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The best free blogging platforms in 2020

Best free blogging platforms: Woman using laptop in kitchen
The best free blogging platforms can get you set up for zero cost. (Image credit: Katerina Bolovtsova from Pexels)

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 the minimum of fuss. 

With all that in mind, in this article we bring 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 to try first.

The best free blogging platforms available now

Best free blogging platforms: Wix homepage

Wix's drag-and-drop system makes designing your blog easy 

01. Wix

The best free blogging platform for beginners.

Wide range of templates
Scalable over time
Site includes ads 
Limited storage on free plan

If you're a beginner who wants to get started blogging with the minimum of fuss, 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 you'll have an ad for Wix inserted into your free website. 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 its paid-for plans. If you don't, though, you can carry on having a free website for as long as you wish.

Best free blogging platform: Weebly homepage

Weebly is a website creation tool that includes free blogging templates (Image credit: Weebly)

02. Weebly

The second best blogging platform for beginners.

Easier to use than Wix
Nice responsive themes
Not as feature-rich as Wix
Not as customisable as Wix

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, which will feature 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. 

Best free blogging platforms: selection of WordPress websites

WordPress is the most popular free blogging platform, and great for building complex websites like these (Image credit: WordPress)

03. WordPress.org

The best blogging platform for fine control over your design.

Huge community
Very customisable
Steep learning curve
Site building takes time

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 there’s a huge and active community around it. 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 the software. 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 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 really is the 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.

WordPress.com websites on desktop and mobile screens

WordPress.com is totally different from WordPress.org, and aimed more at the casual user (Image credit: WordPress)

04. WordPress.com

Free blogging platform for hobbyists and enthusiasts.

Totally free
Easy to use
Limited features
Third-party ads

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 branded domain name (ending in .wordpress.com). Be aware, though, WordPress will insert third-party ads into your site that you have no control of. 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. 

Best free blogging platforms: Screenshot of Joomla homepage

Joomla is a popular tool among the blogging community

05. Joomla

The best blogging platform for scalability.

Open source 
Good customisation features
Not as popular as WordPress
Steep learning curve

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 is a better bet for large and complex websites. So if you foresee your blog growing over time into something bigger and money-making, it's probably a more scalable solution.

Best blogging platforms: Strikingly homepage

Strikingly will get you started super-quickly (Image credit: Strikingly)

06. Strikingly

The best blogging platform for a quick, one-page site.

Very easy to use
Unlimited sites
Limited ecommerce
Only one-page sites

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 all cool, and you just want something quick and easy to get started with, then this free blogging platform is an excellent choice.

Best free blogging platforms: Site123 homepage featuring chef holding iPad

Site123's live chat support will guide you through the set process if you need help (Image credit: Site123)

07. Site123

The best blogging platform for nervous newbies.

Excellent customer support
Simple and clean templates
Only good for personal blogs
Limited free storage

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. 

Be aware that 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.

Best free blogging platforms: Hubpages

Join a buzzing community of Hubbers with Hubpages (Image credit: Hubpages)

08. Hubpages

Share your blog posts with the Hubpages community.

Start blogging instantly
Creative focus
Can't customise look
Don't get a website

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.

Best free blogging platform: Contentful homepage

Call your content into any design with the Contentful API (Image credit: Contentful)

09. Contentful

Future-proof your blog content with this unique platform.

Separates content from design 
Future-proof
Not great for complex sites 
No good for beginners

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. 

Best free blogging platforms: Jekyll website screenshot

Make static sites with Jekyll

10. Jekyll

The best free blogging platform for developers.

Good for prototyping
Free hosting on GitHub pages
No user-friendly interface
No good for beginners

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. 

Best free blogging platform: Tumblr homepage

Tumblr is one of the easiest free blogging platforms to use (Image credit: Tumblr)

11. Tumblr

Free blogging platform focused around pop culture.

Good for short posts
Easy to use
Not for 'grown ups'
Difficult to monetise

Eternally associated with youth and pop culture, despite now having been around for decades, Tumblr is kind of a halfway house between WordPress and Twitter. It offers more scope than the latter, but tends to favour rather more succinct output than the former. Decent mobile apps make it easy to submit content to a Tumblr blog from anywhere, though, and it's reasonably easy to customise your theme to make it your own.

Tumblr is kind of a mix of blogging and social media, so you get followers just like on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. 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.

Best free blogging platform: Blogger homepage

Blogger is one of the longest running free blogging platforms on the web (Image credit: Blogger)

12. Blogger

Google's own veteran blogging platform.

Indexed by Google
Integrated with Google Analytics
Limited features
May be closed in future

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?).

Best free blogging platforms: Medium homepage

Medium is a bit like a magazine site anyone can share their articles on (Image credit: Medium)

13. Medium

Twitter founders' blogging platform for longform content.

No set up required
Respected by professionals
You don’t get a website
Can’t customise the look of posts

Medium is the brainchild of Twitter's founders, and attempts to do for longform articles what they 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, it's a 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.

Best free blogging platforms: Screenshot of SmallStripe homepage

Silverstripe is a niche CMS that many developers love

14. SilverStripe

Niche blogging platform for experienced developers.

Open source
Strong security
Small community of users
Better for experienced developers

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.

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