects. So Blogger works for me.

    Jude

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    1. Thanks, Jude – Yes, I was definitely slow on the uptake here. Despite the lost photos, I am super glad that I made this move. All 350 Feature Photos are now back where they belong. Approximately 50 content photos are still missing — they may be a bit trickier to manually replace. My strategy for them is to ignore it and hope that the Happiness Engineers can come up with something. Fingers crossed!

      Like

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