If you are looking to start a new blog, your first (and most important) choice is which platform you’ll use to power it. Not all blogging platforms are created equal and the one you choose should have all the resources you need to build a successful website.
There are several platforms that you can use to create a fully functional blog and even have your first blog post available for people to view within hours. In most cases, these blogging tools fall under the category of content management systems (CMS), which are platforms built to help you publish content on the web.
When you’re looking for the best blogging platform, you’ll want a CMS that offers several important features:
Integrated text editing options. Blogs are mostly text, so the major platforms will need to provide many formatting options.
Comment functionality. One of the best ways to grow your blog is through a thriving comment section. As such, your blog platform should provide a way to easily enable and manage comments.
Customizability. Today many CMS allows you to change the style and functionality of your website using plugins. This is important even for a simple blog, as it offers the option to add new features whenever you want.
Scalability. Ideally, choose a platform that can handle a large amount of content without slowing down your website, so your blog can grow to its full potential.
Easy to use. Creating a blog doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to be a developer to get the job done. The best blogging platform should be easy to learn and use.
This is a long list of criteria that you need to consider when looking for the best free blogging platform for your needs. Fortunately, today there are several incredible platforms to choose from. Let’s talk about our top options!
6 of The Best Blogging Platform Reviews of 2020
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that all the platforms on this list are self-hosted CMS. All are free, but you will need to purchase your own accommodation.
Here is a list of the best blogging platforms for 2020 based on their popularity, features, and ease of use:
WordPress dominates 35% of the web, making it a steamroller. However, this does not mean that it is automatically the best blogging platform for you.
What sets WordPress apart is its ease of use, customization options, and extensibility. Today, most blog hosting providers allow you to set up your WordPress site in just a few clicks. Then you can easily find themes and plugins to help you implement almost any feature you can think of.
In addition to its huge library of plugins, WordPress has the advantage of being a thriving community. If you’re having trouble, finding tutorials or other help is simple. In short, WordPress is a free and safe blogging option that offers unlimited growth potential, even if you are new to blogging. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Many blog hosting providers offer specific plans for WordPress
- You have access to thousands of plugins in the form of themes and plugins (free, premium, and third party)
- WordPress is easy to use and you can quickly find help if you have problems
- Besides a blog, you can use WordPress to create almost any type of website you want.
- Customizing the style of your blog can be difficult without a page builder plugin, especially if you are new to WordPress.
- There are many low-quality themes and plugins to avoid
When people debate the best CMS, Joomla! is one of the names that usually appear next to WordPress. These platforms have a lot in common. For example, they are open source and provide incredible extensibility and customization options.
That being said, Joomla! offers its own unique experience. It offers a wider range of settings to work with than WordPress, which you can see by taking a look at its dashboard:
While having more settings to play with is helpful, it also means that the learning curve is a bit steeper. On the bright side, Joomla! makes your blog very easy to maintain. It is not common to encounter problems after updating Joomla! or any of its extensions.
Ultimately, many people choose to use WordPress or Drupal because they both offer more plugins. However, Joomla! looks good between the two free platforms. It’s easier to maintain, doesn’t require you to be a developer to set up a website, and offers enough options that the use of extensions is not essential. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Offers more integrated settings than WordPress
- Sites created with Joomla! tend to be easier to maintain due to their continual update process
- It is relatively easy to use, even if you are new to website creation.
- Offers a fantastic help portal with complete documentation
- It doesn’t offer as many themes or extensions as its main competitors
Drupal is another great name that gets a lot of attention during the best CMS discussions. This specific platform is popular with enterprise-grade sites as it offers superior performance.
When it comes to the best free blogs, Drupal offers all the resources you need to create a great website. Includes built-in content creation functionality, editing features, and more. However, the platform really starts to shine when you go beyond the blog.
Another reason Drupal is one of the top choices for large websites is that it is incredibly secure and more powerful than Joomla or WordPress. However, Drupal is more difficult to learn if you don’t have experience as a developer. Also, it can be overkill if you just want to create a simple blog.
With that in mind, using Drupal makes sense if you want to start a blog for your business and are willing to invest in a developer (or you are one). Otherwise, you will have to make a lot of adjustments to get things to work the way you want. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Access to enterprise-grade security and performance
- Choose from thousands of free plugins and templates to customize your site
- Scale your website seamlessly thanks to the powerful architecture of the platform
- Use custom Drupal distributions to configure specific types of sites
- The learning curve is very steep, unless you have a background in web development.
Pyro is a free Laravel-based CMS, which prides itself on being an excellent platform for developers. With blogging, Pyro offers a grid-based layout system, giving you full control over the appearance of your posts. In addition, this platform makes it easy to edit all your content with its drag-and-drop tool.
When you start using Pyro, the first thing you’ll notice is that your dashboard looks modern and organized:
Overall, Pyro is a great choice for simple blogs and more complex websites. However, when you go beyond a basic blog, things start to get complicated. You will need to customize your website code to make important changes. Also, many Pyro extensions are quite expensive, so costs can add up quickly for feature-rich blogs.
- Uses an integrated grid system to gain full control over your page layouts
- Run your blog using a modern panel with many options
- Implementing advanced functions often requires you to have experience using PHP
- Many Pyro modules are quite expensive so costs can add up quickly
If you are looking for the best blogging platform that offers a combination of ease of use and power, SilverStripe is a great option. At first glance, this free CMS doesn’t seem as flashy as some of the best blogging platforms we’ve seen so far but don’t be fooled.
This free blogging platform editor allows you to view your posts as you type them. It also provides built-in search engine optimization (SEO) options to help you improve the ranking of your content. Additionally, the platform also features bug reports, which allow you to monitor any issues with your website from your dashboard.
In our experience, the only area that SilverStripe lets us down is when it comes to free blog templates. There are only a few dozen options to choose from, and not all of them hit the mark. You can always customize your pages using HTML and CSS, but this can be a lot of work if you are new to building websites.
- Get access to powerful content management features
- Take on SEO with built-in features
- Monitor page faults from your dashboard
- Extend your site with plugins and themes
- The available themes are not as good as on other platforms.
- Editing pages requires basic coding skills.
If you are looking for a free CMS that is more fluid, Textpattern may be the best blogging platform for you.
Of all the platforms we’ve seen so far, Textpattern is the simplest. Your dashboard is a reflection of that fact:
Although it supports themes and plugins, selecting both types of plugins is simple. Although there are some great options among them, Textpattern assumes that all you need is a very simple blog and that you know the basics of coding to set it up with just a little help.
- The most lightweight blogging platform
- Supports Markdown and Textile formatting languages
- You will need basic knowledge of web development and text formatting languages.
- The selection of themes and plugins is not very wide
It is important to choose the best free blogging platform for your specific needs. We’re huge WordPress fans, but it’s not the only solid option. Each of the best blogging platforms we cover in this list stands out for certain types of projects and users.
Remember that each of these free blogging platforms is self-hosted and will require a web server. Be sure to review the different hosting options and compare the costs per month. Look for additional benefits such as a free custom domain name or Google Analytics integration.
Do you have questions about choosing the best blogging platform to build your website? We will talk about them in the comment section below!