Domain Name and Hosting – Why Your Blog Needs Them

In recent months, several bloggers who are using Google’s Blogger to run their blogs have unexpectedly been locked out of their blogs and had their accounts canceled. Google’s ability to shutdown accounts without warning is another reason we encourage bloggers to move their sites to a hosting provider and becoming a “self-hosted” blog. If the blogger is unable to get their account re-instated with Google, all content, images, and work may be lost. If you have your own website host, you are able to back-up your website database, content, images, and design.

There are two parts to having a “self-hosted” blog – a domain name and a website host.

What is a domain name?

According to Wikipedia, “A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet.” According to us, a domain name is your URL. It’s the www.yourname.com; your website address. It’s the cnn, the yahoo, and the aol to the .com. But it doesn’t have to be just a .com, it can also be a .net, .org, .info, and many other dots.

If you purchase a domain name through a registrar, such as GoDaddy, you can choose your own domain from those available.

Without some sort of website hosting, your domain is just a name.

What is Website Hosting?

Website hosting is where your website “lives.” It is where all of the content, data, and images are stored. You purchase website hosting through a website hosting provider, such as HawkHost or HostGator. If your site is set-up with a web hosting provider, your site is considered “self-hosted.” You have the ability to FTP into your website servers to make changes to code. You also have the ability to access and modify any databases.

What about free platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com?

If you are just starting your blog or are on a limited budget, it is easy to get started with free platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com. With these free platforms, you are able to select a custom blogspot.com or wordpress.com address, meaning your URL will be yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com. There is no cost to you, since Google and WordPress.com are essentially acting as your free web hosting providers. However you do not have the same accessibility that is available through a paid website hosting provider.

If I can do it for free, why should I pay for a domain name and hosting?

Many bloggers find more legitimacy and flexibility when they have their own domain name and hosting. If you are looking to monetize your blogs, many companies look for unique domain names (without the blogspot.com or wordpress.com.) In addition, some find that free platforms can be limiting in terms of features and functionality – such as limitations in design customization or the ability to use javascripts.

Another thing to consider is content ownership and control. In both cases, you own your own content, however with free platforms, there are additional terms you must follow. According to Google’s Terms of Service for Blogger, you own your content, as a third party licensor, however “Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.”

Also, “Google may, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any reason, terminate the Service, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account. In the event of termination, your account will be disabled and you may not be granted access to your account or any files or other content contained in your account although residual copies of information may remain in our system for some time for back-up purposes.”

I’m on Blogger but I have my own domain name, does that mean I don’t have to worry about Google?

It’s a common misconception that owning your domain name means you “own” your site. Since all of your website content is still hosted and managed by Blogger, Google can still shut down your site.

OK. I’m ready to move, now what?

If you don’t currently own your domain name, you will need to purchase one from a domain name registrar. We use and recommend GoDaddy for domain name registration. Expect to pay $10 for one year of domain name registration.

Next, you will need to purchase website hosting. Popular hosting providers for blogs include HostGator and DreamHost. Creative Patience clients have access to an exclusive blog hosting plan through our parent company, ThreeCell, LLC. (Contact us for additional details.) Hosting plans range from $4/month to $40+/month depending on the hosting plan you select.

Once you have your domain name and host, you can have your blog transferred to your new home. If you are comfortable, you can do the blog transfer yourself. However many prefer to have someone with experience transfer their blogs. Creative Patience offers blog transfer services, as do other developers. Make sure you check out post about “How To Choose a Developer for Your Blogger to WordPress Transfer” to help guide your decision.

 

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