You want to start a blog but you realize hosting costs like $50 a year and you only have $0.13 in your wallet. You might as yourself how on earth do you even consider starting a blog without a web host, well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Free blogging services are widely available to everyone on the internet to make a niche topic blog, dev log, and an outlet for your mind. I’ll be listing out some of the best free platforms I’ve come across. These platforms might not be the best for customization and features, but it does give you a place to start.
Do note, since these are indeed free blogging services, all blogs are hosted on subdomains. Rather than a traditional .com or .ca or .whatever domain, the subdomains are offered to free users. If you are interested in getting a custom domain, you could always buy a $20 / year domain to add to your blog and still get that free hosting goodness.
Blogger by Google
The very first blog I ever had was hosted Blogger and over the years, Blogger hasn’t changed much, but it is still a solid blogging platform. As a free blogging platform offered by Google, it has easy settings to link Google Analytics and Google Adsense (for bloggers with good traffic). Though it isn’t as flexible as a standalone WordPress installation, you can still get Blogger themes to change the layout.
One downside I saw was that despite being a great blogging platform, Blogger doesn’t actually have a mobile app for the on-the-go writer who likes to write on their mobile device. Blogger’s admin dashboard is designed mainly for PC-based users so a mobile app is unavailable unlike others on this list.
Another great free blogging platform is WordPress.com. Do not confuse it with WordPress.org which is home of the standalone self-hosted WordPress version, as WordPress.com is the version that is hosted for you and all you have to do is either have a free plan or pay a monthly fee.
Some would say you should just host on WordPress.org but honestly, I tried hosting on a free web host and the bandwidth and traffic limitations just ruin the experience. As a result, I would recommend either you get your own paid web hosting for a WordPress installation, or go with WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is pretty much similar to Blogger, but is better supported and has a mobile app. Since WordPress.com can connect with WordPress.org installations, bloggers can manage both their free and paid blogs together on the same account.
A slight problem with WordPress.com is that it is very limited unless you get to the paid plans. For example, themes are limited, you cannot place iframes and external ads on your free blog, BUT you can always insert images with affiliate links.
Another drag-and-drop free blogging platform, Weebly is mainly a place to host a website but it can still host a blog. As a result, I have added it in the list in case there are those who want to build a website and not just a blog.
Weebly also has a mobile app, however, I find that Weebly‘s customization and blogging features on the app are not optimized for mobile. I had a bit of trouble finding the blogging feature at first, and customizing the blog post was a little cumbersome.
I have seen SO MANY Wix ads for the past while so I decided to check out Wix for blogging. Overall, Wix is similar to Weebly, offering mainly a website builder primarily rather than a dedicated free blogging platform. Of course, you can still blog on it, and thought the web version of Wix is a little annoying to use to build a website and edit blog posts, the mobile app for Wix surprisingly is okay for blogging.
I think the most notable free blogging platform on the list and the most talked-about is Medium. The Medium platform is an interesting free blogging platform, as there are no ads, however, readers have a limited number of articles they can view before Medium restricts and asks them to upgrade to “Member” status. This ends up being $5 USD / month or $50 USD / year. Despite not having a monetization option, Medium does allow authors to get a share of the monthly fees when a Medium paid member “claps” your post.
I don’t usually post on Medium, but sometimes I do have a post that I want to share and Medium handles all the SEO and organic traffic to your post. There’s an option on Medium to import a post from your blog and it won’t hurt the SEO and ranking of the post already published on your blog.
Medium does indeed offer a mobile app for viewing and writing but does have a post editor with fewer features than WordPress. I found when I was importing my “Free Web Hosting And Other Hosting Providers List” post (Originally posted on TIK), I had to change the formatting as some of the WordPress formatting was not supported on Medium.