Blogging is a great hobby because it requires a very low barrier to entry. No matter your area of expertise or your interests, there is bound to be at least one other person in the world who would be fascinated and intrigued by what you have to say.
If you’re looking to test the waters, you can use a Raspberry Pi to host your blog for free. We’ve tested dozens of content management systems and found the best ones below. But before we get started, let’s take a quick look at why the Raspberry Pi is perfect for self-hosting your blog.
Why the Raspberry Pi is perfect for hosting your blog at home
The Raspberry Pi made its global debut in 2012, providing a low spec single board computer for entry-level DIY projects and server applications. A decade later, the Raspberry Pi line has grown to include even smaller, less powerful models such as the Raspberry Pi Zero and super-powered behemoths such as the Raspberry Pi 4B, which is equipped with a quad-core processor and up to ‘to 8 GB. RAM.
Any model of Raspberry Pi, with the partial exception of the diminutive Raspberry Pi Pico, is capable of hosting a blog website through which you can speak your truth to the world. Websites constantly consume power because they have to stay online 24/7, which means it’s not ideal to use your personal computer for self-hosting.
However, even the most power-hungry Raspberry Pi model, the 4B, draws about the same power as an energy-saving light bulb. This reduces bills and is also great for the environment.
When choosing a blogging platform for your Raspberry Pi, you need to consider the installation method, system requirements, monetization options, and ease of use. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and in our opinion, these are the best blogging platforms for the Raspberry Pi.
WordPress is probably the most famous website software in the world. It powers about 40% of the web, and in addition to simple homemade projects, it can handle massive e-commerce sites, photo galleries, portfolios, and more.
The ubiquity of WordPress means there’s plenty of support for users confused by topic issues, permalinks, and security. The r/wordpress subreddit is home to over 160,000 users, and newbie questions rarely go more than a day without a competent, authoritative answer.
WordPress’ huge user base also means freelance developers are constantly creating new themes to make your site look great and plugins to make it work the way you want it to. WordPress is easy to deploy on a Raspberry Pi and requires very little technical know-how beyond a few simple Linux commands.
Ghost was launched as a Kickstarter project in 2013 and promised backers an “open-source blogging platform that makes writing enjoyable and posting simple.” With over 5,000 contributors and over $200,000 raised, it’s fair to say that the developers have achieved their goal.
Ghost is beautiful and quite easy to use. In addition to basic writing and publishing, installing Ghost on a Raspberry Pi makes it easy to turn your blog into a business, as it lets you add subscription options, send newsletters, and track user engagement, all without the hassle of adding plugins.
When it comes to theme selection, Ghost offers a huge range of free and paid themes through Ghost Marketplace. At the same place, you can find integrations to make the software work well with everything from the Disqus commenting platform to Google Docs and Analytics.
Installation is made easy with Docker and Docker-compose.
Dotclear is a French project that predates WordPress by two years. It’s simple to set up and the admin dashboard, although a bit cluttered, makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for and keep writing.
Dotclear has an excellent anti-spam comment system and is very responsive and lightweight. While dozens if not hundreds of themes are available through the admin interface, WordPress and Ghost have far more to choose from, which makes Dotclear a less compelling opening for theming.
Despite this, of all the other options on this list, we think Dotclear gives the best result for an instantly stunning blog.
4. Static Site Generators
WordPress, Ghost and Dotclear are all true content management systems for your blog. They manage user accounts, dynamically generate pages as needed, and resize images on the fly. While this is suitable for all Raspberry Pi models up to Raspberry Pi Zero, the Raspberry Pi Pico is unable to run such software due to its tiny 264KB RAM.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use a Raspberry Pi Pico to host your blog, it just means you have to do the hard work on another machine.
And for that reason, you have to rely on static site generators (SSGs) that run on your computer and can convert collections of documents into ready-to-use HTML pages that look beautiful and load blazingly fast.
Once your blog pages and associated files are prepared, you can upload them to your Raspberry Pi Pico, ready to be accessed by the outside world. You can use SSGs to prepare a blog for hosting on any model of Raspberry Pi, which is especially beneficial if your Pi performs poorly or you expect your blog to receive a lot of traffic.
Your Raspberry Pi can use many blogging platforms
Whether you want a full-fledged content management system, a tool to help run your business, or an easy way to create great-looking static pages, there are options available for every model of Raspberry Pi, even the Pico.
The beauty of hosting a blog at home on your own hardware is that you can try all of our suggestions in a single afternoon and see which works best for you. Plus, you don’t have to pay monthly or annual fees.
That said, you can always research paid hosting options if you’re not sure you want to run your blog from home. There are plenty of great options to choose from, and more importantly, you don’t have to worry about anything beyond the content you want to create.