So, you want to host your own porn site? Hell yeah! The internet is democratic! Take back control of your content! Don't silo yourself in one techgiant! Stick it to the man!
Wordpress is Best #
Right out the gate, you're probably going to want to run a blogging application of some sort. Your best choice for that is and will always be Wordpress. Note that this is very different from Wordpress.com, a commercial version of Wordpress that does not allow porn. Wordpress is widely used, powering almost 40% of known websites.
The counterpoint to this is that Wordpress has a long history of security vulnerabilities and exploits. I contend that these are just the natural result of the scrutiny that comes from powering 40% of websites, but that's a point of debate we can save for another time. This is something to be mindful of, but it should not stop you from using Wordpress.
Key Points #
The good news is that it's super easy to keep Wordpress safe though, if you do these three things:
- Keep Wordpress up to date by ensuring that automatic updates are enabled
- Don't use plugins unless you absolutely have to. If you do have to use a plugin, be sure to check the Star Ratings, Number of Active Installations, and when it was Last Updated. Higher numbers are better!
- Use Managed Wordpress Hosting.
Point number three is exciting to me. Previously, I made my living managing Wordpress websites for clients. Purchasing web hosting and domain names, installing Wordpress, and then handling updates and maintainenance was may all-day, every day. Now though, Wordpress is so popular that most web hosts have gotten on board with the idea of Managed Wordpress Hosting. They handle everything related to setting up and maintaining wordpress and all you have to worry about is your content. It literally could not be easier, and I am grotesquely upset that this wasn't as common of a thing five years ago.
Hosting Options #
I cannot recommend managed Wordpress hosting strongly enough. If this is the route you want to go down, look at Dreamhost's options (please note this is a referral link, I get a small kickback if you sign up with it). Dreamhost DOES allow adult content.
If you'd rather get down and dirty, you can manage wordpress on your own. I wouldn't recommend this option unless you know what you're doing (or know who to ask!); but having more access to tinker under the hood can work wonders if you run into issues. For this type of hosting, I'd go with a $5/mo
VPSDroplet from DigitalOcean (please note this is a referral link, I get a small kickback if you sign up with it).
Whatever you wind up choosing, be absolutely sure that they'll allow adult content before you sign up. You don't want to get everything set up only to have it taken down because someone doesn't want to see naughty bits.
Other Blogging Platforms #
Outside of Wordpress, there are plenty of other options, written in whatever programing language you like. My current, hands-down favorite way to blog is to use a static site generator, which I've talked about previously. This is a technically complicated approach, but it offers the best bang-for-your-buck in terms of tweakability, control, and security (you can't hack static HTML files ^_^).
How Do I Make Money Off Of This? #
In short, you don't. The intracacies of accepting payment in exchange for pornographic content are complex, bordering on impossible (unless you already have enough money to make the credit card processors pay attention to you). Paypal, Stripe, the list goes on; they all want nothing to do with adult content (it's a 'high-risk' activity). The only real solution here is to set yourself up on a site like OnlyFans.
A note on Email #
While we're on the subject of taking back control of your content, we have to mention email. If you choose to set up a blog on your own hosting, you should also take advantage of using your domain for email. Unlike web hosting, I strongly recommend against trying to handle your own email hosting. Properly setting up and configuring an email server is stupendously complicated and time-consuming, and is one of those services that shouldn't fail no matter what.
Your web host should provide their own email service, and that should be sufficient for most use-cases. If you want to go all-in and fully utilize your domain email, use Fastmail (please note this is a referral link, I get a small kickback if you sign up with it). They offer a feature-filled webmail client and integrate directly with your email client(s) of choice on your phone or computer.
You're On The Right Track #
I do not know what the future holds for the internet. The new War on Porn has started, Section 230 is under attack, and SISEA is gearing up to make life harder for everyone but the tech giants. There has never been a better time to seize control of your content. I also encourage you to vote for younger, tech-savvy, progressive candidates who support repealing laws like SESTA/FOSTA, or whoever's politics most closely align with that. Let's never have to hear about a Series of Tubes ever again.