Why I chose Ghost (Pro) for my new blogging project

My new blog about Thailand is powered by Ghost (Pro) which I chose after evaluating different solutions. In the end I decided to go for Ghost, here is why.

Evaluating blogging solutions

The idea for a new blog came up already a while ago but choosing the right solution how and where to run the blog became tangible end of 2014.

There are many options out there for blogging which I have discussed early last year already. For my personal blog I have decide to go for Dropplets which I think is still a solid solution for a blog.

All in all, there are various options out there from full-blown solutions such as Drupal, Wordpress or Joomla, hosted-services such as Blogger or Tumblr and minimalistic self-hosted solutions such as Dropplets or Ghost.

Down to three — Dropplets, Wordpress, Ghost

The new blog aims to be a high-quality blog with only a few, selected authors in the beginning including myself. My time to manage and maintain the blog is minimal as well as the time of other authors. Besides the target audience/readers of the blog can be around world with the majority in Thailand.

As a result the requirements for the blogging solution would be easy to maintain, low loading time around the world / especially in Thailand and easy to join for non-technical folks.

For that I came down to three valid options:

Wordpress

Wordpress is always an option in terms of blogging mainly due to its popularity, vast community and many people have experience already using Wordpress before.

Dropplets

I have gained some valid experience with Dropplets the last months and for myself it is the easiest solution for blogging and simple to customize for whatever need. I have considered Dropplets for the new blog too.

Ghost

Since I have been looking for my own blog’s solution I have kept an eye on Ghost which made good progress in development the last months so I have seriously considered it to be the solution.

Why Ghost

After evaluation I have finally decided to go for Ghost to power the blog.

Wordpress seemed to be a valid option but it just seem to be overkill for a simple blog. Also setting up another Wordpress instance with database, admin user, plugins and all that once again would have been just too much. Also effort to maintain the blog using Wordpress seems to high at least in the beginning. There is also a great post onWordpress vs Ghost to read.

As for Dropplets, I would have liked to choose it but in this case I believe speed would not be competitive in the long terms. Also the community around Dropplets appears to be rather small and inactive for the time being. Besides the admin area and adding posts is too difficult for new users.

Choosing Ghost for the new blog made sense looking at different factors such as speed, maintainability, community and technology.

Speed

Ghost is running on node.js and is very much scalable maintaining the speed. Also the caching mechanism allows a decent loading time for post lists and posts itself. Comparing Ghost to Dropplets and Wordpress I think it is the best solution in terms of speed.

Maintainability

As for maintainability Ghost has its advantages especially due its minimalism. A Ghost blog with a new post could be up and running within a few minutes. Also learning markdown is easy having the article previewed just besides the markdown source is helpful for newcomers and non-technical authors. Besides user management and configuration is also minimal keeping the effort for maintenance low.

Community

The Ghost community seems to be growing at least has been growing steadily the last months. Users and developers are actively using and improving Ghost daily. There are already many themes out there and no doubts there will be many developers contributing to the new app/plugin marketplace later this year. All in all even Wordpress might have an advantage in terms of community the Ghost community is just big enough to keep it up-to-date and active these days and also in long-term though.

Technology

Node.js for blogging is good and bad at the same time. At the moment it is rather difficult to find a lot of good and easy providers for node.js or 1-click installations for Ghost. On the other hand node.js is getting more and more popular and hosting providers will soon adapt to cater those needs, so in the long term this will not be a problem anymore. In addition the decision for handlebars as “template engine” is beneficial. I took me half day to understand and create my first theme. Even the option to customize are limited for now but still good enough to create powerful templates and still many features can be integrated using Javascript such as commenting, sharing or other small plugins.

Overall

In short, Ghost has its advantages being simple but yet customizable enough to create a blog that can scale easily. It is easy to use and speed is convincing.

Self-hosted Ghost vs. Ghost (Pro)

How that I decided to go for Ghost there are also two ways to run Ghost — either self-hosted or using Ghost (Pro) service from Ghost Foundation.

Ghost compares both options very well in their post Self-hosted Ghost vs. Ghost (Pro).

Ghost (Pro) offers different paid plans hosting Ghost on their server including update service, backup service and maintenance at a reasonable price. Self-hosting Ghost with another provider is also possible for example with Digital Ocean starting with 5$ and one-click installation. I have not tried Digital Ocean personally but it seem to be a valid option for other people.

For the blog I decided to go for Ghost (Pro) for various reasons. First of all my current hosting provider does not offer node.js or Ghost hosting and I did not want to have another hosting provider to be involved such as Digital Ocean. Secondly it seem to be a good thing to give back so money to the community and invest into the development of the CMS you are using, also 10$ a month is not that high. Also Ghost (Pro) offers integration with custom domains and Cloudflare which is great. The fact that custom themes can be uploaded at ease finally conviced me and I do not regret this decision.

I have been using Ghost (Pro) for the blog a few weeks now and so far no issues and happy using it.