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Self-hosted Blog Options

Although WordPress.com and many other bloghosting platforms offer many advantages, as outlined in a previous entry by David Peralty many people prefer to host, more even own their content. One can think of many reasons to host their own content, other than the most heard customization limits wordpress.com usually faces:

  • Freedom to switch services or hosting company;
  • SEO advantages;
  • Easy to correctly forward when switching domains and keep traffic;
  • Upload space only limited by hosting plan;
  • Complete backup freedom;
  • Freedom to criticize the platform you use, without having the fear to be shutdown;

Once you have decided to host your blog yourself and settled on a hosting plan, there are many freely available blog software options. I this entry I will list the most known platforms with their pros and cons and examples of blogs on using those platforms.

WordPress

WordPress.orgWordPress is without any doubt the most popular blog platform today. Since its creation in 2003, as a b2 fork, Wp has been 100% open-source, although highly controlled by Automattic.

The community around WordPress is very active, both in theme and in plugin development. There are millions of blogs running on WordPress and thousands bloggers write about WordPress topics. Over the last months WordPress, especially older installations, have regularly been hacked, mainly by link spammers.
The actual version of WordPress is version 2.5.1, a bugfix and security fix released on April 25, 2008.

Pros

  • Active, supporting community;
  • Thousands of plugins and themes available;
  • Regular updates and known update cycle;
  • Easy installation and upgrades (via Fantastico if offered by webhoster);
  • Low learning curve to start using the platform;
  • Search friendly permalinks and tag system;
  • Supports both PHP4 and PHP5.

Cons

  • Security QA: WordPress has been the subject of many security vulnerabilities over the last 12 months. Hacks have both been public and unpublished;
  • Only supports MySQL database;
  • Active grayzone community releasing themes with hidden spam/ads;
  • WordPress has no built-in caching system;
  • Upgrades usually require (automated) database changes;
  • No multiple blogs option (WordPressMU comes to aid);
  • Arguably, Automattic’s strangehold on WordPress.

Movable Type

Movable TypeSince December 2007, Movable Type again is available as a free (open source) platform, released under the GNU/GPL license. Movable Type is written in Perl and offered by Six Apart. Once the most used platform, MT lost its popularity in May 2005 when founder Mena Trott announced a new licensing and pricing structure. Many MT users switched to WordPress. More than 3 years later Six Apart released MTOS.
The actual version of MT is 4.1.

Pros

  • Multiple weblogs support;
  • Static page generation (dynamic page generation available in the settings);
  • Easy template tags structure;
  • Support for severable databases (MYSQL, BerkeleyDB, PostgreSQL, SQLite);
  • Standard OpenID and Typekey integration;
  • Active community;
  • Known to be secure.

Cons

  • Written in Perl. Not every (small) webhoster might have an update Perl configuration;
  • Installation has to be simplified;
  • Many MT users have often cursed MT after upgrades broke their site;
  • Less themes and plugins available than for WP;
  • The administration panel requires a rather high learning curve to get used to. And find everything.

Featured Blogs Running MT

ExpressionEngine Core

Expression EngineThe excellent ExpressionEngine platform probably is one of my favourite platforms. EE comes in different flavours: the free ExpressionEngine Core, a lite version or the full blown, purchasable, ExpressionEngine CMS (pricing details here). ExpressionEngine Core is a great and fast blogging platform, easily customizable. Although the Core version rather limited is in its functionality, with some investigation one will immediately discover the possibilities.

ExpressionEngine Core is offered by EllisLab and the most actual version of ExpressionEngine is 1.6.3. A preview of ExpressionEngine 2.0 can be seen at Gearlive.

Pros

  • Easy installation;
  • Active community;
  • Written in PHP, supports both PHP4 and PHP5;
  • Fast page rendering;
  • Easy template tag structure;
  • Excellent and easy to understand documentation;
  • Extensive statistics module;
  • Powerful admin utilities, such as SQL Manager and Search and Replace.

Cons

  • No multiple blogs support in the Core version;
  • Complex administration panel with high learning curve;
  • Limited license (commercial use not allowed);
  • Less plugins and templates available than for WordPress;
  • Although the template tag structure very easy is, it might take a while before one really knows how to make EE theming easy;
  • Only supports MySQL;
  • Not all the features from the full version can be replaced with existing add-ons.

Featured Sites Running ExpressionEngine Core

Habari

HabariHabari was already in the news here at BloggingPro and certainly is one of the blog platform to watch. Started by some of the core members of the k2 theme for WordPress the idea behind Habari is simple: a blog platform with the most cutting edge technology.

The current release of Habari is 0.4.1 and nothing describes Habari better than the words of Anil Dash, Vice President at Six Apart in a Metafilter thread:

I work with the team that makes another blogging app, and at least from the standpoint of the quality of the code and application design, Habari is inarguably better. As Sean notes, though, it’s not very mature, so the user experience for a non-technical user would likely be worse. Where you’d make the tradeoff of whether it’s worth it depends on where you reside on the continuum from programmer to non-programmer. Some of the technical things I love about Movable Type (which I use) include support for database abstraction, support for multiple blogs, and a well-designed infrastructure for things like templating — Habari does all of those things very well for a young application as well.

Pros

  • Cutting edge technology, PHP5.2 required;
  • Support for both MySQL and SQLite (PostgreSQL support is planned);
  • Apache 2.0 license, following the meritocracy principles;
  • Support for Apache, Lighttp and Nginx server;
  • Respected and blog experienced core developers.

Cons

  • Cutting edge technology, PHP5.2 required;
  • Very young community and software, only few themes and plugins available;
  • Apache2.0 license: sometimes discussion, decision can take ages.

Featured Blogs Running Habari

Surprisingly Michael Heilemann and Khaled Abou Alfa are still running WordPress.

Chyrp

ChyrpChyrp is the last addition to this list and probably the most unknown platform. Chyrp is a lightweight and fast blogging engine, perfect if you want to run your own tumblelog. Chyrp is an awesome platform if you mainly blog about new discoveries, repost videos and links. It offers everything you need when all you want to do is blogging.
Other than listing all the pros and cons of Chyrp, I’ll rather tell you to try out the very unique Chyrp Demo platform.

Categories: Blogging Resources

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Comments

  1. jon says: 5/5/2008

    It’s good to see you mentioning ExpressionEngine. I’ve been using it for years now and regularly persuade clients to choose it over WordPress. No there aren’t stacks of plugins, but that’s often because many of the modules are actually featured in the commercial version.

    It’s much, much more than a blog software though. Multiple blogs (multiple sites even) can be managed from the user panel.

    I would also say that the admin panel is actually very easy to get to grips with. Then again, with the release of V.2 around the corner, things are going to change again.

    Personally, everytime I’ve tried to go back to WP for a project, I’ve ended up going back to EE because it’s just so solid.

    Reply

  2. Lindsey says: 5/5/2008

    I’m very surprised you didn’t mention TextPattern.

    “Many MT users have often cursed MT after upgrades broke their site;”

    Have had the same experience with WP myself.

    Also, another pro of MT is that I find their community to a bit more helpful and easygoing. If you catch the WP support forums on a bad day some of the people who answer questions can be a bit condescending.

    I’d love to try EE, but I’m not in the position to spend money on a blogging platform when WP does every single thing I need it to!

    Reply

  3. Franky Branck ) says: 5/5/2008

    jon, it’s good to see other EE fans read here. Although I don’t use EE on my own site right now, the more complex a project is the more I usually am tempted to opt for EE.

    EE is a solid platform and can easily be customized. Now I think of it, I should add the excellent documentation for EE to the pros.

    Is the multiple blog option still available in the Core version? I must have overseen it. Not mentioned on the pricing/comparison list.

    Reply

  4. ameo says: 5/5/2008

    i never tried Habari actually it’s the first time i hear about that project . i checked it out and it really much simpler than WP .
    just one question , what do you think about Joomla and Drupal !? and why you didn’t list both here ?

    Reply

  5. Franky Branck ) says: 5/5/2008

    Lindsey, more than EE or WP, I consider Textpattern a full blown CMS and not a blogging platform. Agreed, both EE and WP can also be turned into a CMS with some knowledge, but I would call TXP blog software anymore.

    You don’t need to invest in EE, the ExpressionEngine Core version is completely free and comes with everything one needs. And much more. :)

    Agreed on the MT community.

    Ameo, just as with Textpattern, both Joomla and Drupal are full blown CMSs. There was a period in my life when I used Postnuke and then Joomla, but they are way too complex just to run a blog.

    I would go back to Joomla to create a corporate website. Actually forget that, EE (paid version) offers everything: decent forum module, commerce module, photogallery and still is blazingly fast.
    My main gripe with Joomla is how hard it is to make the platform SEO friendly and how it kills the server when under load. Drupal and TXP are much better and much more elegant in that matter, but I wanted to restrict this entry to the more popular blog software platforms. ;)

    Reply

  6. SE7EN says: 5/5/2008

    I’m quite surprised that you also mentioned Chyrp. I know it since January and really fell in love with it.

    Reply

  7. ameo says: 5/5/2008

    Chyrp . i tried it twice, the bad thing in new projects is you can’t get enough support or addons once you need ,
    ” i had this .htaccess problem and i couldn’t solve it untill 4 days passed also their IRC is dead ”
    it’s as franky said ,, really good for BLOGGING but it need some extra community

    Reply

  8. Aurelius Tjin says: 5/5/2008

    This is interesting! I enjoyed reading your great post.Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have shared here.

    Reply

  9. caTcode says: 5/6/2008

    Just blogspot and wordpress that i know great. when i was trying another blog platform , difficult for me to get themes or plugins..

    Reply

  10. برامج says: 5/6/2008

    thank u so much for this topic

    Reply

  11. Owen says: 5/6/2008

    It’s nice to see Habari making an appearance on the Bloggingpro pages again!

    I want to be completely fair with Anil Dash’s comment on the Ask MeFi thread: Out of context the comment reads like he’s comparing Habari to Movable Type, which you should think strange if you’ve heard Anil evangelize his platform at all. Rather, he’s comparing Habari to WordPress in his statement. Still, I appreciate the comparison, and agree wholeheartedly. :)

    Besides that, it seems like Habari is making huge advances all the time. Our 0.5 release will once again raise the bar, and hopefully we’ll be closer to enticing our own designers – who are understandably not as code-savvy as our developers – to switch to the platform they’ve helped create.

    Reply

  12. Su says: 5/6/2008

    Regarding Movable Type: Written in Perl. Not every (small) webhoster might have an update Perl configuration;

    What exactly is the implication here? MT requires Perl 5.8.1, which was released in 2003. Oddly, you make no such caveat regarding Habari’s PHP5 requirement, which is arguably much less common than Perl 5.8.1.

    The point about upgrades breaking sites is almost always related to plugins, not the core application, and frankly seems better situated in the WordPress section.

    Reply

  13. Franky Branck ) says: 5/7/2008

    Owen, looking forward to 0.5. :)

    Su, if I remember well I mentioned the cutting edge technology of Habari both among the pros and cons (first con actually).

    Reply

  14. Su says: 5/7/2008

    Franky: Sure, but “cutting-edge tech” is quite a different statement from your direct suggestion that MT’s requirement won’t be fulfilled by many hosts, which given the release date of the version is either simply false, or you’re dealing with hosts who are a full seven releases behind current on the 5.8.x series. And that doesn’t take into account 5.9x and 5.10. I’ll leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions about those hosts.

    MT’s Perl requirement is very conservative, and there was weeks of discussion on the developer list the last time it was raised to this four year old version. If you’ve actually encountered a host who can’t meet a requirement of 5.8.1, I’m sure Six Apart would be very interested in hearing about it.

    Reply

  15. bramn says: 5/7/2008

    Too bad Pivot is missing, especially since the new PivotX 2.0 version has just gone beta: http://www.pivotlog.net

    Reply

  16. Niwla says: 5/7/2008

    Indeed….Dont forget Pivot!!!!

    Reply

  17. Franky Branck ) says: 5/7/2008

    I just visited the Pivot mainpage. And to be honest, no feature list… the about link opens in a new window.

    Sorry, but that really doesn’t invite me to give it a test run. Not to mention the tagline (on the about page) when addressing a main stream audience. (Hint: the tagline ‘.it’s php…’ one wouldn’t even pass the censor filter in many companies if it were not an image ;) )

    Reply

  18. web tasarım says: 5/8/2008

    thanks for the information..

    Reply

  19. Stefan says: 5/10/2008

    hi, you forgot to mention my favourite blog engine s9y ;) s9y.org

    Reply

  20. Articlehideaway says: 5/10/2008

    Thanks for the info…Cheers!

    Reply

  21. Marketing Blog says: 5/10/2008

    Super information. Much appreciated!

    Reply

  22. siirt says: 5/11/2008

    siirt battaniyesi

    Reply

  23. Jack says: 5/11/2008

    I’m quite surprised that you also mentioned Chyrp. I know it since January and really fell in love with it.

    Reply

  24. skippy says: 5/18/2008

    Excellent summary: this is an extremely useful point of reference for folks shopping for a blog package!

    I’d like to clarify one issue for your readers, though: Habari’s use of the Apache Software License does not in itself require meritocracy. We chose to follow the meritocracy model set forth by the Apache project itself, but that was a separate decision from choosing to use the Apache Software License.

    A project using the GPL — or any other license! — could just as easily follow the meritocracy model.

    Finally, while it’s true that discussion and deliberation within Habari might result in some long-running email threads, we think that the transparency and inclusiveness of those discussions are vitally important to our long-term success. Subject-matter experts can weigh in on their area(s) of focus and lend their experience to the conversation. It is our opinion that the final product is better for this: design and development aren’t left to the personal whim of a couple of people; it provides a very clear opening for folks to further participate in Habari; and we have a thoroughly documented history of how we arrived at decisions which interested parties can review later.

    Reply

  25. Ankara Nakliyat says: 5/21/2008

    thank you

    Reply

  26. Michael says: 9/1/2008

    Pivot 2.0 seems to have been in beta forever.

    Reply

  27. AmaliaMendos says: 9/18/2008

    Hey. I’m sorry for offtopic. Where you download this theme for site? I realy love it.
    Amalia

    Reply

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  30. uwiuw says: 4/24/2009

    i think i will try to understand the haabari. i like it sound and how the word pronounce :D

    Reply

  31. mikeyaozm says: 9/20/2009

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