Hashnode.dev is a free service that helps developers run a personal blog. If you are a developer and are looking to start a technical blog, you might be wondering what the differences might be between a Hashnode powered blog and a Medium publication. So, I decided to put together a blog post which highlights the differences between the two platforms -- I hope this will clarify some doubts and help you take the right decision.
We are big believers of remaining independent when it comes to publishing content. Sadly, platforms like Medium don't allow users to publish content under their own branding and domain. Your Medium publication lives on a Medium URL (e.g.
medium.com/<publication-name>) unless you are one of the publications that unlocked a custom domain before 2017. New Medium publications don't get custom domain.
Hashnode.dev, on the other hand, lets you use a custom domain for free. Your content lives on your own domain and under your own branding. You decide the theme, the look & feel and layout. We believe that you, as a developer, must retain all the rights to your content and control different aspects of your blog. Want to build a subscriber base? Just embed a widget! Want to use your own Google Analytics account? That's ok too!
Hashnode also lets you download a copy of all your posts with one click. This way your content lives forever irrespective of whether you choose Hashnode to publish content.
Writing in Markdown
Being a developer, it's hard to stay away from Markdown format. Medium supports neither Markdown nor syntax highlighting -- two crucial elements of a developer blog. Hashnode.dev lets you format your content using Markdown with live preview and realtime syncing. The code blocks support syntax highlighting and you can optionally embed gists using our embed tool.
A Medium powered publication is slow as per Google's Pagespeed insights. For example, a Medium publication like Hackernoon has a score of 28 on phone and 75 on desktop. Furthermore, the initial request to such a publication always results in a bunch of 302 redirects since Medium must track you across multiple domains to maintain logged-in user state. Here's why Medium publications are slow:
Hashnode powered blogs have a score of 70+ on Mobile and 99-100 on Desktop.
It's no secret that fast websites rank higher in Google search. So, we try our best to avoid unnecessary redirects and strictly adhere to all the best practices to make blogs load faster. We still need to improve on mobile devices, and hopefully the score will be much better by the time we are out of alpha preview.
No Paywall or Ads
If you are following news surrounding Medium, you must be aware of the fact that notable publications like Hackernoon are moving away from it. Here is a statement by Hackernoon's founder David Smooke:
Here is a related article: hackernoon.com/why-is-hackernoon-com-leavin..
Medium has to figure out a sustainable business model and therefore they have become aggressive in terms of making money off publications. If you have been following Hashnode, you might be aware of the fact that we are ad-free since the very beginning. We have been running Hashnode for last 4 years and to cover our costs we have relied on Sponsorships/credits from companies whose products we are using. We are big believers in business models where both companies and contributors make money. So, making money from blogs by putting ads or popups is not our business model. We are committed to offering a paywall-less and ad-free experience to publishers and we are going to stick to it. Moreover, you bring your own domain and have the option to download all your content. So, you can eject from Hashnode anytime.
Hashnode is a community for developers whereas Medium is for everyone. So, when you publish a piece of content it goes directly to the feeds of thousands of developers. You should also note that you content still lives on your own domain. So, you can always publish posts on your Hashnode powered blog and syndicate them to Medium for extra visibility.
So, can we really consider Hashnode to be a viable alternative to Medium? I'll let you be the judge.
Medium is quite large. Hashnode is just getting started. So, it'll be unfair to ask everyone to move away from Medium. However, we really believe that independent publishers should publish content on their own domain as opposed to using a Medium URL. As I mentioned earlier, you can always republish your posts on other platforms for extra audience. It's your content after all. 😃
Hashnode.dev is still in alpha preview. We are making things rock solid and are giving access to those who are looking to start a developer blog. So, if you are sold on the value proposition, please request access here. I'll get in touch with you via email. We also have an internal Slack channel where we share quick updates and collaborate with the early adopters. See you soon!
I like to use medium mostly because of the insane reach it has, not because of the editing tools or the look and feel. My current workflow is to write the post on my blog (so that I own the domain and the source of truth) and then syndicate the content to other platforms like Medium, Dev.to or Hashnode.
I value the "you own the content" approach, and that's why I want to own my own content. I use jekyll/gatsby + github pages. It supports markdown, is pretty accessible to most developers, and other than the custom domain, it's free. How do you see this model compared to what the Hashnode developer blogs offer?
I think there's viability in a blog platform for developers, both from an audience as well as from the tooling (e.g. writing code snippets in medium is a PITA). But I'd be particularly concerned with the long-term viability of your blog platform. If you don't plan to have a paywall nor ads, how are you going to ensure your users that it will be around for the next 10 years?
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I can't say I know much about Medium but that's certainly interesting about what they've done to their customer base. It's a shame as its trending, a really good thing for developers are to have their own blog where ever it is but with hashnode its nicer in that respect as all of us can help each other. I'm loving all the new features but one thing is popping up on my mind about the usefulness of Hashnode, what does Hashnode want in return especially if you're offering free ssl free blogs for domain transfers etc over?
As much as i'm sure we would all love to think, I'm sure Hash node costs to run quite a bit :)
If medium is also cutting in their ways, I can't see many developers staying on their base for much longer when Hashnode is taking off ;)