Blogger, WordPress and Movable Type Compared

by Yang Yang on April 3, 2007

Updated: Comparison table updated by the announcement of MT4.

Okay, before it all begins, I’d like to do a small playful research that would give us some preliminary knowledge. According to Google, up to the time this comparison post is being compiled, we have,

  • “powered by Blogger” – 30,800,000 results!
  • “powered by WordPress” – 71,800,000 results!
  • “powered by Movable Type” – 1,220,000 results!

So, WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular among the three. Done, let’s proceed.

Blogger is my virgin choice for a blog platform, later abandoned though, for its annoying way of scrambling HTML markup. But don’t – it’s just my personal obsession to keep everything in control. Anyway. Used it for quite a while before switching to WordPress that I have, as you can see, installed for Kavoir Magazine, and Movable Type for one of my Chinese blogs. They are all awesome. Here I’m going to compare the 3 platforms as far as I know them. Hope this would be of some use to those who just started in blogging and confused by an excessive bunch of options.

Blogger

Website: http://www.blogger.com
Sign up: http://www.blogger.com/signup.g
Free Hosting: http://www.blogspot.com/

Blogger rocks at its simplicity. It’s awfully easy to use, good for novice bloggers, and has a few advanced functionalities that WordPress and Movable Type holds proud of stripped away. Another reason for its popularity is that it supposedly gets quicker to be indexed by Google because Google owns it.

The control panel is clean and straightforward, templates are freshly baked and can be rearranged in a drag’n'drop manner. If you prefer hosting the blog archives with BlogSpot rather than storing them to your own FTP server or web space, you don’t have to worry about the code at all. Either no need to install anything before starting to blog, you just concentrate on the writing. Multiple authors are also supported.

A narrow top banner with search is arbitrary for advanced templates capabilities, though.

Cost: None
Launch Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Technical Presumption: None

WordPress

Website: http://wordpress.org/
Download: http://wordpress.org/download/
Free Hosting: http://wordpress.com/

Mostly used as a lightweight CMS(Content Management System), WordPress is the favorite dish of millions of tech geeks. Its open source nature has made the app a huge community world wide. Hundreds of thousands of people passionately contribute to the platform, building a major library of themes and plugins that greatly enhance and publicize the software. Almost all web hosting companies now strive to provide WordPress in one click installs because a considerable part of customers now rely on WordPress for online blogging.

In terms of features, WordPress is more sophisticated than Blogger, therefore expectedly a little harder to maintain, requiring some knowledge of web developing. But it’s still easy to install, taking no more than 3 steps in the browser. Moreover, multiple blogs are available through a derivation, WordPress MU (Multi-User), which you can download here.

Choosing WordPress is simply choosing a community, not just a platform like Blogger.

Cost: None
Launch Time: 10-15 minutes
Technical Presumption: Some

Movable Type

Website: http://www.movabletype.com/
Download: http://www.movabletype.com/download.html

Movable Type, on the other hand, as a typical commercially powered and supported blogging platform backed by Six Apart, catering to enterprise needs, emerged itself quite early. Serious businesses, enterprises, and professionals tend to impress their audience with the maturity and stability of Movable Type. A single user license for non-commercial use can be acquired free, though.

Movable Type has inherent support for multiple blogs, mutiple authors, plugins, templates, widgets and tags. Trackbacks, which has now been one of the technological standards of every blog platform, is incepted by Movable Type, too. One of the major differences Movable Type has with WordPress is, that WordPress relies on PHP to serve blog entries while Movable Type outputs static web pages every time the author posts a new entry or build the site manually. Moreover, modules in Movable Type templates, as a means of content function, well facilitate customization.

Paid licenses is the reason why Movable Type appears not so popular as the other 2 in the research above, which really doesn’t mean much. IT IS, a very admirable blogging platform.

Cost: None with Single User Personal License
Launch Time: 30 minutes or more
Technical Presumption: Some+

A Simple Sum-up

Functionality Blogger WordPress Movable Type
Comments Yes Yes Yes
Trackbacks Yes (Backlinks) Yes Yes
Categories No Yes Yes
Tags Yes (Labels) Yes Yes
Pings Yes Yes Yes
Feed RSS / Atom RSS / Atom RSS / Atom
Widgets Yes Yes Yes
Search Yes Yes Yes
Plug-in/Add-on No Yes Yes
tdemes/Templates Yes (Exclusive) Yes Yes
Edit templates online Yes Yes Yes
Number of blogs Unlimited 1 Varies with licenses
Non-blog pages No Yes Yes (Version 4)
Visitor registration/login Yes Yes Yes
User levels Yes Yes Yes
IP/User/URL banning No Yes Yes
Multiple autdors Yes Yes Yes
Image uploading Yes Yes Yes
File uploading No Yes Yes
Save witdout posting Yes Yes Yes
Private post No Yes Yes

Other Excellent Blog Engines / Platforms

  1. Textpattern : Another PHP blog engine that’s easy to install, featuring lots of saucy plugins and templates.
  2. TypePad : Paid professional blog service.
  3. Drupal : An open source content management system (CMS) that can be used as personal blog system.
  4. ExpressionEngine : Another CMS able to power personal blogging.
  5. VOX : An integrated publishing console intended for hypermedia communication, where you can fully explore the possibility of text posts, photos, videos, audio and more in one. It’s free.
  6. LiveJournal : A community of independent bloggers.
  7. Flickr : Well, most of us might not agree that this is a blog system. Why not? It’s picture logging, isn’t it?

More Opinions

  1. Movable Type vs. WordPress, My Opinion, a professional and comprensive analysis of the 2 platforms by BusinessLogs.
  2. Comparison of WordPress and TypePad by Emily Robbins who has used both extensively for over a year.
  3. Choosing a Blog Platform from Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.net which gives no review but urges bloggers to define their own goals choosing a blogging system. You may also enjoy his Blogging for Beginners.
  4. Blog software comparison chart at Online Journal Review presents a comprensive comparison of technical capabilities among 8 different platforms.
  5. Are you using the right blogging tool? by Susannah Gardner. Missing quite some famous blog softwares.
  6. Blogging Cheatsheets, PDFs that map out the interfaces of major popular blogging platforms Blogger, TypePad, WordPress and Movable Type. Assembled and created by Andy Wibbels.
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Chris Pound August 11, 2008 at 11:43 am

Really amazing info! Thanks for the hard work though it seems a little old.

All 3 have evolved substantially since your writing this.

Yang Yang February 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Agreed. This comparison is absolutely obsolete now.

Claudio April 3, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Yeah, that a pretty good bLOG, I like it. Give me more man :-)

Yang Yang February 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm

What’s a bLOG? ;)

Harriet Russell May 24, 2010 at 1:09 am

i was wondering if there are webmasters who manages several thousand websites at a time..”,

matt jones June 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

great post, thanks for putting together this comparison…what a wealth of information

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