Why I chose Ghost as my blogging platform

Why I chose Ghost as my blogging platform
Ghost branding / Ghost

If you're reading this, you may be thinking of creating your very own blog. Well...

I, too have done the very same thing. And I put quite a bit of effort into this before finally deciding on Ghost. Let me explain.

I'm a software developer. I like to host things myself. In the vast landscape of blogging platforms, the choice of where to host your content can significantly impact your goals, especially for developers seeking a self-hosted solution. While numerous platforms vie for attention, Ghost stands out as a robust, professional-grade option that offers distinct advantages. Let’s delve into why Ghost is an exemplary choice for developers who prioritize control, scalability, and a seamless writing experience.

Hold up! I'm not a developer! If you're not a developer, you might find some recommendations of other platforms in this article either way. Stick with me!

Ownership and Control

Ghost offers an unparalleled level of ownership and control over your content and platform. Unlike free platforms that often compromise user data or subject content to promotional clutter, Ghost empowers users to retain full control without sacrificing privacy. Medium for example aggressively only promotes their site. You have almost no identity. In fact, no soul. In fact, redirections to your websites are blocked by a popup, instructing readers to keep reading. This is crucial, particularly for serious publications aiming for longevity and brand integrity. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of site maintenance and just want to write an article or two, then perhaps Medium would suit you better. Not me though.

Tailored Publishing Experience

I found that Ghost isn’t just a blogging platform; it’s a professional publishing tool designed to cater to small development teams. Its emphasis on customization and a clean, efficient editor sets it apart. While platforms like Squarespace excel in drag-and-drop simplicity, Ghost’s strength lies in providing a more nuanced, developer-friendly environment for complex publishing needs. If you want a site with simplistic customizability and ready to pay for the convenience, then perhaps Squarespace is a good fit.

Focused Professionalism

For those seeking to build a sophisticated website with an array of features, Ghost’s specialization in professional publishing might limit its suitability. In such cases, platforms like WordPress, with extensive plugin support, could be a better fit. If you want a Jack of all Trades - pick WordPress. If you want a master in blogging, publishing, speed and reliablity, I'd pick Ghost any day.

Member-Specific Content Security

Ghost’s standout feature is its robust security for members-only content. It offers server-side content gating that assures complete protection for exclusive content, a feature lacking in most other platforms. While not needed for most blogs, and in fact I do not think I'll be using it for quite some time until my audience grows, I do feel like this is an option you'd want sooner or later. That however depends on how dedicated you are. How are are you willing to go?

The member dashboard on a Ghost blog

Revenue Model and Economical Advantages

Ghost’s transparent fee structure and absence of revenue cuts offer substantial economic benefits, especially for serious publishers. When compared to platforms like Substack, Ghost’s subscription model presents a more financially sound option, allowing publishers to retain a larger share of their earnings. Ghost's system incurs no penalty for you, and you profit 100%. The only expenses are additional nice-to-haves, such as Ghost Pro, where Ghost handles all the hosting for you. Cheaper too.

Customization and Open Source Flexibility

The open-source nature of Ghost ensures unparalleled flexibility and customization. Unlike platforms where design and functionality are rigidly predefined, Ghost allows complete control over branding, domain, and site design. This flexibility extends to safeguarding against the platform’s potential disappearance, ensuring continuous operation even in unlikely scenarios.

Ghost offers many basic, but also advanced features out of the box

SEO, Social Features, and Performance

Ghost excels in providing robust SEO tools and social integrations, simplifying the optimization process. Its performance, notably faster than WordPress (still one of if not the most popular blogging platform), significantly impacts user engagement and search rankings. It's got a separate sitemap.xml or RSS feed for each tag, as well as a global feed. You truly never think of SEO here after you're finally on a search engine.

Ghost vs. Other Platforms

Ghost’s focused approach to publishing sets it apart from Medium’s content control, WordPress’s multifunctionality, and Squarespace’s simplicity. While each platform has its strengths, Ghost’s tailored features make it an optimal choice for developers seeking a refined, powerful publishing tool.

Developer experience

Ghost allows you to completely customize the look and feel of your blog. Simply fork an existing free theme and go right at it. Code, commit, zip (conveniently via Github, for example) and upload. You can also inject code snippets to the header and footer of the page. The important part here is that Ghost uses a modern development stack. Unless you're fine with the legacy-ridden Wordpress PHP code, I strongly suggest picking up Ghost instead.

Why not code your own platform?

Actually, that was the plan. I even have a Github page for it with the unfinished code.

GitHub - Uptaker/blogtastic: Self-hosted blogging platform for invidivuals
Self-hosted blogging platform for invidivuals. Contribute to Uptaker/blogtastic development by creating an account on GitHub.

You know what they say about starting a project, and never finishing it? Hobby projects are cursed with this.. curse? I started this project on a vacation. I've realized that I had some other priorities in place and never found the time. Last thing I wanted was to code after already coding all day. Yet every week, every month that I had an idea for a blog post. Was met with a disappointing realization that I had no platform.

So I took the easy way out, and started digging up ready-made solutions. I guess the saying, don't reinvent the wheel really sticked with this one, huh?


For developers aiming to build a serious blog/publication, I found that Ghost emerges as a superior choice, offering a blend of control, customization, and a refined writing experience. Its commitment to professional publishing, coupled with robust security and economic advantages, positions it as an ideal platform for those seeking a self-hosted, developer-friendly solution. What's more? With the right expertise, everything is completely free.

Want to start your own Ghost blog? With Ghost, you'll stumble upon Mailgun integration (a mailing service) at one point or another. A common misconception is that Mailgun is no longer free. That's not the case. Check out this article to see how Mailgun can be used for free.