free website like wordpress

10 Popular Alternatives to WordPress

WordPress is popular, and we love it, but it is not the only publishing platform. There are WordPress alternatives that you can use to build your website. Recently one of our readers asked us to write about WordPress competitors. In this article, we will show you 10 popular alternatives to WordPress.

1- Blogger

Blogger

Last but not the least, Blogger is still alive. It is a free blog service by Google. It has most of the features you would need for blogging. A commenting system, built-in social capabilities, easy to use, templates, and the option to use your own domain name.

We have written a full comparison between Blogger vs WordPress (Pros and Cons). If you are using Blogger and want to switch to WordPress, then follow this guide.

We hope this article provided you a chance to look at some popular WordPress alternatives. While looking at these alternatives, you may want to take a look at our guide on why you should use WordPress.

2- Google Sites

Google Sites

Google Sites is an easier and simpler way to build small websites. It is extremely easy to use, free to host, and you can even use your own custom domain for your site.

It cannot be compared with CMS software in our list, but it can be compared with services like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.

3- Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is a popular free blogging platform. Tumblr combines blogging with social, and makes blogging quite fun. It has a strong user base despite the fact that it was acquired by Yahoo in 2013.

Tumblr allows users to choose from free or premium themes. Users can also use custom domain names for their Tumblr blogs. Apart from your blog, you can also create pages. It is a completely hosted solution, so you don’t have to worry about installing or maintaining any software.

4- Joomla

Joomla

This year Joomla will be celebrating its 10th birthday. It is a strong, multi-purpose, and open source CMS. It has a large community of users and developers.

Joomla comes with all the things that WordPress can do, and then some more. It has extensions and templates. It is already used by millions of users, small businesses, corporations, government and non-profits all over the world.

Just like WordPress, Joomla has a community support system, extensive documentation, and it runs on most web hosting platforms.

5- Ghost

Ghost

Some WordPress users who want to focus on blogging felt that WordPress is going in a totally different direction. This gave birth to Ghost, which is a NodeJS based blogging software.

The difference is that Ghost is entirely focused on blogging and keeping the clutter away. It provides a clean writing and browsing experience for bloggers and readers.

6- Wix

Wix

Wix is a completely hosted web site builder. It is free to use for personal or a small business website. It comes with pre-designed templates that users can modify using the drag and drop page builder.

Wix also has eCommerce support with its paid plans, which allows site owners to accept online payments using PayPal or authorize.net. See our article on Wix vs WordPress for a side by side comparison of the two platforms.

If you are already using Wix and want to transfer it to WordPress, then see our article on how to properly switch from Wix to WordPress.

7- Shopify

Shopify

If you want to build an online store, then Shopify is a great alternative to WordPress. It provides easy to use tools to create your own online shop. You can sell your products and accept payments.

Shopify comes with easy to use tools to get you started with your website. It has ready-made templates, apps, and lots of integration options.

Wondering how it compares to WooCommerce (the best WordPress eCommerce plugin)? See our article on Shopify vs WooCommerce for a detailed comparison of the two platforms.

8- Drupal

Drupal

Drupal is another very popular open source CMS. Just like WordPress and Joomla, Drupal has a strong user base and developer community. It powers nearly 2.1% of all websites on the internet including The White House, The Economist, State of Georgia, and many more.

Drupal has modules and themes just like WordPress. It shares the same software requirements as WordPress and Joomla, so it can run on pretty much any web host that supports WordPress.

9- Jekyll

Jekyll

Jekyll is a static site generator. It is written in Ruby and requires NodeJS. It is a lot different than WordPress. For starters it is a static site generator which means it takes your text and generates static HTML pages for your site (no database).

You can use free hosting provided by GitHub Pages with Jekyll. This means that if you are familiar with Markdown, SVN, Git, and command line, then you will be up and running in no-time. In other words, this is made for developers!

10- Squarespace

Squarespace

Squarespace is a paid site builder that can be used as a WordPress alternative. It is extremely easy to use and a completely hosted solution.

Just like Wix and Weebly, Squarespace also offers ready-to-use templates that you can customize. There are no plugins or additional modules to install. You can only use the features provided by Squarespace. See our comparison of Squarespace vs WordPress.

Azure Active Directory Single Sign-On Using Azure Ad Connect

Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Quick start

Deploy Seamless Single Sign-On

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Seamless Single Sign-On (Seamless SSO) automatically signs in users when they are on their corporate desktops that are connected to your corporate network. Seamless SSO provides your users with easy access to your cloud-based applications without needing any additional on-premises components.

To deploy Seamless SSO, follow these steps.

Step 1: Check the prerequisites

Ensure that the following prerequisites are in place:

  • Set up your Azure AD Connect server: If you use Pass-through Authentication as your sign-in method, no additional prerequisite check is required. If you use password hash synchronization as your sign-in method, and if there is a firewall between Azure AD Connect and Azure AD, ensure that:
    • You use version 1.1.644.0 or later of Azure AD Connect.
    • If your firewall or proxy allows DNS whitelisting, whitelist the connections to the *.msappproxy.net URLs over port 443. If not, allow access to the Azure datacenter IP ranges, which are updated weekly. This prerequisite is applicable only when you enable the feature. It is not required for actual user sign-ins.

Note

Azure AD Connect versions 1.1.557.0, 1.1.558.0, 1.1.561.0, and 1.1.614.0 have a problem related to password hash synchronization. If you don’t intend to use password hash synchronization in conjunction with Pass-through Authentication, read the Azure AD Connect release notes to learn more.

  • Use a supported Azure AD Connect topology: Ensure that you are using one of Azure AD Connect’s supported topologies described here.

Note

Seamless SSO supports multiple AD forests, whether there are AD trusts between them or not.

  • Set up domain administrator credentials: You need to have domain administrator credentials for each Active Directory forest that:
    • You synchronize to Azure AD through Azure AD Connect.
    • Contains users you want to enable for Seamless SSO.
  • Enable modern authentication: You need to enable modern authentication on your tenant for this feature to work.
  • Use the latest versions of Office 365 clients: To get a silent sign-on experience with Office 365 clients (Outlook, Word, Excel, and others), your users need to use versions 16.0.8730.xxxx or above.

Step 2: Enable the feature

Enable Seamless SSO through Azure AD Connect.

If you’re doing a fresh installation of Azure AD Connect, choose the custom installation path. At the User sign-in page, select the Enable single sign on option.

Note

The option will be available for selection only if the Sign On method is Password Hash Synchronization or Pass-through Authentication.

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If you already have an installation of Azure AD Connect, select the Change user sign-in page in Azure AD Connect, and then select Next. If you are using Azure AD Connect versions 1.1.880.0 or above, the Enable single sign on option will be selected by default. If you are using older versions of Azure AD Connect, select the Enable single sign on option.

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Continue through the wizard until you get to the Enable single sign on page. Provide domain administrator credentials for each Active Directory forest that:

  • You synchronize to Azure AD through Azure AD Connect.
  • Contains users you want to enable for Seamless SSO.

After completion of the wizard, Seamless SSO is enabled on your tenant.

Note

The domain administrator credentials are not stored in Azure AD Connect or in Azure AD. They’re used only to enable the feature.

Follow these instructions to verify that you have enabled Seamless SSO correctly:

  1. Sign in to the Azure Active Directory administrative center with the global administrator credentials for your tenant.
  2. Select Azure Active Directory in the left pane.
  3. Select Azure AD Connect.
  4. Verify that the Seamless single sign-on feature appears as Enabled.

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Important

Seamless SSO creates a computer account named AZUREADSSOACC (which represents Azure AD) in your on-premises Active Directory (AD) in each AD forest. This computer account is needed for the feature to work. Move the AZUREADSSOACC computer account to an Organization Unit (OU) where other computer accounts are stored to ensure that it is managed in the same way and is not deleted.

Step 3: Roll out the feature

You can gradually roll out Seamless SSO to your users using the instructions provided below. You start by adding the following Azure AD URL to all or selected users’ Intranet zone settings by using Group Policy in Active Directory:

  • https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com

In addition, you need to enable an Intranet zone policy setting called Allow updates to status bar via script through Group Policy.

Note

The following instructions work only for Internet Explorer and Google Chrome on Windows (if it shares a set of trusted site URLs with Internet Explorer). Read the next section for instructions on how to set up Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on macOS.

Why do you need to modify users’ Intranet zone settings?

By default, the browser automatically calculates the correct zone, either Internet or Intranet, from a specific URL. For example, “http://contoso/” maps to the Intranet zone, whereas “http://intranet.contoso.com/” maps to the Internet zone (because the URL contains a period). Browsers will not send Kerberos tickets to a cloud endpoint, like the Azure AD URL, unless you explicitly add the URL to the browser’s Intranet zone.

There are two ways to modify users’ Intranet zone settings:

Option

Admin consideration

User experience

Group policy

Admin locks down editing of Intranet zone settings

Users cannot modify their own settings

Group policy preference

Admin allows editing on Intranet zone settings

Users can modify their own settings

“Group policy” option – Detailed steps

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Editor tool.
  2. Edit the group policy that’s applied to some or all your users. This example uses Default Domain Policy.
  3. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page. Then select Site to Zone Assignment List.

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  1. Enable the policy, and then enter the following values in the dialog box:
    • Value name: The Azure AD URL where the Kerberos tickets are forwarded.
    • Value (Data): 1 indicates the Intranet zone.The result looks like this:Value: https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.comData: 1

Note

If you want to disallow some users from using Seamless SSO (for instance, if these users sign in on shared kiosks), set the preceding values to 4. This action adds the Azure AD URL to the Restricted zone, and fails Seamless SSO all the time.

  1. Select OK, and then select OK again.

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  1. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page > Intranet Zone. Then select Allow updates to status bar via script.

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  1. Enable the policy setting, and then select OK.

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“Group policy preference” option – Detailed steps

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Editor tool.
  2. Edit the group policy that’s applied to some or all your users. This example uses Default Domain Policy.
  3. Browse to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry > New > Registry item.

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  1. Enter the following values in appropriate fields and click OK.
    • Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains\microsoftazuread-sso.com\autologon
    • Value name: https.
    • Value type: REG_DWORD.
    • Value data: 00000001.

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  1. Browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page > Intranet Zone. Then select Allow updates to status bar via script.

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  1. Enable the policy setting, and then select OK.

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Browser considerations

Mozilla Firefox (all platforms)

Mozilla Firefox doesn’t automatically use Kerberos authentication. Each user must manually add the Azure AD URL to their Firefox settings by using the following steps:

  1. Run Firefox and enter about:config in the address bar. Dismiss any notifications that you see.
  2. Search for the network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris preference. This preference lists Firefox’s trusted sites for Kerberos authentication.
  3. Right-click and select Modify.
  4. Enter https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com in the field.
  5. Select OK and then reopen the browser.

Safari (macOS)

Ensure that the machine running the macOS is joined to AD. Instructions for AD-joining your macOS device is outside the scope of this article.

Google Chrome (all platforms)

If you have overridden the AuthNegotiateDelegateWhitelist or the AuthServerWhitelist policy settings in your environment, ensure that you add Azure AD’s URL (https://autologon.microsoftazuread-sso.com) to them as well.

Google Chrome (macOS only)

For Google Chrome on Mac OS and other non-Windows platforms, refer to The Chromium Project Policy List for information on how to whitelist the Azure AD URL for integrated authentication.

The use of third-party Active Directory Group Policy extensions to roll out the Azure AD URL to Firefox and Google Chrome on Mac users is outside the scope of this article.

Known browser limitations

Seamless SSO doesn’t work in private browsing mode on Firefox and Edge browsers. It also doesn’t work on Internet Explorer if the browser is running in Enhanced Protected mode.

Step 4: Test the feature

To test the feature for a specific user, ensure that all the following conditions are in place:

  • The user signs in on a corporate device.
  • The device is joined to your Active Directory domain. The device doesn’t need to be Azure AD Joined.
  • The device has a direct connection to your domain controller (DC), either on the corporate wired or wireless network or via a remote access connection, such as a VPN connection.
  • You have rolled out the feature to this user through Group Policy.

To test the scenario where the user enters only the username, but not the password:

  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/ in a new private browser session.

To test the scenario where the user doesn’t have to enter the username or the password, use one of these steps:

  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/contoso.onmicrosoft.com in a new private browser session. Replace contoso with your tenant’s name.
  • Sign in to https://myapps.microsoft.com/contoso.com in a new private browser session. Replace contoso.com with a verified domain (not a federated domain) on your tenant.

Step 5: Roll over keys

In Step 2, Azure AD Connect creates computer accounts (representing Azure AD) in all the Active Directory forests on which you have enabled Seamless SSO. To learn more, see Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Technical deep dive.

Important

The Kerberos decryption key on a computer account, if leaked, can be used to generate Kerberos tickets for any user in its AD forest. Malicious actors can then impersonate Azure AD sign-ins for compromised users. We highly recommend that you periodically roll over these Kerberos decryption keys – at least once every 30 days.

For instructions on how to roll over keys, see Azure Active Directory Seamless Single Sign-On: Frequently asked questions. We are working on a capability to introduce automated roll over of keys.

Important

You don’t need to do this step immediately after you have enabled the feature. Roll over the Kerberos decryption keys at least once every 30 days.