Ask HN: Best Blogging Platform

To avoid updates and viruses, go with a static site.

There are a ton of good static site generators out there. My blog[0] runs on Jekyll[1]. Hugo[2] is a popular option. I’ve fiddled with Gatsby[3] and heard good things. Eleventy[4] looks as close to Jekyll-but-in-JavaScript as I’ve seen.

Since you want to be able to customize it, I’d probably take the static site generator’s language into account. Do you like…

Ruby? -> Jekyll[1]

Go? -> Hugo[2]

JavaScript? -> Gatsby[3] or Eleventy[4]

Some other language? -> google “[language] static site generator” and see how many GitHub stars it has.

Once you’ve figured that out, most of the hosts support custom domains. Netlify[5] is free, and works very well. It’s what I use currently. I used to host my site on DigitalOcean[6], but Netlify is definitely more painless, especially from a devops/patching standpoint. Plus it has a CDN so your site would be faster.








Static blogs are ok until it’s a smallish blog with not much content or many visitors. But can’t recommend it for a serious blog proect. One would have to jump through the hoops and use hacks for even the basic things like commenting, searching etc. And forget about slightly advanced stuff like popular posts, related posts etc without some Hugo or Jekyll hacking. WordPress has the lowest barrier to entry as most shared hosts offer one click installs, is the most feature rich blogging platform and even for a complete noob, it is much easier to get started and even customize their blog to a great extent with plugins. I would also like to add that virus affecting WordPress is much of a myth now, WordPress has improved greatly in the recent years and if you just stick with the basic install and just install the reputable plugins, you should be fine. The hacking cases related to WordPress are very few and far between.

big props to hugo for using a static binary without some insane dependency chain, i’m really pleased with it. hosting my blog on a $15/y vps with a vanity domain and hugo was one of my first projects to learn to manage a server, and i gave up with jekyll after way too much struggling with ruby.

that said i’m not sure how it fares wrt to plugins, i think it’s pretty vanilla in terms of user-facing features (though plenty of very straightforward theme tweaking is possible).

Do people write their own static site generators because they’re bored, or because templating is always annoying and it’s more fun to write your own than learn a new system?

None of them do anything novel, or particularly better than all the others. They just have some quirk that makes people choose them. “This one is a static binary!” “This one uses a specific programming language!” “This one uses a unique templating language!”

Would having a dedicated, generic standard for templating even be possible? Something with extra standards for specific uses, so you could just learn the extensions that are useful for your particular application? Maybe that would eliminate the need for 1,000 identical-but-incompatible solutions.

After a while, what you actually want is a CMS, but the good ones usually are not free.

While it doesn’t seem very popular in Hacker News, I think WordPress [1] is an excellent platform for a blog. The community is terrific, there is a tremendous amount of documentation out there, and it is entirely customisable.

If you go with the managed hosting route, most companies handle security and updates for you, so you can focus on writing and leave everything technical to someone else.

I am working on one myself — and have a private beta running, if you are interested [2], —, but of the top of my head, some companies that will go above and beyond as far as WordPress is concerned, include Kinsta [3], Pantheon [4] and Presslabs [5]. The last one is based in Romania and open sourced a bunch of their stack, worth checking out.


[2] Just email me at for information




Sadly even though it is not popular in HN WordPress is the best for you.

Easy to set up and try and you can customize it as well. With lots of plugins for everything.

You can go with the paid and they will handle all the updates for you.

Static sites are good but when it is time for SEO and customisation you will realize that it can get really painful in a static site generator.

If you have a gun pointed to your head with the requirements you have listed then you go WordPress. Updates aren’t difficult. I’m not sure about plugins (I haven’t used WP in a long time,) but you can set the core WordPress updates to be automatic. It will handle everything you need.

If after a week of coding you arrive to the weekend and think “I want to do a bunch more coding” then you go with a static site generator. Then you don’t finish over the weekend and have to screw with it the following weekend as well. Then you finally publish the thing with “good enough but not quite what you wanted” functionality and let it sit there for weeks. Then you come back to it and scratch your head trying to remember how to publish / build / deploy it (or you cycle through your shell history hoping the commands are still in there.) One day you decide that you want to add that functionality you left out the first time and find that you have to relearn everything you had to learn to build the thing in the first place. Sure, you vaguely remember the easy stuff, but you have to refresh on the easy stuff to get back to the harder stuff which you never had time to figure out from the beginning.

Anyone been there? 😉 In this case, I’m thinking of Hugo, but I imagine it’s much the same for all the others.

With WordPress you get enough balance of customization and ease of use that you can just get on with it. If you need a bit of help, then get on Fiverr or similar and have someone throw you pointers (or just do it for you) to save you time in getting past tricky parts.

There’s a reason loads of sites on the internet are using WP. People use it to GTD and move on to something else.

Exactly. Outside of the nerd bubble of HN, WordPress is still the defacto choice for a blogging platform. Nothing comes close to WordPress in terms of customization freedom and “zero to deploy”.

I used WordPress for years. It was such a hassle constantly getting emails about patching. In the end I got fed up and moved to hugo hosted on netlify. Fantastic. Zero maintenance.

If you really want to avoid updates and viruses, you need to go static. There’s hundreds of static site generators out there.

I recommend [1] hexo, for it’s simplicity. You can write in markdown files and generate a static blog for static hosting.

But [2] Gatsby is another similar framework, but it uses React.



Another static site generator that is gaining traction is Eleventy[1]. It’s very small and simple, entirely build in js, supports most templating languages you already know and it’s more flexible than GatbyJS.
For a more complete blogging solution, though, I’d recommend Ghost.[2].
If you’re building a small blog just for fun you should definitely go static and scratch your hacker’s itch.


After years of trying different things, I found something that works great for me, though I suspect you’ll have to try a few things until you find what is comfortable for you.

I publish my blog as a static site served by nginx on a $5 / node (which also hosts a dozen other things—I don’t get much traffic). Every once in a while I ssh in and run an apt upgrade but no updates to manage beyond that. I use to generate the site from markdown files. I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on more given how flexible it lets you be with defining how your site should work. The whole thing is stored on git and I can deploy with a push to my server remote.

That said if you want to focus on writing I would start with something as simple as ghost of medium to see if you’re actually as into writing as you think.

If you like writing Python code, I recommend ( As the README says, it is a simple, lightweight, and magic-free static blog generator. The entire static blog generator code is in a single file named

Add your content to the `content` directory. Then run `python3` to generate the static blog. It writes the generated blog to the `_site` directory. Finally copy this directory to wherever you want to serve your blog from, e.g., GitHub repo with GitHub pages enabled, virtual private server, cloud storage, etc.

It works pretty well out of the box and it is highly customizable too because doing so involves just modifying the existing Python code or writing your own Python code.

Disclaimer: This project has been written by my wife. I use it myself to render my static blog at

If you like writing some code, want full control (i.e. payload size, extensibility, theming, etc) with some OOTB features (i.e. zero setup, server rendering, static exporting, etc), and don’t mind react or markdown, I’d recommend nextjs + netlify.

I find Gatsby and Hugo very powerful; but miss the simplicity of Jykell. Even if you don’t think nextjs is great for blogging, it’s still worth checking out! Their docs + getting started guide are some of the best.

For example; writing up a small MVP site to test out a business idea (, it’s in progress, but even still, only took about 15 minutes to push up via netlify.

That being said, I feel like all these new static site generators are terrific; a real sweet spot in web development in my opinion 🙂

Stay the hell away from WordPress. It. Will. Get. You. When you least expect it ️

I’ve been using pelican [1] with S3 for my blog [2]. It comes with a nice makefile that handles the generation (markdown -> HTML), dev server (localhost:8000 that regenerates files upon modification) and deployment to S3 (uses s3cmd along with API keys to upload to a designated bucket). It offers GitHub, ftp, ssh, and dropbox options for deployment as well, but I’ve never tried them.



Highly recommend the ghost platform. It gets out of your way and lets you focus on writing. Nothing else. You can customize it as much as you want but it’s primary focus is getting you to writing first.

This is assuming you are willing to pay for at least your own server. Their hosted option is also great and highly recommended if you want to just start writing before thinking of customizations.

I find static site generators to be awesome but generally a hindrance to the flow of wanting to start writing spontaneously. More often than not, more time goes into figuring out the perfect workflow for the blog system rather than writing. Caveats, YMMV etc apply 🙂

This may not be for everyone but here is what I did.

I wrote 5 articles that I thought were interesting. Then I bought a domain name, wrote a php script to serve them. (If url1 do x, if url2 do y) nothing fancy.

Only when I saw that I could sustain writing regularly I started worrying about the platform. And there is no best platform, only the one you are familiar with.

Github Pages + Jekyll.

Can use it with your custom domain, pretty customisable, and since its a static site, relatively secure.

That’s what I use, but one word of warning: if you rely on GitHub to generate the pages for you, you can’t use any custom plugins aside from the ones they’ve whitelisted.

Static is great: more secure, stands up to very high loads, minimal maintenance.

I’d actually recommend writing in plain html+css at first, and then moving over to a static site generator once you have ~10 posts. You’ll have a much better idea about what makes a good system at that point.

(I wrote my own static site generator after ~100 posts, which is longer than I’d recommend going!)

In my experience Hugo has been really nice and simple to work with. I just push markdown to git and it shows up on my site.

We’re working on a security focused managed WordPress hosting platform with custom email and templates included. If you’d like to beta test it email admin@ and we’ll put you up for however long you need free. Thanks to YC summer startup school for hooking us up with some compute credits.

Gatsby, Hugo or plain(ish) Jekkyl.

Simple, clean, fast. Updates and viruses are a non-issue.

Depends what plugins you’re talking about, but if you’re a non-programmer/dev type, then you’re probably better off using WordPress as a blogging platform if some serious customisation is wanted.

Tried gatsby recently and I hate it. Their choice to use graphql for a static site generator makes no sense to me.

Trying to build anything beyond a super generic blog is a huge chore. Hugo has a much, much better community IMO

I agree. Gatsby is one of the worst products I have ever worked with. The code itself isn’t bad, but the tech stack and UX is horrible. It’s the epitome of hipster JavaScript.

I’m amazed that they got funding for it…

I hate to be negative about products others have built as I tend to believe that if it “sucks” it’s because I’m not the target audience.

That said, I am happy to hear I’m not the only one with this sentiment.

I’m the same way, but there’s a big difference between using a technology that’s not designed for your use case and using a technology that just sucks, and frankly gatsby is the latter. It in no way outshines any other major static site generator available today.

Recently I looked into the landscape to see what I felt comfortable with.

tl;dr: I ended up using eleventy with tailwindcss.

It depends what you are comfortable with…

There are a few blogging sites (their names escape me at the moment but are similar to that seemed interesting. Again, I did a quick search but couldn’t find the one I had in mind.

My preference is python, so naturally I looked there first. I can’t remember what happened to pelican, why I didn’t go for it. Nikola seemed nice until I started reading the documentation. I also looked at some that were further down static gens list. But something was missing.

Jekyll has great documentation, but there are a lot of moving pieces. You can make it into a full fledge website that has a blog, or make it into a blog – quite easily. It seems that whoever states that Jekyll is geared towards creating a blog….. who knows why?!

Played around with Hugo last year and meh…

Now, I don’t know how much looking into different ssg influenced the ease it was to pick up eleventy, but it just made sense. It’s a bare bones static site generator that – just works. There are several blog posts that will get you up and running quickly. There are several skeleton GitHub repos, some use tailwindCSS, some have netlify Cms already configured, some are plain. Or you can just build your own.

Another I picked it, which is on a personal level. Since it’s such a well structured, bare-bone project, its helping me learn/practice JavaScript and it’s ecosystem. npm scripts is all you need.

All the other tools, gatsby, etc – are great if you already understand react. And even if you don’t but are interested – I got the impression (gatsby at least) that it’s documentation was good and you could learn a great deal about react going through it. Maybe, I don’t know.

Finally… I feel that some projects could do with an overhaul, at least with their documentation. Some parts felt like an afterthought instead of one cohesive, linear explanation. Not an easy task in the least, but what is?

But more importantly, pick one thing and stick to it (unless it proves to be hindering productivity).

I use hugo with gitlab pages. Hugo is customizeable and portable. You can host with anything, not just gitlab. nginx even.

Blogspot is still a very good platform. If I am not hosting it myself, I would choose a Blogspot blog over a GitHub pages one anyday. And blogspot also allows advertisements which is great.

For those who don’t know it, you absolutely can have a custom domain with BlogSpot. For example:

If you know how to code, you can access the code. If you don’t, there’s a lot of room to customize it without knowing any code. There’s also the option to inject your own CSS without having to dig in the code.

It’s a very robust platform. I migrated to it from Word Press and it has been a hugely better experience.

WordPress all the way. I genuinely think it’s the self-hosted solution that offers the best combination of control, flexibility and ease-of-use. You just need a couple of plugins for performance and safety and you are set [0].

There are literally tens of thousands of themes – open source and commercial – that you can try out in a matter of minutes instead of wasting days or weeks designing your own theme.

You rarely have to code stuff by yourself because there is a plugin for any functionality you can imagine.

Latest version of WordPress comes with the new Gutenberg editor which I’m personally not a huge fan of as it obfuscates too much of WordPress’ inner workings. You might, therefore, want to use the Classic Editor plugin as a solution.

If you haven’t already bought a domain name, I recommend Porkbun. Moved several domains to them in the past months and have found them to be cheap and yet reliable straight shooters.

[0] My list of must-have plugins: Yoast (for SEO),
Autoptimize (caching/performance), Wordfence Security (multi-layer security).

For any serious blogging project, WordPress is by far the best choice, nothing comes close in terms of features, ease of use and ease of customization. I would also add contact form 7 to the list.