Best Blogging Platforms
Top Blogging Platform Reviews
Blogging is great because it allows you to share your thoughts, interests, and accomplishments with thousands of other people. These days there are hundreds of different services which make writing your own blog easy and fun, so I've made this list of the best blogging platforms online to help you choose a home for your blog.
Find good services and scripts to use, vote for your favorite blog platform, and suggest a new one in the comments if it's missing from the list. Both paid and free blogging sites are included, so you can select the kind that suits your needs best.
The sites listed here make starting your own online journal easier than ever. If you're wondering which one to go with, see what your fellow writers are using in the poll towards the bottom of this page.
Top Hosted Blog Platforms
Easy and simple way to create a blog without having to buy web hosting
These blog publishing services are a good choice for those who want to get straight to sharing their thoughts with the world and don't have the time to worry about web hosting, MySQL databases, keeping your software up to date, and the like. Everything is taken care of, and all you have to do is write great posts! Hosted blog platforms can be both free and paid; in many cases, the basic version is free, but you have to pay if you need the additional features.
- Blogger is a great free blogging platform from Google that offers nice templates, widgets, mobile blogging, and money making opportunities by displaying AdSense ads on your blog. They also offer unlimited bandwidth and let you use your own domain for free (of course, you still have to pay for the domain itself).
- WordPress.com is a popular free blog site with millions of users. They make it easy to create and publish your content. However, they are stricter than Blogger in that they don't allow you to run your own ads on your blog. Also, you'll need to pay for a premium plan if you want more customization and storage space.
- LiveJournal is a popular social media site which allows its members to write journals (same thing as blogs, really) on a variety of different topics. It's very focused on the community aspect, with people voting on the best posts, discussing them and sharing their content.
- Tumblr is probably the best blog platform for microblogs and photoblogs. It's very simple and easy to use, but they do provide advanced features like detailed visitor statistics, and allow you to use your own domain. You will find that a lot of blogs are picture or video blogs with very little text content.
- TypePad is a paid blogging platform that does not offer a free version. They have professional designs, widget support, mobile blogging and detailed visitor stats. It doesn't offer as much control over your blog as you'd get using a blog script on your own server, but if you don't mind that, TypePad might be just what you need; it requires less maintenance than a self-hosted site, too.
- Squarespace is a paid content management system with blogging capabilities. They offer a drag-and-drop website builder, customizable designs, social media integration, and built-in mobile version of your website. Squarespace also has real-time stats and the option to invite contributors to your blog. It's definitely pretty cool, but not free (prices start from $8 a month).
- Weebly is a free web site creator which allows users to make webpages and blogs with a few clicks, simply by choosing a theme and the widgets they'd like to use. They don't have any kind of bandwidth restrictions, offer over 70 professional designs and let you use your own domain. However, it's more of a website builder than a blogging platform: Weebly blogs don't really have as many features as more popular platforms do.
- OnSugar is a stylish social blogging site that allows you to easily share content with the world. It has a simple interface, an integrated ad system (ShopSense) for making money with your blog, allows custom domains and gives you access to Getty Images.
Top Standalone (Self-Hosted) Blog Platforms
For those who want full control over their website
More advanced users who need to customize their blog heavily or just don't want to deal with various restrictions will want to use stand-alone software. That means you'll need to purchase a web hosting package, download the latest release of the software in question, and install it on your server. Relatively inexpensive shared hosting will be enough for most bloggers, but if you plan on being hugely popular, a VPS or even a dedicated server will be necessary.
- WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform in the world. The free, open source self-install version gives you full control over your blog. It's easy enough for newbies to learn quickly, but still offers advanced features like custom post types, custom taxonomies, child themes, and so on. Advanced users can adapt WordPress to do much more than just blogging. Since WP is so popular, it has a big community of people creating new templates and plugins.
- MovableType is a popular, open source, free blog platform that is a good WordPress alternative if you're looking for stand alone software to use with your own hosting. They have an active community which creates free plugins and templates, even if they're not as big as WordPress.org is.
- Serendipity is yet another PHP-powered, free and open source blog and content management system. It offers easy management with one-click plugin or theme installs, automatic updates and good stability and speed. Modern features like plugins, spam blocking, threaded comments, trackbacks, nested categories, and caching are supported.
- TextPattern is a full-fledged content management system (CMS) that's easy to use, flexible, and suitable for blogs as well. It's free, open source software and a good alternative to WordPress, especially if you plan to build a whole website around your blog. Its strengths include low size and low system requirements, without sacrificing customizability.
- Nucleus CMS is a less-known, but still supported PHP-based blogging tool which is free and open source. A variety of plugins and skins are available, although nowhere near the number that more popular blogging platforms have. One of the specialties of NucleusCMS is that doesn't take much space (only 658 Kb install) and offers multi-blog capabilities out of the box.
- Jekyll is undoubtedly the most unique entry on this list. Written in Ruby instead of PHP, it turns plain text content into static websites or blogs. There still are posts, pages, and custom permalinks, but there's no fancy admin backend - the posts are flat files rather than database entries. Compared to dynamic sites like WordPress, Jekyll is very secure and fast. However, it also requires a lot more knowledge and effort from the user, which is why it is often called a "blog engine for hackers".
Posterous Closing on April 30, 2013
Twitter-owned Posterous, a simple blogging platform which launched in 2008, is shutting down. It used to be quite popular and focused on mobile blogging. Users are advised to backup their blogs and / or migrate them to other services like Wordpress and Tumblr. Another option is Posthaven, a paid blog publishing site (flat $5 / mo) which was created by two out of three people who originally worked on Posterous. The advantage of the latter option is full URL matching and no loss of data.