The first blog is credited to Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore College, in 1994 even though the term “blog” (a combination of “web” and “log”) wasn’t coined until three years later.
Since then, blogging has grown exponentially as there are over 440 million blogs worldwide according to recent estimates.
Early blogs such as Hall’s were glorified personal homepages, and early blogging platforms catered primarily to people who wanted to publish personal content. While these individual, wide-ranging blogs still exist, niche-specific blogs focused on subjects such as fashion, travel, food, beauty, and parenting are increasingly popular.
Early bloggers also had limited options to monetize content, but now there is the potential to generate substantial revenue through ads, affiliate programs, direct sales, and site-subscription fees.
Given the potential reach in terms of audience as well as the opportunity to earn income, it’s key to make the right choice for hosting your blog. Check out the best available blog hosting sites below to decide which one will work best for you.
How We Choose Our Ratings
When evaluating a blog hosting site, it is important to take a holistic assessment as opposed to just focusing on price. After all, while you do want value for money, you only want to pay for products and services which meet your needs.
Sure, we include pricing information below, but we also look at two more key areas such as the suite of user features – including monetization options where applicable – and customer service at these best blog hosting sites.
Features: What different options and functionality are available? What is the ease of use?
Customer Service: How will your questions be answered and your problems addressed?
Pricing: Is there a free option or only paid? What are the differences in plans?
Top 8 Best Blog Hosting Sites
The thumbnail reviews below provide an overview of the best options available which range from promoting personal content on the web all the way to primarily ecommerce solutions.
A long-standing and popular blogging site, WordPress.com was launched in 2005. Both a blogging platform and hosting site, there is a robust free version made possible through optional paid upgrades and anti-spam software as well as advertising.
By WordPress.com’s estimates, each month over 400 million people view more than 15 billion pages, and today, it is used by 25% of all websites on the internet.
WordPress.com can be used to build not just blogs but websites of all kinds. A wide variety of free and paid templates are available, and the drag-and-drop interface and the WYSIWYG editor are intuitive and easy to use. There is 24/7 email customer support, and paid plans offer live chats with “Happiness Engineers.” Your blog can be monetized through Google Adsense, affiliate links, and/or selling your own products directly.
Whether you’re a one-person operation or a large organization, WordPress.com offers a level of service which will work for you.
Cost: Free (WordPress.com subdomain and limited storage) and paid plans from $4 to $25 per month (custom domain name, additional storage, and capability to upload audio and video). The top-tier business plan allows you to install third-party plug-ins and themes.Check Website
Tumblr was founded in 2007 by David Karp and is currently owned by Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon.
Its specialty is microblogging via shorter text posts and multimedia content. As of 2018, Tumblr hosted over 400 million blogs with more than 550 million visitors each month.
Tumblr users are evenly divided between men and women, and it is most popular in the 18-29 age demographic.
There are seven types of default posts: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video.
Unlike most other blogging sites which are designed for optimal performance on desktops, the Tumblr app makes microblogging a snap on your smartphone.
Other features include easy sharing, liking, and reposting of content from other Tumblr users. Customer service is by email 24/7, and users can access a sizeable knowledge database.
While some large companies use Tumblr, it’s more suited for individuals and smaller organizations.
Cost: Free with paid options for custom domain names and premium themes.Check Website
One of the Original blog hosting platforms, Blogger was launched in 1998 and has been owned by Google since 2003. By 2013, Google claimed 540 million active users. This could be a bit misleading, however, as it’s bundled into Google’s suite of products such as Gmail and Google Docs, and it’s hard to know exactly how a “user” is defined.
This is like each copy of the Windows 10 operating system including Microsoft’s Edge browser which counts as an installation whether a user ever launches it or not.
Blogger’s simplicity is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, its limited set of features and customization options means there are not a lot of bells and whistles to navigate. Plus, it is integrated with other Google products such as AdSense to generate revenue.
On the other hand, this low-level functionality makes it less appealing to more experienced bloggers. In addition, Google has a history of terminating even popular projects with little warning, so you’ll need to back up your content regularly. Customer service is relegated primarily to user forums and online forms.
You might start a blog on Blogger, but if it begins to grow, you’ll want to move to a more robust platform like WordPress.com.</pp>Cost with paid custom domain names available through Google Domains.Check Website
An open-source publishing platform, Ghost was released publicly in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign met its initial goal of almost $35,000 in less than a day and ultimately collected over $250,000.
Sporting a stripped-down, minimalist approach to blogging, as of 2018 Ghost has over 1.3 million installs. The core publishing application is free while the non-profit Ghost Foundation sustains itself via paid hosting options.
Unlike WordPress.com, which is used for all types of websites, Ghost is tailored to bloggers and writers.
One cool feature is split-screen editing: edit your post on the left and see the live version of it on the right. In addition, if you want to use a different hosting platform, you can download the Ghost application to your computer for free.
All plans include unlimited storage. Most customer support is through FAQs. Ghost(Pro) customers also have email support.
If you’re serious about writing, Ghost is a viable option to spend more time producing content and less on managing your website.
Cost: $19 per month (1 blog and 50,000 monthly page views) up to $199 per month (50 sites and 2 million monthly page views)Check Website
Medium was launched in 2012 and designed by Evan Williams, a co-founder of both Blogger and Twitter.
Its emphasis is almost exclusively on content sharing as opposed to an ecommerce focus like sites such as Wix and Squarespace. In 2017, Medium had 60 million monthly readers of its content.
Like Ghost, Medium is focused on content production. There are limited options to customize your posts and web pages. Anyone can write and publish content which can also be aggregated into online magazines. Writers can decide to have individual pages/posts be available to anyone or only paid subscribers.
Revenue is generated by how many “claps” (similar to “likes”) an article receives from paid subscribers as a percentage of their monthly subscription fees. Customer service options include online help tickets, email support, and FAQs.
If you want to spend more time writing and less time on managing a website, Medium could be a good choice for you, especially given its ability to be easily monetized.
Cost: Free (unlimited publishing but you can only read 3 subscription-based articles per month) or $5 per month (unlimited publishing and access to all content)Check Website
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wix is a cloud-based website builder launched in 2006. It utilizes a freemium model: the basic application is free with a low monthly hosting fee, and numerous paid upgrades and options are available.
By 2017 there were 110 million Wix users, and on average, there are 45,000 new signups every day.
More a website builder than a blogging platform per se, users can add a blog via the Wix Blog app. Designing your site is easy with a drag-and-drop system which requires no coding skills. Plus, there are many paid apps to choose from.
Free apps, however, are limited, and the basic monthly plan has Wix branding on your site. The top-tier VIP plan includes phone and email support while the basic plan relies on FAQs.
Small business owners will like the ecommerce options, but if that’s not you, another service might be a better choice.
Cost: $5 per month (1 gig of bandwidth and 500 megs of storage) up to $25 per month (unlimited bandwidth, 20 gigs of storage, and free custom domain)Check Website
Founded in 2003 by Anthony Catalana while he was a student at the University of Maryland, Squarespace is a software as a service (SAAS) designed to be a one-stop-shop for your website building and publishing needs.
It offers a blogging platform, hosting service, commerce platform, domain registry, and more.
Squarespace is a privately held company, so the number of users is hard to know for sure. Most estimates, though, suggest it has fewer than Wix’s 110 million users.
Squarespace offers well-designed templates to create sharp-looking websites via drag-and-drop tools which require no coding skills. Even the basic website plan offers unlimited bandwidth and pages while the eCommerce online store plans allow you to sell unlimited products with no transaction fees.
All plans come with 24/7 customer service by email and online chat. In addition, there are in-depth guides and video tutorials available. Like Wix, Squarespace can be used for blogging but is more suitable for eCommerce.
If you do start a blog on Squarespace, once you achieve substantial growth, you’ll likely want to move to a platform like WordPress.com with more features.
Cost: Basic website plan is $12 per month (free domain name comes with annual purchase) and the advanced business plan is $40 per month (flexible discounts for in-store products, customer accounts, and a gift card option).Check Website
Weebly was launched in 2007 by three Pennsylvania State University students who developed it to build web pages to host their online portfolios as required by the school.
Like Squarespace, it offers two categories of plans: a general website builder and online stores. By 2008, Weebly had one million users, and currently, it has over 40 million. In 2018, the online financial transactions service Square announced it was acquiring Weebly.
Like several of the sites on this list, Weebly utilizes drag-and-drop tools and widgets to build your site.
Also, like Squarespace and Wix, Weebly is more a website builder which can include a blog as opposed to having a primary focus on content sharing like Ghost or Medium. The free plan for individuals will let you try out all its features before upgrading to a paid one.
Customer service options include email, online chat, and FAQs.
If you’re more interested in ecommerce than blogging, Wix could be the right choice for you, especially due to its acquisition by online payment processor Square.
Cost: Free (limited storage, Weebly subdomain, and Weebly advertising) up to $38 per month (unlimited storage, free domain name, and no transaction fees)Check Website
What Do You Want to Do?
When it comes to making a choice from all the best blog hosting sites, the most important question to answer is: What do you want to do?
If you want to spend more time writing and less time on managing a website, Ghost or Medium could be your best bet. If you’re more interested in ecommerce, take a long look at Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly.
Or, if you want a site which can do it all, you might go with WordPress.com. Knowing where you want to put your efforts will allow you to make the best decision possible.
Want to learn more about what to look for when choosing from the best blog hosting sites? Check out this article on web requirements .