When I started blogging I heard a lot about hosting but never seemed to need it. I just created a free account on WordPress.com and started creating content. I will admit when I started I had no idea what a difference there is between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, but now my wallet sure does.
This is my story of moving a website from WordPress.com to BlueHost and finally finding a loving home for it at SiteGround.
My Time With WordPress.com
Disclaimer* While I was using WordPress.com most of the support was awesome. However when it came to the point of me asking them if there was any other way to get some website features without paying $25 a month, I was told it was the only way. Now I know that instead of paying WordPress.com $25 a month for something I could have done for free if I had my own hosting (after the cost of hosting, which is like $5-15 a month).
Very quickly I discovered the limits of having a “free” blog on WordPress.com. At this stage, my website had WordPress in the URL and WordPress ads all over it. It did not seem like that big of a deal.
WordPress Payment Plans
Then I noticed that not only was WordPress in my URL, but the whole date was also in there too. My URLs were so long and ugly I didn’t blame people for not clicking on them.
So this is where WordPress.com turns the screw. As you slowly awaken to what your blog website needs to grow they have payment plans that slowly go up with you.
I climbed these payment plans as my site grew over a few weeks until I came face to face with the Business Plan. $25 a month so my website can have plugins. This may not seem like a big deal but let’s look at the yearly cost of each of these WordPress.com plans.
|Plan Name||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost||3 Year Cost|
What I am trying to show you with this cart is how quickly you can end up paying much more than you first intended if you set up your website using WordPress.com. When I found out there was a much cheaper and more common way to have the features and website control I wanted I could not believe it. This is that hosting thing everyone told me about but I just never saw it.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
We, or at least I, need to break this down into 3 separate things to keep it straight.
- The WordPress Software
The WordPress Software
I did not know this when I started blogging but the WordPress software is open source. This means the source code is available for all to use, redistribute and modify for free. This software is designed to help you create a blog, website or app with relative ease. Tons of people use this software.
This is a business. They guide you through their modified version of the WordPress software while tagging their ads all over your site until you pay them to stop. You can use the WordPress Software without using or paying WordPress.com.
This is a website where you can download the WordPress software for free. There is a lot of information about WordPress on this website as well. Wouldn’t you know it they even have a blog too!
Where The WordPress Confusion Arose
When I first started thinking about starting a blog I wondered what I should do. How do others do it? I heard a lot about WordPress and hosting but never really got how the two worked together until recently.
I think this is because I started with a free wordpress.com account. When you do this hosting is never brought up. You never see it. So it just kind of faded from my mind… until someone kindly yelled at me.
I was considering starting a 2nd website but the cost of doing this on WordPress.com if I wanted my own URL and plugins was hundreds of dollars. So I asked a chat group I am a member of what I should do.
This is when they let me have it.
Yeah WordPress.com is ridiculously expensive. WordPress.org is what is free and gets installed on other hosting plans. I have BlueHost that allows unlimited sites so if you have 2 or 20 sites you still pay the same monthly costs.
You do have to beware that the prices go up after the intro period on BlueHost so I would go for a multiple year investment up front and then your costs won’t go up until the end of that period.
This reply shook me. Not only could I pay much less for my first site but my second site would cost nothing except for the domain which I already had. I thought I was going to have to spend several hundred dollars to launch my second site and I would have had to if I had stayed with WordPress.com.
I hope now you are starting to see the big difference in cost between WordPress.com and paying for hosting elsewhere. Now that that is clear I want to talk about hosting.
Hosting: BlueHost vs Siteground
I deal with a lot of affiliate marketers, so when I ask what the best web host is I often hear Bluehost because they have a great affiliate program. While I do not dought many of these marketers use BlueHost, my brief experience with them did not leave me wanting more.
My Short Time With BlueHost
I was trying to move my website from WordPress.com to another host. I started with BlueHost. If you have never moved a website before it can be overwhelming. This is where customer support should come in to play, sadly for me, it did not.
I followed all of the steps. I did everything right. I spend at least 3 hours over a two day period going back and forth with BlueHost’s customer support trying to figure out why my move was not working.
After 3 days and several different support staff conversations, I was told my site had been put onto a server that was under maintenance.
Now I had paid BlueHost very well. I plan to work on my websites for at least 3 years so that is how much hosting I had paid for. I asked for help with one thing and they messed it up. This cost me 3 days of work and tons of stress. While I understand this was a mistake on their side and it most likely does not happen to everyone, it really pissed me off.
Lucky for me at this time I had posted another question on my group which yielded an almost prophetic message.
If you have not purchaced (BlueHost) I would suggest Siteground (it is) more of a starter base.
While I had purchased through BlueHost, I thought here is my chance. I asked for a refund and moved over to Siteground.
My Move To SiteGround
From my first interaction with SiteGround support, I contacted them before I signed up, I felt like I was in much better hands. My questions were quickly answered and my site design was even complimented!
I asked how hard it would be to move a site from WordPress.com to SiteGround. I also let him know I wanted to start a second site. He found me a plan which included a free website migration and allowed me to have multiple websites. This plan cost much less than I was paying for just 1 year on the business plan for WordPress.com and I paid for 3 years on SiteGround.
SiteGround offers a special price to new users. You can choose to pay for many years ahead of time at this reduced price. After your first payment period is over the price will go up to the regular price.
Let’s take a looks at the SiteGround plans costs.
|Plan Name||Introductory price Per Month||Regular Price Per Month|
I picked the GrowBig Plan and started my site move. The support staff over at SiteGround are just next level. They got the move going without a hitch, they kept me updated on everything and let me know what I need to do after they were done.
I really like the user interface inside of SiteGround. It is very easy to navigate. There is one thing I want to tell you about.
SiteGround Support Chat
Before you are a SiteGround customer it is very easy to get in touch with someone from SiteGround using their website chat feature. These guys are support rock starts, but once you are a customer finding a way to chat with them can be hard.
I spent about 2 hours trying to track down where the chat button is on my dashboard. Guess what. It is not there! If you want to chat with SiteGround support, you kind of have to jump through a hoop or two. Not hard hoops just not exactly as easy as they could be. Here is what you need to do.
- Login to your SiteGround account
- Click on the question mark (?) in a circle in the top right corner
- Click on View Help Center
- Click on Contact Us
- Select either Technical Assistance, Advanced Technical Help, or Billing Support depending upon your question or problem
- Select a topic
- Fill out the form
- Select Chat!
This took way to long for me to figure out but once you do their support staff is awesome, fast and knowledgeable. I wish they would add a support chat button to the dashboard but I can understand why they do not. It helps to know what kind of problem you have so they can get you to the right person.
While I did start blogging on a free WordPress.com website I don’t recommend this. I think you will be much better off finding a host like SiteGround or BlueHost. While you may have to invest in your blog website by purchasing host this gives you much more control of your website from the start.
As your website grows you might want to look into themes or plugins that would not be available if you where using the free WordPress.com plan.
Also having to move a website is a pain. If you start out with a good host and pay long term for the introductory price you should not have to worry about it. On the other hand you could and probably would outgrow WordPress.com and what to move to a hosting plan just like I did.
I’d say save yourself the headache, save up for the hosting then grow the hell out of your website!
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