Which Blog Platform to use WordPress or Community Server

A question I get asked on a regular basis from friends, co-workers and readers of my various blogs and websites is what blogging platform should they use, in general I point them in the direction of either WordPress or Community Server and the answer I give them depends very much on what they want to do and their slant in the operating system world.

Below is a brief overview of both WordPress and Community Server with a list of each platforms best features and why you would want to chose one of the other.

WordPress

Many people laugh when I mention a blogging platform other than WordPress, and it is this popularity and hard-core following that makes it arguably the best blogging engine. WordPress has been around for years and as you could imagine is very well developed, with literally hundreds if not thousands of free plug-ins, modules, and themes.

The out of the box theme does look a little dated but what hides within is a highly configurable and flexible.

The Top Features or reasons for choosing WordPress:

· Most popular blogging engine in the world (Excluding provided services such as yahoo, MySpace, Blogger )

· Because of the popularity of WordPress thousands of plug-ins, modules and themes exist that are updated when a new version of WordPress is released

· Lots of users means lots of documentation and support, there are thousands of people that are happy to help you to get your blog up and running or provide advice when something goes wrong and needs to be fixed.

· WordPress is free and runs on with PHP and MySQL which are also free.

· Great for users who are familiar with Linux and PHP

Negatives:

· Runs on PHP which regularly has security issues, which is not an issue if you regularly update your PHP install

· WordPress is only a blogging platform (no forums, photo gallery)

· Harder to be configured to act as a traditional website with articles.

Community Server

Community Server is more than just a blogging platform but in fact a Community Platform with Blogging, forums, and photo galleries. Being a community platform it is designed to host multiple blogs.

Compared to WordPress Community server is a lot younger and does not have anywhere near as many plug-ins, modules and themes, but from my experienced of both Community Server and WordPress community server is easier to theme with its Chameleon Teaming engine.

Top features or reasons for choosing Community Server:

· Runs on IIS, asp dot net and MS SQL so If you’re a Windows person this might be a good reason to choose Community Server

· Community Server is quickly being adopted by big enterprise for their companies internal and external blogging platform, some of the companies that have adopted Community Server include, Microsoft, Intel, Readers Digest, National Geographic, MSNBC Blogs, Mazda, Honda (Internal), Electronic Arts, Visa, MySpace (for their community forums)

· Community Server is more than a Blogging platform, but a community platform, with blogging, forum, and picture gallery options.

· Free edition available for personal use named “Personal Edition”

· Very easy to use and administer

· Community Server was developed with Search Engine Optimization in mind, which means its easier to get your articles higher in Google and other search engines.

· Easy to turn into a traditional website

Negatives:

· The biggest disadvantage with Community Server is the licensing aspect/cost of the technologies it runs on, Windows Server, IIS, MSSQL, but many hosting companies such as GoDaddy offer Community Server with no additional cost.

· Younger product with less plug-ins, modules, and support than WordPress.

I would recommend Community Server if you are a Windows, or Microsoft Technology person with skills in Asp, IIS, MSSQL. I you require more than just a blog, for instance Photo Gallery, and or forums, with its shared, account/membership database. If you are a Linux, PHP, MySQL person and want a very stable well established platform then go for WordPress.

As I have said the best platform depends on what you require and your personal experience with various technologies. Personally I am a Microsoft person so the majority of websites and blogs I develop are with Community Server, yet have developed some sites and blogs with WordPress when there is a feature that is missing in Community Server. I love the fact I have a forums and photo gallery integrated into Community Server, it gives my blogs and websites and additional dimension and find blogs, forums and photo galleries complement each other, allowing a richer website and Community.

I have mentioned about Windows, IIS, ASP, Linux, MySQL, MSSQL knowledge, if you are a person that does not have knowledge don’t be put off either WordPress or Community Server, as there are many website hosting companies that will automate your WordPress or Community Server install, and you will be able to develop a very professional looking blog without this knowledge. This knowledge comes handy for someone like myself who wants to tinker with and perform complex customizations.