Happy 1 year Blogiversary to me!
Can you believe it's already been a year? For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, I very much so appreciate you, and thank you for reading! (I also appreciate those of you who may have found me during the last year as well!) You may have noticed about 2 weeks ago, there were a few days that my blog wasn't online or you were getting to a page that was under construction. I decided to migrate my blog from being hosted on WordPress.com to a self hosting WordPress.org site. This post is dedicated to all my fellow newbie bloggers that may run into some of these same issues as they decide to go to a self hosted site. If you are here for just my quilting adventures, skip to the end of the post for a quick weekly update and what I've been up to this past week.
So here's the saga that I went through to migrate my blog. When I decided to blog a year ago, I had gotten my domain name off of GoDaddy and then proceed to make a WordPress blog on WordPress.com. I mapped my domain name to the WordPress.com blog and off I went. I knew nothing of this self-hosted WordPress.org business at all until I realized that I couldn't run scripts or have special plugins because they are not supported on WordPress.com. There are a lot of pluses for staying with a WordPress.com site, but as my personal plan renewed for the next year I knew I had 30 days to either switch or I was going to be stuck on WordPress.com for another year (WordPress.com allows you to cancel your plan within 30 days or renewing). I had lost sleep because I kept thinking about what more I could do with my blog to grow if I were on a self-hosted page. Self-hosted means my site is hosted on a hosting company's server and runs the WordPress application rather than be on WordPress.com.
There are a lot of beginner tutorial websites that have plenty of information on how to customize your WordPress site. I used WPBeginner's tutorial that shows you how to migrate a WordPress.com site to a .org site. There are services that are offered by WordPress as well to do the actual migration of your posts so you don't need to worry about migrating your content yourself. I bit the bullet and decided to migrate to a self hosted site. WPBeginner lists many self hosting companies that they recommend. Since friends of mine use HostGator and WPBeginner itself uses HostGator to host their site, I thought that would be a great choice for me.
I figured since I already have a mapped domain name, I should be able to have a seamless transition to a self hosted site with no downtime. I was dead wrong. Here are a few things I wish I knew before I started the process.
- WordPress.com sites have a built in SSL certificate; the s in https:// signifies a security certificate in place. You need to go to a hosting site that will either give you a free SSL or you need to pay for one yourself.
- Viewers will see a security error if you previously had an SSL with no way to advance to your site, once you lose your SSL. An http:// url is NOT the same as https:// one.
- It'll take a full 24 hours before all the nameservers change to your new hosting site. Within that 24 hour timeframe, depending on which server your devices goes through to get to your site, you'll see something different. This gave me great anxiety that things were not moving quickly enough.
- HostGator basic packages do NOT offer a free SSL nor does HostGator give you a temporary URL to set up your site prior to the nameservers being changed.
- This impacted me because I could not even access the WordPress admin site to set up my new page while I waited for the DNS name to be moved. Poweredbyquilting.com was still mapped to my WordPress.com site!
- After my nameservers moved, I found out I would need to upgrade to one of the much larger packages in order to get the SSL included for my site. I got a security error when I tried to access my admin page and couldn't access it at all. I ended up needing to clear my cookies and my cached pages for my web browser to get past the security error.
- Then because I used a 40% off discount code from WPBeginner to purchase my package, I asked if I could apply that to the larger package since I had completed the purchase about 24 hours prior. They would not do it, so I would have had to pay the full price difference between the basic package and the full blown package. So that meant I would not be able to take advantage of the new customer price break at all! Customer service for HostGator was unwilling to budge and give me help to resolve this issue. I ended up canceling my service 24 hours after starting it once I ran into this roadblock and terrible customer service.
I decided to move to BlueHost. As I later realized, HostGator was on WPBeginners recommended list, but they were not on WordPress.com's recommended list of hosting sites. BlueHost is highly recommended by WordPress and after my migration, I understand why. After I canceled my service with HostGator, I immediately signed up for BlueHost, and here are the list of things that made my life so much easier.
- Bluehost gives you a free SSL certificate, if you are using their hosting services for WordPress. (YAY!)
- My viewers would not see the security error that I had previously gotten with the loss of the SSL certificate.
- Bluehost also gives you a temporary url to start migrating your blog to your new site prior to the nameservers being 100% moved over.
- This meant I had my new site 100% ready once my domain migrated.
- Customer service was very helpful when I was still getting an internal server error after the migration process completed and was willing to help me resolve any of the issues I had with the move.
So the moral of the story is, if I migrated to BlueHost originally I would have had zero downtime because I would have had my site already prepped once the nameservers migrated over. Instead, I essentially had 48 hours of downtime on my site since I had to change nameservers twice (once to HostGator and again to BlueHost)!
So what if you have a WordPress.com site without a mapped domain (your blog url is https://BLOGNAME.wordpress.com)?
You need to purchase a domain name before you migrate to a self-hosted platform. Most of the hosting sites offer to sell you a domain name or you can use a site like GoDaddy. You should not have any of the issues I did above with not being able to access your site and needing a temporary url. You will still want to migrate all your blog posts to the new site and then alert your viewers to go to your new site either by posting you are moving or paying for a redirect service. Wordpress.com offers a paid redirect service.
How hard is it to move your posts on your own to the new site?
Not hard at all. I didn't have many issues with this. The directions on the WPBeginner blog post on how to migrate your blog posts are great! If you have lots of photos to move, I suggest using WXR splitter application that will split the WordPress export file into smaller chunks to import. I was getting really anxious that the import was getting hung up so I used the splitter and it worked much quicker. If you are scared to do this, you can always have WPBeginner do it for you as long as you purchase your hosting plan through their links, or you can pay someone from WordPress to migrate it for you.
So I'm thinking about migrating my site, what other issues have you run into?
My goal was to get the site migrated in such a way that it would be very similar before I started to add enhancements. I realized a few things weren't working like they used to from my WordPress.com site. For instance, I stopped getting emails when someone commented or used my contact form. I had to install a plug-in to get that work again. Jetpack tools are your friend, and once those got activated, I regained a lot of the tools I had prior. All the blog posts migrated over, but I had to set up the theme and layout of the site again.
So what about my followers/subscribers and my stats, will I lose all that information if I migrate?
Nope! Just like you migrate all of your previous blog posts, you can migrate your subscribers to your new page! The stats, you will need to contact WordPress, and one of their Happiness Engineers will move it for you. Easy peasy!
It's been 2 weeks since the migration, and I am now slowly starting to enhance my blog for functionality and flow. I figure the hard part is over, and I'll have time to do the enhancements as I go.
Now back to my quilting adventures!!!
I realized this week I need to stop designing patterns I can't figure out how to make! I know that sounds ridiculous, but I made a design that I was going to use for PBQ105 and yeah… math and curves are not a good combination. I quickly scrapped that design and now have picked out something I can actually make (and so can you!). I'm very excited for it, and I can't wait to get in some sample spree fabric to make this quilt. I also finished the PBQ103 pattern and am ready for the pattern release next Tuesday!!!
The Tabby Road quilt is coming along very nicely. I got all the hourglass blocks completed as well as all 16 blocks. I just need to get the sashing and sew them all together to finish the quilt top.
The baby whale quilt is a quilt top I had finished on New Years Eve 2016 and just now got to quilting it. I have a flannel backing that surprisingly hung up a lot while I quilted. I ended up quilting it front-side down to prevent the drag under my machine. This is the first time I have used flannel, and one of my quilting friends mentioned that flannel will shrink a lot more than normal cotton. It's a little too late for me to pre-wash the backing. Hopefully, the quilt won't get ruined after the first wash!
I got some time in to hand bind the Modern Building Blocks quilt. This is the largest quilt I've made yet to date (84"x96"), and I really love how it turned out. Rhonda Walker of Olie&Evie did the edge to edge quilting for me, and it turned out perfect like always! If you are thinking about making this quilt yourself, check out my tips for making the quilt here.
Last but not least, there is a new blog hop coming up soon to celebrate Dorie's new book Making Connections! I will be posting my project and thoughts about the book next Wednesday, and there will be a giveaway to get a free copy from each participating blog stop. So be sure to check out all the quilters that are participating! The list of participants will be on my blog post September 6.
I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday weekend!!!
9/1-9/8 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
Projects I want to work on:
America's Garden Quilt
Goals for the Projects:
PBQ104: Start getting the pattern ready for pattern testers
Practice FMQ: Making connections blog hop coming up soon!
America's Garden Quilt: Make at least 2 blocks. (I haven't worked on this quilt in MONTHS!)