Sunday, March 19, 2006

Moving to your own site

A few posts ago, some of us had the courage to admit we're addicted. One of the real danger signs is moving up to the harder stuff. I'm talking about blogging here folks, not drugs or charcuterie.

Someone asked, so I thought I'd offer a few suggestions on how to easily move up into paying for your own domain and hosting. If the need to be able to reach your site 24/7 (nevermind being able to reach knowledgeable support) is as important to you as to any professional site owner, you'll have to start paying, but there are some very reasonable hosting values out there. Note that neither I, nor the School is making official endorsements of any of the products listed below, but I can vouch for them, since I either use them, or have had clients that do.

Step 1. Your own domain name.
This should be a separate post but I'll mention two of the cheapest places to get one - GoDaddy.com and Yahoo Domains. Plans start as low as a few bucks. Please read the fine print, some of the cheap deals require hosting with these companies.

Any reputable web hoster will offer domain registration. Having your hosting and domain registration in the same place makes billing and DNS stuff easier. So easy that you won't have to learn what DNS stands for. You shouldn't pay more than 20 bucks a year no matter where you are.

2. Get a web hoster with a blogging tool built in.
For those of you that don't want to learn what CHMOD stands for, or aren't curious where your mySQLadmin tool is, choose a hoster where all you have to do is sign in, put in your credit card #, login and start blogging. You can find hosters with Wordpress installed already for less than 8 bucks a month and Hosts with Movable Type installed for $8 and up, depending on your needs.

Wordpress and Movable Type are the examples I choose here since they both have features that allow you to import all your old blogger content with a few clicks. Exporting and moving content is a different subject, but there's lots of resources on how to get it done painlessly.

3. Cheap alternative for all your blogs
Many of you have multilple blogs, or have other family members that blog - I've just found a hoster - successfulhosting.com - with plans starting at 6 bucks a month for 6 sites!. It doesn't have a blog tool pre-installed, but with the Unix hosting, and without too much know-how you can do Wordpress's Famous 5-minute install for free, install Movable Type or pay for Movable Type's support to install MT for you.

There are other options like Typepad, that allow you to have your own domain, but my advice is if you're going to move up into the harder stuff, choose a real host with a real website. There are many benefits to a real hoster, the main one is they all offer 99% or higher guarantees, something Typepad and Blogger can't offer as they go through growing pains.

This Post was written by Paul from Food Blog

14 comments:

Sam said...

Thank you Paul for the very informative post.

Do you know how readership levels affect pricing?

I find blogger fairly reliable (sure its had its down days - but so have the services you pay for as far as I can see)

so I just cant bring myself to pay for something that is so free.

mrs d said...

GoDaddy might be one of the cheapest domain registrars, but they've had a fair number of dissatisfied customers of late, myself included. I host several sites for web design clients and am in the process of switching all of my domains away from GoDaddy. In part this is due to shoddy tech support and the annoying amount of clutter one has to wade through on their site, but it is also for political reasons -- the owner of GoDaddy is very far to the right politically and has, in the past, posted links to his own (in my opinion, rather vile) screeds off of the GoDaddy site. My current domain registrar of choice is buydomains.com.

paul said...

Readership and traffic levels shouldn't be an issue unless you're getting huge traffic. Most hosters are offering several gigs of traffic, which breaks down to tens of thousands of visits a day. At that point you can probably afford an extra ten bucks or so per month for another gig.

I have bad personal feeling about GoDaddy too but for other reasons - they are the domain registrar of choice fo domain vultures that snipe domains from people. The have the best system for bidding on and grabbing domains as they expire. This is great if you want a domain that's taken, but not so good if you miss paying your bill by a few days. It's all perfectly legal, but it just feels unsavory that they are so good at it.

As for tech support, I feel a hoster should be so good you don't even need it. I personally use Fatcow.com (tell 'em kiplog sent ya) at a hundred bucks a year, and have almost 20 sites I manage with them for over 6 years or so, and have had to call them maybe four times.

cookiecrumb said...

Then put together the fact the GoDaddy allowed my hero, Markos of (the admittedly liberal) DailyKos.com to have his domain swiped temporarily last year... and it's GoAwayDaddy. (Kos is in today's NYT magazine, BTW, and this concludes the hijack portion of today's FBS comments.)

SusanV said...

I host my blog in a subdomain of one of my websites. Within the first month of having the blog, my website traffic tripled. I went from having never used the 7 gigabytes maximum I was allotted to having to upgrade to a business account. Fortunately, the business account gives me 21 GB a month, and that looks to be plenty. My point is that having a lot of traffic should definitely be taken into consideration if you move to your own domain. I don't think my blog gets as many hits as most of you here do, yet it was enough to need more gb.

As for domain registrars and hosts, I heartily recommend the one I use, icdsoft.com. Domains are $5 per year, and starting in a week, they're offering a new hosting plan for $6 a month that will give you 750 MB of disk space and 15 GB/mo traffic allowance. Their tech support is terrific and available 24/7. I currently have 4 of my own websites with them and 2 of my clients', and I've never had a problem.

Also (as if this wasn't long enough!) I want to mention that if you use Blogger to manage a blog on your own domain, you rarely have the problems that everyone else hosted by Blogger has. I can always "see" my blog, even when all the other Blogger blogs are MIA. It's easy to transfer your Blogger blog over to your own domain, and you don't need to learn a new blogging program. Just something to think about.

Kevin said...

I use blogger to manage my blog but host it on my domain, for me this provides the ideal mixture of ease-of-use, control, and pricing.

I highly recommend Dreamhost (http://www.dreamhost.com/). During the five years I've been using them I've had almost no service problems.

William Conway said...

Like Kevin, I use blogger to publish my site, which I host off-blogger. This allows me to upload pictures easier, and it allows me to completely back up my site without a major headache. It also allows me more freedom to create unique applications, like the slideshow I'm planning on developing if I ever get around to hosting DMBLGIT.

I used GoDaddy to register my site. They were running a special at the time and it only cost me $4. I have no complaints on that respect.

I went ahead and used them for my site hosting, too. When my year is up I'll be shopping for a new provider. They don't give you much control over your site, and I've found that several reputable providers give you a LOT more for not much more money.

I initially didn't want to spend a ton on hosting, just in case my short attention span got the best of me and I lost interest in Blogging. Thankfully that didn't happen...

Kalyn said...

The thing I wonder about most regarding moving from Blogger is LINKS. I have so many links, a lot of which are internal links, since my recipes are on a separate blog and on almost every post I give menu suggestions which refer to other recipes. I know blogger will switch my content over to the new host, but I cannot even imagine trying to get all those links changed. Plus I wonder what percentage of the people who link to me would ever get it changed. I guess right now I am just scared to even think about it. Anyone else feel this way? (I know some of you have a lot more links than I do.) Any benefit I'm not aware of regarding search engine accessibility that would make it worth it to try to re-create all those links?

Tana said...

Count me in the crowd who will never again use GoDaddy.com for any reason. Scan this post for the reason, as well as the reason I will never again use Network (aka "NotWork") Solutions. Learning that GoDaddy is a right-wing business only confirms my avowed distaste for them.

I use Hostway, which allows you to register a domain and point it for free to any other website. It's only $6.95/year, and I have three domains registered that will point to my blog. (IHeartFarms.com, FarmsAreTheNewBlack.com, and SmallFarmsBlog.com all forward to my Typepad site.)

I would love to move my site to my own domain, but frankly learning Movable Type has been a steep learning curve, and I don't know when I'll be up for it. (Insert loopy-eyed emoticon here.)

Cate said...

I was the one who asked for the info ... thanks SO MUCH, Paul. You totally rock! Off to do some research...

Andrea said...

I recently moved my food blog, http://andreasrecipes.wordpress.com to a host (still running WP) at www.andreasrecipes.com. I like the flexibility I have with my own hosting. WordPress.com is a great free service, I just wanted to use a cleaner looking template, be able to customize it, and offer a few nice features such as printer friendly posts that I couldn't on WP.com.

I use GoDaddy for domains and hosting, and I have for several years without a problem.

Ed Charles said...

Great post. I signed up for Yahoo thinking it was a cheap and quick way to set up another (non food) blog. I had to reinstall 25 times in a week. It was useless. Just signed up with bluehost.com for less than $7 a month, 10GB and it has the 5 min wordpress, tikiwiki, calendar and much much more.

William I. Lengeman III said...

I've purchased a domain for my blog and I'm contemplating the move, but like the previous poster I'm also put off by the links changing thing. Can anyone comment on how they've dealt with this. I'm currently on Blogger.

Bill

sbobet said...

thanks ysboou for arsbochive