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Starting a Blog on WordPress Self Hosted (Without Breaking The Bank)

I see a lot of questions on Twitter about people thinking about making a move from a free blogging platform to something with their own domain name, but not really knowing how much it might cost, where to go for the service or how to find a theme, etc – I’ve seen some ridiculous prices that people have found, so I thought I would put together a guide on how to create a blog on WordPress without a massive investment of money.

Have you;

  • Heard about WordPress and wanted to know what the fuss is all about?
  • Looked at the different blogging platforms and finding it difficult to choose the best option?
  • Do you think it’s not for you because it’s too expensive?

Fear not! This guide will run through how much it really costs to set up a self hosted WordPress site, and why it may be cheaper in the long run compared with other blogging platforms.

This hopefully will be useful to everyone – yep, even you! If you are;

  • Just starting out, and thinking about going all in on WordPress to futureproof your blog
  • If you have a blog already and are looking to transfer from Blogger or WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress blog
  • If you want to move onto your own WordPress site, but you’re on a tight budget

 

What is WordPress?

You may know this if you have looked into this before, but there are actually two different versions of WordPress; WordPress.org and WordPress.com. So, what’s the difference between these?

WordPress.com is a blogging platform owned by WordPress, where they manage the software and site themselves, so you can just sign up and get blogging straight away. WordPress.org is the self hosted option, where you set up a WordPress installation on your own server – this sounds complicated, but this just means you buy a hosting package and install some software. You don’t need to be super technical to get started with this – many places where you purchase hosting plans will get WordPress set up for you.

Why, I hear you ask, should I go down the self hosted route when I can sign up and get blogging on their own platform?

  • You actually own the content on the site

Yes, that’s right – technically WordPress owns the content you produce on their platform and they could delete the site and you would be left with nothing.

  • You have to upgrade your WordPress.com account to get a custom domain name

You will get a myblogname.wordpress.com website address, and if you want a website address like www.myblogname.com, this currently costs £3 per month as you need to have a paid ‘Personal’ plan to have this option available to you – this is a total cost of £36 per year, which gets you a free ‘domain credit’ for a domain name.

  • The ablity to monetise your blog

This means you won’t be able to have any sidebar advertising, unless you pay for their ‘Premium Plan‘ at £7 per month, which costs £84 per year.

  • Google Analyics integrations, more add-ons and plug-ins and the ability to have a unique theme

To get to all of these features would have to choose their Business Plan at £20.83 per month, which works out at a touch under £250 per year.

 

For wordpress.com, to be able to add Google Analytics and further customise your theme and , which works out at a touch under £250 per year! This is a quite a large chunk of money, especially if you’ve not got much going spare, or if your blog is a creative outlet rather than a fully fledged business.

WP beginner have a great comparison guide on the limitations and offerings for each platform that you should check out for a fuller

 

WordPress Hosting & Domain Names

There are I use TSOHost*  and they have been an absolute delight to deal with – there is live chat available, and any issues that I have needed sorting have been fixed pretty much immediately – one time I couldn’t access the log in page, and I also had an issue with trying to get a site to redirect to another, and my issue was sorted within a couple of minutes! I really can’t fault their service, it’s been brilliant so far.

I would recommend the most basic package, which is the Personal plan. For £21.45 for the year you get;

If you want to make sure that your blog is ‘futureproof’ by picking a plan with more page views, there really is no need – 25,000 page views is a pretty large amount of traffic and visitors, and will suit most bloggers, even those already with a strong following and audience.  Plus, if you go over this, say halfway through the year, you can always upgrade at that point – saving yourself money in the meanwhile. The storage for the basic package is 500mb, which will include all of your site imagery – if you’re starting out, this will be fine to work with, but if you have an established blog and/or photo heavy posts, you might want to upgrade to their Startup package, which costs £45.48 per year.  They also offer a free basic migration if you already have a WordPress self-hosted plan with someone else and would like to move.

Plus, you get a free domain name or transfer if you already have a domain name and they also offer free SSL certificates – this means that your site URL will start with https:// which means the site is secure – this will stop any browers potentially giving your readers a ‘this site is on an unsecure connection’ warning on a http URL.  I pay £7.50 per year to renew my .co.uk domain each year, which I think is reasonable.

You can get 10% off any hosting plan at TSOHost* with code AUTUMNFLOWER too, making the Personal hosting package come to just £19.31 per year

FYI, if you use my code or the starred link I do get a little bit back – I do use them personally and can vouch for their awesomeness and they really do give great value and support  🙂

 

WordPress Themes

I found my WordPress theme on ThemeForest – these prices are in US Dollars, so they are a little bit cheaper when converted to GBP – but unless you have a VAT number, the price listed is without VAT, so you will need to add another 20% on to the price – this will only be added once you start heading through the checkout and list your billing details. Themes here range from $14-$59 dollars, and I believe my theme for this site cost $17 so adding the 20% VAT came to roughly $19 in total, and this converted to around £15.

I’ve found a few examples, such as the WordPress theme Suzette for $13. Do keep an eye out for which themes include support though, by checking the box on the right hand side of the Theme page, as then you can email the theme creators with questions and minor tweaks. Not all themes do include this service, so you might want to factor that in with the price.

Suzette Blog Template

For a little bit more, you can get the beautiful Highfill WordPress Theme which costs $29, so adding the 20% VAT this is $34.80 – this converts to roughly £26 and this theme comes with 6 months of theme support too

There are more places to get WordPress Themes too; if you want a bit of extra support with setting up a theme, I’ve heard fantastic things about PipDig from other bloggers. Themes come in at £39 and £49 all in and they include a free theme installation too!  

TOTAL COST BREAKDOWN

Theme: £15-£49
Hosting: £19.31

Total cost for your 1st year = £34.31-£68.31

Domain renwal after 1 year: £7.49
Hosting: £19.31

Total cost for your second year = £26.80

You CAN go self hosted without breaking the bank – I’ve seen some crazy figures in my time, so I hope this shows that you don’t need to break the bank when taking the plunge and going self-hosted on WordPress! To get all the features that the self-hosted option gets on WordPress.com you will be paying nearly £250 a year – shocking right!

If you have a question ask away in the comments too – I’m happy to help!

 

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