3 Recommendations for Non-Hosted Blogs

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

If you’re ready to make the leap into the deep end of the blogging pool, the following will give you recommendations for a range of well-respected non-hosted blogging tools.

Basics of WordPress for blogs

Since 2003, WordPress has provided a solid platform for new and experienced bloggers who want the control of installing blog software on their own computers. Many bloggers say that WordPress is the easiest blogging platform (aside from hosted blogging software) to set up and configure.

The interface acts exactly the way the hosted WordPress.com system works. That said, if you’re considering using WordPress, sign up for a test blog on WordPress.com to get a good preview of how WordPress works.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • WordPress is free!

  • It offers many, many user-submitted and user-prepared designs, ready for use.

  • It includes tags and categories, allowing you to organize your posts easily.

  • It has editing tools (such as spell checking), offers common text styles, and gives you easy ways to include photos, videos, and other media.

  • It displays statistics about your visitors to help you understand the traffic to your blog.

  • It fights spam with a range of anti-spam tools.

Basics of Movable Type for blogs

Movable Type is the grandfather of all installable blogging platforms. Released in 2001, it quickly became one of the most popular blogging software packages, for geeks and pundits alike. Movable Type was the first blogging software that permitted contributions by multiple authors, and bloggers highly regard it for the many ways that you can leverage it to create easily updateable websites and blogs.

If you’re serious about looking at hosting your own installation, Moveable Type is a strong contender. Movable Type offers

  • A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing environment that saves you time and effort

  • Easy tools for categorizing your posts, inserting photos and multimedia, and spell checking

  • Automatic generation of RSS feeds to give your blog longevity

  • Searchable content, tags, and other cool tools

  • A range of licensing options for personal, commercial, and educational use

Pricing varies, but the basic commercial installation is $595, and you may qualify to use the free Blogger license if you are an individual blogger and not setting up a blog for an organization or business.

Basics of ExpressionEngine for blogs

Back in 2001, a company called pMachine released a blogging software package called pMachine Pro. pMachine Pro quietly hatched a following based on clean interface, solid performance, and flexibility in both design and layout. From that success, pMachine built the content management system and blogging software ExpressionEngine, an exceptionally powerful platform.

Today, pMachine (now known as EllisLab) supports all kinds of sites by using ExpressionEngine, which it offers in both commercial and personal flavors. As is Movable Type, ExpressionEngine is highly regarded by web developers because it offers great blogging tools, but it’s flexible enough to be used to develop all kinds of websites — not just blogs.

ExpressionEngine users have

  • The capability to run multiple blogs that have many contributors

  • A powerful templating engine

  • Additional modules and community plug-ins, including mailing lists, forums, and photo galleries

  • Strong comment moderation and prevention tools

  • Different levels of user access, allowing administrators to control what blogs and templates users can edit

ExpressionEngine’s commercial license runs you $299.95, the nonprofit/personal version is $149.95, and there is a Freelancer license for smaller-presence websites for $99.95.