The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Charlie and the cardboard factory

Got my WordPress Golden Ticket last night which invited me to setup a blog on the invite-only site.

For those who don't know WordPress it is a popular PHP/MySQL based blogging system. It is quite powerful with support for plugins and custom themes. The posting interface is advanced with everything from categories to pretty-permalinks to custom fields. Multiple authors are supported as well as multiple-blogs with a bit of MySQL tweaking. All in all it is one of the best blogging systems you can download and host.

Up till now though you had to host it yourself. During the past few months there has been a steady buzz about the coming hosted WordPress site called

Let me first say that I have used TypePad and I am using I have also installed and hosted almost every blogging engine under the sun. So I am used to both ways of getting a blog up and running. is decidedly underwhelming.

You can't use plugins, a 3rd party support issue. You can select from a handful of themes but you cannot modify them or create your own, a security risk. Not even the most basic HTML or CSS editing is allowed. You can't insert JavaScript into your own posts. The usable but rather plain WordPress admin interface has been recoloured blue, AirBag is not impressed. You cannot have multiple authors/users.

Doncha has a FAQ which should be entitled; Things you can't do with that you should be able to do.

The response of "We don'’t support plugins currently. We don’t have time to support 3rd party code." is particularly poor I thought. There are many good plugins out there which add great functionality to WordPress. All has to do is select a few decent ones and spend a few hours on them, make them part of the feature-set.

On the plus side you get 26mb of space to use the upload function. You also get a decent URL e.g. and you do get a decent blogging system.

Granted all of this is in an invite-only, beta phase. Much will change and improve before they go live to the public.

The biggest problem I see is that satisfies no one. It is too limited for advanced users and too confusing for the usual Blogger/LiveJournal/TypePad users. It sits somewhere in the middle and I am not sure there is a market to be had there.

I was simply expecting more. WordPress is a great blogging system. The hosted version though is a let-down. Advanced users wanting a blogging system would be much better off using one of the 1-click-install WordPress hosts and other blog users would be better off with Blogger or TypePad.

After all that; If you want an invite to then send me an email.

UPDATE: My one invite has been given out. Not sure if WP will be sending out more.


Blogger Donncha said...

Thanks for reviewing the site but stick around. We're doing very cool stuff with that time we don't spend supporting 3rd party code ;)

1:00 PM

Blogger Turnkey Builder said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:58 PM

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10:14 AM

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