Select a Blogging Platform — Hosted or Self-Hosted

By Melissa Culbertson

If you’re starting a blog from scratch, you need to choose a blog platform before you can start working on your blog design. Choosing a blog platform isn’t an easy decision because blog platforms come in many different flavors. A list of the most commonly used platforms are included in the table to get you started.

The main difference to consider is whether you want a blog that’s hosted or self-hosted:

  • Hosted means that the blog software and your content live on the blog platform’s own web servers. Hosted blog platforms take the responsibility of managing the software, data, and web-hosting so you don’t have to. Many bloggers start off with a hosted platform and eventually switch to a self-hosted platform to have more control over their blog design.

    However, many bloggers are completely happy sticking with hosted platforms. The most popular hosted blog platform is Blogger.

  • Self-hosted means that you install the blogging software on your own web server. You can pay for server space through a hosting company like Hostgator or Dreamhost. You have more control over your blog (and blog design) with a self-hosted site, but you also have more maintenance and responsibility over your blog when something goes wrong. The most popular self-hosting blog platform is WordPress.org.

Many bloggers start out with hosted blog software because it is generally (but not always) free, whereas self-hosted blogs may mean you must pay for web hosting, domain names, and other Internet services. The table includes costs for the software, but not for hosting and other services, which will vary depending on which providers and services you choose.

Popular Blogging Platforms
Platform Hosted or Self-Hosted Free or Paid
Blogger Hosted Free
Moveable Type Self-Hosted Software is free for non-business blogs; you pay hosting fees
to hosting company
Squarespace Hosted $8–$24/month
Typepad Hosted $8.95–$29.95/month (slightly more if billed monthly
instead of yearly)
Tumblr Hosted Free
WordPress.com Hosted Free (for more design control, Custom Design upgrade available
for $30/year)
WordPress.org Self-hosted Software is free; you pay hosting fees to hosting company