So, you want to publish tutorials or technical articles, whether it’s for yourself or for a brand you manage. Creating and hosting your own blog from scratch is no easy task; luckily there are pre-built and managed platforms where you can publish your work without having to run your own site.
These platforms mostly let you create an account and start writing. From there they handle distribution and take care of all the other platform management tasks.
If you are running your own blog already, it is still a good idea to take advantage of the large communities of these platforms to redistribute your articles and gain more exposure.
There are a plethora of blogging platforms to choose from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we aim to make the decision a little easier by comparing the top blogging platforms for developers.
If you just want to know which to use and get on with it you should probably use:
- Dev.to if you want to exchange knowledge and experience with the largest active developer community whether you write professionally or not.
- Hashnode if you want to completely customize your blog page to represent your brand and link your own domain.
- Hackernoon if you want to work with a professional team of editors and publish to a platform that only accepts high-quality content.
- Medium if you want to write about general topics and monetize your work.
Before we dive into detailed comparisons, here’s a quick overview of each platform.
Dev.to is one of the largest online communities of software developers. It is a place where developers and aspiring developers meet to share their knowledge and stories. They don’t have paywalls or adverts, but instead make their revenue from sponsors, listings and the DEV shop.
Their text editor uses Markdown formatting with built-in syntax highlighting which makes it easy to embed code snippets, tables and other media. They also have a public API that developers can use to automate their publishing workflow.
Medium is an online publishing platform for all kinds of writers and topics. They have a clean look and feel with an easy-to-use text editor. It is a great place for writers to share their content and monetize their articles. They have a very large reader base so with consistent writing and submission to publications your target audience will find you.
As Medium caters to all types of writers their text editor is plain and simple; however, because they don’t support Markdown and syntax highlighting it is not the best place for developers to write technical articles where code snippets or tables are needed. They don’t allow API integration, so for redistribution your only route is using their import tool which is much like copy-pasting as you’ll always have to manually tweak the article to work in the Medium editor.
They opted for a revenue model where readers have to pay a monthly subscription fee to read articles. This is great if you are writing for an income but it’s not so great if you merely want to freely share knowledge.
Hashnode is a free blogging platform and community of developers that enables you to publish articles on your domain with a custom blog page. This is a great place to start your personal blog as a developer because you get traffic to your own domain, growing your brand, while your articles get distributed to the Hashnode developer community.
Hashnode allows you to completely customize your blog page with built-in features, widgets and integrations. They have also released a custom CSS feature that will allow you even more flexibility as to the look and feel of your blog page.
It’s easy to sign up and get started with a custom blog and they promise to be free forever. They don’t support adverts or have a paywall of any kind. They have an easy to use text editor that supports Markdown so code embeds and syntax highlighting is not a problem. They are working on a public API that will enable developers to automate their publishing workflow and they have a GitHub integration where a Markdown version of your article will be pushed to your repo when hitting the publish button.
Hackernoon is a technology publishing service that focuses on topics such as software development, startups, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies. They originally started as a publication on Medium but decided to move away when Medium adjusted their business model. They have a similar text editor to Medium that does not support Markdown, making it difficult to embed things like tables, and it doesn’t support syntax highlighting.
Hackernoon has a lengthy signup process where you choose to write either as an individual or as a brand. The individual option allows you to publish articles for free whereas publishing as a brand will cost you $199 per published article.
You will have to jump through a few hoops and work with editors but because of this Hackernoon has higher quality content that will help you gain traction as a professional writer when you get published. All articles are subject to approval by their editors before publishing and the process takes up to 4 days.
Dev.to is an online community of developers sharing their developer journey from complete beginners to experts through articles, blog posts and discussions while Medium is a publishing platform for all kinds of writing where short, opinionated posts seem to be prioritized over more lengthy technical articles.
- Consider Dev.to if you are a developer of any caliber who wishes to connect with other developers whether through sharing knowledge, learning or taking part in discussions.
- Consider Medium if you want to write more creative or opinionated articles on various topics and want to monetize your work.
Dev.to and Hashnode are both blogging platforms that have large developer communities. However, Dev.to is an open-source blogging platform that you can use to build your own (although most people just sign up for an account and publish on the dev.to domain). Hashnode is a proprietary blogging platform that allows you to easily build your own blog page with custom CSS and link it to your own domain name.
- Consider Dev.to if you want to be part of an open community of developers and publish content on the fast-growing dev.to domain.
- Consider Hashnode if you want to publish on your own domain while still being able to distribute your content to a developer-focussed community.
Dev.to is an open community where developers can write about anything they wish: they can write technical articles, how-to guides and even start discussions. Hackernoon is a developers’ publication that migrated from Medium to their own platform. They don’t allow you to just post what you like: they are a publication so you submit your articles for review by their editors; once approved your article will be published to their reader base.
- Consider Dev.to if you want an easy place to write and publish without constraints.
- Consider Hackernoon if you are willing to submit your articles for approval and work on them with editors. Overall quality is higher on Hackernoon because of their approval process so you will likely get more traction if you get published.
Hashnode is a free blogging platform with a large community specifically of developers while Medium is a publication service with the largest existing general audience but some dark monetizing patterns that can be off-putting for readers. The other main difference especially for technical writing is that the Hashnode text editor uses Markdown formatting with built-in syntax highlighting where with Medium’s editor you’ll have to do some hacking to get similar results.
- Consider Hashnode if you want to specifically write to developers on a free blogging platform.
- Consider Medium if you want the widest existing general audience, and don't mind that they will be spammed with paywalls and tracking.
Hackernoon is similar to Medium in that they are both publication platforms where you can submit articles to be published. In fact, Hackernoon started as a publication on Medium but moved to its own (similar) platform. The difference between the two is that Hackernoon is purely a developer’s publication service and their content is free to read and write as a developer whereas Medium caters to all types of content but they charge their readers a fee to read.
- Consider Hackernoon if you want to write technical articles and don’t mind working on them with editors.
- Consider Medium if you want to write about general topics and make an income off your content.
While each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, it is up to you to find the one that aligns with your specific needs. You can always choose more than one in order to reach more readers but remember to specify the canonical URL when redistributing your article. All of the above platforms allow you to configure a canonical URL. This will help your domain to rank better on Google: if you don’t set the canonical URL Google sees it as duplicate content.