Exploring WriteFreely: A Minimalist Blogging Platform with Golang

In the ever-evolving world of content creation, finding the right platform to share your thoughts, ideas, and stories is crucial. While many options exist, not all are created equal. For those who value simplicity, privacy, and an open-source ethos, WriteFreely stands out as a compelling choice. This minimalist blogging platform offers a distraction-free writing environment while ensuring your content remains yours to control and manage. This comprehensive guide delves into the features, benefits, and unique aspects of WriteFreely, showcasing why it might be the perfect platform for your blogging needs.

Introduction to WriteFreely

WriteFreely is an open-source, minimalist blogging platform designed for writers who prefer a clean and simple interface. Launched in 2018 by Matt Baer, WriteFreely aims to provide a space free from the clutter and distractions often found in other blogging platforms. Its core philosophy revolves around maintaining the purity of writing and ensuring that the platform remains lightweight, privacy-focused, and easy to use.

Key Features of WriteFreely

Minimalist Design

One of the defining characteristics of WriteFreely is its minimalist design. The platform strips away unnecessary features and focuses on providing a clean, distraction-free writing environment. This simplicity ensures that writers can concentrate on their content without being overwhelmed by a multitude of settings, widgets, or plugins.

Open-Source and Self-Hosted Options

WriteFreely is open-source software, which means that its source code is freely available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute. This transparency ensures that users can trust the platform’s security and privacy measures. Additionally, WriteFreely can be self-hosted, giving users full control over their data and the ability to customize the platform to their specific needs.


In an age where data privacy is a growing concern, WriteFreely places a strong emphasis on protecting user privacy. The platform does not track users, display ads, or collect unnecessary personal information. This commitment to privacy makes WriteFreely an attractive option for writers who want to keep their online activities private and secure.

Federated Blogging

WriteFreely supports ActivityPub, a protocol that allows for federated blogging. This means that content published on WriteFreely can be shared and interacted with across other platforms that support ActivityPub, such as Mastodon. This federated approach promotes a decentralized web, giving users more control over their content and how it is distributed.

Markdown Support

To keep the writing experience seamless and efficient, WriteFreely supports Markdown, a lightweight markup language that allows writers to format their text using simple syntax. Markdown makes it easy to add headings, lists, links, images, and other formatting elements without needing to deal with complex HTML code.

Customizable Themes

While WriteFreely focuses on minimalism, it does not compromise on aesthetics. The platform offers several customizable themes, allowing users to tailor the look and feel of their blog to match their personal style or brand. These themes can be easily modified to suit individual preferences, providing a balance between simplicity and visual appeal.

Multi-User Support

For those looking to build a community or collaborative blog, WriteFreely supports multi-user instances. This feature allows multiple writers to contribute to the same blog, each with their own account and profile. This makes WriteFreely suitable for group projects, organizational blogs, or online publications.

Benefits of Using WriteFreely

Focus on Writing

The primary benefit of WriteFreely is its focus on writing. By eliminating distractions and providing a clean, minimalist interface, WriteFreely allows writers to concentrate on their content. This focus on the core writing experience makes it easier for users to produce high-quality work without getting bogged down by unnecessary features.

Control and Ownership of Content

With WriteFreely, writers retain full control and ownership of their content. The platform’s open-source nature and self-hosting options ensure that users are not subject to the whims of a third-party service. This control over content and data is increasingly important in a digital landscape where privacy and ownership are often compromised.

Enhanced Privacy

Privacy is a cornerstone of WriteFreely’s design philosophy. The platform’s commitment to not tracking users, displaying ads, or collecting unnecessary personal information ensures that writers can publish their work without sacrificing their privacy. This enhanced privacy is a significant benefit for users who are concerned about their digital footprint.

Community and Collaboration

WriteFreely’s support for multi-user instances and federated blogging fosters a sense of community and collaboration. Writers can create and contribute to shared blogs, interact with readers across federated platforms, and build a network of like-minded individuals. This collaborative environment can enhance the writing and publishing experience, making it more engaging and rewarding.

Lightweight and Fast

Due to its minimalist design, WriteFreely is lightweight and fast. The platform’s streamlined nature ensures that blogs load quickly and perform well, even on slower internet connections or older devices. This speed and efficiency contribute to a better user experience for both writers and readers.

Getting Started with WriteFreely

Setting Up Your Blog

Getting started with WriteFreely is straightforward, whether you choose to use the hosted service provided by Write.as or set up your self-hosted instance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your blog on WriteFreely:

  1. Choose Your Hosting Option: Decide whether you want to use the hosted service or set up a self-hosted instance. The hosted service is ideal for those who prefer a hassle-free setup, while self-hosting provides more control and customization options.

  2. Sign Up or Download: If you opt for the hosted service, sign up for an account on Write.as. For self-hosting, download the latest version of WriteFreely from the official website.

  3. Install Dependencies: For self-hosting, ensure that you have the necessary dependencies installed, such as a web server (e.g., Nginx or Apache), a database (e.g., MySQL or SQLite), and Go, the programming language used by WriteFreely.

  4. Configure Your Instance: Follow the installation instructions provided in the WriteFreely documentation to configure your instance. This includes setting up your database, configuring your web server, and customizing your blog’s settings.

  5. Launch Your Blog: Once the setup is complete, launch your WriteFreely blog. You can now start writing and publishing content.

Writing and Publishing Content

Writing and publishing content on WriteFreely is designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Log In: Access your WriteFreely instance and log in to your account.

  2. Create a New Post: Click on the “New Post” button to start writing. You’ll be taken to a clean, distraction-free writing interface.

  3. Write in Markdown: Use Markdown syntax to format your text. Markdown allows you to add headings, lists, links, images, and more using simple, plain-text commands.

  4. Preview Your Post: WriteFreely provides a live preview feature that allows you to see how your formatted text will appear once published. This ensures that your content looks exactly as you intend.

  5. Publish: When you’re ready, click the “Publish” button to make your post live. You can choose to publish your post publicly, privately, or as a draft.

  6. Manage Your Posts: Use the dashboard to manage your published posts, edit existing content, and view reader interactions.

Advanced WriteFreely Features

Custom Themes and Styling

While WriteFreely emphasizes minimalism, it also allows for a degree of customization to match your personal style or brand. You can choose from a selection of built-in themes or create your own custom theme using CSS. This flexibility ensures that your blog can have a unique look and feel while maintaining the platform’s clean aesthetic.

Integrations and Extensions

WriteFreely supports various integrations and extensions to enhance your blogging experience. Some popular integrations include:

  • Commenting Systems: Integrate third-party commenting systems like Disqus or Commento to enable reader interactions on your blog.
  • Analytics: Add analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Matomo to track your blog’s

    performance and gain insights into your audience.

  • Social Media Sharing: Enable social media sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Federated Blogging with ActivityPub

One of the standout features of WriteFreely is its support for ActivityPub, which enables federated blogging. This means that your content can be shared and interacted with across other federated platforms like Mastodon, PeerTube, and Pleroma. Federated blogging promotes a decentralized web, giving you more control over your content and how it is distributed.

Multi-User Instances

WriteFreely supports multi-user instances, making it an excellent choice for collaborative blogs, online publications, or organizational blogs. Each user can have their own account, profile, and writing space, while administrators can manage user permissions and settings. This multi-user functionality fosters collaboration and community-building within the platform.

Performance Optimization

To ensure a smooth and fast user experience, WriteFreely is optimized for performance. The platform’s lightweight design means that blogs load quickly and perform well, even on slower internet connections or older devices. Additionally, self-hosted instances can be further optimized through server configurations and caching strategies.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Notable Blogs Using WriteFreely

Several notable blogs and writers have chosen WriteFreely for its minimalist and privacy-focused approach. Some examples include:

  • Write.as Blog: The official blog of Write.as, the hosted service for WriteFreely, showcases the platform’s capabilities and serves as a hub for updates and community news.
  • Personal Blogs: Many writers and bloggers use WriteFreely for their personal blogs, enjoying the distraction-free writing environment and control over their content.

Business Success Stories

WriteFreely has also been adopted by businesses and organizations looking for a simple and secure blogging platform. Some success stories include:

  • Tech Startups: Several tech startups have chosen WriteFreely for their company blogs, appreciating the platform’s minimalism and ease of use. This choice allows them to focus on sharing insights and updates without getting bogged down by complex CMS systems.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Non-profits use WriteFreely to share their stories, updates, and impact reports. The platform’s commitment to privacy and open-source principles aligns well with the values of many non-profit organizations.

Future of WriteFreely

Upcoming Features and Updates

The development team behind WriteFreely is continually working to improve the platform and introduce new features. Some upcoming developments to look forward to include:

  • Enhanced Collaboration Tools: New features to support collaborative writing and editing, making it easier for teams to work together on content.
  • Improved Customization Options: Additional themes and customization settings to give users more control over the appearance of their blogs.
  • Expanded Integrations: More integrations with third-party services to enhance the functionality of WriteFreely.

As the digital landscape evolves, minimalist blogging platforms like WriteFreely are gaining popularity. Key trends to watch in this space include:

  • Privacy-Focused Platforms: With growing concerns about data privacy, platforms that prioritize user privacy and data control are becoming more attractive.
  • Decentralized Web: The movement towards a decentralized web, supported by protocols like ActivityPub, is gaining momentum. Platforms like WriteFreely are at the forefront of this trend, promoting a more open and user-controlled internet.
  • Simple, User-Centric Design: There is a growing demand for simple, user-centric design in digital tools. Platforms that focus on providing a seamless and distraction-free user experience are likely to continue to thrive.


WriteFreely is a powerful, minimalist blogging platform that offers a clean, distraction-free writing environment while ensuring user privacy and control. Its open-source nature, federated blogging capabilities, and emphasis on simplicity make it an excellent choice for writers, bloggers, and organizations looking for a straightforward and reliable platform.

As the blogging landscape continues to evolve, WriteFreely remains committed to providing a user-focused experience that prioritizes writing and privacy. Whether you are an individual writer seeking a minimalist space to share your thoughts or an organization looking for a secure and customizable blogging solution, WriteFreely offers the tools and features to meet your needs.

By embracing WriteFreely, you gain access to a platform that not only meets your current requirements but also evolves with you, ensuring that you can continue to create and share content in a way that aligns with your values and goals. Whether you are just starting your journey with WriteFreely or looking to deepen your expertise, this guide provides the insights and information you need to succeed.

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