7 Best Open Source Blogging Platforms 2024 (#1 Software)

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated November 23, 2023

Expert Verified by Leandro Langeani, BBA

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Today there are 97 different open source blogging platforms. We spent 78 hours comparing the top 50 to find the seven best you can use to successfully build and grow an online blog.

What is the Best Open Source Blogging?

  1. Ghost — best of the best
  2. WordPress — best for businesses
  3. Joomla — best for high-traffic blogs 
  4. Drupal — best for content-rich blogs 
  5. Substack — best for personal newsletters 
  6. Medium — best for making money blogging 
  7. Jekyll — best for blog portfolios

Our Verdict — Best Of The Best

Price: Starts at $11/month

Ghost is the go-to open source blogging platform for beginners looking to create a professional-looking site swiftly. We think it’s the best because of its beginner-friendly interface, built-in email and membership management tools, and reasonable hosting options.

The Best Part:

  • It’s beginner-friendly. Ghost's user interface is incredibly simple and intuitive, making it perfect for beginners with zero technical background.

The Worst Part:

  • Not so customizable. Ghost doesn’t come with lots of personalization and complex modification options — unless you're well-versed in coding.

Get it if you want an easy-to-use open source blogging platform that takes care of the technical stuff so you can effortlessly get your blog going.

I recommend you get started with a 14-day free trial, then get Ghost’s Starter plan ($108/year).

(14-day free trial)

Best For

Ghost is best for anyone who wants to get started with blogging without getting tangled in technicalities.

Top Features

  • Go free or pay up. Ghost, being open-source, lets you self-host at no cost. But if you'd rather not worry about hosting, hire one of their paid plans and they’ll have you covered.

  • Teamwork made easy. Ghost lets you invite your team or buddies to join in the blogging adventure — co-writing posts, managing your blog, and even managing your email list.

  • Conversion focused. Thanks to Ghost’s conversion-optimized themes, turning visitors into subscribers is made a lot easier for you — just drive the traffic and watch the magic happen.

  • Keep it clean and classy. Ghost's minimalist design ensures that your readers' eyes stay glued to your content.

  • Scale-friendly. Ghost integrates with tools such as Zapier, ConvertKit, Stripe, and Google Analytics, so you can grow your blog’s ecosystem.

Pricing

Ghost offers five pricing plans:

  • Free: Free forever, for tech-savvy bloggers who prefer self-hosting.
  • Starter: $11/month for solo bloggers who are starting their blogging journey and want one staff user, hosting, and standard integrations.
  • Creator: $31/month for growing bloggers who want everything in the Starter plan, plus two staff users, unlimited custom themes, and access to Zapier integrations.
  • Team: $63/month for blogging teams and organizations that want everything in the Creator plan, plus five staff users, along with priority customer support and increased usage limits.
  • Business: $249/month for established teams and organizations that want everything in the Team plan, plus unlimited staff users, advanced domain settings, and 99.9% server uptime guarantee.

Annual subscriptions provide up to a 21% discount.

Try Ghost today with a free 14-day trial.

Our Verdict — Best For Businesses

Price: Starts at $35.40/year

WordPress is the world’s most popular open source blogging platform and the best for growing a business blog. We think it’s the best for businesses because of its advanced SEO plugins, extensive array of customization options, and professional-looking website themes.

The Best Part:

  • Rank easily on Google. With WordPress’s advanced SEO settings and third-party plugins like Yoast, your content has a better shot at reaching the top of Google rankings.

The Worst Part:

  • Lengthy setup time. WordPress can take a bit of time to set up, especially when it comes to navigating through parameters, setting up a theme, and designing website pages.

Get it if you want an open source blogging platform that helps you rank and market your business.

I recommend you host WordPress on Bluehost with the Basic plan ($35.40/year).

(free plan)

Best For

WordPress is best for businesses that want an open-source blogging platform that can help them grow and attract more visitors.

Top Features

  • Make it yours. WordPress lets you tweak every little detail of your blog — color schemes, fonts, branding assets… So much more.

  • Trusted by everyone. Four out of every 10 websites on the internet are running on WordPress. It’s the most trusted solution out there.

  • Ironclad site security. WordPress equips you with robust security measures that keep spam and hackers at bay.

  • Supercharge your blog. WordPress's plugin library is packed to the brim, allowing you to do everything — advanced SEO tools, email marketing, ecommerce solutions… There’s nothing you can’t do with your blog.

  • Keep your readers engaged. WordPress lets you stir up conversations in the comments, share posts through newsletters, and even send browser notifications for new content.

Pricing

Bluehost offers four pricing plans for WordPress:

  • Basic: $35.40/year for individuals or small businesses that need an affordable yet robust hosting platform for WordPress to kickstart their blogging journey.
  • Plus: $65.40/year for businesses that want to install WordPress for up to two separate blogs.
  • Choice Plus: $119.40/year for businesses that want to install WordPress for up to three blogs and benefit from additional privacy and security features.
  • Pro: $167.4/year for businesses that expect heavy traffic and need high-performance features and robust security, for up to five separate blogs.

Try WordPress today with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Our Verdict — Best For High-Traffic Blogs

Price: Starts at $9.95/month

Joomla is an open source CMS and blogging platform that’s equipped to handle high-traffic blogs with complex settings. We think it’s the best for high-traffic blogs because of its advanced user management options, user-friendly dashboard, and wide range of extensions.

The Best Part:

  • User-friendly interface. Joomla doesn't make you feel like you're trying to herd cats. Its intuitive interface and user-friendly design make it easy for anyone to get it going.

The Worst Part:

  • Needs constant updates. Joomla is constantly requiring you to schedule routine website backups and to update to the latest version, in order for you to dodge potential security problems with your blog.

Get it if you want comprehensive control over your high-traffic blog and aren't afraid to tackle complex CMS features head-on.

I recommend you host Joomla on ScalaHosting with the Entry Joomla Cloud plan for $29.95/month.

(free plan)

Best For

Joomla is best for successful bloggers and businesses that expect high traffic and want a powerful open source blogging platform with advanced settings.

Top Features

  • Advanced user management. Joomla lets you call the shots when it comes to who does what on your blog. It’s easy to assign specific roles, setting varied access levels for different team members.

  • Turn it up a notch. Joomla offers tons of extensions that can add all sorts of features to your site. Whether you need SEO tools, extra security features, or fancy design elements, there's an extension for just about everything.

  • Menus are a breeze. Setting up and organizing menus and categories on a Joomla website feels as easy as arranging apps on your phone: drag and drop easy

  • Keeps content well-organized. Joomla features for categorizing posts, smart search functionality, and version control make managing your blog as easy as 1-2-3!

  • Expand your site. Joomla allows you to run an e-commerce store, a news portal, and a blog all on the same site.

Pricing

ScalaHosting offers four pricing plans for Joomla:

  • Joomla Mini: $9.95/month for new bloggers who manage one Joomla website, with up to 10GB in disk space.
  • Joomla Start: $12.95/month for bloggers and businesses running multiple websites, with up to 50GB in disk space.
  • Joomla Advanced: $15.95/month for bloggers and businesses that want high-speed and secure blogging experience, with up to 100GB in disk space.
  • Entry Joomla Cloud: $29.95/month for businesses that require superior performance and scalability and need everything from Joomla Advanced, plus a dedicated IP address, blacklist monitoring, improved inbox delivery, and scalable cloud storage.

Annual subscriptions provide up to a 70% discount.

Try Joomla today with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Our Top Three Picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:

  1. Ghost — best of the best
  2. WordPress — best for businesses
  3. Joomla — best for high-traffic blogs

Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:

Tool

Entry Offer

Pricing

Ghost

14-day free trial

Starts at $11/mo

WordPress

Free plan

Starts at $35.40/yr

Joomla

Free plan

Starts at $9.95/mo

Drupal

None

Starts at $0.50/mo

Substack

None

Free forever

Medium

None

Free forever

Jekyll

None

Free forever

Here are the top 50 open source blogging platforms we considered in this review:

  1. Ghost
  2. WordPress
  3. Joomla
  4. Drupal
  5. Substack
  6. Medium
  7. Jekyll
  8. Hexo
  9. Blogger
  10. Wix
  11. Squarespace
  12. Weebly
  13. Tumblr
  14. LiveJournal
  15. Hugo
  16. Gatsby
  17. Pelican
  18. Postach.io
  19. Grav
  20. Pagekit
  21. Typepad
  22. ExpressionEngine
  23. Craft CMS
  24. b2evolution
  25. Serendipity
  26. Dotclear
  27. Impression
  28. Bolt
  29. Anchor CMS
  30. Movable Type
  31. FlatPress
  32. Textpattern
  33. Zola
  34. SilverStripe
  35. concrete5
  36. Contao
  37. Orchard CMS
  38. ProcessWire
  39. Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware
  40. Octopress
  41. Publii
  42. Bludit
  43. Yclas
  44. CMS Made Simple
  45. Umbraco
  46. ModX
  47. Plone
  48. Typo3
  49. Magnolia CMS
  50. Nibbleblog

What is the best open source blog system?

Considering the vast library of choices available for bloggers, Ghost stands out as an excellent choice, particularly for beginners. Its user-friendly interface ensures that even non-technical users can navigate the platform with ease. Ghost is a self-hosted blogging platform that offers both free and paid options, catering to a wide range of user needs. As an open-source content management system, it offers basic features for those just starting out and advanced features for the more experienced blogger. One of its standout qualities is the simple interface, which is particularly beneficial for content creators who wish to focus on producing valuable content without being bogged down by technicalities.

What is the easiest free blog platform to use?

Ghost emerges as a particularly user-friendly platform, with its beginner-friendly interface being its hallmark. Even for those without any development experience, Ghost's simple interface ensures that setting up a personal blog becomes an effortless endeavor. While there are many popular blogging platforms, Ghost's emphasis on providing a seamless user experience for non-technical users makes it an excellent choice, especially for those just stepping into the blogging world. You can download Ghost's script free of charge to run on your own hosting, or sign up for their 14-day free trial to get started.

Where can I post my blog for free?

For individuals looking to establish an online presence without incurring costs, open source blogging platforms such as Ghost, WordPress, and Joomla offer the option to download their script free of charge and host it on your own server. This makes it possible for bloggers to start a blog from scratch without any immediate financial commitment. 

What is the no #1 blogging website in the world?

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform. With its vast range of features, customization options, and extensive content collection, it caters to a wide selection of themes and needs, from basic blogs to large-scale blogs. Whether you're looking to set up a personal, community-oriented, or fan blog, WordPress offers the tools and flexibility you need. Its advanced SEO options, coupled with a plethora of third-party plugins, make it the choice for bloggers looking to optimize their content for search engines and grow their blog subscribers.

Why is WordPress better than Blogger?

WordPress stands out because of its versatility and the extensive range of customization options it offers. As an open-source platform, users have the liberty to modify it to fit their specific requirements. Its advanced features, especially the SEO plugins like Yoast, ensure that your content is structured in an SEO-friendly manner, maximizing its visibility on search engines. This is particularly useful for content creators, professional bloggers, and businesses aiming to reach a wider user base. Furthermore, the vast library of plugins available allows for blog customization that goes beyond just the aesthetics, encompassing functionalities like advanced user roles and permissions, affiliate marketing tools, and online stores. While Blogger is a solid platform, especially for basic blog needs, WordPress offers a richer set of tools and functionalities that can cater to both the beginner and the experienced, making it a more comprehensive solution for a wider range of users.

The Bottom Line

To recap, here are the best open source blogging software to try this year:

  1. Ghost — best of the best
  2. WordPress — best for businesses
  3. Joomla — best for high-traffic blogs 
  4. Drupal — best for content-rich blogs 
  5. Substack — best for personal newsletters 
  6. Medium — best for making money blogging
  7. Jekyll — best for blog portfolios

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