Creator tools

10 Substack Alternatives (2024) Free and Paid

Victoria Kurichenko

written by

Victoria Kurichenko

updated on

August 18th, 2023

I started blogging actively in 2020. Every established writer and blogger used Substack to grow their email list and communicate with their audience back then. 

As a Medium top writer and an SEO expert, I’ve also registered on Substack, hoping to build my email list. Unfortunately, it did not work out. 

I’ve tried various Substack alternatives to find the one that would work for me. I’ve also listened to my fellow content creators on Twitter, sharing their opinions about email software and Substack in particular. 

This article features 10 free and paid alternatives to Substack recommended by content creators. Besides, I’ve used most of these tools before recommending them.

So, if you are looking for the best alternatives to switch, you are in the right place. 

  1. Beehiiv
  2. Convertkit
  3. Mighty Networks
  4. Gumroad 
  5. Medium
  6. Mailchimp 
  7. Campaign Monitor
  8. Ghost
  9. Mailer Lite 
  10. Memberful

Alternatives to Substack

  Pricing Free trial Website blogs Paid newsletters vs memberships Newsletter growth partner program
Beehiiv From $49/m for 500 subscribers 14 days Yes Paid newsletters Boosts Sparkloop
Convertkit From $15/m for 300 subscribers 14 days Landing pages creation only Paid newsletters Sparkloop
Mighty Networks From $39/m 14 days Yes Paid memberships No
Gumroad Free to use 10% fee on every sale No Only product pages and posts Paid memberships No
Medium Free to use/td> No Only blog posts No No
Mailchimp From $13/m for 500 subscribers 30 days Yes Paid newsletters Sparkloop
Campaign Monitor From $11/m for 500 subscribers No Yes Paid newsletters Sparkloop
Ghost From $11/m for 500 subscribers 14 days Yes Paid newsletters and memberships No
Mailer Lite From $10/m 500 subscribers 30 days Yes Paid newsletters Sparkloop
Memberful From $25/m for an unlimited number of members No No Paid memberships No

Why look for Substack alternatives

Before sharing a detailed list of newsletter tools and email automation software, I’d like to explain why creators like me and you look for alternative solutions. 

As of March 2023, Substack had over 20 million active subscribers and 2 million paid subscribers, according to the Substack blog

This number has grown significantly in recent years, as Substack has become a popular platform for writers and creators to share their work. 

Here is a breakdown of Substack’s paid subscriber growth over time:

2018: 25,000

2019: 100,000

2020: 500,000

2021: 1,000,000

2022: 2,000,000

Hamish McKenzie, the Substack co-founder, also shared with Forbes that the platform’s top 10 publications collectively generate $20 million a year, which is roughly $2 million profit for the platform, considering that Substack takes a 10% commission fee. 

It seems like a solid growth. Nevertheless, some content creators, including myself, slowly shift away from Substack in search of new opportunities. 

I’ve also discovered an exciting pattern related to the Substack traffic. 

According to the Similarweb web analytics tool, Substack’s top traffic acquisition channel is Direct! The graph below shows that over 52% of Substack’s traffic is direct, meaning users navigate to Substack via links shared by content creators. 

What will happen if some users will switch from Substack to other platforms? The number of shared links will drop, and the direct traffic will decrease. 

substack traffic generation channels
Substack’s traffic generation channels.

Considering Substack’s limited functionality and a traffic drop caused by a decline in popularity, I’d recommend looking for a new platform. 

Luckily, there are many powerful solutions on the market to choose from. 

The first five tools in the list below are my favorites. I use their free and paid versions to cover my blogging needs. 

If you are looking for the best alternative to Substack, I am sure you’ll find it after reading this article. 

Let’s get started.

1. Beehiiv

Best for: Scaling an online business  

Pricing: From $49 per month 

Free trial: 14 days for Beehiiv Grow; you can register here


Beehiiv is a relatively new newsletter growth platform founded in 2021 and one of the best Substack alternatives to try! 

 I remember trying Beehiiv after it was launched. Since then, The platform has improved and gained many fans, including myself. 

With Beehiiv, you can quickly grow your email list using boosts, segment your audience, measure and improve your newsletter performance, create paid subscriptions, and more!

I was particularly impressed by the boost feature, which lets content creators pay to acquire new email subscribers. Besides, a boosts feature can be an additional income source for those eager to promote other newsletters. 

Beehiiv says $2.25 is the average CPA (cost per acquisition) you can expect if you help others grow their email lists.

Here is my in-depth Beehiiv review if you want to learn more about the platform.

2. Convertkit

Best for: Creating powerful email automation 

Pricing: From $15 per month for up to 300 subscribers 

Free trial: 14 days for Convertkit Pro; you can register here


I switched to Convertkit from Mailchimp several years ago and never regretted it. The interface and functionality are intuitive, which saves time for doing things instead of learning how the platform works. 

As an SEO specialist, I keep, grow, and monetize my email list using Convertkit. I pay roughly $30 monthly for the Convertkit Creator paid plan to benefit from paid features like visual automation. It’s one of my favorite features, which helps me nurture my audience and sell my products and services on autopilot. 

Using Convertkit, you can create email campaigns, decide who will get them and when, and automate email campaigns so that they will work entirely on autopilot. 

Here is how some of my campaign automation work in Convertkit.

Convertkit visual automation
Some of my visual automations in Convertkit.

Unlike many popular platforms, Convertkit has reasonable fees for content creators selling their products through Convertkit Ecommerce — 3.5%+30c transaction fee. Based on my experience, it’s cheaper than Gumroad (10%) and PayPal (4.75%+).

Here is my in-depth Convertkit review if you want to learn more about the platform.

3. Mighty Networks

Best for: Growing an online community

Pricing: From $39 per month

Free trial: 14 days for Mighty Networks Community; you can register here; no credit card required

what is mighty networks

User-friendly and accessible, Mighty Networks makes hosting discussions, growing online communities, and creating paid memberships simple. Affordable pricing plans and assistance with domain setup further enhance its accessibility.

With Mighty’s flexible Spaces, you can mix your paid content with awesome features like live streaming, live events, engaging courses, exciting forum conversations, and messaging, to name a few.

Mighty Networks lets you do everything Substack does and more!

Here is my in-depth Mighty Networks review if you want to learn more about the platform.

4. Gumroad

Pricing: Free to use, but charges a 10% fee for every sale you make

Best for: Selling digital and physical products online 

Free trial: not available


Gumroad is technically not an email software but a powerful Substack alternative considering its features. 

I’ve used Gumroad since April 2021 to sell my SEO ebook and other services. The platform is easy to use and combines everything a content creator needs to nurture the audience and sell their products. 

Here is how the sales page looks on Gumroad. The customization opportunities are somewhat limited.

Most sales pages look this way, but it’s an advantage to some extent. Your sales pages are neat and clean, showing the most crucial information to help a user make a purchase decision without distractions. 

I’ve already made $6,500+ selling ebooks on Gumroad! Here is my in-depth Gumroad review if you want to learn more about the platform.

My SEO writing ebook sales page on Gumroad
My SEO writing ebook sales page on Gumroad.

Besides selling your products and services on Gumroad, you can also offer freebies (free lead magnets) to grow your email list. Despite offering one of my short ebooks for free, I’ve still earned roughly $140 since users tipped me before downloading the ebook.

That’s the power of Gumroad as one of the best alternatives to Substack.

5. Medium

Pricing: Free to use, you can get access to all Medium stories for $5/m

Best for: Making money writing online and building a personal brand

Free trial: Not available


Medium can be an excellent Substack alternative if you know how to utilize the power of this platform. 

I’ve been writing on Medium for the past three years, publishing over 300 articles, and growing my account to over 8,000 followers. 

Medium’s business model is pretty straightforward: readers pay a $5 monthly membership to get access to all stories, while content creators get a portion of that money depending on the total time users spend reading your stories.

Unlike Substack, you don’t have to rely on your own promotion to reach the target audience. Medium has an internal content distribution system that will showcase your content to users interested in your topics if your content is in line with Medium standards.

The platform evolved a lot in the past three years. New features were introduced for content creators, like a tipping system and an email list growth feature, to name a few.

These new features will help you earn more money on the platform and grow your email list. 

You can see the screenshot from my Medium account below. My email subscribers’ report shows how many people subscribed to get my stories on Medium. Besides, I can also export this subscriber list to use elsewhere or import contact information to reach more people with my stories.

Whenever someone decides to subscribe to your updates, they’ll get emails when you publish new articles on Medium. It’s super convenient since you don’t have to do it on your own.

Here is my in-depth Medium review if you want to learn more about my Medium experience and how much I earn on Medium monthly.

Email subscribers report on Medium
Email subscribers report on Medium.

6. Mailchimp

Pricing: From $13 per month for up to 500 subscribers. Mailchimp gives 50% off on its paid plans for 12 months; learn more here 

Best for: Startups, businesses, and individual creators who need all-in-one email marketing software with ecommerce

Free trial: Not available


Mailchimp is an established all-in-one marketing automation and email platform founded in 2001. Mailchimp has offered solutions for complex email marketing challenges for over 20 years!

Mailchimp was my first email marketing platform when I started writing on Medium in 2020. I joined Mailchimp because the platform offered a 30-day free trial and free account usage for up to 500 subscribers, which was way more than any other email platform provided for free.

The functionality was and remains limited in the case of a free version. However, if you are just starting and unwilling to spend money on email marketing, Mailchimp is a great Substack alternative and an opportunity to test your ideas before upgrading to a paid version. 

Unlike Substack, Mailchimp is a powerful marketplace and email software that you can use to build your own website, collect email subscribers through embed forms, and sell your products and services. 

Here is an excerpt from my Mailchimp campaigns report, including my website link and its performance statistics, welcome email performance metrics, and broadcasts. 

In general, I liked Mailchimp, even though some features are pretty challenging to understand without prior experience.

All campaigns dashboard in my Mailchimp account.

7. Campaign Monitor

Pricing: From $11 per month for up to 500 subscribers 

Best for: Agencies, retail, nonprofit, and publishing businesses that need advanced email features 

Free trial: Not available

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is a robust email marketing platform that offers a great alternative to Substack. 

While Substack primarily focuses on newsletter creation and subscription management, Campaign Monitor provides a broader range of email marketing features. It offers advanced segmentation, automation, and personalization capabilities, making it ideal for businesses and organizations seeking to engage their audiences through targeted and tailored email campaigns. 

With a user-friendly interface and powerful analytics, Campaign Monitor empowers users to create dynamic email content, track performance, and enhance their overall email marketing strategy.

I’ve also stumbled upon a great tweet where an established content creator with three newsletter businesses explains why they choose Campaign Monitor over other newsletter tools.

substack alternatives twitter post
A content creator explains why they choose Campaign Monitor.

8. Ghost

Pricing: From $11 per month for up to 500 subscribers 

Best for: New-media content creators to publish and share content

Free trial: 14 days; you can register here


Ghost serves as one of the compelling Substack alternatives, especially for creators seeking more control over their content and a dedicated platform for publishing. 

Unlike Substack, which primarily focuses on newsletters, Ghost offers a full-fledged content management system designed for blogging and publishing. It provides customizable themes, SEO optimization tools, and a versatile editor, catering to a broader range of content types beyond newsletters. 

Besides segmenting your audience and creating paid newsletters, you can also create paid memberships with Ghost. 

The tool is particularly favored by those who prefer a self-hosted solution, enabling creators to manage their content on their own servers. 

It’s also worth mentioning that Ghosts does not take a cut of your earnings, unlike Substack, which takes 10% of your revenue.

9. Mailer Lite

Pricing: From $10 for up to 500 subscribers 

Best for: Businesses of all shapes looking for an affordable all-in-one email software

Free trial: Free for up to 1,000 subscribers. 30 days trial for Mailer Lite Advanced; you can register here

mailer lite

Mailer Lite can be considered a viable alternative for those looking to manage email subscriptions and engage with their audience. 

While Substack focuses primarily on newsletters, Mailer Lite offers a comprehensive email marketing platform with features like customizable email templates, automation workflows, and subscriber segmentation. It’s suitable for businesses and creators seeking to build and maintain meaningful connections through targeted email campaigns. 

However, it’s important to note that Mailer Lite’s primary emphasis is on email marketing, whereas Substack provides a more specialized environment for creating and monetizing newsletters.

10. Memberful

Pricing: From $25 per month for an unlimited number of members

Best for: Creating, growing, and monetizing memberships

Free trial: Free for as long as you need until you connect your Stripe account and turn on live payments. Register for Memberful Pro here

Memberful is a membership platform suitable for content creators aiming to monetize their work through subscriptions. 

Unlike Substack, which primarily focuses on newsletters, Memberful provides a robust platform for building membership-based websites. It allows creators to offer various subscription tiers, exclusive content, and other perks to their audience. This makes it an attractive choice for those who want more flexibility in how they package and deliver their content. 

With integrations for WordPress and other platforms, Memberful seamlessly integrates membership features into existing websites. However, it’s worth noting that Memberful’s main strength lies in membership management, whereas Substack provides a simpler approach to newsletter creation and distribution.


I’ve collected a few more questions you might be interested in.

What are free Substack alternatives?

Some of the free Substack alternatives you can try are the following:

  • Gumroad (forever free, only a 10% transaction fee for every sale)
  • Medium (free to use)
  • Mailer Lite (free for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 monthly emails)
  • Beehiiv (free for up to 2,500 subscribers with limited functionality)
  • Convertkit (free for up to 300 subscribers)

I’d like to encourage you to select email software carefully because you’ll have to use it consistently. Furthermore, most essential features, like automation, are only available for paid users. Therefore, I recommend picking software based on convenience and easiness of work.

What is better Beehiiv or Substack?

Substack was launched in 2017, compared to Beehiiv, which entered the market in 2021. Beehiiv is a relatively new platform with more powerful features for content creators. Here is what Beehiiv offers that Substack does not have:

  1. Boosts: allows creators to promote their newsletters to other Beehiiv users and earn money promoting someone’s newsletters
  2. One-click subscription
  3. Advances audience segmentation
  4. A/B testing functionality
  5. Fully customizable emails
  6. Referral programs

If you believe the features mentioned above can be beneficial to your business, then it’s worth trying Beehiiv and deciding whether it’s a suitable Substack alternative.

Is Substack similar to Mailchimp?

There are similarities and differences between these platforms. 

Substack and Mailchimp can be used to grow an email list and communicate with your target audience with the help of newsletters. 

Substack is easy to use and customizable but short on features. Mailchimp, on the other hand, is a more affordable platform with a wide range of functionality, including solutions for ecommerce, website builders, and advanced segmentation. 

Ultimately, the best newsletter platform for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Victoria Kurichenko

Hello there! 

My name is Victoria.
I am an SEO expert, Medium top writer, solopreneur, and the founder of Self Made Millennials. I help companies create optimized content and attract potential customers through organic search results. In addition, I share how content creators can monetize their writing skills.

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