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I guess the title says it all. I've been successfully working with @font-face (with near-perfect cross-browser support, if you use all the hacks).

However, a client really wants to use Helvetica, and for that you need to use Montype's solution from fonts.com.

Has anyone come across a comprehensive comparison, or have first-hand experience with both approaches? Are there any downsides (other than a monthly subscription fee!!!) to the fonts.com webfont approach?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

My name is Matt and I manage the Fonts.com and Webfonts Twitter accounts. I wanted to weigh in with some additional information from our support staff.

We serve four formats (WOFF, TTF, EOT, SVG) depending on what the browser is compatible with and the claims of a non-JS version are accurate (for paid subscribers). You are able to link to a CSS file which declares the @font-face definition including all four formats in a way that all of the major browsers can properly read and import the version they're compatible with (even IE all the way back to 4).

You also mention SSL being a potential issue. All of our subscribers, free or not, can use SSL-encrypted versions of our service by simply changing the provided tag's URL from "http" to "https".

Hope this helps shed some more light on your issues. Please don't hesitate to respond or tweet more questions @fontscom!

Thanks, Matt

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Thanks Matt. It's great to hear from an "official" source. –  Tom Auger Sep 7 '11 at 14:01
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They're likely also using @font-face. All of the hosted solutions (webkit, kernest, fontsquirrel, myfonts, google, etc, etc) all tend to use variations of the same theme...typically JS creating dynamic CSS to load the @font-face. Some sprinkle on bonus formats to fit particular browser idiosyncrasies such as cufon or SVG. But it's manly the same concept for all.

Downsides could be particular browsers not fully supported at the level the client wants, hosting bandwidth caps, and possibly issues if you're wanting your site to be SSL'ed.

The benefit is that it's being hosted by a 3rd party, so helps with bandwidth and download speeds.

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fonts.com claims there's a JS-free version. I suppose it's nothing more than the CSS embed, pointing to the files on their servers rather than on our local server as I'm used to, right? –  Tom Auger Sep 1 '11 at 14:20
    
yes, that's correct –  DA01 Sep 1 '11 at 15:16
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