Google's Blogger and Automattic's WordPress.com are free blogging systems. Blogger, or blogspot.com, offers integration with other Google services and is relatively easy to monetize. WordPress.com, though less full-featured than its self-hosted counterpart, has more advanced features than Blogger does, better anti-spam measures, and numerous upgrade options. Because they are hosted services, both come with a number of limitations. Blogger also has a history of censoring (or considering censoring) its users, whereas WordPress.com has gone to great lengths to protect the publishing rights of its user base.
|Introduction||Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. Blogs are hosted by Google at the blogspot.com subdomain unless users pay for domain registration.||WordPress.com is a blogging service that uses the open-source WordPress script to power users' blogs. Hosted blogs are placed on a wordpress.com subdomain unless users pay for domain registration.|
|Type of site||Blog Host||Blog Host|
|Site Registration||Optional, Free||Not required to read most blogs. Free registration for commenting or blogging.|
|Custom Domain Name||Users must pay for their own domain names, but it is free to add one to a blog.||Users must pay for their own domain name ''and'' pay for a plan to add it to a blog.|
|Monetization||Allowed. Easy to install Google's AdSense.||Not allowed for most all blogs. Affiliate links are permissible. Blogs with lots of traffic can request an invitation to WordAds.|
|Themes/Design||Design can be customized with free, Blogger-provided themes or premium themes bought off-site. Users can edit HTML and CSS.||Design can be customized with free, WordPress.com-provided themes or premium themes bought through WordPress.com. Users have many theme customization options but cannot edit HTML or CSS without upgrading.|
|Storage Space||Users can create up to 100 blogs, each of which can have up to 100 writers. Unlimited blog posting. 20 static content pages (e.g., About page). Posts/pages cannot exceed 1MB in size. Images upload to Google Drive, which has a 15GB limit.||Unlimited number of blogs with unlimited number of writers. Free plan has 3GB of space for images/files. Users can upgrade storage or buy a better overall plan.|
|Mobile Blogging||Yes. Support for Android and iOS.||Yes. Support for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Nokia.|
|Image Galleries||No support. Users must create them by hand using HTML and CSS or use an off-site gallery tool.||Extensive gallery support.|
|Video and Audio Upload||Users can embed videos from other sites, like Vimeo and YouTube, and audio files through Soundcloud.||Users can embed videos from other sites, like Vimeo and YouTube. Premium plans allow users to upload directly to WordPress.com's servers. Support for MP3, M4A, WAV, and OGG audio files.|
|Organization||Support for tags, which Blogger calls "labels."||Support for categories and tags.|
|Anti-Spam||Has anti-spam features, but more prone to failure. If spam is an ongoing problem on a Blogger site, users should consider using a dedicated commenting service like Disqus, which has more anti-spam measures in place.||Automattic owns Akismet, a popular spam prevention script, which it implements on all WordPress.com blogs. Akismet keeps most spam from ever being posted.|
|Analytics||Supported by way of Google Anayltics.||Has "Stats" tool. Less in-depth than Google Analytics, which cannot be added to WordPress.com blogs.|
|Plugins||No support.||No support. Self-hosted version of WordPress — WordPress.org — has vast plugin library.|
|Pricing||Outside of giving users the ability to buy more storage space for Google Drive, Blogger has no premium plans. The service is always free, but it is also forever limited to its default capabilities.||Various options: free for Basic; $99/yr for Premium; $299/yr for Business.|
|Self-Hosting||None. Users cannot download the Blogger script and host it on their own server.||Yes. Users can download the open-source WordPress script and host it on their own server.|
|Censorship||Censored in numerous countries. Google has been known to comply with this censorship. In 2012, the company began blocking/censoring certain Blogger content on a per-country basis||Censored in numerous countries. Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.com, has fought against censorship in court and does not censor content — including mature content — on WordPress.com.|
WordPress.com vs. Blogger Features
Optimizing a website for search engines is easy on either service, as both allow nearly complete control over textual content. In delivering search results, Google does not favor Blogger-based blogs over WordPress.com-based blogs.
Some believe Blogger blogs look less professional than blogs created on other services or self-hosted blogs. In theory, this could potentially hurt SEO opportunities, if other websites are hesitant to link to a Blogger-hosted blog and its content.
Domain Name Registration
By default, Blogger sites are on blogspot.com as subdomains, and sites on WordPress.com are on wordpress.com as a subdomain. This means blog addresses appear as
http://sitename.wordpress.com, for example.
Users on both services can register a domain name and attach it to their blog, thereby masking the subdomain, which can make a blog look and feel more professional. On Blogger, adding a custom domain name is free outside of the cost of the domain. On WordPress.com, users must pay for their domain name and purchase an upgrade or buy a better general plan.
Between the two services, Blogger is easier to monetize. AdSense, Google's ad delivery system, can be installed on Blogger sites with little hassle. On WordPress.com, no third-party advertising network is allowed, including AdSense. Affiliate links are permissible, however, and WordPress.com blogs on a paid plan with a custom domain can request an invitation to WordAds, WordPress.com's advertising network.
Both Blogger and WordPress.com allow users to customize the theme or template design of their blogs. Blogger gives users more control, allowing them to edit a site's HTML and CSS for free, while WordPress.com charges an annual fee to access such advanced customization.
Those looking for a free, pre-made design may find WordPress.com is the better choice, though, as it has a very active and professional theming community and over a hundred free designs to choose from. Many of these free designs allow site owners to further customize colors, background images, and other visual elements; most also have widgets that make customizing various parts of a website (e.g., a list of favorite links in a sidebar) easy.
Premium themes are available for both services. For Blogger, site owners have to search for purchasable themes elsewhere on the web. On WordPress.com, they can purchase themes directly—premium theme designs start at $20—or off-site.
Blogger tends to put restrictions on users by limiting the number of items a user can have, whereas WordPress.com gives a clear storage space restriction for a blog.
With Blogger, users can create up to 100 separate blog sites, and each of those can have 100 blog writers and an unlimited number of blog posts. Users are allowed 20 content pages (e.g., an "About" or "Contact" page). No post or page can exceed 1MB in size. There is a storage space restriction on images; images are uploaded to Google Drive, which has a 15GB space restriction that can be upgraded.
WordPress.com's free plan puts no limit on the number of items a blog can have or how many bloggers can write for it, but it only gives 3GB of storage space for images and other files. Users who need more space can buy a storage upgrade or buy a better overall plan.
Though Blogger and WordPress.com both support mobile blogging from a smartphone or tablet, WordPress.com's blogging apps are more highly rated by users. Blogger's iOS app has only a 2.5/5 in iTunes' App Store compared to WordPress.com's 3/5-star iOS app. In Google Play's Android app store, the Blogger Android app receives a 3.7/5, while WordPress.com's Android app receives 4.2/5. WordPress.com also has apps for Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Nokia; Blogger does not support any of these smartphone operating systems.
Mobile blogging with Blogger comes with an additional restriction: mobile photo uploads are limited to 250KB in size. Outside of overall storage space restrictions for non-paying bloggers, no similar restriction exists for WordPress.com users who are blogging on-the-go.
While both blogging services support image uploads, Blogger has no immediate, default support for image galleries or albums. Blogger users can, however, embed public Google+ albums into their blog posts or use other services, like Flickr, to showcase a group of images in a post or page. In contrast to Blogger, WordPress.com has extensive gallery support that includes image editing tools and gallery styling.
Users who intend on making a photoblog or similar image-heavy website will likely find WordPress.com simpler to use and more professional looking. However, the 3GB storage space restriction for free plan users means photobloggers will probably need an upgrade eventually.
Video and Audio Upload
Video uploads are supported by Blogger and WordPress.com, mainly through use of outside services. On Blogger, users upload videos to YouTube or a similar video-sharing site, like Vimeo, and then post those videos to their blogs. WordPress.com users can do the same using an outside video service or upload directly to WordPress.com itself using the VideoPress upgrade. There are downsides to this, though, as videomakers lose out on video sites' built-in audiences.
With the purchase of a storage upgrade, WordPress.com allows users to upload a wide variety of filetypes, including the music filetypes MP3, M4A, WAV, and OGG. Users can also embed Soundcloud's audio player. Blogger has no built-in media player; audio is most easily shared on Blogger by way of Soundcloud embeds.
For site owners who plan to have a lot of content that needs to remain carefully organized, WordPress.com has better organizational tools than Blogger does. Blogger supports tags, which it calls labels, while WordPress.com supports categories, subcategories, and tags. WordPress.com also has a number of tools to help keep categories and tags organized.
Automattic owns Akismet, a popular spam prevention script, which it implements on all WordPress.com blogs. Akismet keeps most spam from ever being posted.
Blogger is not as successful at recognizing and eradicating spam. If spam is an ongoing problem on a Blogger site, users should consider using a dedicated commenting service like Disqus, which has more anti-spam measures in place.
Google has a robust, full-featured site analytics tool that is used by many websites on the internet. This tool, simply called Google Analytics, can be used on Blogger to help track where blog visitors are coming from, what they are clicking on, how long they are staying, etc.
WordPress.com's analytics tool is called Stats. The statistics it shows are not as in-depth as those provided by Analytics; however, the most typically sought-after information is shown, meaning few bloggers will need or want much else. Google Analytics cannot be used on WordPress.com blogs at all.
As remotely-hosted services, neither Blogger nor WordPress.com supports website plugins or extensions. Bloggers who want more control over the developmental aspect of their websites should consider self-hosting the open-source WordPress script from WordPress.org or using another, similar blogging or content management system on their own server that will allow them to customize it to fit their needs.
Publicly-shared blogs are accessible to most on the internet, but Blogger and WordPress.com have additional, built-in communities in many ways. Both have features that allow bloggers to easily subscribe to blogs that have been created on the same platform. This means it is easy for Blogger users to find and keep up with other Blogger users, and that it's easy for WordPress.com users to find and keep up with other WordPress.com users. Furthermore, Google allows Blogger users to integrate Google+ comments on their website.
There are pros and cons to these sorts of built-in communities. Bloggers can potentially build a community very quickly using either service, but it could be a very insular community.
Outside of giving users the ability to buy more storage space for Google Drive, Blogger has no premium plans. The service is always free, but it is also forever limited to its default capabilities, meaning a blog with Blogger is not as scalable as one hosted on WordPress.com. For its part, WordPress.com has three plans: a basic (free) plan, a premium plan for $99/yr, and a business plan for $299/yr.
A major difference between Blogger and WordPress.com is that WordPress.com is an offshoot of WordPress.org, which offers the open-source WordPress script for free download. The WordPress script, which itself is what powers WordPress.com blogs, can be installed and run on a blog owner's personal server or hosting package. Blogger is built on proprietary code, meaning there is no way developers can download the Blogger script and host it themselves.
WordPress.com has more user-friendly features than the script available from WordPress.org, which is intended more for advanced users looking to develop their own site from the ground up, or for professionals who plan to hire developers to create a WordPress-based website for them. Still, self-hosting a WordPress blog comes with many benefits and is often cheaper overall for small- to medium-sized blogs/businesses.
Censorship on Blogger
Historically, Blogger has been both the censor and the censored. The service is blocked or has been blocked in numerous countries, including Iran, mainland China, Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere. Google has complied with this censorship in some cases, and in 2012, the company began blocking/censoring certain Blogger content on a per-country basis.
In February 2015, Google announced that they would ban all adult content on Blogger. Due to the backlash that followed, Google quickly reversed its decision.
Automattic, the company that owns WordPress.com, has fought against censorship in court and does not censor content — including sexually explicit, mature content — on WordPress.com. Many of the same countries that censor blogs on Blogger also censor WordPress.com blogs.
- Can I use Google Analytics on WordPress.com? - WordPress.com Support
- Get Mobile - Learn WordPress.com
- Google to Censor Blogger Blogs on a 'Per Country Basis' - Wired
- How does Blogger Mobile work? - Google Blogger Help
- How many authors can be on a WordPress blog? - WordPress.com Forums
- Limits on Blogger - Google Blogger Help
- Mature Content - WordPress.com Support
- Our Clients - WordPress.com VIP
- Storage Plan Pricing - Google Blogger Help
- WordPress.com Stands Up for Its Users, Goes to Court to Challenge DMCA Abuse - Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Wikipedia: Blogger (service)
- Wikipedia: WordPress.com