I wanted to move my blog from BlogSpot for a while. There were a
number of motivating factors for this, but mainly I just wanted more
control over my site. I wanted the ability to add more pages that
weren't necessarily blog related. I also wanted to try out the Azure
I decided on Azure as the cloud platform and started playing with
various blog engines that were supported. Ideally, I wanted to run a
.NET blogging engine as that is my most familiar platform. I tried the following:
- Good default styling (I am not going to spend long making it look good)
- Good import facilities
I was able to use Azure Websites to create a ready to go
BlogEngine.Net website in seconds. They have a template in the gallery and this deployed well and I was up and running. There was
decent support for importing previous blog posts via the BlogML.
BlogSpot does not natively export to BlogML, but there are a few guides on the internet that show you how to achieve this. Also,
BlogEngine.Net does not require SQL Server. It can be used with
SQL Server, but it is not required. This is a big positive when it comes to Azure as you can stay on the free platform.
The biggest issue with BlogEngine.Net was the styling. When the
application first loads, it immediately shows it's age. There are
downloadable skins and themes available but none of them provided me
with the out of the box styling I wanted.
I was hopeful when I setup a new Umbraco site on Azure Websites.
Again, there is a template already in the gallery, so it hardly took any
time at all to get up and running. Umbraco on Azure comes with
some starter kits, one of which is a blog engine. This was easy to setup
and I got started very well.
Whilst there were more themes available for Umbraco than
BlogEngine, I still did not feel that there were any themes that were good enough out of the box.
I read that the uBlogsy package was a better blog engine than the
one inbuilt into the Starter Kit (blog 4 umbraco), so I tried to get
that running. Sadly, I was unable to get uBlogsy running on Azure so
eventually gave up.
As a follower of Scott Hanselman, inevitably dasBlog was going
to feature in the blogs I was going to try. It was a very similar
experience to BlogEngine.Net. Setup on Azure was easy and
painless. It does not require a SQL Server which is a positive. The
biggest issue I had again was with the styling. I tried all the themes,
but they all looked dated and there was nothing that stood out for me.
I eventually gave up on dasBlog.
I was not keen on trying WordPress as I wanted to stick to .NET. I
installed the template from the Azure gallery. Again, this was quick
and painless. It requires a mySQL database too which was a slight
However, once the site loaded, I immediately knew this was the right
choice. The default look and feel was head and shoulders above the other
choices. The rich plugin community also meant that I was not lacking any
I imported my posts using a plugin called Blogger Importer. This
worked first time and was surprisingly easy.
I then installed the following plugins:
- WP-Super Cache - caching engine for WordPress
- WP-MarkDown - MarkDown syntax support
- Quick Adsense
- Embed GitHub gist - used for my gists
- Google Analytics for WordPress
So far I do not regret my move to WordPress