blog needs a foundation. Blogging platforms (sites, content management
systems, software – some people refer to it differently) provide that
base and a framework that you can use for starting a blog. There are a number of solutions, but only some are worth considering.
This guide provides a detailed overview (with pros, cons, and reviews) of the best blogging sites, to help you decide where to start a blog nowadays:
- Self-hosted software
- Freemium platforms
- Free blog sites
I’ve tested each blogging website that I could find online to save
you some time. Below, you will see a selection of the best blog
platforms used by popular blogs (and bloggers) that I also use and
The best 3 blogging platforms – May 2020
With the help of this information, you will be able to find the best blogging site for your needs and create your own blog.
Table of contents
If you want to skip an introduction and start installing WordPress:
Go to “How to install a WordPress.org software” section.
How to choose a blogging platform
At this stage, you’ll need to determine the blog
management tool you want to use. Here are some important criteria to
assess the available options:
- Pricing. One of the most common questions – “How much does it
cost?”. It’s essential to know how much you will have to pay for blog
software and it’s also important to know what will you get for your
- Type. There are different types of solutions. They all
designed for the end-user to be able to make blog sites, but it’s
important for you to understand what’s available. There are: free
(hosted), self-hosted, freemium, premium, blog website builders. We will
describe the difference between them later.
- Ease of use. New bloggers need an easy to use solution that
they can handle without any technical skills, learning web development
or web design. Once the software is set up, it has to be easy to manage.
- Features. You need to make sure that the platform you pick is
feature-rich. You might not need them at the beginning or not use them
at all, but you have to make sure that the best blog platform you choose
gives you the ability to customize or change your website completely if
- Administration. The back end or admin area is where you will
do changes to your blog, write content, make design and layout changes.
Make sure that the admin area is available, accessible and easy to
“Terms of services”. Make sure software doesn’t have any hidden rules
that you must follow. Check if there are no restrictions when it comes
to monetization practices, such as placing adds or partner links on your
Below, you’ll find some of the most popular free
blogging sites and alternative options (with short descriptions, pros,
and cons) available for new bloggers. With the help of this information,
you will be able to find the best option for yourself.
Tip 1: One of the best and most popular
blogging platforms is self-hosted content management system (CMS)
WordPress.org. It’s recommended by 90 percent of blogging experts we’ve
surveyed. For beginners, WordPress.org is the clear winner because:
- you don’t have to have coding experience to handle most of the tasks related to creating and maintaining your blog.
- updates can be done within the WordPress dashboard with the click of a button.
- there is plenty of support for anything you need help with including customization, design, functionality, and maintenance.
Tip 2: To set up your own WordPress.org blog you will need a web hosting space and a domain name. For new bloggers, we recommend Bluehost, company that powers over 2 million websites worldwide.
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- Free domain name
- 30-day money-back guarantee period
- Discount price of $2.75 per month
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The above option is our recommended way to setup
your new blog. To convince you that you are making the right decision,
let us describe all the available option below in more details.
When it comes to starting your blog you have the following types of platforms:
- Free (hosted). To put it simply and to show you why this
platform called “hosted” let’s focus on the name (domain name) of your
blog. Hosted means that you will have a blog name in this
form—blogname.wordpress.com or blogname.blogspot.com. The big benefit is
that it’s totally free, but the downside is that you’ll be subject to
their rules and this form of the blog name (subdomain) is the sign of an
inexperienced beginner who likely won’t be taken seriously.
- Self-hosted. It allows you to run a blog on your own domain.
Aside from following your domain registrar and web hosting company’s
rules, you’re fully in charge of your blog and its contents. Self-Hosted
content management systems are generally open-source and free.
- Freemium/premium. Freemium means you’ll have a trial period
before you have to start paying (costs vary from $5 to $30 per month).
Several platforms are available. One of the most popular is TypePad.
This platform focuses on ease of use for writing, but customization
options are limited. By default, your TypePad blog name will look like
this: yourname.typepad.com. It’s not always the best option if you’re
trying to build the name and brand for your blog.
- Blog/website builders. Website builders allow you to create
simple blog websites using templates and drag & drop interface. As a
result, you enjoy the benefit of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
when you build a blog with website builders. Many of them also include
blog hosting as a part of their service. But you must keep in mind that
their options are limited and adding additional features can be tricky.
With all that information in mind let’s look closer at the most popular blogging solutions.
A closer look at 11 top sites for blogging
What do The New Yorker, Boing Boing, the Chicago Bulls, BBC America,
Beyonce, Vogue, The Rolling Stones, and thousands of other websites have
in common? They all made their official blogs with WordPress.org.
Launched in 2003, it doesn’t need any introduction except the long list
of sites using it today and the fact that it powers around 25% of blogs
on the web. Just don’t confuse this open-source CMS and hosted blogging
WordPress.org is one of the most popular choices when it comes to
managing your blog site. It has a learning curve and it will take some
time to learn it, but that is the cost of having a professional blog
website. Having said that, there is one thing that you won’t get with
some of the free blog platforms, and that is 100% ownership of your blog
and content. In the long run, it will probably be the biggest benefit
than with free hosted solutions.
- Open source and free
- Professional and easily navigable dashboard
- Versatile and customizable
- Thousands of themes and plugins
- Owning your own content
- Need to have a hosting provider
- The learning curve to fully explore it
WordPress.org software is totally free, so there will be no
additional costs on that side. Yes, all upgrades are also free. But you
will need to choose a domain name (roughly $15 per year) and web hosting
provider (roughly $5 to $15 per month depending on the company).
How to install a WordPress.org software
For the sake of WordPress being the easiest platform in the content
management system world, we are going to focus on showing you how to
create blog sites using the self-hosted version of WordPress. As an
example, we will show you how to launch a blog with Bluehost for as low as $2.75 per month and you will receive a FREE domain name
as well. All of the steps are followed up with adequate screenshots
that will give you further understanding of what you need to do.
Bluehost is the web hosting company recommended by WordPress
Click on this link and you will go to the “Exclusive Offer” page reserved for our fans. Once you get there click on “Get Started Now”.
If this is your first hosting account ever, you should start with the
basic plan, because you will need time to determine your needs and
options. The basic plan has everything any beginner needs to set up a
new blog websites. Consider other plans later when your blog takes off
and your needs become greater.
Your domain name will play a vital role in the future development of
your blog and this is why it is important to take your time and figure
out a good domain name. Once you’ve done that, enter the name in the
“new domain” column and choose your Top-Level Domain.
You will instantly be notified by BlueHost if the name you’ve chosen is available, and if not you will get similar suggestions.
We are almost there! Once you have your domain name and web hosting
connected, it’s time to set up WordPress. Go to your Bluehost cPanel
account, find the ‘My Sites’ section and click Install WordPress. That’s
the famous one-click set-up offered by Bluehost that makes blog
creation a breeze.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed WordPress CMS and you can start your blogging journey.
Founded in 2006, Wix
has become a wildly popular web builder for people who revel in a ton
of design options—without breaking the bank. In 2012, Wix switched from
Adobe Flash to HTML5, a successful move that gained them, at the time,
25 million users. Their business model is freemium and I can immediately
see some people rolling their eyes. However, is that a sign of “oh, no,
not again” or the judgment is too early? You be the judge.
With the Free plan, you will cover all the basics and be able to have
your first free blog website. However, upgrading to Connect Domain
enables you to use your own domain. We recommend upgrading to Combo
because you also will be freed of their native advertisements. Adding to
the confusion is the fact that Wix calls all paid plans – Premium
plans. So, when the company says a feature is included in a Premium
plan, you can’t be sure which plan they’re talking about.
Wix offers blog builder solution with an easy start for bloggers. With Wix, you can write, edit and manage your blog posts from your desktop or on the go!
- Very easy to use website editor
- Ability to recall your older versions of the website
- The abundance of third-party apps and design templates
- Great mobile site-building tools
- No chat support
- More advanced users will feel a bit limited without HTML and CSS access
- Once in use, design templates are hard to change
- Inability to sell digital goods
- Free plan gives you 500MB of storage and 500MB bandwidth
- Connect Domain, for $4.08 a month, allows you to connect your
domain, 1GB bandwidth, ability to integrate Google Analytics and access
- Combo, for $8.25 a month, gives you 2GB bandwidth, 3GB storage,
removes native and mobile ads, gives you a free domain for a year,
customized favicon and a Google ads voucher for $75
- Unlimited, for $12.42 a month, gives you unlimited bandwidth, 10 GB storage, form builder app, and site booster app
- eCommerce, for $16.17 a month, gives you 20 GB storage and most importantly an online store
- VIP (U.S. and Canada exclusive), for $24.90 a month, will get you a
VIP support line, which includes immediate response on forums, skipping
the line, a one-time professional site review
If you spent some amount of time on the internet in the last decade
then you’ve probably heard the name WordPress. Launched in 2005, WordPress.com
(which should not be confused with similar WordPress.org) is a popular
freemium blog hosting site. There are over 50 million users on this
platform, or at least that many people tried to use it. It’s hard to say
how many people are actively using this platform, but it’s definitely a
popular choice. But is it all hype?
There are very few things that aren’t in favor of this blogging
provider. Handling is easy for everyone and made with blogging for
beginners touch. Unlike its fraternal twin WordPress.org, this is a free
blog hosting sites service, so you don’t have to worry about
downloading and installing software. However, when it comes to hosted
solutions, you don’t always have a 100% control over your blog.
- Easy to get started and use
- Hundreds of free theme designs
- Don’t have 100% control over your blog
- Limited options to extend website functionality
- The free plan is quite limiting
WordPress.com is essentially one of the best free blog sites on the
web, but it has some limitations. The free plan gives you a blog that is
restricted to yourname.wordpress.com domain with only 3GB of space, and
it may show some ads.
If you need a blog with a custom domain they offer a premium plan for
$99/year and business plan for $299/year and it will give you unlimited
space, e-commerce, and other advanced things.
Depending on your needs, a free plan may seem like a good start and playground, but keep in mind all the restrictions.
Founded in 2004, Squarespace
is a convenient all-in-one web builder, hosting provider and platform
for bloggers. With fabulous, responsive designs, Squarespace became
known as the hippest of the web builders. However, advanced
functionality has put the company squarely in the mainstream. If you
check out Squarespace websites, you’ll see just how great they look. But
are they easy to build and maintain?
- Gorgeous, responsive designs
- A number of great selling capabilities and options
- Excellent built-in statistics and metrics
- One of the best store and e-commerce solutions out there
- No free packages
- No possibility of installing third-party scripts without HTML
- The difficulty of having to add subpages in folders
After the initial 14-day trial period, if you decide to stay with
Squarespace, you’ll be able to choose between four plans. All prices
reflect billing on an annual basis:
- Personal for websites $12 per month
- Business for websites $18 per month
- Basic for online stores $26 per month
- Advanced for online stores $40 per month
The story of Weebly
is kind of an interesting one, and similar to other popular online
projects like Facebook. According to Wikipedia, this content management
system began its journey as a student project back in 2006, which
quickly outgrew the boundaries of the College of Information Sciences
and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University.
Today, Weebly counts more than 40 million websites, including number
of best blogs. It can thank the numbers to its beginner-friendly builder
that allows everyone to make a personal or business website in less
than a few hours. After choosing one from about fifty themes, users get
to edit text blocks, add sliders, galleries, videos, and much more.
Adding new pages, navigation menus, and choosing color schemes is as
easy as selecting elements in the builder.
Because of all that, Weebly is an excellent choice for a beginner who
wants to start a free blog, but you should understand that it isn’t as
flexible as WordPress. Sooner or later, you might get stuck at one step
where Weebly simply couldn’t create what you had in mind.
- Beginner-friendly and easy to use
- A good number of SEO options
- Centralized support
- Not ideal for e-commerce
- No full control over settings
- A smaller number of free themes
You can start using Weebly for free, which will be enough for small
personal blog sites. But if you decide to upgrade plans, Weebly offers
plans from $5-25 per month. As you might have guessed, the more you pay,
the more you get.
When it comes to popular free blogging sites, one of the first
providers that will pop into most people’s minds is Blogger. Founded in
1999, it is one of the oldest blogging platforms still active. In 2003, it was acquired by Google and that change is still shifting the way users are working with Blogger.
Blogger site is relatively easy to use. It is completely free and you
can somewhat monetize it through ads. Customization options are
It’s been present online for over 15 years, so many bloggers are
familiar with it or already have tried it. If you want just a hobby
blog, Blogger could be enough for you. If you want your blog to be taken
seriously, we would not recommend it.
- Everything is free
- Beginner friendly and easy to use
- Unlimited bandwidth and 100% uptime supported by Google
- A lot of outdated templates
- Limited customizability and lack of plugin diversity
- Rudimentary picture management and lack of spam filtering
- Domain name with .blogspot.com extension (if not setup with custom domain)
Blogger is a free blog platform and you will automatically get a
“yourname.blogspot.com” name for your blog. If you decide to move away
from that, you will have to buy your own domain (roughly $15 per year)
with one of the domain registrar companies and point it to your blog
with Blogger Settings.
The Medium is exactly what its title says. It is a new medium that
has its backbone in the blogging world, but over time evolved into a
publishing platform. It was made by the company that brought us Blogger
and it was made by the co-founders of Twitter, Evan Williams, and Biz
Stone. Launched in 2012, it is trying to take the best out of many
platforms that are heavy on subscribe and follow activities, like
Twitter or Pinterest, and find a balance between individual publishing
and publishing by organizations. Visually, it’s clean, attractive, and
- A hybrid platform with the blog/discover/share options
- Easy setup and use
- Excellent for a group of authors or individuals
- Elegant design
- Has to prove if it is here to stay
- Contradictory when it comes to author identity
- Should do more for promotion
- Lack of HTML and CSS options
- Lack of customizing your own visual identity
If you are an old user, pricing and hosting should not concern you at
all. The Medium used to be free and there were no hosting packages
since everything was taken care of by Medium servers. That is still
true, but now you have a price attached to it. For $5/mo, you can become
a member and with that, you will be able to read exclusive stories from
top writers and experts, listen to audio versions of popular stories
and reward the writers you love.
When it comes to premium blog software (not free) TypePad is one of
the oldest members of that club. Launched in 2003, it was one of the
most popular blogging sites that hosted various celebrity blogs like
Paris Hilton or Wil Wheaton. In the meantime, other blogging websites
emerged and took away its share in the blogosphere. However, after 15 or
so years later, it’s still alive, kicking and doing well. TypePad is
something to think of.
- A premium solution for blogger that is easy to use
- Customer service
- Easy setup and buying of custom domain
- Works nicely with e-commerce and money transaction sites like PayPal, Amazon or eBay
- Top service for those less technically educated
- A small number of plug-ins and features, considering the price
- Design elements are a bit outdated
- No option for complete or automatic backup
- Not the most HTML-edit friendly
- Lack of flexibility for more advanced users
- You don’t own your property unless you pay for the most expensive package and co-own
TypePad is not a free blog maker service. You can pay for it with
your credit card or via PayPal. If you don’t want to jump into a new
contractual obligation, you can try their 14-day free trial, but you
will still need to fill out billing information. You can choose to pay
monthly or yearly, where you can get a certain discount for the yearly
option. After your 14-day free trial, you will be automatically
subscribed to the services at your subscribed rate. You may cancel your
subscription at any time during your free trial to avoid being charged
in case you don’t want to host your blog there. If you decide to stay,
there are four different packages:
- Plus $8.95 per month
- Unlimited $14.95 per month
- Premium $29.95 per month
- Enterprise $49.95 per month
Tumblr, or better to say, “Tumbler,” is a media-rich blogging
platform. Founded in 2007 as a social network and a microblog site, it
was acquired by Yahoo in 2013. It has famous active users like Taylor
Swift, Grace Helbig, and Tyler Oakley. However, when it comes to
text-based content, you will have a serious lack of tools. It is a great
start if you are a beginner and/or have an artistic side.
- Adjusted to photo and media content
- Free and easy to use
- Social network features to connect with other users
- Not for usage if your content is mostly text based
- No spam or comment filtering
- No easy SEO options and statistics
The Tumblr platform is free. The free setup comes with
yourname.tumblr.com extension. If you want, you can buy and use your own
domain. Here is the guide on how to set up your own domain on Tumblr.
As an option, you can buy premium themes from $9 to $49, but they are
not a necessity. Plugins are free, but unfortunately, besides basic
things, there are not too many plugins.
If you have been using Evernote, this platform might be the right
choice for your new blog. The entire idea behind this content management
system is integrating Evernote with a blog publishing tool.
Postach allows you to use themes in order to choose a design of your
free blog, and for those who know their way around HTML, custom designs
are an option as well. Still, the main focus is the integration with
Evernote, so I suggest Postach only to those who can’t live without
Evernote. But if you’re about to start a new blog and you are not using
Evernote on an everyday basis, I strongly suggest turning your way
around to the self-hosted WordPress.
- Perfect for Evernote users
- Simple to use
- Allow collaboration with other Evernote users
- Not for serious blogging
- Only five add-ons
- Fewer design options
Postach comes with a free trial, after which you can choose a plan that goes from $5 to $25 per month.
Although WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there,
not everyone likes it. John O’Nolan, who was working on the WordPress
user interface, realized that WordPress is overly complicated for
running a simple blog back in 2012. What he wanted was a more
straightforward platform that will serve bloggers only, without the
necessity of extending the site into something more than a free blog.
- Focus on blogging
- Not for serious blogging
- Doesn’t support plugins
- Doesn’t provide free hosting service
- Small number of themes
Since it is an open-source platform, Ghost is entirely free to use.
Still, if you decide to upgrade your blogging experience, Ghost will
charge from $29 to $199 per month.
For $29 per month, you get a blog that can be viewed by up to 100,000
people, 2 staff users (admins), and up to 1,000 members (people who are
subscribed to your blog). For $79, you can extend those numbers to
500,000 views, 5 staff users, and 5,000 members. If that’s not enough,
for $199 per month, you get up to 1 million views, 15 admins, and up to
15,000 members with promised 99,9% uptime (meaning, your blog will
practically never be down).
WordPress versus other websites for blogging
Since the self-hosted version of WordPress is definitely the most popular one (which is powering more than 30% of the entire world wide web), it is hard not to compare it to other content management systems.
I already dedicated entire articles to these comparisons, so instead
of repeating myself one more time, I decided to leave you links where
you can compare WordPress to Blogger, Tumblr, Wix, and Squarespace.
While those other platforms are good enough for every new blogger to
make a blog, I always recommend to start the right way from the very
beginning. If you choose the self-hosted version of WordPress, you will
be able to learn from the very start and expand your blog into the
entire business if you decide so.
Moving your blog from one platform to another
If you have previously started your blog somewhere other than
WordPress, and now you decided to move to WordPress, you don’t have to
worry. It has implemented “Import tool” that lets you upload content
from other blogs into the new one.
Within the WordPress Dashboard under the Tools section, you will find the following options on the Import list:
Keep in mind that there are other import options available through
different WordPress plugins. You can try searching the official WordPress plugins repository for the right importer tool.
Reviews and ratings
This section provides a list of the top 10 blogging websites (with reviews and ratings) available on the web today.
WordPress is the most widely used self-hosted content management system (CMS), recommended for blogging.
WordPress.com is the most famous blog hosted platform and one of the fastest way to create a free blog.
Ghost is a fully open source, hackable platform for building and running a modern online publication.
Blogger is one of the oldest and reliable blogging platforms on the web. It is owned by Google and developed for beginners.
Typepad is the reliable, flexible blogging platform that puts the publisher in control.
Tumblr is media oriented free blogging platform with a wide variety of themes that is very popular among younger population.
Postach.io is Evernote powered blogging platform.
Movable Type excels as a fully integrated, scalable, proven social
publishing platform upon which to build highly interactive websites,
blogs and social networks.
Medium is a free, open platform for people to read, write and share
posts easily online. It is a blogging platform but it’s also a place to
read articles on the Internet.
Svbtle is a writing and reading network designed from the ground up to work the same way your brain does. It helps you think.
We’ve compiled a list of platforms that can serve as viable
candidates for your blog creation. Using the listed features and
customer feedback as your guides, you’ll be able to select the right
tools with greater confidence.
Feel free to use this comparison chart on your site:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a blogging platform?
What is the best blogging platform?
How to create a blog for free?
What hosting should I get?
How long does it take to set up a free blog?
What does “self-hosted” mean?
Do I need to know coding when creating a blog?
Can I earn money with free blogs?
What is the difference between a blog and a website?
I started a blog, but my friends can’t find it on the search engines. What’s wrong?
Is it possible to move a blog from one platform to another?
I started a blog, but no one is reading it. How do I get more traffic?
What should I write about?
How many times per month should I publish new posts?
How many words per article should I have?
Congratulations! At this stage, we hope you have a good idea of how
you want to create your new blog. New bloggers will be tempted by the
availability of free blog sites since they are free and quick to start.
But remember, based on our knowledge and on the research we’ve conducted,
the best blogging platform out there today is WordPress.org. Keep in
mind that this platform is powering 25.4% of all websites in the world
and responsible for over 76.5 million blogs. Throughout our website,
we’ll be showing you how to start, manage, customize, and work with the
62 comments on “The Best Blogging Platforms and Blog Sites for 2020”
e receives compensation from the companies
whose products we recommend and because of
it, we are able to provide help with setting up your blog.
We tested and used most of the web hosting
sites and domain registrars recommended here.