Start a Blog for Free (2 Options) — The Best Free Blog Platforms of 2017

Graphic for how to start a blog for free

Blogging has many benefits. Aside from the therapeutic nature of expressing your thoughts and chronicling your adventures, blogging gives aspiring authors a prime chance to practice writing. The more posts you craft, the more chances your writing chops can lead to new opportunities.

As with most starving artists, however, money is usually at a premium. Thankfully, blogging doesn’t have to be expensive. Several free blog sites can help you get your ideas online, or you can use an almost-free hosting plan that comes with blogging tools. We outlined the cases for both and make our case for what we think works best.

How to Start a Blog for Free (Option 1)

It sounds counterintuitive, but blogging for free is all about where you want to invest your money in growing your site and your audience. These steps will get you up and running without cost, but you might want to spend a few dollars for certain perks.

Step 1: Sign Up With One of the Best Free Blog Sites

Believe it or not, there are plenty of reputable free blog hosting platforms out there. Our favorites include plenty of storage and bandwidth, along with design help and the ability to use a custom domain name.

Wix is among the most recognized names in affordable hosting and do-it-yourself site building, while 000webhost provides a well-rounded platform with all the bells and whistles you need. One of the few free hosts to offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, x10hosting also includes eCommerce functionality.

Step 2: Choose a Theme and a Domain Name (Not Free)

All three sites offer hundreds of templates for you to choose from; some are geared specifically for blogs, while others might be better suited for businesses or portfolios. Wix excels on theme design, but their free plan limits you to hosting your blog on a Wix.com subdomain (meaning yourblogname.wix.com).

Screenshot of Wix templates

Wix offers sleek, modern, and responsive templates, along with the option to start your blog layout from scratch.

Our other recommendations, 000webhost and x10hosting, include free domain hosting on whatever URL you own — but that means purchasing and registering a custom domain name. That decision bodes well for your blogging brand but can cost between $5 and $15 each year.

Step 3: Customize and Begin Blogging!

All three platforms offer a website builder with your theme and hosting plan, meaning you’ll have roughly the same options to adjust your site layouts, fonts, images, and colors. The differences come when you want to add functionality to your site — maybe with a social sharing widget or a plugin for readers to comment on your posts. Wix covers most of your needs in their App Market, but we appreciate that 000webhost and x10hosting offer simple installations of many popular third-party programs.

How to Create a Blog for Free Using Cheap Hosting (Option 2)

OK, it’s not completely free, but spending less than $5 a month on hosting unlocks a ton of included useful features that will make a dramatic impact on your blog’s success. From SEO tools to marketing credits and dedicated support teams, affordable hosting plans are worth every penny.

1. Sign Up With One of the Best Hosts for Blogging

We say it all the time — low-cost hosting doesn’t have to mean cheap. High-powered hosts can bundle full-service packages for surprisingly low fees. In addition to better performance and security, most of these providers offer free domains and email accounts.

InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $3.49

  • FREE domain and transfer, with WordPress pre-installed
  • Host unlimited WordPress sites on a single account
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth, plus FREE data backups
  • User-friendly, 3-step Wizard for Google apps integration
  • SPAM Safe™ email with IMAP support
  • Get started with InMotion now.
BLOG
RATING
5.0
★★★★★
InMotion: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 7 minutes
PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): What could be a more perfect fit for blog hosting than a host that offers pre-installed WordPress? InMotion allows users to host unlimited WordPress sites on a single account, along with unlimited storage, transfers, and bandwidth…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Blog Hosting Plans
90 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/blog

SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $3.95

  • Quickly set up your blog with 1-click WordPress installs
  • Officially endorsed by WordPress.org as a top host for WP
  • 3 caching levels, SSDs, and FREE CDN for performance
  • FREE WordPress setup wizard and staging area
  • 99.9% uptime, 24/7 support, and custom chat system
  • Get started on SiteGround now.
BLOG
RATING
4.8
★★★★★
SiteGround: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Since SiteGround is endorsed by WordPres.org, the host is an ideal fit for your blog hosting needs. Their services begin with a simple domain transfer and single-click WordPress installations, and you’re supported by reliable experts every step of the... Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Blog Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB - 30 GB New or Transfer www.siteground.com/blog

eHost.com

eHost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.75

  • FREE domain and cPanel included
  • 1-click installs for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal
  • FREE website builder with 1,000s of templates
  • Gain exposure with $200-worth of marketing credits
  • 24/7 support, site analytics, and SEO tools
  • Get started on eHost now.
BLOG
RATING
4.8
★★★★★
eHost: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes
Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): First-time-user-friendly, eHost is one of our go-to hosts for blog hosting. They offer a free domain, drag-and-drop site builder, and easy installation of your choice of CMS. Plus, eHost starts you off with $200-worth of free advertising…Go to full review »
Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Blog Hosting Plans
45 days Unlimited FREE for life! www.ehost.com/blog

See all the best blog hosting sites »

2. Choose a Domain (Free With Top Hosting Plans)

Once you get hosting, you’ll need a place to show off your work. Most hosting companies help their customers register and host their domain for free — some even give you the domain name free for the life of the account. If you already own a domain or run a blog, our recommended hosts will seamlessly transfer or migrate your files to your hosting account for free.

3. Download and Install Free Blogging Software (WordPress is #1)

Perhaps one of the best things about affordable hosting is how you can tailor your site to whatever suits your needs. You’ll have access to hundreds of one-click installations for content management systems, eCommerce platforms, message boards, and more — and many of those programs have optional plugins or extensions to add further functionality.

Screenshot of WordPress theme manager

The free and ultra-popular WordPress platform comes primed for blogging with several pre-installed themes.

We love WordPress, the CMS used by millions of bloggers, professionals, and businesses around the world. Because of the platform’s popularity, hosts put a lot of effort toward optimizing their infrastructure and support for WordPress performance. Some even create special WordPress products, such as managed services, a WordPress site builder, or a staging environment, to help customers succeed.

4. Choose a Theme and Customize Your Blog’s Look

WordPress gives you millions of themes to choose from. Many will be free, but consider looking at premium themes if you have specific ideas about how your blog should look and operate. Otherwise, the site builders and other platforms available through your hosting provider will walk you through the process of picking and customizing a template.

Why We Vouch for Option 2 Over Option 1

We get it — it’s hard to argue with free. For your blog to be successful, however, getting online without spending a dime is pretty hard to do. You’ll eventually want to pay for the domain name and upgraded features that come with free hosting. By investing in an ultra-affordable blog hosting plan, however, all those features — and more — come included at no cost. We’ve tested and reviewed the blogging experience across many of the industry’s best blog hosting providers to help you find the best stage for showcasing what you have to say.


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Laura Stamey

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