Saturday, May 16, 2009

Self-hosting? What's the deal?

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Another question (you know you love me).

Why self-host? What's it all about? I know nothing about it except that there is already a, so there goes my brilliant plan to make that my website. :)

Just curious--seems like everyone is doing it lately. The only difference I notice is that the little "B" in the corner of the blog disappears so I have to figure out other ways to log onto Blogger before leaving you a comment. Sometimes I feel like a big dummy. I can't even figure out how to use feedburner! Sheeesh.

Oh! And why do my LOL cats cut off on the right side? My other pictures don't do that? :(

And yes, there will be a Sunday Salon post tomorrow. And yes, I've finally written my thoughts on Oscar Wao for Monday. Just need to skim back through Fun Home and I'll be in great shape. Trying not to be totally lame (although I'll be out of town for the fourth weekend in a row next weekend...sigh).


Amy said...

That picture is so funny!

I self host a blog and for me it's been a bit of work. The advantages to self-hosting are that you can customize the blog any way you want--you have a lot more control over it. The disadvantage is that you'll have to pay for your blog and also have more work associated with the technical side of things.

Seriously, feel free to shoot me an email regarding feedburner if you want! :)

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

Hey friend! uhm well for me it was very attractive to have my blogs interlinked. I hope you will try and visit again, I got the gray screen thing worked out ;P

I miss your comments and delightful humor.

I think there are many reasons to self-host....that is just mine.

We are still friends right, even if I do self-host? hahah!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Like Amy, I would be more than happy to help you with self-hosting questions. I have only self-hosted so it's the only thing that I know but I will tell you this: I wouldn't do it any other way. Yes, there was a huge learning curve and I probably spend more time with the technical stuff than other bloggers but I have "enjoyed" the learning experience.

These are a few reasons I like self-hosting. Just keep in mind that people should choose what they are the most comfortable with. Wordpress self-hosting isn't for anyone as is blogspot or I think we all need to find what works for us and go with it.

I like having my own domain name. You can forward your blogger blog to your own domain name too. So that's always an option for you. But I do think having your own domain gives you a perception that you are serious about your work. That's not saying that not self-hosting blogs aren't serious, of course. But I do think there "is" a perception.

Self-hosting gives better SEO.

Options on how to customize your blog are practically unlimited when you self-host. Lots and lots of options. Tons of plug-ins for every job imaginable, themes and templates. These are the big ones for me. I love the customization.

You don't have to rely on another service for your content. Blogger can take your content down at any time. Make sure you back up often.

You mentioned the little B disappearing and having problems commenting? I'm not sure how those two are related. Could you expound? The image in the upper corner is called a favicon and you can change it on Blogger to your own image. Details:

Cons? Lots of work, questions, and angst when getting started. There is a fair amount of keep up. Things happen. I've gotten hacked into more times than I wish. It's a pain. Server goes down sometime. Make sure you have a fantastic hosting company and tech support.

Anyways. Those are some of the reasons why I self-host. I'm sure others could give you some pros and cons as well.

Anonymous said...

I've been debating moving to a self-hosted site. The main reasons being I really want to edit my theme's CSS and the free wordpress won't let you unless you pay for an upgrade (so might as well pay for a self hosted site right?) and they won't let me use javascript or iframe which I need to use goodreads, shelfari and librarything widgets. Not sure if Blogger has the same restrictions.

The downside is I tried testing importing my blog to a self-hosted server at work and it told me my blog was too large to import. Not sure if that was a server issue or Wordpress issue. Second is I notice a lot of my hits come from Wordpress tags so I might lose a lot of visitors without those. :( Still haven't made up my mind though.

Nymeth said...

I'm really not savvy enough to self-host, but a few months ago I did register and had my blog redirect to it. Why? It was only $10, it made my ridiculously long url shorter, and plus Joanne and Jill had done it recently and I'm a sheep :P The whole process was quick, easy, and mostly painless. Also, it allowed me to stay on blogger. I think I'm in the minority when it comes to this, but I'm 100% happy with blogger. There hasn't been anything at all I wanted to do with my blog that I wasn't able to. I guess it helps that I took a few html courses a few years back, and so I know how to customize things. But there are some great sites with tutorials out there too.

As for the little B, do you mean the blue navigation bar that also has "next blog", etc? I decided to hide mine at around the same time, but it actually doesn't have anything to do with the domain name. I just thought the blog looked nicer without it, but I didn't think it could make it harder for people to log in...sorry Trish :( I never had that problem because I'm logged in on gmail all the time, and that keeps me logged in on blogger too.

farmlanebooks said...

It also increases your traffic a lot, as search engines put self hosted sites to the top of searches.

tanabata said...

I don't really see the appeal of self-hosting either. I can understand wanting the extra customization abilities but it seems like such a lot of work, and money too of course. I'm with Nymeth, in that I'm perfectly happy with my blogger blog. Blogger really lets you customize a lot, especially if you tinker with the HTML, including using javascript. I haven't really found anything that I wanted to do but couldn't do on blogger so I haven't felt any need to change. But it's true what Natasha says that everyone should weigh the pros and cons and decide for themselves.

Trish said...

*Amy - LOL--I might send you an email about feedburner. I tried to figure it out, but gave up. :) I'm helplessly clueless.

*Bethany - I've missed your comments, too! It has been a really tough couple of weeks so I haven't been around as much, but I'm subscribed to your new blog and will be around. I have NO problems with self-hosting, just wanted to know more about it!

*Natasha - LOL--what is SEO? :) I think I'm getting confused with having your own domain and self-hosting. These comments in a way have left me even more confused. :P The "B" I'm talking about is the "B" for blogger that will take me to my dashboard. When it is gone and I'm not logged into blogger, I have a tougher time subscribing to follow up comments. Usually I just click on another blog that does have the dashboard link and then click back. Not sure if that makes sense--probably doesn't affect you since you aren't on blogger.

*Debbiesworld - I'm clueless about formatting at HTML and CSS (not sure what that is), so I guess maybe I'll just stick with blogger. Blogging takes up so much time as it is for me to spend more time trying to figure out how to do all that other stuff :)

*Nymeth - For some reason I thought that when you went to your own domain you began self-hosting. I'm 100% happy staying on blogger, though. Is the main difference just the url? I mentioned the "B" in my comment to Natasha - if I'm not already logged into blogger, I usually just have to find a blog where I can access the dashboard to ensure that I can subscribe to follow up comments.

*Farmlanebooks - Hmmm--interesting point! I didn't realize that they got higher searching priorities!

*Tanabata - As I was saying to Nymeth, I thought when you got your own domain you were self-hosting. Silly me. :) I'm content with blogger and probably won't leave.

cj said...

Self-host? Ah! At least I know what this one is!

Here's my take on it, for what it's worth - anything that means more work isn't something I want to get into. I do this for fun and learning code and all that other stuff isn't for me. I write, I highlight, I click link or 'B' or 'I' and then I hit post and I'm good. That's about all the time I want to spend.

That cat really does have puppy dog eyes, does he? I love LOL but haven't been in awhile.

Have a good Sunday, Trish.


Dar said...

I've been thinking of self-hosting Trish but not so sure I'm savvy enough for it. Apparantely you can just get your own domain name through blogger so I may do that. I'm still thinking about it.

Nymeth said...

The url is really the only difference - everything else stays the same. Another reason why I registered it was because it was free and I didn't want anyone else doing it...imagine if became a porn site or something :P Since the name of my blog has become associated with me online, I wanted to register it myself and make sure it remained "safe".

Trish said...

*CJ - Yup, I think I'm with you afterall. I definitely don't have time to worry about self-hosting. :) Ah well.

*Dar - For some reason I thought getting your own domain was self-hosting. After learning it isn't, I'm not all that interested either.

*Nymeth - You crack me up! I'm glad that Thingsmeanalot is safe forever and ever. trishsbooks is already taken (which is what my blogspot is), and I'm not sure I want to be Trish's Reading Nook forever. I know I know--it's who I am now, but somehow it just doesn't seem catchy enough. :P

King Rat said...

"self-hosted" is a bit of a misnomer. It's still hosted by someone else most of the time, but you get full access to the code that runs your blog.

There's a few reasons why I run my own site rather than use or blogger or especially livejournal hosting:

1. Terms of service. I have 100% control over what I put on my blog. If I want to use swear words, I can use swear words. If I want to sell ads, I can sell ads.

2. Look and feel. I have 100% control over how my site looks. If I want a javascript widget, I can do that where LJ doesn't allow it. If I want to add a something that requires a database (like lifestream or my "now reading" stuff) i can do that.

3. Data. I have 100% control over my data. I can set up backups to work how I want them to. My features run on their own data rather than having to retrieve it from another site like goodreads or librarything.

4. I'm a software developer when I want to work. Running my own site lets me experiment with code which I couldn't do with blogger site. For instance, my new Seattle Book Events page has some features I coded myself.

If you aren't a control freak like I am about my site, taking 100% control of your site doesn't necessarily offer a huge amount of benefit. I usually advise friends of mine to only go self-hosted if they a) are a control freak or if a hosted site absolutely can't offer features they *need* and b) they can restrain their control freak nature enough to NOT twiddle with everything a billion times. You can easily rat-hole when running your own site.