In the last review of this series, Movable Type impressed. In fact it was only the lack of stats and the unhelpful installation process that let it down. In this review I am taking a look at WordPress, let’s see how it measures up.
The first thing you notice with WordPress in contrast to Movable Type is the distinctly non-commercial feel. I guess only by digging deeper will we know if that translates as friendly or unprofessional..
While having a kind of homebrew feel (even having documentation hosted on a wiki) everything is well organised and up to date. You can keep abreast of developments with their news page and with a little detective work their newsfeed.
To run WordPress you will need MySQL and PHP.
Installation consists of downloading the zipped files, creating a MySQL database and user for the blog and editing the configuration file. Finally there’s an installation script to guide you through finishing the job.
They claim on the site it can be done in 5 minutes. I think that is being overly pessimistic, it’s that easy! Perhaps I am being unfair, I did after all have the required server software because I had just installed it for Movable Type but even with that in mind, it seemed easier.
Ease of use
It is all suprisingly easy to use. I found myself smiling while I was using it. Very odd, I don’t know if that says more about me than the software. I have no doubt anyone reading this would have no trouble at all. It’s just a breeze.
Flexibility of posting formatting
Not only is it easy, you have freedom to use HTML and it has all the features you would want. Be aware by default it does fix some of your HTML nesting but this is a feature you can turn off.
User registration for comments
Comment users and even authors can register for the site.
Comment spam protection
There is comprehensive comment moderation and spam tools which should lighten the comment administration load.
Syndicate RSS/ATOM feeds
Feeds are automatically produced for both your posts and comments.
Search is included and it seems useful enough.
Ping, Trackback, Pingback
All the usual notification and trackback features are available.
Categories and Tags
You can put posts under multiple categories and you can nest categories very easily.
As I installed under IIS my control of URLs was limited to the ?p=1 type of URL but under Apache you have great freedom in creating your own URL path structure in the Options/Permalinks configuration screen. When creating a post you can override the default filename also.
Unlike Movable Type in WordPress you simply click on Write Page and you can create your About page etc quickly and easily.
Overall Search Engine Friendliness
The code is all very neatly XHTML (valid) and CSS and although not great, most bots would probably not have a problem even with the querystring version of the URLs.
Templates are pretty neat and easy to download and change. Each template style lives in its own folder so adding templates is a case of finding a new one and putting it in the right place. A very simple interface is used for selecting between installed templates.
As well as the plugins that are available the entire blog is built out of PHP so lots of scope for extension.
Ability to paste advertising code
Complete freedom, no problems here that I can see. There are also plugins to help make it easier such as an Adsense plugin that replaces a comment tag with an adsense block.
Multiple Authors, Multiple Blogs
Multiple authors is easy enough but in the default install you would need to do some copying and pasting of folders plus some database creating to get multiple blogs. Luckily there is a special multi-user version of WordPress but it’s not for the faint hearted as the documentation isn’t as friendly as for the single user version.
3rd Party support
There is plenty of support from hosting to blogs offering tips and plugins. Due to WordPress being open source lots of developers have worked with the code and hacked about with it.
Technical support and documentation
There is a forum and online docs. What I needed to read were all fine and seemingly bang up to date. Some of the topics are patchy, seeing as they are community contributed for a large part, but nothing major that I really missed.
WordPress is free, supplied under the GPL license. You can even use it commercially. They would like donations though.
There is support for a full-house of popular blogging APIs via XML-RPC including Blogger API, metaWeblog API, and Movable Type API.
Blog by email
Blogging via email is built in by default, just configure it to your settings and you can blog from your phone or anywhere you can send an email.
Stats and reporting
There are only stats on number of posts etc, nothing about visitors. Luckily there are plugins, quite a nice one is WP-Shortstat which gives you the basics and is really trivially easy to install.
Wow, and I thought Movable Type was impressive! I have to say I was won-over by WordPress. It was a delight to work with and the community seems to have plugged the one or two minor gaps missing from the default install which is so easy and feature-rich it already beats Movable Type. Another review down and another leader on the scoreboard!
- CityDesk review
- Movable Type review
- WordPress review
- bBlog review
- DasBlog review
- CommunityServer review
- Drupal review