3 Best Ghost Hosting Services

Aliko Sunawang

Aliko Sunawang

A blogger and photography hobbyist.

Do you want to create a new blog with Ghost? If yes, then you need a solid, reliable hosting service to run your blog. It’s a bit challenging to find a Ghost hosting as Ghost is not as popular as WordPress. So far, prominent web hosting providers such as Bluehost and DreamHost don’t offer a managed hosting solution for Ghost yet. No worries, we have discovered some reliable services where you can run your Ghost blog on.

Ghost itself is a simple, yet modern CMS designed specifically for blogging. It has a beautiful, distraction-free content editor that offers pleasurable writing experience. When blogging with Ghost CMS, you can put more focus on content creation and management.

Before we jump to the hosting section, let’s start by getting to know Ghost further.

A Brief Intro About Ghost

People often compare Ghost with WordPress. While the two are great for blogging, they actually have a different focus. WordPress used to be a simple blogging tool, but it has undergone massive evolvements. Many people now use WordPress to create e-commerce sites, listing sites, to web apps. WordPress is still great for blogging, though. But if you seek a simpler blogging tool, then Ghost is a perfect stop.

Ghost is also released as open-source software just like WordPress. It is also available in two versions: hosted version and self-hosted version. Ghost itself is written in JavaScript running on Node.js. What makes Ghost different to WordPress is that Ghost has adopted the headless concept. Yes, Ghost is a headless CMS.

Ghost is designed for professional publishing. Meaning that it is aimed at those having a business purpose with their blog. You can basically adopt any model to monetize your blog, but Ghost encourages you to adopt the membership model. That is why Ghost has a built-in membership feature to allow you to set up a membership blog more easily. Ghost has native integration with Stripe to accept payments from paid members.

Ghost also has some useful features in terms of SEO, including:

  • Sitemaps (you can access it from yourblog.com/sitemap.xml)
  • Ability to add custom meta title and meta description
  • Ability to add custom social media description (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Custom URL
  • Google AMP pages
  • Canonical tags

Why It’s Challenging to Find a Ghost Hosting

Ok, Ghost is great. But why is it hard to find a hosting service to run a Ghost blog? Again, it’s about popularity (which also means market share). According to a stat on W3Techs, Ghost has only 0.1% CMS market share. With this low market, web hosting companies might need to think twice to allocate their resources.

Do you have any other opinion why many prominent hosting providers are unwilling to offer a managed hosting solution for Ghost? Share it in the comment section, please.

Key Features to Consider When Picking a Ghost Hosting

Keep this in mind. Ghost has a built-in newsletter feature. When creating a new content, you have two publication options:

  • Publish it as a blog post
  • Send it as email newsletter

When you select the second option, Ghost will send the content using its mail module (Ghost uses Nodemailer as the mail module). In order to be able to send email newsletters, Ghost requires a mail delivery service. Most Ghost hosting providers already include a mail delivery service as default feature but might not be available on all plans. If a hosting plan says something like “10,000 newsletter emails” on its specs, this means this plan already includes an email delivery feature.

Conversely, if the plan specs say “Use your own Mailgun account”, you need to setup your own email delivery, which means you need spend extra money for third-party email delivery service.

Other key features to consider include:

  • Number of members
  • Number of staff users
  • Number of integrations
  • Theme installation

The rest, you can tailor according to your needs such as SSL, CDN, and bandwidth.

Top 3 Ghost Hosting Services

1. Ghost.org

Of course, Ghost.org should be at the top of the consideration list of Ghost hosting given it is offered by the guys who develop Ghost CMS. They know everything about Ghost and how to make Ghost runs optimally. The question is, does Ghost.org plans suit your needs?

Ghost.org offers four hosting plans you can choose from: Starter, Creator, Team, and Business. The Starter plan is a suitable plan if you are a solo blogger, while the Business plan is a suitable plan if you want to run a large website with multiple authors.

The comparison of specs between Ghost.org plans

Ghost.org allows you to you try its service for free for 14 days during the trial period. It already includes the necessary features such as email delivery service, SSL, and CDN. Unfortunately, Ghost.org doesn’t disclose how many page views each plan is capable of handling.

You can read our previous article if you want to set up your blog on Ghost.org.

2. Gloat

Looking for a Ghost.org alternative to run your Ghost blog? Gloat is a perfect option, then. Gloat is a managed Ghost hosting offered by a developer named Dan Rowden. If you use the service from Gloat, your blog will be hosted on Digital Ocean.

Gloat offers only a single plan. The features offered by Gloat include an email delivery service (20,000 email newsletters per month), SSL, daily content backup, unlimited integrations, custom theme, unlimited page views, unlimited staff users, unlimited members, unlimited bandwidth and storage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer CDN.

Gloat offers two payment options: monthly and yearly.

3. Midnight

Midnight is another great managed hosting solution to run a Ghost blog. It also comes with the necessary features you need to run a Ghost blog. Midnight offers three hosting plans with the cheapest plan starts at $15 per month. However, this plan doesn’t include email delivery service. You need your own Mailgun account to send the email newsletters. If you have no Mailgun account, you can use the higher plans to be able to send email newsletters with Midnight.

Features like CDN, SSL, and content backup are already offered. Here are the plans offered by Midnight — as well as the features offered by each plan.

The comparison of specs between Midnight plans

Ghost.org vs Gloat vs Midnight

The following table compares the features offered by Ghost.org, Gloat, and Midnight. We compare the cheapest plan of each hosting service.

Ghost.orgGloatMidnight
Starts at$9/month$19/month$15/month
Managed hostingYesYesYes
Custom domainYesYesYes
SSLYesYesYes
Email newslettersUnlimited20,000/monthDepending on your Mailgun plan
Staff users1UnlimitedUnlimited
Members500UnlimitedUnlimited
Custom themeNoYesYes
Custom integrationsNoYesYes
CDNYesNoYes
Page viewsUndisclosed (around 25,000/month)UnlimitedUndisclosed

Issues with Managed Ghost Hosting

Managed hosting is the type of hosting service whereby a hosting provider takes care of the behind-the-scenes aspects of your website. From software updates (CMS and plugins), server configuration, security, and other aspects related to your website operational. In many cases, the managed hosting provider also takes care of the CMS installation. All of this allows you to focus on content development and marketing.

In managed hosting, the environment of the hosting has been optimized for a certain CMS you can expect a better site performance.

While a managed Ghost hosting offers a simple solution to run a Ghost-based blog, it has one main drawback. It gives you no access to your site files or database. Thus, you will face a big problem when you want to make a migration to another hosting. It’s true that you can export your content, but hosting migration is the process of moving your website from a certain hosting to another one. The whole website, not just the content.

As a comparison, most managed WordPress hosting services — including BlueHost and SiteGround — offer access to site files and database. This gives you a massive flexibility if you want to make a hosting migration.

All Ghost hosting providers above offer no access to site files and database. So, you need to make sure that the plan you want to use is capable of handling the traffic of your blog as it grows.

The Bottom Line

Ghost is a great CMS for blogging. However, it requires complex steps to be installed. Plus, you can’t install it on a regular shared hosting as it requires terminal access to run some Linux commands.

The easiest way to run a Ghost blog is by using a managed Ghost hosting service. The following services are great to run Ghost blog:

  • Ghost.org
  • Gloat
  • Midnight

The services above will take care of everything to run your blog, including the installation process. All you need is to focus on content creation and marketing. Make sure to read the detailed specs of the plans offered by the services before you subscribe and make sure they meet your needs. Don’t hesitate to make an inquiry upfront to avoid unwanted things ahead.

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