While WordPress is, by a large margin, the most popular way to build a website, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. And if you’re looking for a change of pace, there are plenty of quality WordPress alternatives that you can use for both basic blogs and full websites.
In this post, I’ve collected nine of those alternatives divided into two different categories. You can click below to jump straight to a category, or just read the entire post for a look at all nine alternatives:
Let’s dig in!
Who it’s good for: Medium is a great option if you just want to write and share blog posts and don’t care about actually having your own website.
Unlike WordPress, Medium is a hosted blog platform where literally all you need to do is sign up and start writing. It has a great editor – one that the upcoming WordPress Gutenberg editor heavily draws from.
When you publish a post on Medium, you can reach Medium’s built-in audience of millions of visitors. And you can also take advantage of Medium’s social functionality. For example, people can follow your work, leave comments, and even highlight specific portions of your text to share on Twitter.
The downside is that you don’t have your own website. For example, you can’t put up your own ads or use Medium to directly grow your email list.
So – Medium is awesome if you just want to write, but not so great if you want to build and monetize a brand.
Who it’s good for: If you just want to build a self-hosted blog, Ghost is a good blog-only content management system. It’s kind of like what WordPress used to be.
Ghost is an open source publishing tool that you can either:
- Install on your own server for free
- Pay Ghost to host it for you
It’s exclusively focused on blogging, so don’t expect it to match WordPress’ flexibility. But if all you want is a blog platform and it’s important that you 100% own your platform, Ghost is a great option. It’s lightning fast and features a great markdown-based editor.
Price: Free for self-hosted, or starts at $19 per month for hosted
Who it’s good for: Tumblr is a good option if you’re not planning to write long-form content. It’s a lot more focused on short content and images.
Like Medium, you can start blogging with Tumblr just by signing up for an account. And there’s also a built-in audience thanks to the large existing Tumblr user base.
That’s good – but you have the same downsides in that you lack full ownership, which restricts how you can monetize and grow your brand.
Who it’s good for: Drupal isn’t as user-friendly as WordPress, but it does a good job handling custom content types and views, as well as user access permissions. It can be a good option for custom sites that need to handle tons of data.
Launched in 2000, Drupal is an open source content management system that’s been around for even longer than WordPress. By the numbers, it’s the third most popular content management system in existence.
It’s not nearly as user-friendly as WordPress, but it can be more flexible for handling large custom taxonomies, custom content types, and views. And it also has built-in multi-language support, as well as a detailed user access permissions system.
Who it’s good for: Squarespace is good for non-developers who just want an easy way to build a basic website.
Unlike WordPress or something like Drupal, Squarespace is a hosted website builder. That means that, while you can still use your own domain name, Squarespace actually handles hosting and maintaining all the software for you – you don’t need to pay for your own hosting.
This is great because it makes things simple – you just sign up for account and build your site with Squarespace’s visual builder.
The downside, though, is that you lack flexibility because you don’t have full access to the source code/database like you do with WordPress.
If you just want a user-friendly way to build a basic website, it’s a solid option, though.
Price: Starts at $12 per month
Who it’s good for: Like Drupal, Joomla has some edge-case advantages over WordPress for things like user management and custom content types.
After WordPress, Joomla is the second most popular content management system according to W3Techs. Of course the difference is pretty large – WordPress has a 59.9% market share, compared to Joomla’s 6.1%. But it’s still second place!
Through its components and modules system, Joomla gives you lots of control over how custom content types display. And like Drupal, it also has a more robust out-of-the-box user access control system.
There’s also this neat functionality that lets you use multiple templates for different content, which would be kind of like using two different WordPress themes on your site.
Who it’s good for: Like Squarespace, Wix is a good option if you want a basic website and don’t want to deal with any type of maintenance.
Wix operates on the same principles as Squarespace – it’s a hosted service where you can sign up and build your own website, complete with your own unique domain name.
You don’t have to deal with any maintenance, upgrades, or security – all that’s handled for you. And if you’re a developer, the Wix Code system actually makes it possible to tweak things at a code-level, though you still won’t have as much access as a self-hosted site.
Read our Wix review.
Price: Starts at $8.50 per month for your own domain name and an unbranded site
Like Squarespace and Wix, Shopify is a hosted service, which means you never have to worry about basic maintenance.
However, unlike those two platforms, Shopify is exclusively focused on eCommerce.
In my opinion, it’s just about the simplest way to create an eCommerce store. WooCommerce still gives you more flexibility if you need it. But if you’re just creating a “standard” eCommerce store, Shopify is a great option.
Price: Starts at $29 per month
Who it’s good for: Because of how it stores data, Grav is a great option for simple static websites.
Grav is a popular flat-file CMS, which means that it doesn’t use a database to store data like WordPress or most other popular content management systems.
Instead, your data is stored in files, which is a simpler approach if you’re just building a basic website (the flat-file approach is definitely not ideal for all sites).
Know Any Other Great WordPress Alternatives?
There’s my list of the nine best WordPress alternatives. But what about you all? Do you have a content management system or service that you absolutely love using to build websites or blogs?
Let us know in the comments!