What are the best free blogging platforms right now? Well, that depends largely on what you need, and how much effort you're prepared to put in. If you're willing to devote a significant amount of time to learning complex software, some platforms will allow you to build an impressive looking website with lots of complex functionality. However, if you just want to share your writing with the world, and don't really care about the visual design of your blog, there are quicker and easier ways to start a blog with minimum fuss.
With all that in mind, in this article we've brought together the best free blogging platforms available today, for a variety of use cases and experience levels. We explain how each one works, and run through the pros and cons of each, to help you decide which one suits your needs.
The best free blogging platforms available now
If you're a beginner who wants to get started blogging quickly and easily, Wix is our top recommendation. This drag-and-drop website builder offers a variety of free templates for building your site, as well as 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth with a free Wix account. It's all very easy to use, even if you have no prior experience of building websites.
Note, though, that with a free Wix website, you'll have an ad for Wix inserted into it. If you want to remove this, and unlock other features such as your own domain, online store and Google Analytics, then you'll need to take a look at Wix's paid-for plans. If you don't, though, you can carry on having a free website for as long as you wish.
Weebly is very similar to Wix, and the two are close rivals. If we had to point to the main difference between them, it would be that Weebly has fewer features than Wix, and you get fewer options to customise the look and feel of your blog. By the same token, though, that makes it easier to use and get up and running with, so it might be a better bet if you're new to blogging.
Like Wix, Weebly is based around drag-and-drop components, which enable you to quickly create a website – featuring a Weebly ad. Hosting is included, even in the free plan. You get access to customisable layouts, a bunch of free themes, and the usual sharing features you'd expect, to help spread your blog posts far and wide.
Almost a third of the world's websites are built using WordPress.org, and it's easy to see why. It’s been around for decades, and has a huge and active community. Launched way back in 2003, it's open source, so the website-building software itself is free, although you'll still have to pay for your domain name and web hosting. On the plus side, the only ads that will appear on your site are those you choose to put there and profit from (or none at all).
WordPress.org is very powerful, so the only limit to how you want your blog to look and function is the amount of work you're willing to put in to learning your way around the CMS. Let's not beat about the bush, though, this system is quite complicated to use, particularly if you have no technical or design experience. And while we walk you through the basics in our article on how to make a website, those really are just the basics, and you'll need to read the extensive documentation, and check out our guide to the best WordPress tutorials, to go further.
For anyone wanting a great mix of power, customisation and usability, though, WordPress.org is the absolute gold standard. Also check out our guides to the best free WordPress themes and best WordPress plugins. Finally, make sure you don't confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, as they're quite different: we'll look at the latter next.
As we mentioned above, WordPress.org gives you full control over designing your website, but you need to find hosting separately. A little confusingly, WordPress.com is a separate service from the same organisation that offers you both hosting and a website building tool.
This platform is squarely aimed at beginners, hobbyists and enthusiasts rather than business people or designers. That means it's much easier to use than WordPress.org. The flipside of that is that you'll have far fewer options over how your website will look and function.
With the free service, you get free hosting, 3GB of space and a branded domain name (ending in .wordpress.com). Be aware, though, WordPress will insert third-party ads into your site that you have no control over. Nor will you be able to add ecommerce features or run your own ads. That said, if you're a beginner or casual blogger who just wants to get a site up and running easily, WordPress.com can be a good option.
Joomla is one of the best known alternatives to WordPress.org (number 3 on our list). A powerful and flexible content management system, Joomla can be used to build any kind of website or blog you like; as long as you're prepared to put in the time and effort to learn how it works.
Like WordPress.org, Joomla is an open source, self-hosted solution, which means the software is free but you will need to pay for a domain name and hosting to use it (although there is an option to create a site on launch.joomla.org).
The Joomla community is smaller than WordPress.org community, so there are fewer themes and add-ons here. But there are still hundreds of templates to choose from, and extensions to add more features, to fully customise your free blog's design.
Both Joomla and WordPress.org have their cheerleaders, and it's difficult to say one is better than the other. But an argument could be made that Joomla is a better bet for large and complex websites. So if you foresee your blog growing over time into something bigger you could potentially make money from, it's probably a more scalable solution.
If you just want a simple, one-page blog and want to get started quickly, then Strikingly is a very easy to use and will set you up with the minimum of fuss. Just pick a template, start tweaking the dummy text, and you’re away. You’ll get 5GB monthly bandwidth and unlimited sites for free, and you can even sell one product per site. You also get social media tools, analytics, a comments section, a search bar and a domain name ending in strikingly.com.
That’s pretty much it, and if you have grander ambitions for your blog in future, such as being able to add multiple pages or sell multiple products, this isn’t the platform for you. Also note that Strikingly will insert an ad on your site that you won't be able to remove unless you move to a paid plan. But if that's fine with you, and you just want something quick and easy to get started with, then this free blogging platform is an excellent choice.
Site123 is a blogging platform that doesn’t just make it easy to set up a blog, but will hold your hand along the way with its 24/7 live chat feature. Selling itself as “By far the easiest free website builder”, it allows you to create a website using ready made styles and layouts, using very simple prompts you don’t need to be a genius to understand.
Site123 will place ads on your site, and don’t expect to build anything hugely impressive or feature-packed with this platform. However, if a simple personal blog is what you’re after, you’ll get all the basics, including a comments system, blog post scheduling and social media integration.
Hubpages is a network that enables bloggers to share their story with a vast open community. It has an Arts and Design section, which will be a happy home for creative bloggers, and Hubpages majors on its ability to connect its users with a wide audience and earn revenue from ads and affiliates.
That does mean, of course, you're signing up to the Hubpages system, which doesn't give you any control over how everything looks and functions. On the plus side, this means you can get going pretty quickly and easily. So if you're only interested in expressing yourself through your words, and not through design, this could be worth investigating.
Nobody knows how they're going to want to display their articles a few years down the line, so Contentful provides a way to separate your content from your design. In what they call an 'API-first' approach, your content is stored on its servers and you can call it into any design or platform as you like. So if you want to build a completely different site in a few years time, it's easy to bring everything in as it's set up to be portable from the start.
Jekyll is a blogging platform that's aimed at developers. It takes your raw text files, which may be written in markdown, if you like, and turns them into a robust static site to host wherever you want.
Jekyll is the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can host your blog on there for free. Making your blog with Jekyll avoids the need to work with technicalities such as databases, upgrades and so on, so there are fewer things to go wrong, and you can build something from scratch.
Eternally associated with youth and pop culture, despite now having been around for decades, Tumblr is a kind of a halfway house between WordPress and Twitter. You get followers just like on social media, yet the platform is ideal for longer-form blogging. It is, however, not treated as a "serious, grown-up" blogging platform by most people: depending on your target audience that might either be a bug or a feature. Decent mobile apps make it easy to submit content to a Tumblr blog from anywhere, and it's reasonably easy to customise your theme to make it your own.
You'd hope with a name like Blogger that this would be a decent free blogging platform. Thankfully, it is. Sign in with your Google ID, and you can have a blog up and running in seconds, which can then be customised with new themes. It is, however, a Google service, so be aware of how abruptly such services can be shut down (anyone remember Google Plus?).
Medium is the brainchild of Twitter's founders, and attempts to do for long-form articles what Twitter once did for short snappy sentences. The result is a socially-oriented place that emphasises writing, although within an extremely locked-down set-up. With a clean layout and lots of white space, it feels very much like an upmarket magazine website, where anyone can have their articles published.
A place where tech CEOS and other thought leaders often share their thoughts, Medium is the place to blog if you want your words to be taken seriously, and offers a polished, streamlined experience. But you don't get your own site, as such, so if you're big on customisation and control, look elsewhere.
SilverStripe is a free blogging platform you might not have heard of. But if you're an experienced developer, it may well be worth looking into. This open source content management system is loved by many for its powerful features and strong security. Key features include an out of the box web-based administration panel, which enables users to make modifications to parts of the website, a WYSIWYG website editor, rich-text editing, quick embedding of videos, and a drag-and-drop, tree-based navigation structure.