Major Update: This is a highly outdated post. Please, please read it alongside this update.
Update: Folks – I am flattered by the attention, links and hits this post has got. But I must warn you that this is a highly outdated post and lots of things have changed in both blogger and wordpress.com since it was written. Would request you to look for some newer reviews online or compare the current features yourself :)
(Update: This comparison is there for specific hosting service at wordpress.com and blogger.com and does not cover the wordpress software. Idea is to compare the two services for someone who just want an online service through which they can blog and can not afford/do not want to have a paid account, set up wordpress etc. Nor are covered the aspects of hosting the blog at a different palce than blogspot.com through blogger.com. The updates in the post are there in italics. Certain things which Lorelle asked about in this comment, but which I could not include in the comparisons, per se, are answered at the end of this post.)
Here is a comparison for those who are wondering what to do. I will not give a solution to the wondering, but you might be in a position to make a choice for yourself.
Advantages and disadvantages are relative terms. So, here what I call as advantages or disadvantages are purely from my own point of view…
- Firstly the reason I am here. WordPress.com supports categories, blogger.com does not.
- If you like to do a lot of experimentation with your template, blogger.com gives a direct access to your template, WordPress.com doesnot. With blogger.com you can have your own template, with WordPress.com you can not. The reason apparently are realted to security concerns. However, the other side of the story is that whatever modifications are possible at WordPress.com, they are a lot cleaner and you do not have to redo it all over again, simply because you decided to change your template (ask me!). And a lot of additions, deletions in the sidebar are still possible. Creating links in the sidebar, for example. You can simply define the category and add links to them. You won’t have to redo it with a change in template. While with Blogger.com, you must manually change the template code with html and then redo it with a template change. Any customization of blogger.com template requires some minimal knowledge of HTML. WordPress.com provides nice interface. But if you just want the control over HTML of your blog, well go for blogger.com!
- The idea of pages (posts not shown in the usual choronological order) is absent at blogger.com. At wordpress.com, they provide a way to maintain some ‘static’ sort of pages, which you may want.
- There are no “File Upload” features in Blogger.com, which is there at WordPress.com.
- You can password protect a post in WordPress.com, not so at blogger.com
- Multi-user capabilities at blogger.com is very advanced. I am still not quite sure, WordPress.com supports it. There are some talks about “WordPress MU”, but how are you supposed to add users? Am not sure. This, however, is not likely to remain a disadvantage for long.
- The facility of usign raw HTML in the basic HTML editor (not the WYSIWYG editor) selectively was something I loved at blogger.com. The raw HTML editor is too raw at WordPress.com!
- As of now, I do not think that multiple blogs per person is supported on WordPress.com, which is a very stable feature of blogger.com.
- Blogger.com does not give option in terms of your permanent link structure. But it sanitizes your non-english titles very well and you do not see those weird, long URLs there. WordPress.com should be able to give me flexibility to use post-ids. But it, still, is not there.
- Because of default “Justified” text, the rendering of Hindi characters has been poor here at WordPress.com. For the post body, I could take care of it, but left justifying it. But can not do that with the titles and titles are still rendered in a rather weird fashion. And that reminds me, at blogger.com, you can use Raw HTML in the Titles too, if you wish so.
- Rendering the smileys as images in something blogger.com does not support, WordPress.com does.
- There are these features “Optional Excerpt” and “Custom Fields” in WordPress.com editor. Have not used them yet and am not sure what and how useful they are. Any experienced wordpress users? Diwaker? :)
- Features like “Recover Post” are not there at WordPress.com, I guess. But of course this is most likely to be important only if you have a system without a UPS and you are also likely to face power cuts :) (Yeah, yeah – ask me again!)
- The interface at WordPress.com is good and bad. It does offer lots of features associated with wordpress software. But as a web-based service, I often end up looking for a “Help” or “FAQ” link and find it missing!! Of course, there are these blogs listed on the dashboard as “Top Blogs”, which do provide you with lot of information. But they are too technical to be grasped by normal mortals and not quite like a “Help” or “FAQ” page.
- The WordPress.com homepage has no information whatsoever about the site. What are their privacy policies? What about the copyright of all the stuff that I am posting on their site and resides on their servers? It appears more like a site made for the geeks, made by the geeks. May be that was the purpose in the first place (but there is no way to know from the website!). For a normal user, Blogger.com presents a much assuring homepage, with enough information.
- Search of WordPress.com is cool. That at Blogger.com was pathetic earlier. With Google Blogsearch coming into picture, however, that disadvantage for blogger.com is completely lost! :)
- The system for spam comment filtering has recently been introduced at blogger.com and is limited to word verification. WordPress.com provides advanced capabilities like requiring approval before comment appears and tests for other symptoms like several hyperlinks, certain words etc. Have not used them. So, can not comment on their usefulness, but it appears to be a more advanced way of dealing with comment spam. And yeah, if you have had some unwanted people, making idiotic comments (ask me!), approval of comments is something you would want to turn on. There is also an option of letting those whose comments have been approved once, to post freely. Thus, you can take care of your regular sane readers.
- Areas to manage post is also a negative with blogger. You can not pick up a particular time period whose posts you want to view. You are forced to see a reverse chronological order of posts. If you want to retreive some really old posts, when the number of posts in your blog is large, it’s nightmarish to wait for your posts to load.
- There is no inbuilt site tracking mechanism in Blogger.com. You have to rely on external counters. WordPress.com provides a fairly detailed one. However, I wish they would show the IP information too, the way they show it in comments. This would help analyze exactly where from visitors are coming.
- Finally WordPress.com is under experimentation. If you do not like to see little surprising changes and little messing up here and there on a daily basis, you would want to wait for sometime before trying to shift. Blogger.com is stable and cool that way :)
These are all I can think of right now. Might update it, if there are queries or if something else comes to my mind.
And now, answer to some of the questions Lorelle asked about Blogger.com and which I could not inlcude in comparison –
- Does Blogger have a link inside of its administration panels that allows you, the user, to send feedback and questions to the developers? Yes. But Blogger.com first gives a link to its ‘Help’ or ‘FAQ’ page. There is also a ‘Knows Isuues’ and a ‘Blogger Status’ Page. If the problem is still not solved and not included in ‘Knows Isuues’ or ‘Blogger Status’, you can contact the developers. And they respond too :). I guess this is fair enough, since their Help, FAQ, Knows Issues and Blogger status pages are quite well-developed.
- Are there any limits on post sizes, number of posts, or image and file uploading? None on post sizes or number of posts. There are no options of file uploading. And total image space is limited to 300 MB.
- How many users can you have on a single Blogger blog? I haven’t come across anything mentioning a limit yet and I have seen blogs with fairly high number of users. (Okay, not in hundreds yet!)