Best options to host a Ghost Blog easily: from Managed to DIY

Here I have discussed the best options for you to host a ghost blog in different ways from self hosted to managed solution.

Best options to host a Ghost Blog easily: from Managed to DIY

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Hi, welcome to the TechWeirdo, and today, I am going to tell you different options for you to host a ghost blog, with there pros and cons, and at the end you will be able to pick the best suited option for you yourself. Ghost is a popular open source content management system (CMS) tailored for blogs, and this blog itself is powered by Ghost. Being open source you there are many options for hosting a Ghot blogs from free self hosted to managed plans.

I will devide this blog post into two parts, first I will mention the best option in each category (i.e. managed, self-hosted) in my opinion and in the second part I will suggest some good alternatives too. ( I may receive some referral points from some services, but they don't influence this comparison ).

My picks for each category:

There are usually three types of providers 1. Managed- Relatively costlier, but everything from, setup, CDN, email and backup is managed by them. 2. Semi-managed- the hosting of the site, and software update is managed, but some parts like emails and CDNs and backups are not managed. 3. Self-hosted- you host Ghost on your own VPS or server, and manage everything for yourself.

Fully Managed Ghost hosting:

Now for most people, I recommend managed hostings, it is simply easier, so headache and just works. From Server to CDN, SSL and Mailing all are taken care of, you just need to point your DNS to there service. In this category I will mention 2 providers, Ghost themselves or Magicpages. Ghost Pro is expensive, Magicpages is much cheaper.

1. Ghost Managed (Ghost Pro)

Ghost offers their own managed hostings, it is the fastest and the most expensive way to host a Ghost Blog. Here are the Pros and cons-

Pros:

  • Fastest hosting option, robust infrastructure.
  • Unlimited email sending.

Cons:

  • No custom theme in lowest tier plan.
  • Expensive, member count restricted based on tier
My Opinion: Choose this option if you send a lot of emails everyday, or if you have a large blog with high number of visitors. For low to medium traffic site there are better options below.

2. MagicPages

Magicpages also offers managed ghost hosting and have become popular recently for their good service with very low price. Hosting starts from 4 USD/month and they also have a one time payment for lifetime subscription plan. Here are the pros and cons

Pros:

  • Cheapest managed plans. Without a CDN starts at 4 USD per month and with CDN starts at 12 USD per month.
  • No restrictions in number of members or custom theme usage.
  • The cheaper plan comes with 2000 emails and the higher plan comes with 10000 emails.
  • They have improved their infrastructure, they have added uptime SLA now .
  • Great support.

Cons:

  • Performance wise it is slower than Ghost Pro blogs, but you won't notice that in low to medium traffic. But if you suddenly attract hundreds of visitors at once it may struggle. In fact in that scenario other than Ghost and some claverly self hosted solutions everything will struggle.
  • In the 4 dollar plan you need to bring your own CDN. But that is quite easy.
  • I am not sure how migration of off magicpages works but you can ask founder Jannis. He would probably help you out.
My Opinion: Magicpages is greate for small to medium sized blogs. But for large blogs it may not be sufficient. But in most cases this will be the better option over Ghost official hosting.

These two are my choice for managed Ghost hostings.

Semi Managed Ghost Hosting:

Now you may ask what is semi managed? Well as the name suggests, here you have to manage some parts of you blog setup, and some part will be managed by the provider. For a cheaper price tag, the provider will manage the Ghost hosting for you, and install the latest updates. But you need to bring your own email sender (Mailgun) account CDN and backup.

And in this category my pick is Pikapods.

1. Pikapods

Pikapods offers you the option to host a ghost blog from a low low proce of 1.67 USD per month. They will manage your Ghost installation. You need to do the rest I mentioned above. Now with 1.67 USD plan you will get a bare minimum system to run a blog with very low traffic but it should break on a little more traffic, you can always increase your server size if you need it.

Pros:

  • Very cheap to start with
  • They auto update ghost software for you

Cons:

  • You need to setup your own Mailgun account.
  • You need to keep backup of your own file.
  • I also don't know how you migrate from Pikapods to some other providers in future.
My recommendation: If you are comfortable managing you own CDN and Mailgun then yes, it is one of the best ways to host a Ghost blog cheaply. And also you have to keep your own backup and infrastructure.

You can also use pikapods to host services like Uptime Kuma or analytics like Umami etc cheaply.

Unmanaged / Selfhosting Ghost Blog:

Ghost being a opensource project you can also easily self host Ghost yourself on any computer, be it a VPS or a Raspberry Pi. Now if you love a little pain, you love selfhosting stuffs, or you are a nerd, I would recommend this method of hosting. Also this is the only other method you can achieve or even beat the speed of Ghost pro itself.

For this method you need a VPS (virtual private server). If you can get a free VPS from Oracle Cloud then you can host you Ghost Blog ( this is a powerful free vps ). Here I wrote about some free VPS options available. You can also use the one-click deploy from DigitalOcean by choosing there 6 USD/ month plan.

Get 200 USD credit to be used in first 2 months at DigitalOcean ocean to try this out.

Here are some guides I wrote that will help you self host a super fast ghost blog easy for free.

  1. Selfhosting Ghost Blog easily on free tier Oracle Cloud VPS (works with other VPS too).
  2. How to optimize Cloudflare Caching for a Blazing Fast Ghost Blog.
  3. Make your ghost blog super fast with bunny CDN. (A much better CDN than Cloudflare, but costs 1 USD/month).
  4. I also recommend you to read all the bells and whistles about a Oracle Cloud Free Tier VPS.

Pros:

  • You can host at whatever configuration you want. If you have a website on your domain. You can even host the blog on a subdirectory like /blog/ instade of subdomains.
  • Some advance CDN caching features that I wrote about above with self hosted Ghost Blog can give you on per or even better performance than Ghost managed blogs itself. In this blog I stress tested my self hostings and it achieved over 17000 page views in a minute with bunny CDN and Oracle free tier VPS.
  • Cheapest option. No restrictions on number of members or themes.

Cons:

  • When it works it is fines, but sometimes out of nowhere things go wrong and it becomes a pain in the ***.
  • You need to update your system regularly. Managed backup.
  • It is not for everyone.
My opinion: The thing about selfhosting is you already know wheather you want to self-host. If not, then you should not self host it.

You can also self host a ghost blog for free with Fly.io, but for me the process was a lot harder.

Other options available to host a Ghost Blog.

Now, the above services I chose above are the better ones in that category in my opinion. But there are many other good options to host Ghost blogs. And I will just name them here in their respective category, with a little explanation of why they didn't make the cut. I didn't include, any services that are objectively bad anyways.

Managed Free Hosting:

  1. DigitalPress offers managed Ghost hostings for free. With lots of limitation. They were okay in my testing, and with Cloudflare CDN you can serve a small blog well. But you will be restricted to 1 GB of disk space and 200 emails a month. So I don't think it is an option for a serious blog. But if you want a small blog, you can choose it. It is good enough.

Managed hostings:

  1. Gloat: Gloat is a service like Magicpages, offering managed Ghost hostings for relatively cheaper than Ghost Pro. But Magicpages offers better and more services than Gloat at lower prices.
  2. Midnight / Firepress: Same as Gloat butt you get better deal with the other options. Not really recommend.

Well that's it. Hopefully I cleared some of you questions. I tried to be objective to guide you to find the best solution for yourself. But if you still have some queries comment down below. If you find this article helpful, please share. Thank you for reading the TechWeirdo, have a nice day.

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