Power Your Blogs with Habari: The Next Generation of Blogging

If you are running a blog on a self-hosted platform, chances are you’re using either WordPress or perhaps Drupal. There is no denying the fact that both of these CMSs have excellent capabilities. They are ideal for many different genres of website. However, at times, when all you need is a small personal weblog, running Drupal is a bit overkill. In other instances, when the need of the hour is a no-nonsense and nimble CMS, WordPress might seem a bit bloated to some users.

If this is the case for you, Habari might be the CMS meant for your blog.

First Look

Habari is a blogging CMS with a modular, object-oriented core. With that said, Habari, unlike WordPress, is not everyone’s blogging platform. If you are planning to create a video blog or a photo blog, Habari may not impress you. It caters to the traditional blogger – and it does its job well.

Habari -- The Blogger's CMS

Habari -- The Blogger's CMS

Habari supports multiple database back-ends including MySQL, SQLite and PostgreSQL. There is support for Atom feeds, and the plugin repository contains importers for WordPress blogs.

However, the USP of Habari, as we shall soon see, does not lie in its blogging prowess (seriously, of the features mentioned in the above paragraph, which one is new?). Habari’s main forte is its minimal and swift operation – the CMS comes with an admin interface which is reduced to the bare minimum.

Before we decide the pros and cons of Habari as a CMS, we shall evaluate it under different categories.

Interface, Usage and Performance

The first thing you’d notice once you login to Habari’s back end is the ‘clean’ look and feel. The interface is neat, with the navigation menu sitting nicely in the upper left corner. Just like WordPress, Habari presents you with a Dashboard once you log in. By default, it shows details such as number of Posts, Comments, logged in Users, etc.

Habari presents you with a Dashboard after login

Habari presents you with a Dashboard after login

You can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate in the admin panel – ‘Q’ for Dashboard, ‘M’ for managing existing articles, ‘C’ for comments’, ‘N’ for New Post, ‘A’ for tags, ‘T’ for themes, ‘P’ for plugins, and so on. Of course, if you are editing an article, such shortcuts become void for the duration you are using the Editor.

Speaking of editing an article, the New Entry Editor is plain simple. There are no excessive elements – in fact, it resembles WP’s Editor (after you maximize the latter to full screen).

Habari's Article Editor sports a minimal and clean look

Habari's Article Editor sports a minimal and clean look

Along similar lines, the Options page too is rather minimal and, to a great extent, empty. It lets you enter basic info about your blog, time and date, language, and other similar settings.

Habari has a simple Options page

Habari has a simple Options page

In the My Profile section, you can edit your details – name to be displayed, password, Gravatar address (you can also use an image hosted elsewhere by placing its link).

User Settings Page in Habari

User Settings Page in Habari

Extensions, Plugins and Themes

Habari comes with several themes and plugins to its merit. However, most of the addons are developed in-house and/or by the community. So if you are looking for Premium Theme Stores resembling those of WordPress, you’re in for disappointment.

Among plugins, you also have the likes of Akismet and Defensio to secure your website, importers for platforms such as WordPress and Serendipity to import your previous data, as well as many others.

Habari is backed by several community driven plugins

Habari is backed by several community driven plugins

Community and Support

Habari has its own user group and IRC channel. The community is quite dedicated and the CMS has a loyal user base. However, the size of the community is rather small as compared to most other CMSs. This can be attributed to the fact that the CMS is still in its infancy (the latest version being 0.8). By the way, the frequency of updates is awesome.

The Good and Bad

Before we pass judgment, let’s sum up the advantages and disadvantages Habari.


  • Extremely nimble and easy to use
  • No-nonsense, minimal interface
  • Dedicated community
  • Good documentation and support options
  • Support for multiple databases
  • Ideal for regular blogging


  • Relatively younger
  • Small user base
  • Not meant for photo/video blogs
  • Few third-party developers

The Verdict

So, is Habari worth it?

Definitely yes!

If you are looking for a CMS with a clean interface for your blog, you should surely consider Habari. Unlike WP, Habari does not try to do many things – its target audience includes regular bloggers, and it serves them well. Yes, the CMS can indeed make use of few Premium themes and plugins, but all in all, it has all the ingredients to power an average-sized blog.


Habari Home Page | Demo | Wiki

Sufyan bin Uzayr

Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and is the author of several books. He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.

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  1. NativeHacker says

    Habari, I had never heard this one. WordPress takes great resources and I am thinking of moving to another cms. I will try Habari

    • Sufyan says

      Thanks Stelian. Even I keep wondering the same.
      Perhaps in few years, we won’t need to wonder, God be willing. ;)

  2. says

    I’ve heard of Habari, but it is hard to compete with the MASSIVE number of add ons and talented theme designers and community support of these larger cms’s. I mean, even the most simple blog could end up needing an add-on for that one weird thing you’re trying to do, and with a smaller, less popular CMS you’ll end up having to make something yourself. Is there an advantage to something like Habari that outweighs this disadvantage?

    • Sufyan says

      Hey Tom,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Well, I already talked about advantages and disadvantages. And yes, I did mention — Habari needs third-party devs.
      Habari has the ability to mature well as a CMS for blogs — plus, it’s still an infant as compared to the rest, and with time, the project is sure to grow.
      Have you used Habari yet? Try asking a question in the forums, or seeking community’s support. Habari’s users are passionate about their CMS, and if I dare say it, Habari has a more enthusiastic community than even WP.