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Best blogging sites of 2020: Free and paid blog platforms

Image Description
Best free blogging site

1. Wix

2. WordPress

3. Blogger

4. Weebly

5. Penzu

Read on for our detailed analysis of each service

Free blogging sites have come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to create a professional-looking blog to share a hobby with likeminded people, express your opinions, and establish an online presence.

These free blogging sites are aimed at hobbyist bloggers – blogs are created and managed online, and hosted on the blogging platform’s own servers. If you want to create a self-hosted blog, the downloadable version of WordPress is an excellent option, with total flexibility, support for third-party plugins, and as much storage as your hosting plan allows.

If you're interested in making a static website rather than an online journal, take a look at our guide to the best free website builders.

Take your blog to the next level with Bluehost

 Free blogging sites have their limitations which is why you should consider hosting your blog with Bluehost instead. If you sign up for the company’s Shared Plan for $2.75 per month for the first term only, you’ll get $175 in offers, 24/7 support, as well as a free domain and site builder. 

Wix makes it dead easy to design and realize your blog, and you can do a lot more besides (Image credit: Wix)

1. Wix

Get powerful blog building functionality, and much more to boot

Highly intuitive editor
Flexibility in spades
You get lots more than blog building

Wix has a range of paid-for subscription plans, but also a free offering, although it’s best to note upfront that this has some caveats. With the free product, your site will have Wix branding, and you’ll be limited to 500MB of data transfer per month, so it’s not for heavily-trafficked sites. You also only get 500MB storage, too, so bear that in mind.

Those limits aside, you are free to build a blog with an unlimited number of pages, and where Wix really distinguishes itself is with its powerful blog functionality. The editor may be simple, but you get access to all the stuff you need – from image galleries through to videos and music – and there are a ton of ways to customize a post.

There’s also a lot of flexibility in the way you can schedule posts, and neat touches like being able to set up things so that posts are automatically pushed to Facebook when they’re published. For instance, there's a feature called Wix Bookings that allows customers to schedule appointments and classes right on your website.

And what makes Wix truly compelling is that on top of this, you get the run of the rest of what this website builder offers aside from blog support. That includes using Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) editor, which will ask for some basic info regarding the kind of site you wish to create, and features you want, and will swiftly produce something along those lines for you. That’s an impressive feature for novices, of course.

There’s also commendably diverse support for various different types of media, and quality customer support to boot (yes, even on the free plan). The Wix Turbo feature is also on hand, and this increases the speed and performance of websites considerably.

When you consider what you’re getting for nothing, the bandwidth and data limits don’t seem like such a heavy set of shackles. And you can always upgrade at a later date if you want to break free of them in the longer run.

Try it online: Wix

You can host a WordPress blog yourself, or create one online and have it hosted at (Image credit: WordPress)

2. WordPress

Advanced features, plugins and a generous storage allowance

Powerful customization options
Useful analytics
Active support community

Powerful and highly customizable, WordPress is a brilliant platform for blogs of any size, and bloggers of all levels of experience.

Creating your first blog is very straightforward, with a simple wizard that guides you through the process of choosing a name and suitable theme. You can leave it there and begin writing posts immediately, but the real fun lies in the more advanced editor, which lets you customize virtually every aspect of your blog’s appearance.

Unlike some blogging sites, WordPress isn’t a drag-and-drop affair, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its system of menus. Doing so is well worth the effort, though, and enables you to create something truly personal. The editor also allows you to create static pages – like a writer’s biography, for example.

The post-writing interface is much like an ordinary desktop word processor (though some options are presented in a toolbar at the top, while others are in a menu at the side, which can be a little confusing at first). Again, time spent getting to know the interface is rewarded with advanced features like customizable social media sharing buttons, geotagging, and the ability to pick a custom style for individual posts.

Sometimes you might want to create a photo gallery, for example, and other times a more text-focused style would be more appropriate. You can also view and edit the HTML source.

As your blog grows, WordPress lets you track its stats, including page views, visitors, likes and comments over time. You can also see how readers reach your site, which content they viewed, and where they are in the world, all of which is very useful in terms of being able to tailor your content accordingly.

Your site is hosted on WordPress servers, with an address in the format Users of the free service don’t get email or live chat support, but the WordPress community forums are very active and questions are usually answered within a few minutes. Additionally, privacy protection for domains that are registered at is free.

WordPress displays ads on free blogs, but provided you can live with that, it’s a top-notch solution for a free blogging site.

Try it online: WordPress

Blogger has been around for many years, but has kept up with current trends and technology, including responsive blog templates (Image credit: Blogger)

3. Blogger

Boasts mobile-friendly features and Google app integration

Very accessible for newbies
Impressive selection of templates
Not as powerful as WordPress

Blogger is another superb blogging platform. It’s not quite as powerful as WordPress, but on the other hand, it is more accessible for new users, which comes as no surprise when you learn that it’s owned by Google.

Blogger offers an excellent selection of templates, all of which include mobile versions optimized for smaller screens – a very sensible addition with so many people accessing online content through smartphones these days. Blogger is also web responsive.

Blogger’s post-editing tool is much like WordPress, but offers fewer options. As a result, its toolbars are less confusing – a trade-off between power and usability.

One of Blogger’s best features is its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, it uses your Google Drive account to store images and other files for your blog. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space free, so Blogger is a good choice if you’re planning to share a lot of high-res photos.

Spam comments are a big problem on blogs, so Blogger’s automatic spam filter can help save your sanity. You can monitor comments via Blogger’s dashboard, which also lets you see visitor stats. There are some handy visualizations here, including a world map to show the global distribution of your readers.

Your blog will have an address in the format, and, like all Google services, will include ads. Support is available through the Blogger user forum, which is very active but has a strange layout that can be a little off-putting.

In all other respects, Blogger is brilliant – in short, it is one of the best free blogging sites if you prioritize ease of use over flexibility, particularly if you are a fan of the Google ecosystem too.

Try it online: Blogger

Blogs on Weebly are built from a combination of content blocks (Image credit: Weebly)

4. Weebly

Drag-and-drop your way to a smart looking blog

Simple but powerful blog building
Neat extras like post previewing
Limited to 500MB of storage

Weebly takes a modular approach to blog building, with a drag-and-drop editor that lets you choose which elements to add to your site, and where. 

Pick a basic template, then plonk various types of content onto the page, including social media links, text, images, maps, and sections of code. It’s a refreshingly simple way to build a blog that feels unique to you, but doesn’t require any messing about with menus.

It’s worth noting, however, that certain content blocks can only be positioned in certain areas; it isn’t a total free-for-all. This makes sense – forcing you to stick within the confines of your chosen template stops the page looking messy – but you might find it limiting. 

Blog posts are made in the same way: drag text boxes, picture frames, buttons and page breaks into position, then click to edit them. One particularly nice feature is the ‘secret draft link’, which lets you preview your unpublished post, and even share it with others via email before releasing it into the wild. 

Weebly has some other interesting tricks up its sleeve, including an area for pasting in Google Analytics tracking code (though it doesn’t offer analytics itself).

You’re only given 500MB for uploaded content, so photographers might want to look elsewhere. Weebly puts an ad in your site’s footer, but it doesn’t obscure any of your content.

Try it online: Weebly

Penzu is a personal blogging tool that lets you create your own private diary (Image credit: Penzu)

5. Penzu

A secure journal for your private thoughts

Emphasis on privacy and security
Free mobile apps
Some pressure to upgrade to paid version

Whereas the other free blogging sites we've looked at here are designed to get as many eyeballs on your posts as possible, Penzu takes the opposite philosophy, and is the equivalent of a locked diary stashed in a safe.

Penzu is a journal platform that makes your posts private by default and locks them down with at least one password (even after you’re logged in, you need a second one to read or edit your posts). That’s because it’s designed for private thoughts and personal reflection. There are free apps for iOS and Android that enable you to update your Penzu diary anywhere, but the contents are for your eyes only.

Penzu isn’t a tool for self-promotion, so although it’s far from ugly, it understandably focuses on function rather than looks. Custom colors and backgrounds come at a price – currently $20 per year.

It’s a shame that 128-bit AES encryption is also limited to the paid-for version, and there’s a fair amount of pressure to upgrade applied by Penzu. Extra options are often dangled under your nose then yanked away, but the core offering is a good one, and if you simply want a place to record your thoughts and practise writing, Penzu could be just the ticket.

Try it online: Penzu


24 Sep 2020



Other Blog

  • The best cheap MacBook deals, sales and prices in November 2021

    MacBook deals are still underwhelming as we reach mid-October, but with Black Friday deals on the horizon we're confident things could start picking up soon. Perhaps that will usher in a return to the best-ever prices we saw over previous months? Will they drop even further following the launch of the new MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)? Whatever happens, we'll be on hand to bring you the very best offers on Apple's premium laptops in both the US and the UK.

    What if you don't want to wait for the Black Friday Apple deals and want to buy one today? Well, let's start with that MacBook Air model. It's back to having a small discount on the standard $999 / £999 price. Sadly, the extra $100 discount we saw to bring it down to its lowest price is no longer available at Amazon. We're fully expecting it to make a return over the coming weeks, though.

    Offers on the MacBook Pro aren't faring much better, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on now that the new MacBook Pro models with M1 Pro and M1 Max chip are available to buy. The best deals will likely be reserved for late November so here's where you can follow the latest Black Friday MacBook Pro deals.

    As for current deals, a record-low $1,099 / £1,099 price was widely available on the entry-level model. It's now jumped up by around $100 / £100, so you'll have to pay a little extra if you want additional power in your speakers, as well as that all-important touchbar. It might be best to hold off to see what this year's Black Friday MacBook deals bring.

    As soon as anything changes, we'll bring you all the latest cheap MacBook deals today and in the Black Friday sales, so you can pick up a luxury laptop without breaking the bank.

    This week's best cheap MacBook deals in the US

    MacBook Air (M1, 256GB): $999 $929.99 at Amazon
    Save $150 -
    Amazon had the best ever price on the M1 MacBook Air but we're now seeing it back up to $929. The previous offer was such excellent value – especially considering the might of the M1 processing chip – that we'd suggest holding off for now as it's bound to return soon.

    MacBook Air (M1, 512GB): $1,249 $1,199 at Amazon
    Save $50
    – The 512GB version of the M1 MacBook Air is no longer down to its lowest price at Amazon. As with the iteration above, it seems likely that last month's offer will be made available again. We'll be back to update this page as soon as we see it.

    MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 256GB): $1,299 $1,099 at Amazon
    Save $200 -
    The M1 MacBook Pro is back to its lowest price ever this week, hot off the heels of the latest device releases featuring the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Just remember that you'll need to go through the checkout to see the full discount.

    MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro, 512GB): for $1949 at Amazon
    Amazon just has the cheapest MacBook Pro 14-inch model available to pre-order. It's a small $50 discount off the recommended price. This version comes with the M1 Pro chip, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Order now and it'll be dispatched as soon as new stock arrives.

    This week's best cheap MacBook deals in the UK

    MacBook Air (M1, 256GB): £999 £899 at Amazon
    Save £100 -
    After almost two weeks at an all-time low of £849 at Amazon, it's no surprise that the offer has expired. Instead, you can now pick up this model for £899. It's not as strong an offer, but still £100 lower than the recommended price. We can't be sure just how long the discount will last so be sure to make the most of it while you can.

    MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 256GB): £1,299 £1,167 at Amazon
    Save £130
    – After falling to an all-new low of £1,129 earlier in the month, unfortunately, this model has now shot back up in price. It's still a good chunk less than it has been for most of the year so there's still a saving to be had. It's just not as exciting as it was a few weeks ago.

    MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1 Pro): from £1899 at Amazon
    Currently, all versions of the MacBook Pro 14-inch are available to pre-order from Amazon. Both of these iterations feature the M1 Pro chip, which promises to be much faster than the previous M1 chip. Customisability options include the choice between a 512GB or 1TB SSD.

    Cheap MacBook Air deals

    MacBook deals sales

    (Image credit: Apple)

    The best cheap MacBook Air M1 (2020) deals

    Apple brings M1 to play

    CPU: Apple M1 8-core CPU | Graphics: 7-core GPU | Screen: 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 Retina True Tone display (backlit LED, IPS) | Storage: 256GB to 2TB | Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

    Powerful new processor
    Bigger storage options
    Less fan performance than Pro
    No design changes

    If you're after a performance boost, but still need that lightweight form factor, the new MacBook Air M1 might be your best bet. Don't worry though, there's a serious performance boost in this model but you're not paying as much for it as you may think. In fact, we even saw some early discounts over Black Friday 2020, so Apple certainly isn't afraid to introduce MacBook deals on this model every now and then. 

    The new M1 chip gives Intel a serious run for its money, and battery life doesn't even suffer for it. Plus, you're getting it all for the same price as the previous model which makes this the go-to for a 2020 release right now.

    cheap MacBook price sales deals

    (Image credit: Apple)

    The best cheap MacBook Air (2020) deals

    Best for Intel processing

    CPU: 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | Screen: 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1,600 Retina True Tone display (backlit LED, IPS) | Storage: 256GB / 512GB SSD | Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

    New low price
    Latest 10th generation processors
    Storage is doubled
    Slightly thicker design

    The original 2020 MacBook Air doesn't look quite so good now that the M1 version is out in the wild. However, as prices start to fall on the early-2020 model, you may well find some significant MacBook deals up for grabs here.  

    You'll find Intel 10th generation processors with up to quad-core CPUs available here. Plus, this model was the first to offer 256GB of storage space at entry level, with up to 16GB RAM on offer as well. Like the M1 model, the entry level 2020 MacBook Air also starts at a lower sub-$1,000 / £1,000 price. 

    Cheap MacBook Pro deals

    cheap MacBook deals sales

    (Image credit: Apple)

    The best 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 (2020) deals

    The most powerful 13-inch Pro on the market

    CPU: Apple M1 chip - 8 cores | Graphics: 8 core GPU | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Dimensions (H x W x D): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inches

    Powerful new M1 chip 
    Fan cooling will make for better performance
    17 hours battery life
    Higher price tag

    The new M1 MacBook Pro is now available, which means you'll want to decide whether you go for a potentially cheaper price point with the previous generation or what looks like a stark performance upgrade with Apple's own chip. We've already seen some surprise price cuts over Black Friday - mere weeks after the latest MacBook Pro was released, however, which means the latest model may be more affordable than you think. 

    The new MacBook certainly delivers on Apple's promise of a revolutionary experience. Performance sees a considerable boost from the new M1 hardware, even running legacy apps designed for previous Intel machines. Things still look pretty similar from the outside, but you're running a serious powerful machine here, with a price that even manages to undercut other high end ultrabooks in value. 

    cheap MacBook Pro price sales deals

    (Image credit: Apple)

    The best 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) deals

    The latest MacBook Pro with a decent price tag

    CPU: 8th - 10th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB - 32GB | Screen: 13-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Dimensions (H x W x D): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inches

    More starter storage
    New keyboard
    8th generation processors

    The 2020 MacBook Pro (Intel) does have its place in the market now that the M1 model has hit the shelves. While you're only picking 8th generation processing here, which is a little old for a laptop priced well over $1,000 / £1,000, you're able to configure far more RAM and storage in this model. That makes it a go-to if you're looking for bigger storage but you're happy to grab a cheaper processor to do so.

    The M1 version does retail for a similar MSRP, which would make it a go-to for most users. However, if you spot a MacBook deal below the standard $1,200 / £1,200 above, it's worth a look.

    best cheap MacBook sales prices deals

    (Image credit: Apple)

    The best 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) deals

    The largest MacBook Pro ever released

    CPU: 6-core - 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – 5500M, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch, 3072 x 1920 Retina display | Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.62 x 35.79 x 24.59cm

    Huge 16-inch display
    Impressive configuration options
    Powerful speakers
    Painfully expensive

    Released just as 2019 was drawing to a close, the 16-inch MacBook Pro was set upon the world in order to replace the 15-inch model released earlier in the year. There's far more than a few inches tacked onto the display, however. 

    Top of the range specs will bring you an 8-core 9th generation i9 processor, 64GB RAM and an 8TB SSD - at a price that pushes $6,000. That means there's some mind-blowing power on offer here, but very few will actually get to experience it. At entry level you can expect a MacBook Pro price of just over $2,000, which is far more manageable but far from the cheap MacBook sales we all dream of. 

    Keeping all that power contained is, of course, the larger 16-inch chassis, but there's also an improved keyboard and brighter Retina display on offer here. 11 hours of battery life is an impressive feat at this spec, but if you're after a portable laptop to throw into a backpack, you might want to take a look at some smaller models - this beast weighs in at 2kg. 

    Cheap MacBook deals

    Apple hasn't released a standard MacBook in a while, which means the prices below are likely on refurbished units. However, if you're looking for an Apple machine under $800 then this is likely your best shot. MacBooks are made to last, which means many of these older models will still hold up for everyday usage as well.

    best cheap macbook sales price deals

    The best cheap MacBook (2017) prices

    Small and stylish

    CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14~0.52in

    Incredibly portable 
    Long battery life 
    Cheaper than other MacBooks
    Older specs

    This is the newest regular MacBook you can buy. The screen and compact dimensions on the 2017 MacBook are the same as the 2016 edition. The main improvement with the latest version is the inclusion of the 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors in either m3, i5 or i7 configurations. 

    2015 MacBook owners are the most likely to notice and appreciate the improvements, but if you're still looking for cheap MacBook deals and don't want to go near a $1,000 price tag, this could be the model for you.

    macbook 2016 deals prices

    The best cheap Macbook (2016) sale prices

    Often the cheapest MacBook option

    CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch LED (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 11 x 7.8 x 0.5in

    Still very capable
    Looks fantastic
    Can be very cheap nowadays

    The internal specifications on the 2016 12-inch MacBook might be lagging behind the most recent version nowadays, but if you're not planning on pushing the device too hard with demanding tasks then it could be a great money-saving option for you. 

    While some of the cheapest prices might be reserved for refurbs, the 2016 MacBook is still a fantastic device and it's one of the most portable options in Apple's laptop lineup.

    How to find the best MacBook deals

    MacBook deals are hard to come by for a reason - these machines last. That means Apple rarely discounts its older laptop lines with new generations, so it's harder to find that standout price if you're willing to swallow a few years on the market. 

    That doesn't mean you're stuck with launch prices, however. In fact, MacBook sales are fairly common around certain times of the year, and do generally fall in line with new releases. While you might not find major discounts on cheaper entry level models, those shopping for the more specced out lines can enjoy some significant price drops around the holidays and major Apple launch windows. 

    Cheap MacBook prices: is it worth buying a pre-2017 MacBook?

    We'll say it again, MacBooks last. Many 2015 MacBook Pros are still running healthy to this day, though you might struggle to cram the latest MacOS releases onto them. But we'll say something else again, cheap MacBooks don't tend to lose their value. That means you can easily spend $1,000 on a MacBook from before 2017 and miss out on the latest processors, RAM speeds, hardware features, and SSD storage sizes of the newer models, sitting at similar prices. 

    That means if you do spot a particularly good MacBook deal on an older model, it may well be worth your time. If you find yourself shopping between the $1,300 and $2,000 mark, however, double check you can't pick up something newer for the same price.

    What to look for in MacBook sales

    MacBook sales tend to offer creepingly reduced prices on the entry level Air and Pro models while reserving the big drops for the more expensive configurations. While these deals tend to stick around the same sale prices every time they are reduced, keen shoppers will notice that traditional discount does grow a little every now and then. That will knock an extra $50 off the price sporadically in order to make headlines, but it also means that if you spot a particularly good MacBook deal it's not worth sticking around and waiting for a better sale in the future. 

    It's worth shopping older models if you're looking to score a more impressive price drop, as retailers are keen to shift these units before any big release. Shop these MacBook deals if you're after a bigger spec in particular, as you'll often find the older mid-range models offering bigger power than entry level fresh releases for either the same price or slightly less. 

    However, it's always worth keeping one eye on the prices of those latest versions. As we've learned with the 2020 MacBook Air, Apple is looking to make the MacBook more cost effective moving forwards. That means you might be able to find MacBook deals offering entry level new releases for less than their ancestors. 

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    Samsung is apparently working on a Galaxy Tab S7 Lite in two different sizes.

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