When I was a kid, I remember how excited my parents were when they received news they were eligible to become the proud owners of a brand new, 16-foot sailboat. It was a free boat giveaway — with one hitch. They had to buy a timeshare in the undeveloped swamplands of Central Florida to become captains of the vessel.
We were all disappointed when we realized we weren’t getting the free boat. It was a hard-learned life lesson to read the fine print. But, when it comes to hosted blogging sites, there really are loads of free options to get your ideas out there without having to worry about ponying up cash for the online real estate. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best.
Best “Almost-Free” Blog Hosting (Recommended)
Free blog hosting sites are great for beginners to get their feet wet in the blogosphere, but they may not be the best bet — especially if you’re looking for complete customization and a brand-specific site. Instead, we’ve traversed the web to discover premiere hosting packages at monthly rates similar to the cost of a cup of coffee.
The feature-rich packages these hosts provided include everything a blogger needs to transmit their words to the masses, such as one-click installations of platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, along with the hardware and infrastructure needed for those content management systems to perform at top speed.
Beyond your blogging platform, broader SEO functionalities, ecommerce solutions, and marketing capabilities are just some of the added perks users enjoy with these affordable plans. Affordable plans don’t have to be bare bones, as these hosts will show you. Save money and get your brand noticed by your audience by taking a look at some of the best hosts out there:
- FREE domain and transfer, with WordPress pre-installed
- Host unlimited WordPress sites on a single account
- Unlimited bandwidth, plus FREE data backups and SSL
- User-friendly, 3-step Wizard for Google apps integration
- SPAM Safe™ email with IMAP support
- Get started with InMotion now.
- Easy setup for WordPress, Ghost, and other tools
- Turbo Servers make your posts load up to 20x faster
- A2-optimized WP plugins for performance and security
- FREE SSL certificates included
- Expert assistance available 24/7
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
- Quickly set up your blog with 1-click WordPress installs
- Officially endorsed by WordPress.org as a top host
- 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.
- FREE domain, plus unlimited storage and email accounts
- Unlimited domains and MySQL databases
- FREE WordPress themes and W3 Total Cache
- $200 of complimentary advertising credits included
- Online store, PayPal, and shopping carts available
- Get started on iPage now.
- WordPress-optimized servers ideal for blogging
- All-inclusive, ultra-reliable managed WordPress hosting
- 1-click installation for the popular blogging software
- FREE SSD storage for exceptional performance
- 99.9% uptime ensures your blog remains online
- Get started on GreenGeeks now.
Best Free Blog Hosting Sites
In 1994, Justin Hall created what would become known as the world’s first blog, Links.net, which chronicled his life in detail. And, by 2004, the aptly named Blog would be honored with Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year award. Since the early days of the internet, blogging caught on as a way for individuals to express their passions and for businesses to communicate to consumer bases.
By 2011, there were upward of 173 million blogs blasting information to audiences globally. And the J-shaped curve of exponential blogging growth has continued its upward trajectory, with Tumblr alone containing more than 350 million blogs on its platform. Today, there are a number of tools to help people transmit ideas online, and many of them are free. Let’s take a look at the top blog hosting sites you can leverage at no charge.
If you’re looking to build a professional-looking, beautifully crafted website on which to launch your blog at no cost, Wix tops our list. More than 100 million people employ the platform to create and host sites for a number of uses, including business, eCommerce, and — for our purposes here — building blogs.
- FREE signup with email or Facebook
- Drag-and-drop designing is super easy
- 1-year domain free with most plans
- Up to $300-worth of ad credits
- Access to 1,000s of templates and additional tools in the App Market
- Get started on Wix now.
Wix offers an intuitive drag-and-drop web builder and designer-created templates that allow sites to be up and running in a matter of moments. Bloggers taking advantage of Wix’s free plan enjoy access to the platform’s huge collection of stock art to illustrate their sites. And Wix’s templates are all mobile responsive, so your site will be presented in its best light no matter the device on which it’s being viewed.
If you haven’t heard of WordPress, you’re either very new to the web development game or have been blogging from underneath a rock on Mars. The most popular CMS on this planet, WordPress powers more than 25% of sites on the web.
- Jetpack SEO, spam protection, and social sharing tools included
- Community, email, and live chat support
- Access to tons of free and premium themes
- FREE hosting; paid plans $4-$25 per month
- Sign up with WordPress.
WordPress offers free open-source software millions of bloggers employ to develop stunning websites to house their content. Whether it’s a text-centric theme that brings your words front and center or a graphically charged photo blog that showcases your portfolio, WordPress’s designs can make your vision a reality.
|Customizable designs||SEO friendly|
There are more than 45,000 plugins built for WordPress that allow site owners to customize sites to their exact specifications. All of the platform’s designs are responsive and come complete with built-in SEO. After using the free software to develop your blog, consider moving to the value-added hosting packages many hosts offer for next to nothing.
A free site from Wix also includes a Wix.com subdomain, 500MB of storage, up to 500MB of bandwidth, and unlimited access to support tutorials. In addition, the platform offers an app market with hundreds of plugins to enhance your blog and customize it to fit your brand.
- Fully hosted online web builder lets you design by dragging and dropping
- Hundreds of FREE professional-grade themes
- Display and sell unlimited products for your online store
- FREE tools for SEO, stats, and capturing leads
- Community forums and phone, email, and chat support
- Get started on Weebly now.
A web building platform with a funny name, Weebly’s free hosting package is a great starting place for the blossoming blogger on a mission to push a point of view. Weebly offers an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editor so site owners without any coding knowledge can build compelling, eye-catching blogs.
With the platform’s free tier, users are given 500MB of storage and a Weebly.com subdomain. Weebly also provides its site owners with search engine optimization and lead capture functionalities at no additional cost. As an added bonus, bloggers hosting sites on Weebly benefit from a community forum to discuss blogging best practices and chat and email support if they run into any issues.
|500MB of storage||Weebly.com subdomain|
|SEO & lead capture||Drag-and-drop builder|
|Community forum||Chat & email support|
For site owners looking for a richer feature set, the perks go up for just a few dollars per month. Weebly’s paid plans offer advanced analytics, eCommerce tools, and an array of solutions to help market your brand.
The three zeros in the name say it all — 000webhost provides top tier web hosting for $0.00. Bloggers hosting sites with 000webhost are guaranteed no ads, no hidden costs, and a feature-heavy package.
The host offers hundreds of high-quality templates site owners can use as a foundation to build their sites. With a simple point-and-click web builder, bloggers can create a homepage, photo galleries, and various subpages on which to add content.
|10GB (10,000MB) of bandwidth||1000 MB disk space|
|Easy-to-use free website builder||No Ads, no banners|
|Free cPanel web hosting admin panel||Free domain name hosting|
The most popular features 000webhost offers are its 99% uptime guarantee and nearly limitless disk space and bandwidth. This ensures bloggers can house video and audio media without running up against storage concerns and handle more traffic as their sites grow.
At the time of writing this guide, x10hosting had transferred 72,284 GB or data, served 12,116,853 webpages, and hosted 122,571,223 files. If this seems like a lot, you’re right. It’s numbers like these that make x10hosting one of the top free blog hosting sites on the web.
Using top-of-the-line, enterprise-grade server infrastructure, x10hosting offers bloggers super high availability, fast load times, and unmetered bandwidth and disk space. This allows your readers full visibility of your site any time, and, with no limits on traffic, gives you the ability to grow your audience quickly.
|Access to cPanel||FTP|
|MySQL||Free web builder|
|Unmetered Storage||Unmetered Bandwidth|
Bloggers hosting with x10hosting have access to the immensely popular and effective control panel cPanel so they can easily manage their sites. FTP, email, and MySQL are also included in its feature set, as well as a website builder to quickly design and broadcast your ideas.
Creative expression is an important part of what makes us human. It also carries with it health benefits that increase brain function, relieve stress, nurture a rich social life, and even prevent ailments like Alzheimer’s disease.
Medium’s free blogging platform offers an ideal venue for creatives to express themselves and blast their work to the masses. Thousands of users publish their thoughts on Medium with stories ranging from current events and news to quirky personal stories and politics.
|Easy-to-use editor||Include photos, audio, and video|
|Reader response/comment functionalities||Interactive|
|Popular blog spotlights||Blog topic/category spotlights|
Medium’s content management system makes it simple for bloggers to add their words and illustrate them with photos, audio, and video. The free-to-get-started, membership-based site provides an interactive experience where readers can leave comments and highlight the content they’ve most enjoyed. Medium’s homepage also highlights popular blogs, handpicked articles from its staff, and presents the best blogs in categories, including technology, entrepreneurship, politics, and culture, among others.
Ghost provides open-source blog creation software that was built to specifically zero in on the needs of journalists and writers. The free software has been downloaded by more than 1.4 million people around the world to build custom sites with a focus on the written word.
Developers who download Ghost have full access to everything the open-source software provides to build a site, including APIs and strong templates that make it simple to develop a blog’s foundation. Ghost’s setup guide makes it easy to install and run the software, and developers are invited to give back and contribute to Ghost’s open-source tools.
|Fully customizable||Built for bloggers & journalists|
While Ghost’s software is available for free download, the organization does offer fully managed plans at a premium. The paid plans come with a suite of publishing tools to make content entry a breeze; however, these packages come with large price tags, so bloggers may be better off downloading the software and seeking a better hosting package with a more cost-effective host.
Built in 1999, Blogger is one of the oldest blogging platforms on the market. Blogger sites are easily recognizable with the popular blogspot.com subdomain the platform provides its users for free on the web.
No matter the subject you undertake, Blogger offers compelling templates that are compatible with your brand. The layouts are flexible and offer hundreds of stock background images from which to choose.
|Google storage||Content monetization|
|Versatile templates||Flexible layouts|
|Access to stock imagery||Free blogspot.com subdomain|
The platform also gives bloggers the opportunity to monetize their content through Google AdSense. Site owners have complete insight into their audiences with an effective analytics suite. This lets bloggers know who they’re writing for and where their readers are from, and they can gauge what visitors are interested in. And, with storage provided by Google for free, you can house thousands of posts and multimedia content with the peace of mind you won’t lose them.
With Jekyll, writers can turn their words into fully functional blogs that showcase their stories. Jekyll’s static site generator provides a template directory of raw text files and converts text through Markdown and its proprietary Liquid renderer into presentable websites.
The platform’s quick start guide walks users through the installation process, which only takes minutes for those who are already employing a Ruby development environment. Even though Windows isn’t an officially supported platform for Jekyll, there is a cheat sheet offered on its site giving detailed instructions on how to run it on the OS by installing Bash on Ubuntu.
|Free development software||Template directory|
|Quick installation||Windows compatible|
|Developer-friendly||Free hosting with GitHub|
The software is developer-friendly, but those with little or no coding knowledge may find it more complicated than the drag-and-drop environments other web builders provide. If you’re a developer, however, the templates make site development simple and offer vast customization options. Jekyll is free to use and is compatible with many hosts offering free hosting, including its partner GitHub.
Most people who’ve browsed the internet have stumbled upon a Tumblr page. The blogging platform hosts more than 350 million blogs covering pretty much any topic you can think of.
Tumblr is kind of a mashup between a social media site and a blogging platform. Users can create their own blog pages and follow others. All of the blogs you follow and the comments readers make on them show up in your dashboard. It’s bloggers mingling with other bloggers.
|Simple content entry||Customization options|
|Multiple post capabilities||Audio and video hosting available|
When it comes to setting up your page on Tumblr, a simple content entry system is available as well as a choice of styles and themes. Once you’re up and running, the platform gives the ability to post text, photos, quotes, links, audio, video, and even chat with other users. It’s free, easy to use, and a lot of fun.
How Free Blog Hosts Limit You
As we regularly discuss, free web hosting is an undeniably attractive offer that is often wrought with peril. The services is best when used temproarily, like if you want to try out a new design or technology. Beyond testing and development, though, we recommend finding a more permanent solution.
The limitations of some of the free platforms include:
- Lack of unique domain names
- Limited storage space
- Finite bandwidth
- Inadequate eCommerce solutions
- Narrow marketing functionalities
- Host-specific, branded advertisements
- Restrictions on certain media (audio/video)
- Lessened access to security features
These are just a few of the drawbacks of opting for some of the free plans. But, for just a few dollars per month, bloggers can gain access to an array of features and site functionalities.
Choose Your Platform & Start Blogging Today
While my family missed out on a free sailboat and wasted a few hours listening to a salesman pitch the benefits of spending time in mosquito-infested swamps, we learned to read the fine print to see just what “free” entailed. The free blog hosting offered by some of the platforms mentioned above are pretty straightforward. The benefits of the free packages are all written in black and white and the plans really are available at no cost.
However, with the free plans come some limitations on storage, bandwidth, security, and marketing solutions, among others. That’s why serious bloggers may be better served by one of the “almost free” hosts. For just a few dollars per month, these hosts will help get your blog online and blast your words to the world.