Ghost vs WordPress - a simple choice?

Writing Jun 23, 2023

I've been using ghost now for almost 2 months and it's been a joyous ride for the most part. Ghost has surely solved a lot of problems for me, but after this time, I sort of still think I should go back to WP, but it's one, or perhaps two things that are so huge, that it prevents me from doing so, and that's good. I'm so sick and tired of switching things up more often than not. Especially when I finally found a platform that finally made me merge my WordPress blogs and increase visits, ease up on SEO and more.

WordPress has a lot of nice features I'd wish Ghost will have as well.

Some of those things are a proper menu system, sub-pages, hierarchial (spelling, please) tags and pages. They also have a permalink setting that's pretty nice, that also works well for pages. Ghost has menus, pages and with some configuring in the routes.yaml file you can have basically everything you'd want. WordPress also has a great commenting system, which has great spam protection, and the ability to track IP addresses, which is a feature I'd really like to have.

The one thing that prevents me from going back to WP is...

Speed. Yes. It's so simple. Ghost is so blazing fast it's almost hilarious. I don't understand how it can be so fast, but it is. Ghost themselves have said that Ghost is a whole whopping 1900% faster, and I believe that. The only time WP is "fast" in my experience is when I run it locally with an app called, funny enough - local. Perhaps it was a bit faster, with less issues as well, when I ran my WP blogs on a VPS with 8 GB RAM and 4 cores, which is a lot. Perhaps that explains why it's so fast on Local? My computer, a 5 year old MacBook Pro with 4 cores ( I think) and 16 GB of RAM helps with speed?

Usually if you run WP on a shared webhost, you should be lucky to get 512 GB RAM and 1 core. Still, it's usually cheap, but you get what you pay for. But I got a great deal for basically the same price as I'm paying today, so I regret that a little, even though I do not need that much.

The Digital Ocean droplet for Ghost is just what I need, except for the price...

It's a bit too expensive to run a Ghost install like this, especially when you could have a VPS for the same price and get so much more. Personally I'd like to pay a maximum of $3 for this setup - including taxes, but I guess I'm dreaming then. Hey, a person could dream, right?

However, I'm sort of satisfied anyway. The reason is because I chose this droplet, because it's an "easier" way of handling a VPS, besides handling a real one. At least in my book it feels like that. I'm no Linux expert, and I've done my share of past mistakes, and I've learned from trying a gazillion web hosts for WP and other ways to host a Ghost blog, and this is by far the best way. Also, hosting WP is almost too simple, since all hosts offer that. Ghost, not so much. You're basically forced to either use Ghost Pro ($9 for basic functionality, or $25+ which is ridiculous!), self host like I am with DO Droplets, or find a place that offers Docker support.

Doing Ghost this way prevents me from adding a bunch of garbage to my Droplet that I probably otherwise would if I hade up to 8 GB RAM and 4 cores. As of now, I have the cheapest droplet for $6 + taxes, with 1 core and 1 GB RAM. With the swap memory thing, it's more than enough since my blog has a very low readership. A good day is like 20 visits for a single post, and like I've mentioned before, its been like that for years.

I do seriously hope that my network of blogs will in time become a lot more popular. It would be awesome if my personal blogs, like this one and my one in Swedish would each have 100 visits per post. What a dream! But we'll see if that happens. As of now, I just want to write, keep it simple and still manage to get all I want out of it. I'm on my path there, that's for sure.

The Gutenberg Editor is nice, but Ghost is better in some ways.

I also do love the WP editor, Gutenberg, but it's laggy as hell and often does not save correctly and it takes ages to get the design you'd like. Ghost is nice, but I miss the "easy" part of how to get a header, main and footer that takes up the whole view height. Aka the cover block. It can of course be configurable with HTML and CSS, but I'm not that desperate. At the moment I'm using the Liebling theme, which is basically perfect. It has all the features I need, and I've "forked" it as well, so I can make changes I want whenever I need to. Since I'm a developer, or at least waiting to sign the papers - developer, I know to write code, and I've dabbled with HTML and CSS for years and years. My endever with Ghost has helped me better my skills with these two things, so that's nice as well. I love the handlebars Ghost is using too. Lots of platforms use the handlebars, or something like it at least. I've used it basically for years as well, so I'm very familiar with it.

Going back to WP has other downsides as well...

And the main thing is mainly - hosting. I've tried so many web hosts, and I've used multiple times and I'm never satisfied. As of now, I'm (almost) satisfied with what I use to host my Ghost installation. The only thing I really dislike is the price. I pay (including taxes) about $7.50 per month, wich in my book is really expensive, since my VPS I used before had 4 - 8 times more stuff for the same price. But I still feel that I really don't want to mess this up, now that everything I need is working well.

Be careful of what domain you choose for your blog - and look out for wildcards!

I struggled in the beginning with my DO droplet, having crashes etc, but when I fixed it with the swap memory thing, I haven't had a single issue. At least not with Digital Ocean and my cheap droplet. I did have some issues with SEO, where posts I've written did not show up on Google, but most of them are fixed now. I was a bit stupid when I switched over to Ghost and started again to use this current domain. This one is littered with a history of bad mistakes, so a lot of my urls on Google have weird subdomains to them, because my domain has been in sort of "hacked" situations or whatever I'm supposed to say.

I can't find the words, but - I have not been hacked! That's for sure, but this domain has been sweeped to participate in weird stuff, which happens a lot to many domains, so I'm not alone. I found a list with all the subdomains being used and found out that this is pretty normal. Some of the subdomains I found in the list is iloapp, ww1, ww34 and hundreds more. This will most likely happen if you have a wildcard setup, which I've had for years. If you can remove it, please do and the problem will go away eventually.

These will vanish from Google in time, as long as Google realizes that these links are empty and don't go anywhere. Fortunately, even though these links are out there, to act as a copy for my posts, they lead nowhere. No risk so far to end up in a scam, or phishing bullshit. But it's annoying that the original posts with the right urls don't show up, but these do instead.

If I'd use a different domain, I would not have these issues at all. But I'm also so sick and tired of buying a buttload of domains that I'm never quite satisfied with, so that is why I chose to go back to this one. It's pretty suitable, since I can use it for all my writing, no matter what language. I only wished it was easier to target your audience depending on what language you're writing in. This - without having multiple blogs again.

Oh, never will I ever go through that again! That's like the main reason I switched to Ghost. I can finally write everything I want on the same domain and space! It's so amazing. I'm still mindblown by that fact, how easy it is to have multiple "blogs" - each with their own newsletter feature. Now my main issue is to get people to open them 😂, and leave feedback and nice comments.

If you have switched over from WP, to Ghost, or if you're thinking about going back, please - leave a nice comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks!


Anna-Maria Eriksson

Otroligt driven (webb)utvecklare, som ocksÄ Àr passionerad bloggnörd. Jag driver bloggarna "I huvudet pÄ en Grand Danois galning", "EfterlÀngtade Anton" och "In the mind of a Great Dane Maniac".