I need a really simple solution to build a one-person blog on a shared host: When the user wants to create/edit a blog entry, he calls a PHP script on the server which will... 1. save the raw article into MySQL 2. combine the article with a template to turn it onto a complete HTML page that will be saved on the filesystem 3. regenerate the homepage in HTML and save it on the filesystem

That way, the PHP part will be very basic, and the server will serve static HTML pages without the penalty of ever calling the PHP interpreter.

I'm sure there are applications like that out there, but all I can find are full-fledged CMS's like WordPress, TextPattern, etc. that are way too feature-rich for what I need.

Note that I do want a self-hosted, open-source application, not an account with eg. Blogger.

Does someone know of applications that would foot the bill?

Thank you.

  • WordPress isn't really a "full-fledged CMS". Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 17:12
  • Right, but after trying it, I find it too fat. Besides the bbPress looks like a pain to install. So I'd rather something lite that I can easily combine with Pun/FluxBB.
    – user702
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 17:58
  • 2
    Out of curiosity, does it have to be PHP?
    – David Z
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 22:59
  • I wonder if b2 is still floating around? Commented Jul 20, 2010 at 1:14
  • I'd rather it be in PHP/MySQL since this is by far what most use. But if you know of a CMS that combines a blog + forum, I would certainly take a look.
    – user702
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 8:16

6 Answers 6


If you're looking for something REALLY simple, you can try Posterous. You basically send it an email and it turns the email into a blog post. It can also be configured so that it appears to be hosted at any domain you want.


I think the posterous answers is the right one for a dead simple solution. However if you want a php / mysql solution that you can install on your server

I suggest you try OpenSourceCMS.com What they do is they have installed demo versions of all the CMS that are php/mysql you can try them without you needing to install. and every hour they clear all the experiments and setup a new fresh installation.

This is the category for Blog

  • Finally I personally prefer Habari over WordPress

The base installation of WordPress IS dead simple to use.

  • You only add plugins as you need them.
  • You can use a plugin to cache all the pages (I can't remember it's possible this is even a standard feature).
  • Besides caching the pages you'll have "pretty urls" which are important for SEO
  • You can install a Markdown plugin if you want to edit posts in text mode and disable all the "RichText" UI.

I've setup a WordPress site as a volunteer job for an organization in India whose "non profit only" web hosting was shared and had a 100MB limit. WordPress only used 10% of that space. Besides, with WordPress plugins it was easy to include images from Picasa or Flickr, so that you can save up a lot of space on your own server.

I may have thought along the same lines before I did this job, but then I learned about WordPress and realized how gorgeous the admin was and just how easy it is to "hack" in your layout/css/html. I think you'll save yourself significant time on the long term to go directly with something like WordPress.

As for Posterous I used it during my trip abroad and am now throughly unconvinced. You will often want to make a correction after sending your "post" by email, even if only to fix a small typo. Now you have to use the Posterous rich text editor, so that beats the purpose of sending your post by email. Their website is extremely slow for me. If you're abroad you'll find loading the gazillions of javascript make editing the posts a real pain. Yes, Posterous makes a nice photo gallery for you but then you can do the same very easily with a plugin in WordPress. The default theme on Posterous doesn't even appear to show the archives. On the main page it will load all your recent posts in full, including the photo galleries. Accessing my blog on Posterous was always slow.

  • Thanks for the feedback. WordPress is very easy to install, but after two days, I still couldn't get the bbPress forum add-on to authenticate users with WordPress (ie. single sign-on), so had to move on.
    – user702
    Commented Jul 27, 2010 at 13:41
  • Wordpress will modify raw input and the end result page will be a bit different. codex.wordpress.org/How_WordPress_Processes_Post_Content
    – lulalala
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 4:12

Blosxom.PHP seems to be something like that, except it does not use a database.

  • Thanks for the tip on Blosxom. Unfortunately, it's deadware since 2005, and I'd rather use something that's still maintained, just in case.
    – user702
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 21:47

Have you looked at Pivot? I'm not sure if it qualifies since it uses flat files (instead of mySQL) and it isn't exactly "dead-simple" but it's worth giving a try.

  • Thanks guys for the links. Pretty close, but Pivot doesn't save data in MySQL (I also need a forum like FluxBB, and would rather all data be saved in MySQL for easier backup/restore), and Blosxom hasn't been updated since 2005.
    – user702
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 10:59
  • 1
    Apparently, Pivot is dead, long live PivotX... with increased weight :-/
    – user702
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 12:16

Some lightweight blogs

  • Serendipity (wysiwyg, SQL, "embed mode")
  • Mosquito Blood Mary (wysiwyg, files)
  • RumbaXML (wysiwyg, xml-files)
  • BLOX CMS (nowysiwyg,SQL)

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