Ghost CMS is a blog and content management platform built on node.js which promises to be the great killer and rival of WordPress. Can this platform really replace WordPress and its infinite range of plugins and themes?
When I heard about Ghost CMS a few years ago, I was very interested, but I noticed that it was quite limited in relation to WordPress. Nowadays Ghost has evolved a lot, is it now worth using Ghost in 2019?
How did Ghost CMS come about?
Ghost CMS was launched on October 14, 2013 with the promise of being a great content and blog management platform. Currently Ghost CMS is the only rival to WordPress, it is always mentioned as the first alternative.
Ghost emerged in November 2012 as a project suggested by one of the former members of the WordPress interface designer development team John O'Nolan. He questioned the complexity of the platform that abandoned its main function of being a blog.
He created a kickstarter campaign that raised more than $ 300,000, kicking off the big project. Open source started being made available the following year, and in 2014 the official website ghost.org offered a managed and hosted version, which is a bit salty.
What are the main advantages of Ghost CMS?
The main advantage of Ghost using node.js is that it can become 1,000% faster than a WordPress site. It was one of the few sites that managed to reach 100 on PageSpeed. The node.js language accepts many more requests than PHP, in addition to being purely lightweight.
Another great advantage of Ghost is that it is super easy to handle, it has an editor similar to WordPress Gutenberg, it is optimized for SEO automatically, it offers everything a website needs to offer natively without the need for plugins.
Ghost even has a native app for you to manage your website through your computer and Android phone. Natively it offers multi-languages, AMP, redirects, Unsplash images, integration with Zapier, email capture and others.
What are the disadvantages of Ghost CMS?
I honestly don't see many disadvantages, but there are disadvantages that end up weighing a lot when migrating to Ghost. One is their main focus on blogging and content, while many use WordPress for different purposes.
The worst disadvantage I found is the fact that I don't have a native media manager like WordPress. The development team doesn't think about doing something like that. I believe it is horrible not to be able to reuse the images already sent to your server in a kind of gallery. Of course, there must be ways to get around this.
Of course, another major disadvantage is that in WordPress you have a huge range of plugins that can do anything, in addition to a huge community that gives you support and invents practical solutions to certain problems. In Ghost, although strong, things are more limited.
We can compare Ghost as a closed version of iOS and WordPress as an Android. It seems to be infinitely superior in its creation, but closed to the point that it ends up losing badly to the 99% of users who use WordPress.
Another disadvantage is the simple fact that people are used to hosting and websites in PHP. Node.js it is not difficult, but it is different. Sometimes you need to have some basic knowledge of programming and command lines in SSH.
With Ghost you cannot use hosting managers like Runcloud. There are friendly ways to manage and install the node.js on a cloud server, but honestly I haven't found one that takes care of both.
There is a simple way to use a managed hosting from Ghost itself. Unfortunately the dollar prices are totally unrealistic and limit the site to the number of visits. Much better to hire a cloud on Digital Ocean.
There are other managed hosts in node.js like Umbler, if you live in Europe, we have the tsohost. The website Themeix.com also offers managed hosting Ghost for a great annual price.
Either way, you can easily use node.js on system panels alongside PHP like Plesk and Cyberpanel. There is also the cloudron which installs Ghost and other apps in different languages in just one click in isolation within your cloud.
The only disadvantage is that the Cloudrun limits access, preventing even editing the DB manually. The purpose of cloudron is to be a platform for kids who don't want to get involved with programming.
Sites using Ghost CMS
Below I will list some famous sites that use Ghost CMS for you to take a peek and understand how it works and how they are.
- horror coding;
- code combat;
- troy hunt;
- speed test;
There are many other sites that use Ghost. Many sites that don't have a blog focus also use a .blog subdomain with Ghost Installed. This shows that Ghost is one of the most famous blogging platforms after WordPress.
Do I intend to migrate to Ghost?
Migrating to Ghost was something I want to do a lot, but I don't know if it's still possible. I've gotten used to Gutenberg a lot, I'm using WordPress with Nginx and its performance is very high.
Currently with Guenberg I have the ability to create indexes of articles manually more easily. I would probably miss this on Ghost. Another thing that would be sorely missed is the plugin Content Egg, where I place my affiliate products.
I've spent days thinking about how to install Ghost on my server, without needing to mess with the terminal. Unfortunately, I didn't find a better solution than cloudron, but did not want to sacrifice the remote connection to the DB.
The lack of managing media files within Ghost was also a key factor in why I gave up on the migration. Not to mention that I would have to redo over 2,000 articles within WordPress that are encoded with Gutenberg.
The migration tools available for Ghost are old and have not been updated in years. I didn't get to test it, so I can't say if they do the job correctly. If your site is still new, I recommend the migration!
Should you use Ghost?
I recommend Ghost for those who do not want problems with PHP, for those who prefer a simple and direct interface, do not want to have problems with a plugin, want to use a cheap hosting and have a super fast website.
I personally find Ghost superior to WordPress, for those who know how to program and enrich the platform. Since it currently doesn't offer anything much like WordPress, but it has full potential to perform any function without fail.
Remembering that Ghost is a platform for content. Some manage to make One Page sites, integrations with stores, but WordPress manages to be superior when it comes to making a site that does not focus on articles.
If your site has little content, Ghost can also be better, since it consumes almost nothing of the system. If you make websites for customers, Ghost can be a new alternative to avoid problems and streamline your service.
I still intend to do long tests on Ghost. Who knows kevinbk.com might not be running it soon? What did you think of this wonderful platform? Will we have more articles talking about him? Who knows how to grow the user community and reach WordPress?