Blogging is a great hobby to get into, as it requires a very low barrier to entry. No matter your field of expertise or your interests, there’s 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 have come up with the best ones below. But before we get started, let’s quickly go over 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 worldwide debut in 2012, offering a low-spec single-board computer for beginner DIY projects and server applications. Fast forward a decade, and the Raspberry Pi range has expanded to include even smaller, lower-powered models such as the Raspberry Pi Zero and overpowered monsters such as the Raspberry Pi 4B, which comes equipped with a quad-core processor and up to 8GB RAM.
Any Raspberry Pi model—with the partial exception of the diminutive Raspberry Pi Pico—is capable of hosting a blogging website through which you can tell your truth to the world. Websites constantly draw power as they must remain online 24/7, meaning it’s not ideal to use your home computer for self-hosting.
However, even the most power-hungry Raspberry Pi model—the 4B—draws around the same wattage as an energy-saving light bulb. This keeps the bills down and is great for the environment, too.
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 best-known website software in the world. It powers around 40% of the web—and in addition to simple home-made projects, it can run vast eCommerce sites, photo galleries, portfolios, and more.
The sheer ubiquity of WordPress means that there is plenty of support for users baffled by theming questions, permalinks, and security. The r/wordpress subreddit is home to over 160,000 users, and newbie questions rarely go for more than a day without a competent and authoritative answer.
The massive WordPress user base also means that independent developers are constantly churning out new themes to make your site look good and plugins to make it operate the way you want it to. WordPress is easy to deploy on a Raspberry Pi and requires very little technical know-how beyond some simple Linux commands.
Ghost launched as a Kickstarter project in 2013 and promised backers an “open source blogging platform which makes writing pleasurable and publishing simple.” With more than 5,000 backers and over $200,000 raised, it’s fair to say that the devs succeeded in their aim.
Ghost is beautiful and fairly 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 since it allows you to add subscription options, send out newsletters, and track user engagement—all without the headache of adding plugins.
As for theme selection, Ghost offers a vast array of both free and paid themes through the Ghost Marketplace. In the same location, you can find integrations to make the software play nicely with anything from the Disqus comments platform to Google Docs and Analytics.
Installation is made easy with Docker and Docker-compose.
Dotclear is a French project which predates WordPress by two years. It’s simple to set up, and the admin dashboard, while a little busy, makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for and get on with writing.
Dotclear has an excellent anti-spam comment system and is very responsive and lightweight. While dozens or even hundreds of themes are available through the admin interface, WordPress and Ghost have many more to choose from, making Dotclear a less compelling open for theming.
Despite this, of all the other options in this list, we think Dotclear gives the best result for an instantly great-looking blog.
4. Static Site Generators
WordPress, Ghost, and Dotclear are all true content management systems for your blog. They handle user accounts, dynamically generate pages as required, and will resize images on the fly. While this is great for every model of Raspberry Pi down to the Raspberry Pi Zero, the Raspberry Pi Pico is incapable of running such software due to its minuscule 264KB RAM.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t use a Raspberry Pi Pico to host your blog—it just means that you need to do the hard work on a different machine.
And for this reason, you have to rely on Static Site Generators (SSGs) that run on your computer and can convert collections of documents into ready-to-serve HTML pages that look gorgeous and load blindingly fast.
Once your blog pages and associated files are prepared, you can load them onto your Raspberry Pi Pico, ready for access from the outside world. You can use SSGs to prepare a blog for hosting on any Raspberry Pi model, which is especially beneficial if your Pi is low-spec or you anticipate your blog will receive a lot of traffic.
Your Raspberry Pi Can Use a Lot of Blogging Platforms
Whether you want a full-fledged content management system, a tool to help manage your business, or a simple way to create stunning static pages, there are options available for every Raspberry Pi model—even the Pico.
The beauty of hosting a blog at home on your own hardware is that you can try all our suggestions in a single afternoon and see which one suits you best. Plus, you don’t have to pay a monthly or yearly fee.
That said, you can always look into paid hosting options if you’re not sure you want to run your blog from home. There are plenty of good options to choose from, and more importantly, you don’t have to worry about anything beyond the content you want to create.