Not every host has the ability to install and run WordPress. Some hosts use Windows servers where PHP and MySQL are not usually included. So then what? What is the next best blogging software?
My first thought is Blogger. Since the new version was released, it’s back in the running. It has the ability to post to an external site in a directory which is a plus. I’d rather stay away from sub-domains if possible. Blogger also has labels (aka categories), editable templates and enough features for most bloggers. Plus it’s free. The downsides is that Blogger isn’t realy seen as a professional platform and when they have problems, you won’t be able to do much about.
Another one is TypePad. It has a domain mapping feature but I don’t think it can map to a folder. It has to be routed to either a domain or a sub-domain which is unfortunate. If I’m wrong, someone please tell me. I’d love be wrong in this case. Either way, to get domain mapping you need at least a Plus account ($8.95/m) and access to update your DNS records though your domain registrar. Other than that, it’s a pretty decent choice.
WordPress.com also supports domain mapping for $10/year. You get all the WordPress.com features, but it does say that it can only map to a domian or sub-domain. I’d skip this choice for the subdomain option below.
There is also MovableType. If you are a server wiz, or have access to great help, MovableType is a nice choice. It’s feature packed and full of options. It can run in any directory on the server and runs in most hosting environments. Downsides is the price $149.95 for a business and the server requirements which can be a bit much for the average person.
That brings me to subdomains. If all else fails, it may be easier, and better, to setup blog.yoursite.com and map that to a new and cheap, yet reliable Linux hosting account. Then install WordPress and be happy. The downside to this is that your blog is a stand alone site which is why I mentioned I wanted to avoid them above. Check out directory vs domain for a good article on what you should consider when finding your blog a home.
So what is the next best blogging software when WordPress will not work? I’d say MovableType then Bogger or a sub-domain install of WordPress. I’m still a bit leery on recommending Blogger, but it is getting better. Ultimately MovableType or WordPress on a sub-domain will give you full control and ownership which is good.
In the end, WordPress is my choice for blogging software and installing it on your own servers is better in the long run as you have complete control. Hosted services are nice, but you lack some flexibility and you have to rely on them being up and running all the time.
So what did I miss? Is there any other blog software solutions that I may have overlooked?